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Democratic National Committee Rules and Bylaws Committee source documents and staff analysis regarding the Michigan and Florida delegate challenges

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WASHINGTON--The Democratic National Committee Rules and Bylaws Committee meets Saturday to wrestle with the disputed delegates from Michigan and Florida. The essential questions, according to documents prepared for the meeting by the DNC--and obtained by this blog--is whether the Florida and Michigan delegates are to be seated and how these delegates then should be allocated between Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and the likely Democratic presidential nominee, Sen. Barack Obama.

The package of materials includes staff analysis of the various issues, arguments and potentials. solutions. Michigan and Florida were stripped of their delegates as punishment for holding January primaries, violating DNC rules. There's also a very useful timeline and background. Delegate selection rules for the 2008 cycle were adopted in August, 2006 after years of discussion,

DNC RULES AND BYLAWS COMMITTEE
IMPLEMENTATION CHALLENGES CONCERNING FLORIDA NATIONAL CONVENTION DELEGATION
FILED BY JON AUSMAN ET AL
STAFF ANALYSIS
Pursuant to Rule 20(B)(2) of the Delegate Selection Rules, Jon M. Ausman, a member of the
Democratic National Committee (DNC) from Florida, and other Democrats from Florida, filed two
implementation challenges on March 20, 2008.
The first challenge requests the Rules and Bylaws Committee (“RBC”) to reinstate all of Florida’s
unpledged delegates (also known as “superdelegates”). The basis for the challenge is that the
Charter of the Democratic Party of the United States (the “Charter”) provides that delegates shall be
chosen through processes which “provide for all the members of the DNC to serve as unpledged
delegates,”1 and which “permit unpledged delegates” consisting of several other categories
including all Democratic Members of Congress and Democratic Governors.
The second challenge claims that the RBC did not have authority, under the Delegate Selection
Rules for the 2008 Democratic National Convention (the “Delegate Selection Rules”) themselves,
to impose any reduction in the number of pledged delegates from Florida beyond the 50% reduction
automatically imposed by Rule 20(C)(1)(a). This challenge asks the RBC to “revisit” its action of
August 25, 2007 and to allocate to Florida 50% of the pledged delegates and alternates originally
provided for in the Call to the 2008 Democratic National Convention (the “Call”).
Both of these challenges were properly filed and met the applicable procedural requirements for a
properly filed implementation challenge. No adverse party was named in either challenge. Under
the circumstances, the Co-Chairs previously determined that the provisions of Regulation 3.4 of the
Regulations of the RBC requiring an answer and referral to the State Party were inapplicable.
The purpose of this Staff Analysis is to identify the issues that the Committee would need to address
to resolve these Challenges; and to provide background information and analysis with regard to
those issues.
Summary of Challenge I
Challenge One cites and relies upon the following provisions of the Charter:
Article Two, Section 4. The National Convention shall be composed of delegates equally
divided between men and women. The delegates shall be chosen through processes which:
….
(h) notwithstanding any provision to the contrary in this Section:
(i) provide for all of the members of the Democratic National Committee to
serve as unpledged delegates, . . . .
(iii) permit unpledged delegates consisting of:
1) the President and Vice President of the United States, if Democrats,
2) the Democratic members of the United States Senate and the Democratic
members of the House of Representatives,
1 Charter, Article Two, Section 4(h)(i)
Staff Analysis of Ausman Florida Challenge Continued
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3) the Democratic Governors,
4) former Democratic Presidents and Vice Presidents of the United States,
5) former Democratic Majority and Minority Leaders of the United States
Senate;
6) former Democratic Speakers and Minority Leaders of the United States
House of Representatives;
7) former Chairs of the Democratic National Committee,
8) such delegates shall not be permitted to have alternates and such
delegates shall constitute an exception to Subsection (b) of this Section 4.
In essence, the Challenge contends that these Charter provisions require that all of these categories
of individuals be allowed to serve as voting delegates to the Convention. According to the
Challenge, since the Delegate Selection Rules have only the status of Bylaws, the provisions of the
Charter take precedence over the Delegate Selection Rules. The action of the RBC enforcing the
Delegate Selection Rules conflicts with these Charter provisions, it is argued, and is therefore
invalid.
Analysis of Challenge I
Challenge One presents issues of interpretation and application of the provisions of the Charter, the
Call, and the Delegate Selection Rules.
Background
The language at issue reflects the evolution of the Party’ s rules concerning the role of Party leaders
and elected officials at the National Convention. The 1972 and 1976 Rules did not confer on Party
leaders or elected officials any special right or ability to serve as delegates to the National
Convention. In fact, one of the Delegate Selection Rules prohibited any person from serving
automatically as a delegate by virtue of Party or elected office.
The Winograd Commission, which issued its report in 1978 with respect to the Delegate Selection
Rules for the 1980 Convention, summarized the debate over the role of Party leaders and elected
officials as follows:
Some felt certain officials should be made automatic voting delegates because of their role
as publicly recognized policy makers. Others point out that, if elected officials choose to
run for delegate status, they are in the difficult position of having either to take seats from
grass roots supporters in their home districts or to take an at- large seat and thereby further
unbalance the composition if they are white males.2
In response to these competing concerns, the Winograd Commission recommended, and the DNC
adopted, a new delegate selection rule providing for a new category of pledged Party leader and
elected official delegates from each state, equal to 10 percent of the state’s base delegation. 3
2 Winograd Commission, OPENNESS, PARTICIPATION AND PARTY BUILDING: REFORMS FOR A STRONGER DEMOCRATIC
PARTY 100 (1978)
3 Id. at 100-101; 1980 Delegate Selection Rules 7(D)
Staff Analysis of Ausman Florida Challenge Continued
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As of 1980, there were no unpledged delegates. The languages of the Charter—now Article Two,
Section 4(g)—provided that delegates were to be chosen through processes which “prohibit
unpledged and uncommitted delegates….”
The Hunt Commission, which issued its report in 1982 proposing new Delegate Selection Rules for
the 1984 Convention, recommended creating a new category of unpledged Party leader and elected
official delegates. The provision for what the press now calls “superdelegates” originated with this
Hunt Commission recommendation. The Commission explained:
[We regard] this as an important way to increase the convention’s representativeness of
mainstream Democratic constituencies. It would help restore peer review to the process,
subjecting candidates to scrutiny by those who know them best…..It would strengthen party
ties among officials, giving them a greater sense of identification with the nominee and the
platform. And the presence of unpledged delegates would help return decision-making
discretion and flexibility to the Convention. 4
The Hunt Commission recommended, and the DNC adopted, a new delegate selection rule
conferring automatic, unp ledged delegate status on each State Party chair and vice-chair and 3/5 of
the Members of the U.S. Senate and U.S. House Democratic Caucuses.5
The language of the Charter was amended to authorize the DNC to allocate delegate positions for
“Democratic elected public officials” designated in the Call to the Convention. 6
In 1986, following the work of the Fairness Commission, chaired by Don Fowler, the DNC adopted
a further change to the Delegate Selection Rules for the 1988 Convention, to provide that automatic
unpledged delegate status would be conferred on all DNC members; all Democratic Governors; and
4/5 (rather than 3/5) of the Members of the Democratic Caucuses of the U.S. Senate and U.S.
House. A conforming change to the Charter was made at that time, providing that “delegates shall
be chosen through processes which…notwithstanding any provision to the contrary in this Section:
(i) provide for all of the members of the Democratic National Committee to serve as unpledged
delegates.”7
The Delegate Selection Rules were further amended for 1992 to provide for all Democratic
Members of Congress and certain former senior party officials to serve as automatic unpledged
delegates.
