New York Senator Hillary Clinton is calling on the Democratic National Committee to either seat delegates from Florida and Michigan or hold new primaries in the states.
Both states were stripped of delegates for moving their primaries up on this year’s election calendar.
DNC chairman Howard Dean is in favour of holding new primaries, but says the party will not pay for them. Barack Obama’s campaign has concerns, however, about proposed mail-in caucuses.
“If you are a voter from Florida or Michigan, you know that we should count your vote,” Clinton said in a speech at the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce in Washington yesterday, according to the Detroit News.
“The nearly 2.5 million Americans in those two states who participated in the primary elections are being excluded from our democratic process, and I think that’s wrong.”
The Clinton campaign has asked that either the DNC accept the results of the previously held primaries in the two states and seat the selected delegates, or hold new primaries to choose new delegates.
Clinton has stated that she believes the original primaries were “fair and they should be honoured.”
However, if the formerly chosen delegates are not going to be seated at the national convention, Clinton believes new primaries must be held.
“I don’t see any other solutions that are fair and honour the commitment that 2.5 million votes made in the Democratic primaries in those two states,” she said.
“Honour the results or hold new primary elections. We have a basic obligation to make sure that every vote in America counts.”
The DNC believes the results from the earlier primaries cannot be counted as accurate because the states broke party rules, resulting in the stripping of their delegates and a ban on campaigning by candidates in the states.
Clinton won the primaries in both states, although Obama was not on the ballot in Michigan.
Obama has stated he is open to holding new contests in Florida and Michigan.
However, his campaign is concerned about a proposed idea to hold mail-in caucuses in both states to select new delegates.
Obama’s senior strategist David Axelrod told the Detroit News:
“There are concerns about a mail-in vote. I mean, there are concerns about eligibility, ballot security.”
In an appearance on Hardball with Chris Matthews on Tuesday, Obama stated it would be vital to “figure out if this [mail-in vote] was fraud-proof.”
“What we believe is that there should be some way at arriving at a fair settlement that respects the fact that there were rules in place, but also makes sure that the Michigan and Florida voters are seated,” Obama said, according to the Washington Times.
“I’m not going to spend too much time designing what the solution is. I think that whatever the DNC decides, we will abide by.”
As an alternative, Obama’s campaign has suggested splitting the states’ delegates evenly between the two Democratic Presidential candidates.
A split of delegates would likely result in less delegates being awarded to Clinton than if the two contests were redone, as she could possibly win both states in a re-vote.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the Clinton campaign has sent a letter to Obama asking him to come out in support of either seating the earlier elected delegates or holding new primaries.
Governors Jon Corzine of New Jersey and Ed Rendell of Pennsylvania have come out publicly to say they would help raise the funds to pay for new elections in Michigan and Florida.
Any re-vote in the states must take place by June 10th, according to national Democratic party rules.
DNC chairman Howard Dean has expressed hope that the two states will hold new primaries, but said the national party will not pay for them.
A redo of the two contests could cost more than $30 million (£14.7m), though a mail-in vote would cost significantly less.
Members of Florida’s delegation to the US House, however, vehemently oppose holding do-over elections and want the previous results in that state’s primary to stand and be counted.
In a statement released on Tuesday, the delegation said:
“We are committed to working with the DNC, the Florida State Democratic party, our Democratic leaders in Florida, and our two candidates to reach an expedited solution that ensures our 210 delegates are seated.
“Our House delegation is opposed to a mail-in campaign or any redo of any kind.”
“If we have another revote, what do we tell the 1.7 million people that waited in lines that day to vote? ‘Oops, sorry we changed our mind. … That was just the mulligan election,’” state Senate Democratic Leader Steve Geller said Monday, according to the Herald Tribune.
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