Friday, March 14, 2008

Florida, Florida, Florida...and Michigan

It has been fitting that much the news this week (spring break at UGA) has centered on the Florida do over situation. And there have been some great links piling up. After last week's plea from the governors of Florida and Michigan to seat the states' delegates, the focus began to shift from contests to the ongoing delegate battle on the Democratic side; mostly to do with Florida and Michigan and the party's superdelegates.

I was pleased earlier this week to see Paul Gronke, an expert on early and alternate voting methods, weigh in on the possibility of a mail-in do over vote in Florida. The main problem in Florida is that cost is going to be an issue no matter which way this goes. And that was the least of the worries when the state's congressional delegation rejected the idea and it then became apparent that no method of verifying voter signatures existed.

So Florida Democrats are up the creek without a paddle. That may be true, but one idea that has received little attention and may eventually rescue Sunshine state Democrats is an appeal to the Rules and Bylaws Committee to have the state's delegates seated. And as The Swamp over at the Chicago Tribune reports, that appeals process is underway. The catch is that the argument may not be about seating the delegates but instead may focus on the harshness of the DNC's sanctions against the party. And that is an interesting argument. Remember that the party's official punishment is that a state violating the timing restrictions set forth by the party lose half its delegates (Rule 20.C.1.a&b), but the Rules and Bylaws Committee opted to make an example of Florida and stripped them of their entire slate of delegates. Does that argument hold water? Eh, maybe not, but it would shift some of the pressure back on the DNC if Florida Democrats brought that argument to the forefront.

And what about Michigan? Well, if the mail in do over vote won't work then a legislature approved do over primary in early June may be the only way to go. [Now I'm going to have to recheck all my Michigan legislature links again.] Then Michigan will have had the third and last contests on the Democratic side. What? Oh yeah, that one on January 15 didn't count.

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