Discussion of Analysis
The language of the Charter provides that the delegates “shall be chosen through processes which. .
. provide for all of the members” of the DNC to serve as unpledged delegates.8 The language further
provides that the delegates “shall be chosen through processes which. . . permit unpledged delegates
4 Report of the Commission on Presidential Nomination 16 (1982)
5 1984 Delegate Selection Rule 8(A)
6 Charter, Article 2, Section 5
7 Charter, Article Two, Section 4(h)(i)
8 Charter, Article Two, Section 4(h)(i)
Staff Analysis of Ausman Florida Challenge Continued
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consisting of” all of the Members of Congress and Democratic Governors, and certain other
officials and former officials.9
Based solely on the plain language of the Charter, then, it can be argued that the Delegate Selection
Rules must provide for all DNC Members to serve as automatic unpledged delegates but that the
DNC itself can, in the Delegate Selection Rules, determine whether to confer such status on
Members of Congress and Democratic Governors and the other specified officials in Article Two,
Section 4(h)(iii). The Charter can be amended only by a two-thirds vote of the full membership of
the DNC,10 whereas the Delegate Selection Rules, which have the status of bylaws, were adopted by
a majority of the members of the DNC. Arguably, then, Rule 20(C)(1) of the Delegate Selection
Rules was invalidly adopted insofar as it provides that, if a State Party violates Rule 11 (the
“Timing Rule”), none of the members of the DNC from that state are permitted to serve as delegates
to the Convention.
On the other hand, it can be argued that taken as a whole, the language of the Charter cannot fairly
be read to require that any category of delegates actually be seated at the Convention if that
category is chosen under a Delegate Selection Plan which itself violates the Delegate Selection
Rules. The language of Article Two, Section 4 of the Charter sets out the basic principles to which
the Delegate Selection Rules must conform: full, timely and equal opportunity to participate
(subsection a); fair reflection of presidential preference (subsection b); prohibition of the unit rule
(subsection c); prohibition of fees and poll taxes (subsection d); restriction of participation to
Democrats only (subsection e); prohibition of processes beginning before the calendar year of the
Convention (subsection f); and prohibition of any unpledged delegates (subsection g).
As noted above, after these fundamental principles were set out in the Charter, language was added
in Article Two, Section 4, Subsection (h) that “notwithstanding” the general absolute prohibition of
any unpledged delegates, the “processes”’ i.e., the Delegate Selection Rules, should “provide for all
of the members of the Democratic National Committee to serve as unpledged delegates.” It could
well be the case that, this language was simply intended to mean that the DNC would be permitted
to confer automatic unpledged delegate status on all members of the DNC, notwithstanding the
general ban on unpledged delegates.
Indeed, it could be contended that the Charter language could not have been intended to mean that
all DNC members are automatically entitled to serve as delegates even if they were chosen through
a process or certified under a delegate selection plan that violates the Delegate Selection Rules or
provisions of the Bylaws. For example, if the DNC Members from a state were chosen through a
process that is not one of those listed in Article Two, Section 3(a) of the Bylaws, presumably the
Secretary of the DNC could refuse to accept the certification of such DNC Members as unpledged
delegates, despite the language of Charter Article Two, Section 4(h)(i).
This view may find further support in Article Two, Section 2 of the Charter which provides that, in
the event that a state law conflicts with the Charter or “other provisions adopted pursuant to
authority of the Charter,” which would include the Delegate Selection Rules, “State Parties shall be
required to take provable positive steps to bring such laws into conformity and to carry out such
9 Charter, Article Two, Section 4(h)(iii)
10 Charter Article Ten, Section 1
Staff Analysis of Ausman Florida Challenge Continued
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other measures as may be required by the National Convention or the Democratic National
Committee” (emphasis added). It could be contended that the DNC, in approving Rule 20(C)(1) of
the Delegate Selection Rules, was mandating that in a state in which state law set the date of a
presidential preference primary in violation of the Delegate Selection Rules the State Democratic
Party would be required to run an alternative process complying with those Rules. Under this
interpretation, in imposing the automatic sanctions of Rule 20(C)(1), the DNC was exercising
authority conferred by the Charter itself: the authority to require a State Party to “carry out such
other measures” that the DNC sees fit, to ensure that Party rules prevail over state law.
Summary of Challenge II
Challenge Two argues, in essence, that the RBC acted beyond its authority in imposing sanctions on
the Florida Democratic Party beyond those imposed automatically under Rule 20(C)(1). The
Challenge implies that, in order to impose a penalty in addition to the penalties of Rule 20(C)(1),
there must be some reason or basis in addition to the violation of the Timing Rule. According to the
Challenge, the RBC, “by imposing a penalty of a one hundred percent (100%) reduction violated
Rule 20(C)(1)(a) as the only finding of non-compliance was the timing of the Florida Presidential
Preference Primary.”11
The Challengers acknowledge that Rule 20(C)(5) authorizes the RBC to impose additional
sanctions against a state Party for violation of the Timing Rule, proportional representation or the
threshold.12 At the same time, however, the Challengers point to the language of Rule 20(C)(6),
which authorizes the RBC to impose additional sanctions, specifically including “reduction of the
state’s delegation,” only where the “failure or refusal of the State Party is not subject to subsections
(1)(2) or (3) of this section C,” meaning the violation did not involve the Timing Rule, proportional
representation or the threshold.13
Analysis of Challenge II
Resolution of Challenge Two would require the RBC to address at least four separate issues:
(1) Whether the RBC had authority to impose the additional sanction of 100% reduction
of the State’s delegation.
(2) If the RBC grants the Challenge in whole or in part and allows pledged delegates to
be seated, whether the allocation of delegate positions among presidential
preferences should be based in any way on the results of the January 29, 2008 staterun
presidential preference primary.
(3) If the RBC grants the Challenge by revoking the additional challenge and leaving
only a 50% reduction in pledged delegates in place, and uses the results of the
primary, whether the RBC has the authority to seat all of the individual delegates
11Affidavit for Florida Challenge Number 2 (“Challenge No. 2”) ¶23.
12 Challenge No. 2 ¶29
13 Challenge No. 2 ¶¶ 27, 32.
Staff Analysis of Ausman Florida Challenge Continued
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selected by FDP in accordance with its Delegate Selection Plan, but grant each
delegate a one-half vote.
(4) If the RBC does not have or does not choose to exercise such authority, how the
remaining 50% delegate positions are allocated among presidential preferences:
specifically, whether the allocation of positions be applied to the full complement of
delegates with the 50% reduction then applied after such allocation is made; or
whether instead the 50% reduction should be applied to the number of delegate
positions in each category, followed by the allocation among presidential
preferences.
(5) If either option under (4) is chosen, how will the pledged delegate positions be filled
(i.e. slating of delegates).
Issue 1: Authority to Impose of Additional Sanctions
Challenge Two is based on an interpretation of Rule 20(C) that emphasizes the fact that between the
two provisions authorizing additional sanctions - Rule 20(C)(5) and 20(C)(6) - the specific
subsection referencing “reduction of the state’s delegation” is Subsection (C)(6). That subsection
applies only in the case where a State Party’s noncompliance is for a reason other than violation of
the Timing Rule, proportional representation or the threshold. The Challengers believe that this
structure indicates an intent to limit the Committee’s authority to reduce a state’s delegation to
situations where rules other than the Timing Rule, proportional representation or the threshold have
been violated.
