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Democratic party steps into primary election tango

Saturday, August 25th, 2007

Add the national Democratic party to the debate over the primary election calendar. The party said today that Florida will lose its delegates to the party convention if state officials don’t agree to hold their primary after February 5th, per national party rules. Other states might face similar penalties if they decide to schedule elections before then, a situation a party official calls potential “chaos.” As we’ve reported, this game of political bumper cars may help states get more attention from candidates, but others say it’s not doing much for the nation’s voters as a whole. The rundown from the AP is after the jump.

The Florida party has 30 days to submit an alternative to its planned Jan. 29 primary or lose its 210 delegates to the nominating convention in Denver next summer.

So, what does this mean?

There is general agreement that the eventual nominee will seat Florida’s delegates rather than allow a fight at a convention intended to show party unity. But the decision by the Democratic National Committee’s rules panel could reduce Florida’s influence because candidates may want to campaign in states where the votes are counted.

Some background:

Party rules say states cannot hold their 2008 primary contests before Feb. 5, except for Iowa on Jan. 14, Nevada on Jan. 19, New Hampshire on Jan. 22 and South Carolina on Jan. 29.

[snip]

The calendar was designed to preserve the traditional role that Iowa and New Hampshire have played in selecting the nominee, while adding two states with more racial and geographic diversity to influential early slots.

The question here is what does an earlier election season mean for voters? Candidates? Donors? We’ll be taking a closer look at this in a video when the new site launches. Meanwhile, in New Jersey, the South Brunswick Post editorializes against changing primary dates, and in favor of manual post-election audits.

Previously
Study: North Carolina only state performing “essential” post-election audits of electronic voting machines

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