The Democratic National Committee voted today to not seat any Florida delegates to the Democratic National Convention unless they push back their Presidential Primary date by at least a week.
As we previously reported, Florida Democrats are in a tough spot. The Florida Legislature is heavily Republican. In the Senate Republicans have 26 seats to the Democrat’s 40 seats. In the House they have 78 seats to the Democrat’s 42 seats. The Governor is Republican.
The Republicans in Florida attached the change moving the Florida State Primary to Jan 29, 2008 as an amendment to a Voting Reform Act. The legislation required a voter verified paper trail for all voting machines. Some 15 of Florida’s counties still use touch screen voting machines that have no paper trail.
The DNC Rules and Bylaws Committee today voted to give Florida Democrats 30 days to move its Primary Election date back at least a week. If it doesn’t, it could lose its 210 delegates to the Democratic National Convention held August 25 – 28, 2008 in Denver, Colorado. Florida has the 4th largest number of delegates.
Florida Democrats can act to make the January 29th Primary non-binding and hold a later caucus to select delegates. It could hold a 2nd election or a mail in election but this is much more expensive at $7 to 8 million.
Florida has 4 million Democrats. The caucus system would draw far less people and would disenfranchise about 170,000 absentee voters, including soldiers stationed overseas in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The next move is up to the Florida Democratic Party. They have a state convention scheduled for September 26, 2007.
Washington State Democrats are holding a caucus on Saturday Feb. 9, 2008 to select delegates. There will also be a Presidential Primary Election on February 19, 2007. Republicans will select half their delegates from a caucus and half using the voter results from the Presidential Primary.
Washington State does not have Party registration. This has been a stumbling block for Democrats using the Presidential Primary results to select delegates. This is something that Democrats should work to change in the Legislature next year. Caucuses limit voter participation and prevent many people from helping to select Presidential nominees.