On the other hand, this argument would seem to ignore the plain language of Rule 20(C)(5), which
provides that “Nothing in the preceding subsections of this rule shall be construed to prevent the
DNC Rules and Bylaws Committee from imposing additional sanctions, including without
limitation those specified in subsection (6),” against a State Party “which is subject to the provisions
of any of subsections (1) through (3). . .” (emphasis added). Rule 20(C)(5) thus expressly confers
on the RBC specific authority to impose “additional sanctions” on a State Party which “is subject
to” subsection (1), i.e., which has violated the Timing Rule. Those additional sanctions may
include those specified in subsection (6), which as noted specifically refers to “reduction of the
state’s delegation.” Thus it seems clear that the RBC had authority to further reduce the pledged
delegation of the Florida Democratic Party which had already become subject to the automatic
sanctions of Rule 20(C)(1).
The legally more defensible view seems to be that the RBC had authority, in its discretion, to
impose the additional sanction that it did impose in August 2007, but by the same token, that the
RBC now has discretion to revoke those additional sanctions, thereby leaving in effect the
automatic sanction of Rule 20(C)(1), i.e., a 50% reduction in pledged delegates.
Issue 2: Discussion of Use of Results of Jan. 29, 2008 State-Run Primary
Challenge Two as submitted requests that the number of pledged delegate positions simply be
reduced by 50% from 185 pledged delegate positions to 92 delegate positions. The Challenge does
not address how these delegate positions would be allocated among presidential preferences.
Staff Analysis of Ausman Florida Challenge Continued
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The initial issue presented is whether, if any pledged delegates from Florida are to be seated,
whether those delegate positions should be allocated based on the results of the January 29, 2008
primary.
On the one hand, it can be argued that since the timing of that primary violated the Timing Rule, the
Delegate Selection Rules require that it be treated as non-binding, and therefore that the results of
the primary simply should not be taken into account in any way. Further, a case can be made that
the RBC implicitly deemed the primary to be non-binding. The RBC took the position that
Delegate Selection Rule 20(C)(1)(b) — depriving a presidential candidate of pledged delegates
from a state in violation of the Timing Rule if that candidate campaigns in the state —was
inapplicable because as a result of the RBC’s imposition of a 100% reduction in delegates, there
simply were no delegates to be awarded and so campaigning would not matter.
On the other hand, if the RBC does determine that Florida should be allowed to send some pledge
delegates to the Convention (leaving aside for the moment the separate issue of how many), there
must be some basis for allocating those delegates among presidential candidates (preferences). A
fundamental principle of delegate selection is expressed in the provision of the Charter requiring
that delegates be chosen through processes which “assure that delegations fairly reflect the division
of preferences expressed by those who participate in the Presidential nominating process.”14
Similarly, Rule 13(A) of the Delegate Selection Rules provides that, “Delegates shall be allocated in
a fashion that fairly reflects the expressed presidential preference or uncommitted status of the
primary voters….”
In this case, it can be argued, there is no basis for ensuring “fair reflection” of presidential
preference other than to use the results of the January 29 primary. Further, under the law
establishing the January 29 primary, presidential candidates were not required to take any
affirmative steps in order for their names to appear on the primary ballot, and were not permitted
under applicable state law to withdraw their names unless they declared themselves no longer a
candidate for the nomination. 15 Thus, the names of all those seeking the Democratic nomination for
President in fact appeared on the ballot for the January 29 primary.
Issue 3: Discussion of Authority to Permit Delegates to Cast Half Votes
If the RBC does decide to use the results of the primary to allocate delegate positions among
presidential candidates, the next question presented is how to do so.
If the RBC decides to grant Challenge Two, leaving in place a 50% automatic reduction in pledged
delegates, one approach would be to restore the total number of pledged delegate positions but
simply allow each delegate to cast a half-vote. The issue is whether the RBC has authority to
authorize such a means of effectuating the 50% reduction.
On the one hand, there is no specific authority conferred in the Call, the Charter or Bylaws or the
Delegate Selection Rules for the RBC to allow delegates to cast half-votes. Furthermore, the
14 Charter, Article Two, Section 4(b)
15 Section 103.101(2), Florida Statutes (2008)
Staff Analysis of Ausman Florida Challenge Continued
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language of Rule 20(C)(1) and Rule 20(C)(8) appears to contemplate that the actual number of
pledged delegate positions would be reduced, rather than allowing the full number of pledged
delegates allocated to the state to cast half votes. Rule 20(C)(8), which allows a State Party to set
out in its Delegate Selection Plan a method and procedure by which the 50% reduction of a
delegation under Rule 20(C)(1) will be accomplished, further provides that if the State Party does
not do so, then the RBC “shall, by lottery, or other appropriate method determined by the DNC
Rules and Bylaws Committee, determine which delegates and alternates shall not be a part of the
state’s delegation.”
On the other hand, the Delegate Selection Rules appear to confer broad authority on the RBC to
determine exactly how to implement the 50% reduction in pledged delegates imposed by Rule
20(C)(1)(a). While the Rule mandates that “the number of pledged delegates elected in each
category allocated to the state pursuant to the Call for the National Convention shall be reduced by
fifty (50%) percent,” the Rule does not actually specify whether the reduction is to be accomplished
on the basis of delegate positions or delegate votes. Further, Rule 20(C)(8), while as noted
apparently contemplating a reduction in delegate positions, rather than in delegate votes, does not
limit the RBC to such an approach but confers on the RBC authority to require the State Party to
follow any “other appropriate method determined by” the RBC.
Issue 4: Discussion of Allocating Remaining Delegate Positions Among Presidential
Preferences Based on Primary Results
If the RBC grants the Challenge, leaving in place a 50% reduction, and uses the results of the
primary, but does not seat all pledged delegates with half-votes, the question would remain as to
how to allocate the reduced number of delegate positions among presidential candidates.
Rule 20(C)(1)(a) simply states that “the number of pledged delegates elected in each category
allocated to the state pursuant to the Call shall be reduced by fifty (50%) percent….” Rule 20(C)(8)
provides that a state party may provide in its Delegate Selection Plan “the specific method and
procedures by which it will reduce its delegation pursuant to this Rule 20 in the even the state party
…becomes subject to this Rule 20 by which categories of delegates must be reduced by fifty (50%)
percent…..” The FDP’s Delegate Selection Plan does not set out any such method or procedures.
The specific question raised by this language is whether the allocation of delegate positions among
presidential candidates should be made before or after this reduction in delegate positions is
effected.
If allocation is made before, then the full original number of delegate positions based on the results
of the January 29 primary would be allocated based on the primary results, in each category, as if
there had been no sanction, and then the total number of pledged delegates awarded to each
candidate would simply be cut in half. This method would produce roughly the same result, in
terms of allocation, as seating a full delegation allocated based on the primary results and allowing
each pledged delegate to cast a half vote.
If allocation is made after, then the number of pledged delegates, district by district, would first be
cut in half; the number of at-large delegates would be cut in half; the number of pledged Party
leader and elected official (PLEO) delegates would be cut in half; and then the allocation would be
Staff Analysis of Ausman Florida Challenge Continued
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made based on the district by district primary results for the district- level delegates and based on the
statewide results for the at-large and PLEO delegates. An argument in favor of this approach is that
it seems more faithful to the literal, plain language of Rule 20(C)(1)(a), which appears to
contemplate that the number of pledged delegate positions in each category will be reduced as a
first step, before the allocation of positions among presidential preferences is made.
