A very specific action alert: heavy lifting to make sure the DNC seats Florida and Michigan fairly
Along with millions of other Democrats, regardless of their preferred candidate, I share in the desire to ensure that the D.N.C. does not disenfranchise the voters of Michigan and Florida who participated in the only primary elections they could.
Several wonderful groups have organized to rally 'round this cause. One that needs help now is called Count The Votes Cast. This is a very professional group of volunteers, and they have some donors who will match funds raised but the would be matchers need to be motivated by folks like us.
Count the Votes Cast needs to publish the following letter in the Washington Post next week and they need $53,000 for a full page ad. The letter deserves no less. The organization is a registered 527 ("PAC") and by federal law cannot accept more than $5000 per donor. But surely there are enough of us out there to raise these funds. Contribute here to make sure this letter gets the best possible viewing. Please.
To Howard Dean and The Democratic National Committee
Florida and Michigan are not going away. Neither is the lesson of 2000. Back then it was the Republicans who thought subverting a basic premise of our Democratic process, counting all the votes, didn't matter. Eight disastrous years later, we know how wrong they were.
This year it is we Democrats who are about to violate that basic premise.
Mistakes in judgment were made by all sides. If there are punishments for breaking "the rules" they should be applied to the rule breakers, not the voting citizens. And not a punishment that violates the democratic process itself. Excluding Michigan and Florida from the nomination process is unacceptable: we are a nation of fifty states, not forty-eight.
The Florida and Michigan delegates must be seated in accordance with the results of their primaries. In Florida, since both Senators Obama and Clinton were on the ticket, the solution is obvious. It was a valid, certified election on a level playing field and the validity of its result is not in question. In Michigan, the solution is less obvious. But there is a solution.
As reported by the Des Moines Register in October of 2007, Senator Obama decided to take his name off the ballot. This was a political decision. He then arranged with the Michigan Democratic Party to have his name represented by a line that read, "Uncommitted". John Edwards joined him and voters who went to the polls that day knew that "Uncommitted" represented both Senator Obama and John Edwards. The evidence suggests that the electorate knew this because "Uncommitted" received 40.7% of the votes, the second highest total. And Senator Clinton was not the only candidate on the ballot, other Democratic candidates were listed as well. The question to be resolved is how to apportion the 40.7% of the vote represented by "Uncommitted".
John Edwards consistently received, on average, 14% of the vote in the primaries in which he competed. Using that as a guide and based on the Michigan totals of 238,168 votes cast for the "Uncommitted" line, Edwards would then receive 89,158 votes and Senator Obama 149,010. We think this is not only fair, but probably under counts what a populist like John Edwards would have received in Michigan. We also suggest the delegates be apportioned accordingly.
It is time for the DNC Rules committee to do the right thing. Florida and Michigan delegates must all be seated. The popular vote totals must now include voting figures for all three candidates for all fifty states.
After what transpired in 2000, the Democratic Party cannot afford to not count the votes. To do anything less could cause serious damage to the Democratic Party, not just in November, but for years to come.