NAACP head wants Florida, Michigan delegates counted

Julian Bond writes to DNC chairman Howard Dean, saying the states should be represented at the Democratic convention.

Published February 13, 2008 4:00PM (EST)

With the importance of each delegate in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination seemingly growing each day, the question of what to do with Florida and Michigan is likely to heat up even further. Now Julian Bond, who heads the NAACP, has weighed in on the issue in a letter to Democratic National Committee chairman Howard Dean, which will likely only put even more pressure on the DNC to resolve the debate soon.

For those of you who are just joining us, though both Florida and Michigan held primaries, they will (currently, at least) be awarded no delegates to the Democratic National Convention this summer -- a penalty against the states for going against rules laid down by the party about primary scheduling. Hillary Clinton's campaign badly wants delegates from those states seated, however -- Clinton won both states.

Two civil rights leaders had previously weighed in on the issue in a letter to Dean, but they asked only for a swift resolution. Bond has gone further. In his letter, he says, "I am writing to express [the NAACP's] great concern at the prospect that millions of voters in Michigan and Florida could ultimately have their votes completely discounted ... we are deeply concerned that not finding a solution to this dilemma that recognizes the will and intent of the Florida and Michigan voters could cast troubling aspersions on the democratic process of selecting candidates."

One possible solution to the problem discussed by some is caucuses in both states, which would appear to favor Barack Obama, who has been a strong caucus performer. Bond appeared to dismiss this idea in his letter, however, writing, "I urge you in the strongest possible terms to come to some solution to this problem which will not leave the millions of voters that went to the polls to cast a free and unfettered vote during the primary without representation."

By Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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