Issue 5: Filling Delegate Positions
As noted, the FDP has completed the selection of delegates as if no sanction had been imposed,
filling all delegate positions originally provided by the Call, and allocating those positions based on
the results of the Jan. 29 primary. Several issues are presented with respect to the status of that
process.
First, reportedly the Obama campaign did not participate at all in the selection process, including
the candidate right of approval process, because the campaign did not recognize the legitimacy of
the primary. The question is whether the delegate positions allocated to Sen. Obama should be
filled anew, through a process involving ne w filings by delegate candidates and the exercise of
candidate right of approval by the Obama campaign.
Second, if the RBC grants Challenge No. 2 but does not seat the full delegation with one- half votes,
then some delegates already chosen will be seated and others will not be. The question is how that
determination will be made. One possibility is to require the FDP quickly to submit, for RBC
approval, a method for making these determinations, as contemplated by Rule 20(C)(8) of the
Delegate Selection Rules. Another possibility would be simply for the RBC to mandate that the
highest vote getters of the appropriate gender in each category be awarded the delegate positions to
which the FDP is entitled as a result of the resolution of the Challenge.


DNC RULES AND BYLAWS COMMITTEE
IMPLEMENTATION CHALLENGES CONCERNING MICHIGAN NATIONAL CONVENTION DELEGATION
FILED BY MICHIGAN DEMOCRATIC PARTY
STAFF ANALYSIS
Pursuant to Rule 20(B)(2) of the Delegate Selection Rules, the Michigan Democratic Party
(“MDP”) filed an implementation challenge on May 12, 2008. The Challenge requests that the
Rules and Bylaws Committee (“RBC”) reconsider and reverse its decision of December 3, 2007 and
order that the entire 157-member Michigan delegation to the 2008 Democratic National Convention
be seated with full voting strength. The MDP also requests that of the 128 pledged delegates, 69 be
allocated to Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton and 59 be allocated to Senator Barack Obama.
This challenge was properly filed and met the applicable procedural requirements for a properly
filed implementation challenge. No adverse party was named in the challenge. Under the
circumstances, the Co-Chairs previously determined that the provisions of Regulation 3.4 requiring
service of an answer and referral to the State Party were inapplicable.
The purpose of this Staff Analysis is to identify the issues that the Committee would need to address
to resolve this Challenge; and to provide background information and analysis with regard to those
issues.
Summary of Challenge
As noted, the Challenge seeks to have the RBC reverse its decision of December 3, 2007 and “to
order that the entire 157-member Michigan delegation to the 2008 Democratic National Convention
be seated with full voting strength.”1
The Challenge notes that the MDP decided to use, to allocate its pledged delegates to the National
Convention, a state-run presidential preference primary held on January 15, 2008. The timing of
that primary violated Rule 11 of the Delegate Selection Rules (the “Timing Rule”). The RBC
decided to impose a delegate reduction of 100% of the entire delegation. 2 The Challenge does not
indicate that the State Party’s decision to use the January 15, 2008 primary comes after the State
Party originally planned to conduct its own Party-run primary on February 9, 2008.
The basis for the challenge is that “Michigan Democrats have already endured a substantial penalty
for moving their primary to January 15th;3 that “[f]urther punishment in the form of no Michigan
delegation or a reduced Michigan delegation at the National Convention will only aid the
Republicans in their effort to win Michigan in November;”4 and that “Michigan has been and will
be a battleground state.”5
With respect to the allocation of delegate positions among presidential preferences, the Challenge
notes that the name of Senator Hillary Clinton appeared on the ballot for the January 15 primary,
but that Senator Barack Obama “voluntarily withdrew his name from the primary ballot.”
According to the Challenge, Senator Obama’s campaign and the campaign of former Senator John
1 Cover Letter from Michigan Democratic Party (“MDP”) Chair Mark Brewer to RBC Co-Chairs, May 12, 2008
2 Challenge ¶¶1-3
3 Challenge §I
4 Id.
5 Id.
Staff Analysis of Michigan Challenge Continued
Page 2
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Edwards “organized efforts to cast votes for Uncommitted status which received 40% of the votes
cast….”6
According to the Challenge, Senator Clinton’s campaign has taken the position that the results of
the January 15 primary should be honored and that Senator Clinton should receive 73 pledged
delegates based on the results of the primary. The Challenge indicates that Senator Obama’s
campaign has taken the position that the January 15 primary results should be ignored and that the
128 total pledged delegates should be allocated evenly between the two presidential candidates,
meaning that Senator Clinton would receive 64 pledged delegates and that Senator Obama would
receive 64 pledged delegates.
The Challenge proposes that 69 pledged delegates should be allocated to Senator Clinton and 59 to
Senator Obama.
Analysis of Challenge
Resolution of this Challenge would require the RBC to address at least six separate issues:
1. Whether the RBC has authority to restore 100% of the MDP’s delegate positions
as requested in the Challenge.
2. If the RBC restores any delegate positions, whether the allocation of delegate
positions among presidential preferences should in any way be based on the
results of the January 15, 2008 state-run presidential preference primary.
3. If the allocation is based in any way on the results of that primary, how that
allocation should be determined given that most of the active candidates then
seeking the nomination did not appear on the ballot for that primary.
4. If the RBC grants the Challenge by revoking the additional sanctions and leaving
only a 50% reduction in pledged delegates in place, and uses the results of the
primary, whether the RBC has the authority to restore the full number of delegate
positions to the MDP but grant each delegate a one-half vote.
5. If the RBC decides not to restore all delegate positions with one- half votes, how
will the remaining 50% delegate positions be allocated among presidential
preferences: specifically, whether the allocation percentages should be applied
to the full complement of delegates with the 50% reduction then applied after
such allocation is made; or whether instead the 50% reduction should be applied
to the number of delegate positions in each category, followed by the allocation
among presidential preferences.
6. If either option under (5) is chosen, how will the pledged delegate positions be
filled (i.e. slating of delegate candidates).
Issue 1: Discussion of Authority to Restore 100% of MDP’s Delegate Positions
6 Challenge, Statement of Facts ¶8
Staff Analysis of Michigan Challenge Continued
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As noted, the Challenge does not address the RBC’s decision, on December 3, 2007, to impose a
100% reduction in the MDP’s delegation, but rather requests that 100% of the delegate positions be
restored, at full voting strength, based on political considerations.
An initial question presented by this request is the scope of the authority of the RBC. Rule 20(C)(1)
of the Delegate Selection Rules for the 2008 Democratic National Convention (the “Delegate
Selection Rules”) provides that if a State Party violates the Timing Rule, the number of pledged
delegates elected in each category allocated to the State under the Call to the 2008 Democratic
National Convention (the “Call”) “shall be reduced by fifty (50%) percent. In addition, none of the
members of the Democratic National Committee (“DNC”) and no other unpledged delegate …from
that state shall be permitted to vote as members of the state’s delegation” (emphasis added). Rule
20(C)(4) further provides that once the RBC determines that a State Party has violated the Timing
Rule, “the reductions required under those subsections [Rule 20(C)(1), (2) & (3)] shall become
effective automatically and immediately and without further action of the DNC Rules and Bylaws
Committee, the Executive Committee of the DNC, the DNC or the Credentials Committee of the
Democratic National Convention.”
In imposing the 100% reduction in the delegation, the RBC was acting pursuant to its authority
under Rule 20(C)(5), which provides that nothing in the automatic sanction provisions “shall be
construed to prevent the DNC Rules and Bylaws Committee from imposing additional sanctions,
including, without limitation, those specified in subsection (6) of this section C…. against a state
party and against the delegation from the state which is subject to the provisions of any of
subsection (1) through (3)….” Subsection (6) of Section C authorizes the imposition of specific
sanctions including “reduction of the state’s delegation.”
