Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Return to Sender

The way to seat the Florida delegates at the Democratic convention is to hold a mail-in primary. So say the state Democrats.

“We basically run out of time beyond Thursday,” said state Sen. Steve Geller, a Hallandale Beach Democrat and the state Senate minority leader, who was meeting with party officials and attorneys Tuesday to hammer out details.

Under the emerging plan, estimated to cost as much as $10 million, the state’s four million registered Democrats would be mailed self-addressed, stamped ballots that would be tabulated by an independent party, such as an accounting firm or a company that runs corporate shareholder voting.

Ballots would be due back in Tallahassee on a specific day in late May or early June, and regional sites would likely be employed for last-minute voters, party officials said.

The state party would pick up the cost for the unprecedented contest, and a number of national Democratic strategists have said they’re ready to begin raising millions for the do-over.

Geller cautioned that technical, bureaucratic and political hurdles still loom. Among them: the design of the ballot and how to ensure secrecy.

The plan would also still need to be vetted by the state party’s executive committee and pass muster with the presidential campaigns of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.

Not so fast, says the Florida delegation to the House of Representatives:

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.

Stand by for lawsuits.