Michigan, Florida governors want delegates seated

The governors of two states whose role in determining the Democratic presidential nominee is disputed put out a joint statement.

By Alex Koppelman
Published March 5, 2008 8:25PM (EST)

The governors of Florida and Michigan have stepped in to offer their opinions about the question of what is to be done regarding their states' potential delegates to this summer's Democratic convention.

Earlier in this election cycle, the Democratic National Committee decided to strip both states of their delegates as punishment for violating party rules about the timing of primaries. The two governors, Florida Republican Charlie Crist and Michigan Democrat Jennifer Granholm, released a joint statement Wednesday. The statement reads,

The right to vote is at the very foundation of our democracy. This primary season, voters have turned out in record numbers to exercise that right, and it is reprehensible that anyone would seek to silence the voices of 5,163,271 Americans. It is intolerable that the national political parties have denied the citizens of Michigan and Florida their votes and voices at their respective national conventions.

According to the DNC and RNC, Florida and Michigan have violated party rules by moving up their primaries. Today, we each will call upon our respective state and national party chairs to resolve this matter and to ensure that the voters of Michigan and Florida are full participants in the formal selection of their parties' nominees. We must restore the rights of the more than 5 million voters whose voices have been silenced.

Though they nod to the Republican side of the equation, the question is really more pivotal on the Democratic side. Hillary Clinton won the primaries in both Florida and Michigan (in Michigan, she ran all but unopposed) and wants delegates from both to be seated; indeed, she'll probably need them if she wants to capture the nomination.

There may well be accusations forthcoming that Crist is trying to play the divide in the Democratic Party over this issue to his party's political advantage, and that's of course a possibility. But before anyone does go making or trusting such accusations, it's worth remembering that Crist has acted against the Republican Party's interest on voting questions before. In 2007, he gave Florida's felons the right to vote, a move that most likely added tens of thousands of Democrats to the state's voting rolls.

Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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