Based on this language, a strong argument can be made that, while the RBC has authority to revoke
the discretionary additional sanctions imposed under Rule 20(C)(5), the RBC cannot revoke or
prevent the operation of the automatic sanction provision of Rule 20(C)(1) which, by its terms and
the terms of Rule 20(C)(4), takes effect without any action of the RBC.
To be sure, the Credentials Committee of the Convention is vested with broad authority, under the,
to “determine and resolve questions concerning the seating of delegates and alternates to the
Convention.” As the Party’s highest authority, the Convention itself, on the recommendation of the
Credentials Committee, could arguably determine that the MDP should be provide all the delegate
positions originally allocated to it, without regard to the sanctions imposed by the Delegate
Selection Rules. By contrast, however, the RBC’s authority is limited to hearing challenges
regarding alleged violations of an approved Delegate Selection Plan, Delegate Selection Rules
20(B)(2), and in resolving such challenges the RBC is limited to finding that actions taken in the
delegate selection process comply or do not comply with the State Party’s delegate selection plan
and to requiring corrective action to bring about compliance.7
For these reasons, it seems clear that while the RBC could revoke its additional sanctions, leaving in
place the automatic sanctions of Rule 20(C)(1), it does not have authority to reverse or prevent the
imposition of those automatic sanctions.
7 Id. 20(B)(3)
Staff Analysis of Michigan Challenge Continued
Page 4
4
One caveat to this conclusion is the argument that Rule 20(C)(1) can be applied so as to deprive
members of the DNC and other individuals of the right to attend the Convention as unpledged
voting delegates. Although it was not made in this challenge, there is a countervailing argument
that unpledged delegates have a right to attend the Convention as voting delegates by virtue of the
language of the Charter, Article Two, Section 4(h). That language provides that delegates “shall be
chosen through processes which,” among other things, “provide for all of the members of the
Democratic National Committee to serve as unpledged delegates.” This argument is analyzed in the
separate staff analysis of the Challenge submitted by Jon Ausman et al. regarding the seating of
delegates from Florida. As noted in that Analysis, there is merit to both positions—that the RBC
does have power, by virtue of the Rules, to preclude the unpledged delegates from serving at the
Convention and that it does not have such power by virtue of the Charter.
Issue 2: Discussion of Use of Results of January 15, 2008 Primary
If the RBC determines that any of the pledged delegate positions should be restored to the MDP, the
first question presented is whether the results of the January 15, 2008 primary should be used in any
way in allocating the results.
On the one hand, if the RBC does determine that Michigan should be allowed to send some pledged
delegates to the Convention, there must be some basis for allocating those delegates among
presidential candidates (preferences). A fundamental principle of delegate selection is expressed in
the provision of the Charter requiring that delegates be chosen through processes which “assure that
delegations fairly reflect the division of preferences expressed by those who participate in the
Presidential nominating process.”8 Similarly, Rule 13(A) of the Delegate Selection Rules provides
that, “Delegates shall be allocated in a fashion that fairly reflects the expressed presidential
preference or uncommitted status of the primary voters….” In this case, it can be argued, there is
no basis for ensuring “fair reflection” of presidential preference other than to use the results of the
January 15 primary.
On the other hand, it can be argued that the primary as a whole could not possibly have served as a
“fair reflection” of presidential preference because most of the candidates then running for the
nomination were not on the ballot. Under the law establishing the January 15, 2008 presidential
preference primary, any presidential candidate that did not wish his or her name to appear on the
ballot could cause his or her name not to appear on the ballot by filing an affidavit with the
Secretary of State.9 Pursuant to this provision, all candidates seeking the nomination at that time
withdrew their names from the presidential primary ballot with the exception of Senator Clinton,
Senator Christopher Dodd, U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich and former Senator Mike Gravel.
The result of the primary was that only two presidential preferences exceeded the 15% threshold:
Senator Clinton and “Uncommitted.”
Issue 3: Allocation If Primary Results Are Used
The Challenge requests that a specific number of pledged delegate positions, in the aggregate, be
awarded to Senator Clinton and to Senator Obama, respectively. Even if the RBC determined that
8 Charter, Article Two, Section 4(b)
9 MCLS §168.615a(1)
Staff Analysis of Michigan Challenge Continued
Page 5
5
the results of the January 15, 2008 primary should be used to allocate delegate positions, however, it
is far from clear that RBC would have authority simply to award delegate positions to any
preferences other than Senator Clinton and “Uncommitted.”
The Challenge alleges that Senator Obama’s “and John Edwards supporters organized efforts to cast
votes for Uncommitted status……”10 Nevertheless, there is no specific authority whatsoever in the
Delegate Selection Rules or the Call for the RBC to award delegate positions won by the
“Uncommitted” preference to a particular candidate or candidates. To the contrary, the Charter,
Article Two, Section 4(g), provides that “delegates or alternate expressing an uncommitted
preference shall be permitted to be elected at the district level, if such preference meets the
applicable threshold and qualifies for at large or similar delegates or alternates, such at large or
similar delegates or alternates shall be allocated to that uncommitted preference as if it were a
presidential candidate.”
On the other hand, it can be argued that the voters expressing the “Uncommitted” preference were
expressing a preference for at least one of the candidates whose names did not appear on the
January 15 ballot, rather than rejecting the entire field. Therefore, following the principle of fair
reflection of presidential preference, it can at least be said that the “Uncommitted” delegate
positions should be considered as being allocated collectively to the candidates whose names did not
appear on the ballot: Senator Barack Obama, former Senator John Edwards, Senator Joseph Biden
and Governor Bill Richardson.
Based on this logic, a strong argument can be made that in awarding delegate positions to
“Uncommitted” status in the unusual circumstances presented by the Michigan challenge, the RBC
would at least have the authority to make special provisions for the exercise of candidate right of
approval in the selection of delegates to fill the se pledged “Uncommitted” positions. The Delegate
Selection Rules clearly require that “Uncommitted” be treated like any other presidential
preference, including with respect to candidate right of approval. Rule 12(E) provides that delegate
candidates removed from the list of bona fide supporters by a presidential candidate representative
cannot “be elected as a delegate or alternate at that level pledged to that presidential candidate
(including uncommitted status).” Further, Rule 12(E)(2) provides that “Presidential candidates
(including uncommitted status), in consultation with the state party, may remove any candidate for
at large and pledged party leader and elected official delegate or alternate position[s] from the list”
as long as one name remains for every position (emphasis added). This language suggests that
uncommitted status is to be treated as a presidential candidate to the greatest extent possible in the
candidate right of approval process.
Normally, there is no candidate representative for the “Uncommitted” preference and thus no means
of exercising candidate right of approval. But in the circumstances of the Michigan primary, there
is a means of effectuating the clear intent of the Rules. Those candidates appearing on the January
15 primary ballot were able effectively to exercise candidate right of approval over the delegate
candidates for the pledged delegate positions awarded to them. Those candidates who withdrew
their names were not able to do so.
At the least it would appear that the RBC could grant to those candidates—the ones who withdrew
their names from the January 15 primary ballot — collectively the right to exercise candidate right
10 Challenge, Statement of Facts ¶8
Staff Analysis of Michigan Challenge Continued
Page 6
6
of approval with respect to the eligibility of persons to be considered to fill the “Uncommitted”
pledged delegate slots. It is possible that these candidates—only one of whom actively remains in
the race—could work out among themselves the mechanics of approving the persons to be
considered for the “Uncommitted” pledged delegate positions.
