Thursday, March 6, 2008

The I-75 Primaries

Interstate 75 runs from Sault Ste Marie, Michigan to Miami, Florida (and I’ve driven every mile of it at least once). A lot of snowbirds travel it between their summer places like Harbor Springs, Petoskey, Leland, Northport, and the U.P. to their winter homes in Naples, Sarasota, and Boca, to the point that there are even the same fudge shops in Michigan as there are in Florida. Now there’s another connection.

TALLAHASSEE- Florida Governor Charlie Crist and Michigan Governor Jennifer M. Granholm released a joint statement today calling on the Democratic and Republican National Committees with a very clear message: Seat our delegates.

Joint Statement from Florida Governor Charlie Crist and Michigan Governor Jennifer M. Granholm.

“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.”

The blame for the Florida end of this clusterfuck lies with the Republican-dominated state legislature that voted last year to move the primary from March to January, fully aware of the fact that the national committees would disallow the delegates.

But barring a change in the party rules, the only alternative is to have a do-over primary, which could cost about $10 million. The state legislature isn’t going to pay for it; they’re already cutting funding to public education this session. So if there is a second primary, it will all be on the parties’ dime.

My guess is that by the time they finally figure all of this out and get the inevitable lawsuits settled, the election will be over and it will be yet again another exercise for the moot court case law.