Voters silenced by early primaries

Controversy surrounds Michigan and Florida after breaking the rules and moving up their primaries before Feb. 5.

By violating national party rules, Michigan and Florida were considered noncompliant for their actions.

These actions have left the voters of these states without a voice in the primary elections.

“The behavior of Michigan and Florida party officials was so unacceptable that I feel accommodating them at this point would only encourage similar behavior in the future,” Kenneth Marcus, associate professor of history, said in an e-mail interview.

Michigan held its primary Jan. 15 and Florida held its primary Jan. 29, which lead to punishment by the national party.

Following, both states were stripped of their delegates for the Democratic National Convention.

But members from both states will be seated on three standing committees including the Credentials Committee, which will meet prior to the convention.

The Credentials Committee resolves disputes dealing with whether or not to seat delegates.

Stephen Sayles, professor of history, believes it is a shame that there is the possibility of delegates not being seated.

“The Democratic parties of Florida and Michigan need to look at their leadership,” Sayles said.

“They broke the rules and now they pay the consequences.”

The primaries in both states were won by Sen. Hillary Clinton.

In Michigan Clinton was on the ballot, while Sen. Barack Obama was not included in the Michigan ballot.

Both agreed that having a caucus would be too expensive.

Recounting votes would cost $10 million to $12 million.

“The purpose of having early primaries is to maximize influence,” said Jason Neidleman, associate professor of political science.

In this case, Neidleman believes that the situation did not go as planned.

By moving up primaries Michigan and Florida were disadvantaged. They would have been in a better position if they held their primaries as scheduled.

There was talk of the option to circulate a mail-in ballot, but the probability of this action taking place is slim due to time and cost constraints.

Time is essential in order to abide by the rules for any re-do elections.

They have to be completed by June 10 to be counted under Democratic National Committee regulations.

Many feel that the needs of the 5.2 million voters outweighs the cost of re-elections.

The voices of these voters is a crucial element to the elections and definitely could have had an influence on the winning candidate.

Richard Gelm, professor of political science, believes that a huge disadvantage for the Democratic Party is that Obama and Clinton did not campaign in Michigan and Florida and had a lack of organization, which could harm the Democratic vote.

Obama’s campaign is not supporting the plan to have votes and delegates given based on the primary votes of January.

Clinton believes that the delegates should be based on the results of Florida’s election.

A resolution will need to be established before the National Convention, which begins Aug. 25 in Denver, Colo.

There is separation on how these votes should be counted.

The Democratic National Committee will make the final decision on what will occur with the issue at hand.

Members of the National Committee, who include Debbie Dingell, Rep. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick, Sen. Carl Levin, and the United Auto Workers President Ron Gettelfinger are working to find a solution that will create a new cohesive plan for both parties.

Maxtla Benavides can be reached at

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