Issue 4: Discussion of Authority to Permit Casting of Half Votes
If the RBC does decide to impose a 50% reduction and to use the results of the January 15, 2008
primary to allocate delegate positions among Senator Clinton and “Uncommitted,” the next question
presented would be exactly how to do so.
If the RBC decides to go as far as it legally can in granting the MDP Challenge, it would revoke the
additional December 2007 sanctions and leave in place a 50% automatic reduction in pledged
delegates. One approach would then be to allocate the full complement of delegate positions
assigned to Michigan in the Call and simply allow each delegate to cast a half-vote. The question is
whether the RBC has authority to do that.
On the one hand, there is no specific authority conferred in the Call, the Charter or Bylaws or the
Delegate Selection Rules for the RBC to allow delegates to cast ha lf- votes. Furthermore, the
language of Rule 20(C)(1) and Rule 20(C)(8) appears to contemplate that the actual number of
pledged delegate positions would be reduced, rather than allowing the full number of pledged
delegates allocated to the state to cast half votes. Rule 20(C)(8), which allows a State Party to set
out in its Delegate Selection Plan a method and procedure by which the 50% reduction of a
delegation under Rule 20(C)(1) will be accomplished, further provides that if the State Party does
not do so, then the RBC “shall, by lottery, or other appropriate method determined by the DNC
Rules and Bylaws Committee, determine which delegates and alternates shall not be a part of the
state’s delegation.”
On the other hand, the Delegate Selection Rules appear to confer broad authority on the RBC to
determine exactly how to implement the 50% reduction in pledged delegates imposed by Rule
20(C)(1)(a). While the Rule mandates that “the number of pledged delegates elected in each
category allocated to the state pursuant to the Call for the National Convention shall be reduced by
fifty (50%) percent,” the Rule does not actually specify whether the reduction is to be accomplished
on the basis of delegate positions or delegate votes. Further, Rule 20(C)(8), while as noted
apparently contemplating a reduction in delegate positions, rather than in delegate votes, does not
limit the RBC to such an approach but confers on the RBC authority to require the State Party to
follow any “other appropriate method determined by” the RBC.
Issue 5: Discussion of Allocation of Remaining Delegate Positions Among Presidential
Preferences Based on Primary Results
If the RBC grants the Challenge, leaving in place a 50% reduction in delegate positions, and decides
to use the results of the January 15 primary, but does not restore all delegate positions with halfvotes,
then the question would remain as to how to allocate the reduced number of delegate
positions as between Senator Clinton and Uncommitted.
Rule 20(C)(1)(a) simply states that “the number of pledged delegates elected in each category
allocated to the state pursuant to the Call shall be reduced by fifty (50%) percent….” Rule 20(C)(8)
Staff Analysis of Michigan Challenge Continued
Page 7
7
provides that a state party may provide in its Delegate Selection Plan “the specific method and
procedures by which it will reduce its delegation pursuant to this Rule 20 in the event the state party
…becomes subject to this Rule 20 by which categories of delegates must be reduced by fifty (50%)
percent…..” The MDP’s Delegate Selection Plan does not set out any such method or procedures.
The specific question raised by this language is whether the allocation of delegate positions among
presidential candidates should be made before or after this reduction in delegate positions is
effected.
If the allocation is made before, then the full original number of delegate positions based on the
results of the January 15 primary would be allocated based on the primary results, in each category,
as if there had been no sanction, and then the total number of pledged delegates awarded to each
candidate would simply be cut in half. This method would produce roughly the same result, in
terms of allocation, as seating a full delegation allocated based on the primary results and allowing
each pledged delegate to cast a half vote.
If allocation is made after, then the number of pledged delegates, district by district, would first be
cut in half; the number of at-large delegates would be cut in half; the number of pledged Party
leader and elected official (PLEO) delegates would be cut in half; and then the allocation would be
made based on the district by district primary results for the district- level delegates and based on the
statewide results for the at- large and PLEO delegates. An argument in favor of this approach is that
it seems more faithful to the literal, plain language of Rule 20(C)(1)(a), which appears to
contemplate that the number of pledged delegate positions in each category will be reduced as a
first step, before the allocation of positions among presidential preferences is made.
Issue 6: Filling Remaining Delegate Positions
As noted, the MDP is in the process of completing the selection of delegates as if no sanction had
been imposed, filling all delegate positions originally provided by the Call, and allocating those
positions based on the results of the Jan. 15 primary.
If a determination is made to award the positions originally allocated to the “Uncommitted”
preference collectively to the candidates whose names were not on the ballot and to allow them to
exercise candidate right of approval, then the RBC presumably would have to require the MDP to
undertake a new selection process, including filing by delegate candidates and candidate right of
approval, to fill those positions.
In addition, if the RBC decides that it cannot or should not permit the casting of half votes, the 50%
automatic reduction in pledged delegates would mean that half of the people already chosen could
not serve as delegates and would require some mechanism to determine which persons should fill
the remaining positions. Rule 20(C)(8) permits a state party to include in its delegate selection plan
“the specific method and procedures by which it will reduce its delegation” if it becomes subject to
Rules 20(C)(1), (2) or (3). MDP did not include any such method or procedures in its delegate
selection plan. The RBC would therefore have to decide whether to require the MDP to provide for
such a method in a revision to its plan or whether the RBC would simply want to impose a
particular mechanism for making this determination.
CHRONOLOGY OF KEY DATES & STEPS
DEVELOPMENT OF 2008 CALENDAR, FLORIDA & MICHIGAN
This document gives the key dates and activities in the DNC Rules and Bylaws Committee (RBC)
development of the 2008 presidential primary and caucus calendar, including drafting the rule on timing
as well as the activities related to Florida and Michigan. This document attempts to answer the question
“how did we get here” and has been prepared for the Committee’s May 31, 2008 meeting.
GENERAL CALENDAR & RULES DEVELOPMENT BACKGROUND
July 25, 2004
2004 Democratic National Convention approved a resolution establishing a
“Commission on Presidential Nomination Timing and Scheduling ”charged with
the responsibility of “studying the timing of presidential primaries and caucuses
and developing appropriate recommendations to the Democratic National
Committee for the nominating process beginning in 2008.”
March 12, 2005
The Commission held its first meeting in Washington, D.C. Congressman
David Price D-NC) and former U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexis M. Herman
served as Co-Chairs of the 40-member Commission, which became known as
the “Price-Herman Commission.” Commission members included Senator Carl
Levin and DNC member Debbie Dingell both of Michigan and Congressman
Kendrick Meek of Florida. The Commission held five meetings over the course
of ten months and heard testimony from a number of experts and from a variety
of state party officials, party leaders, elected officials, national organizations
and academics. Numerous timing scenarios were developed and debated
extensively by Commission members.
December 10,
2005
At its final meeting, the Commission adopted its Report and Recommendations.
The Commission concluded that, while its members “understand and
appreciate the valuable role the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary
have played in the Democratic nominating process,” a “majority of Commission
members expressed serious concerns that Iowa and New Hampshire are not
fully reflective of the Democratic electorate or the national electorate
generally—and therefore do not place Democratic candidates before a
representative range of voters in the critical early weeks of the process.” The
Commission “favored an approach that would preserve the first in the nation
status of Iowa and New Hampshire but address the diversity, representation
and participation issues in a meaningful way by including other states in the
pre-window period in a schedule in which they would play an important role
alongside Iowa and New Hampshire.” The Commission also recognized that
effective implementation of the Party’s rule on timing required the support of the
party’s presidential candidates and urged “the RBC to impose appropriate
obligations on presidential candidates to support, cooperate with and otherwise
participate in making the timing system successful in achieving its fundamental
goals.”
March 11, 2006
RBC met and agreed to accept the Commission’s recommendations as the
framework for drafting the 2008 rule on timing. The RBC also voted to
invite State Parties to apply to be one of the early contests alongside Iowa and
New Hampshire in the pre-window period.
KEY DATES & STEPS CHRONOLOGY CONTINUED
PAGE 2
April-June 2006
RBC meets each month, either in person or via telephone conference call, to
evaluate the 11 state Parties that applied to conduct the new early pre-window
events. In total, eleven state Democratic parties submitted extensive written
presentations and testified at length before the RBC at this series of meetings.
In evaluating the states that applied, the RBC was guided by the Commission’s
recommendation that racial and ethnic diversity; geographic diversity; and
economic diversity, including union density, be highlighted in the selection of
the new pre-window states. Florida did not apply at any time to be one of the
states that would be allowed to hold its primary prior to February 5, 2008.
Michigan did submit an application to be one of the new early “pre-window”
states alongside Iowa and New Hampshire. The State Party proposed to
conduct either a traditional tiered caucus or a Party-run primary.
July 22, 2006
RBC recommended to the full DNC that the Iowa caucuses take place no
earlier than January 14, 2008; that one caucus be held between the Iowa
caucus and the New Hampshire primary, and that the caucus be held in
Nevada, a state with a significant and growing Latino population, a sizeable
Asian American and Pacific Islander community, a strong organized labor
presence, and in the western region of the country where the Democratic Party
was making electoral gains. The RBC further recommended that one primary
be held between the New Hampshire primary and the opening of the window on
February 5, and that that primary be held in South Carolina, a southern state
that has prior experience in hosting an early event and a state in which African
Americans represent a significant share of the Democratic electorate.
August 19, 2006
At its meeting in Chicago, the full Democratic National Committee voted to
adopt the Delegate Selection Rules for the 2008 Democratic National
Convention. Included was the rule on timing (the “pre-window” and “window”
periods) as well as provisions for enforcing those rules. The vote on the Rules
was taken by voice vote. As best the DNC staff could determine, and as the
press reported, only members of the New Hampshire delegation voted against
the proposed Rules.
August 31, 2007
All eight Democratic presidential candidates signed a “pledge” sponsored by
the states of Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina not to
campaign in states that hold primaries before the opening of the window. It
should be noted that this pledge was organized by the four early states and had
no relationship to the DNC RBC. It is presented here as merely a point of
information.
December 1,
2007
RBC met and considered requests from the states of Iowa, New Hampshire and
South Carolina to hold their respective caucuses and primaries on different
dates than provided in the rules. The representatives of each state Party
testified before the RBC that the date changes were necessary to preserve the
spirit and intent of the goals of the early pre-window period. The representatives
further acknowledged that the date changes were necessary because other
states had scheduled events in the pre-window period. The Nevada State Party
Chair testified to the RBC that the Nevada State Party had concluded that it
was in its best interests to hold its caucus on the date provided in the rules, but
that it supported the requests of the other three (3) states to move.
KEY DATES & STEPS CHRONOLOGY CONTINUED
PAGE 3
FLORIDA CHRONOLOGY
January 23, 2007
Legislation was introduced in the Florida legislature to move the date of the
state government-run primary from the first Tuesday of March (March 4, 2008)
to January 29, 2008, which would violate the Party’s rule on timing.
April 5, 2007
RBC Co-Chairs wrote to Democratic members of the Florida congressional
delegation notifying them that the proposed legislation had passed the Florida
House of Representatives and was pending before the State Senate to move
the date of the primary. The letter detailed the automatic sanctions in the rules
for states that violate the rule on timing. The letter concluded by urging the
congressional representatives to use their “leadership and influence to oppose
and help to defeat the state legislation that would put Florida’s presidential
primary in violation of DNC rules.”
March-April 2007
DNC officials and Florida Democratic Party officials had discussions about the
status of the pending legislation and what activities the DNC could engage in to
try to influence Democratic state legislators to bring Florida’s system into
compliance with DNC Rules.
May 7, 2007
DNC officials and Florida State Party officials met in-person in Annapolis,
Maryland, to discuss the pending legislation and strategies about how to cope
with the legislation that was expected to be signed into law.
May 21, 2007 Legislation moving the state’s presidential preference primary to January 29,
2008 was signed into law by Governor Charlie Crist.
May - early June
2007
With assistance of DNC officials, Florida Democratic Party developed a plan for
an alternative, Party-run 100% vote by mail process that would be scheduled
for a date complying with the rules.
June 10, 2007
The Florida State Democratic Executive Committee voted to make the January
29, 2008 primary binding and to draft a Delegate Selection Plan based on that
primary.
June 15, 2006 DNC Chairman Gov. Dean met with members of the Florida congressional
delegation.
July – early
August 2007
Discussions between the DNC and FDP officials continued. The DNC
developed a proposed State Party-run caucus system, with congressional
district caucuses to take place after February 5, 2008. That system would fully
comply with the DNC’s Rules and afford an opportunity for all Florida
Democrats to vote for the Democratic presidential nominee. The DNC offered
to pay approximately $880,000 to implement the caucus system.
August 4, 2007
The Florida State Democratic Executive Committee adopted a 2008 Delegate
Selection Plan based on use of the January 29, 2008 primary and that plan was
submitted to the RBC on August 7, 2007.
August 11, 2007
An in-person meeting was conducted between DNC officials and Florida State
Party officials, including RBC Co-Chair Jim Roosevelt, State Chair Karen
Thurman, and several Florida DNC members. During that private meeting, the
DNC officials informed the FDP representatives that, if the State Party persisted
KEY DATES & STEPS CHRONOLOGY CONTINUED
PAGE 4
in its refusal to adopt an alternate plan complying with the rules it was likely that
the RBC would not only allow the automatic sanctions to go into place (50%
reduction in pledged delegates and a 100% loss of unpledged delegates), but
would likely use its authority to further reduce Florida’s delegation to zero (0)
delegates.
August 25, 2007
RBC considered Florida’s amended 2008 Delegate Selection Plan based on the
January 29, 2008 state government-run primary. By voice vote, with only one
(1) “no” vote cast, Committee found the Plan in “Non-Compliance” for violating
Rule 11.A. Under the authority of Rules 20.C.1, 20C.5, and 20.C.6 RBC
imposed a 100% loss of delegates (pledged and unpledged) and alternates.
August 28, 2007
RBC Co-Chairs formally notified the State Party in writing of the RBC’s finding
of Non-Compliance. Pursuant to the Committee’s Regulations, the State Party
was given 30-days upon receipt of the written notification to submit a revised
Plan that complied with the rules.
September 2007
Throughout the month of September, DNC officials had conversations with a
number of Florida party leaders, elected officials and FDP officials. Through all
of those conversations the DNC reiterated that the FDP had the option to use a
Party-run caucus process to allocate delegates and that the DNC was willing to
pay for it. On September 29, 2007 State Chair Karen Thurman notified the RBC
Co-Chairs that the FDP was reaffirming the Plan previously submitted based on
the January 29, 2008 primary. Chair Thurman’s letter acknowledged that the
FDP spent months considering potential Party-run alternatives that would have
complied with the DNC Rules but that the FDP did not consider any of those
alternatives to be acceptable.
October 5, 2007
The RBC Co-Chairs formally notified the State Party that the Plan remained in
Non-Compliance and that the delegate and alternate reduction imposed at the
August 25, 2007 RBC meeting was now in place.
October 31 2007
Pursuant to state law, State Chair Karen Thurman submitted to the Secretary of
State a list of presidential candidates whose names would appear on the
January 15, 2008 primary ballot. Chair Thurman named all eight (8)
Democratic presidential candidates.
January 29, 2008 Florida presidential preference primary.
Early-March
2008
Discussions resumed between DNC officials and State Party officials about
holding an alternative Party-run process before June 10, 2008 that would
comply with the rules. These discussions included, among other things,
consideration of a new state-run primary taking place in the spring of 2008
funded by the state; a new state-run primary taking place in the spring of 2008
funded by private contributions raised by the FDP; and a Party-run vote-by-mail
process, taking place in the spring of 2008. In the course of these discussions,
the FDP submitted to the DNC, in March 2008, for informal review and
discussion, a written plan for an alternative, party-run vote by mail process in
KEY DATES & STEPS CHRONOLOGY CONTINUED
PAGE 5
which ballots would be mailed out to all Florida Democratic voters on May 9,
2008 and returned to the FDP for counting by June 3, 2008.
March 17, 2008
State Chair Karen Thurman announced that after careful consideration of
various alternatives, it was logistically impossible to conduct an alternative
Party-run nominating event before June 10, 2008.
March 17, 2008 Florida DNC member Jon Ausman filed two (2) challenges seeking the
reinstatement of Florida’s delegates.
April 2, 2008
Gov. Dean met with State Chair Karen Thurman, Sen. Bill Nelson and members
of the Florida Democratic congressional delegation. Following the meeting, the
participants issued a joint statement that a delegation from Florida will be
seated at the Convention.
April 25, 2008
The RBC Co-Chairs notified Committee members that the RBC would meet
May 31, 2008 in Washington, D.C. to consider the Ausman challenges as well
as a challenge concerning Michigan filed by Joel Ferguson.
MICHIGAN CHRONOLOGY
April 2006
Michigan applied to be considered one of the new early “pre-window” states
alongside Iowa and New Hampshire. The State Party proposed to conduct
either a traditional tiered caucus or a Party-run primary.
April 28, 2007
Michigan State Central Committee adopted a 2008 Delegate Selection Plan
based on a February 9, 2008 “State Party-run primary” with in-person voting
centers, vote-by-mail and internet voting following a 30-day public comment
period. (In the past this process has been called a “caucus” by the State Party,
or a “firehouse primary.”) The February 9, 2008 Party-run primary would
allocate delegate and alternate positions among presidential preferences. The
2008 Plan was submitted to the DNC RBC for its consideration.
June 27, 2007
Legislation was introduced in the Michigan legislature to move the date of the
state government-run primary to January 2008, which would violate the Party’s
rule on timing. The legislation also provided a mechanism for the government
to record those voters who take a Democratic ballot, thereby meeting the
Party’s rules standard of “declaration and recordation.”
June 30, 2007
RBC considered proposed Michigan 2008 Plan and heard presentation from
State Chair Brewer on internet voting. RBC postponed taking a formal vote on
the Plan until its next meeting in order for the State Party to provide more
detailed information concerning its internet voting component.
August 25, 2007
RBC considered Michigan’s 2008 Plan for a February 9, 2008 Party-run primary
and found the Plan in “Conditional Compliance.” The only deficiency indicated
at the time was Committee staff’s desire to more fully evaluate the internet
voting component.
KEY DATES & STEPS CHRONOLOGY CONTINUED
PAGE 6
August 30, 2007
Legislation establishing a January 15, 2008 state government-run presidential
preference primary passed the legislature and was signed into law by Governor
Jennifer Granholm on September 3, 2007.
September 11,
2007
Pursuant to state law, State Chair Mark Brewer submitted to the Secretary of
State a list of presidential candidates whose names would appear on the
January 15, 2008 primary ballot. Chair Brewer named all eight (8) Democratic
presidential candidates.
October 9, 2007
Sen. Joe Biden, former Sen. John Edwards, Sen. Barack Obama, and Gov. Bill
Richardson filed the necessary affidavits to remove their names from the
January 15, 2008 presidential primary ballot. Sen. Hillary Clinton, Sen. Chris
Dodd, former Sen. Mike Gravel, and Cong. Dennis Kucinich’s names remained
on the ballot.
November 27,
2007
Michigan State Executive Committee voted to amend the state’s 2008 Delegate
Selection Plan. The amended 2008 Plan allocated delegate and alternate
positions among presidential preferences using the results of the January 15,
2008 state government-run primary. The amended Plan was submitted to the
DNC RBC for its consideration.
December 1,
2007
RBC considered Michigan’s amended 2008 Delegate Selection Plan based on
the January 15, 2008 state government-run primary. Committee found the Plan
in “Non-Compliance” for violating Rule 11.A. Under the authority of Rules
20.C.1, 20C.5, and 20.C.6 RBC imposed a 100% loss of delegates (pledged
and unpledged) and alternates.
December 3,
2007
RBC Co-Chairs formally notified the State Party in writing of the RBC’s finding
of Non-Compliance. Pursuant to the Committee’s Regulations, the State Party
was given 30-days upon receipt of the written notification to submit a revised
Plan that complied with the rules.
January 7, 2008
The 30-day time period for the State Party to submit a revised and corrected
Plan expired. RBC Co-Chairs formally notified the State Party that the Plan
remained in Non-Compliance and that the delegate and alternate reduction
imposed at the December 1, 2007 RBC meeting was now in place.
January 15, 2008 Michigan state government-run primary.
February 9, 2008 Date of originally planned State Party-run primary featuring in-person voting
centers, vote-by-mail, and internet voting.
March 2008
Legislation was drafted for the state government to conduct a new Democratic
only presidential preference primary in either May or June 2008. The primary
would be conducted by the government, but paid for by the State Party.
However, the legislature adjourned without taking action on the proposal to
conduct a second Democratic primary.
April 4, 2008
The State Party announced that it was logistically impossible for the State Party
to conduct an alternative Party-run nominating event before June 10, 2008.
KEY DATES & STEPS CHRONOLOGY CONTINUED
PAGE 7
That same day, DNC Chairman Gov. Howard Dean, Sen. Carl Levin, Cong.
Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick, DNC member Debbie Dingell, and UAW President
Ron Gettlefinger released a joint statement that a delegation from Michigan
would be seated.
April 17, 2008
DNC at-large member Joel Ferguson filed a challenge seeking the
reinstatement of Michigan’s delegates. The challenge sought to reinstate all
unpledged delegates with a full vote each and all of the pledged delegates with
a half vote each.
April 25, 2008
The RBC Co-Chairs notified Committee members that the RBC would meet
May 31, 2008 in Washington, D.C. to consider the Ferguson challenge as well
as challenges concerning Florida filed by Jon Ausman.
May 12, 2008
Through State Chair Mark Brewer, Michigan State Executive Committee filed a
challenge seeking the reinstatement of Michigan’s delegates. The challenge
sought the reinstatement of all delegates (pledged and unpledged) with a full
vote each. The challenge requested the 128 pledged delegates be allocated 69
to Sen. Hillary Clinton and 59 to Sen. Barack Obama. At the same time, Joel
Ferguson formally withdrew his challenge filed on April 17, 2008.

4 Comments

SPIKE LEE ONCE MADE A MOVIE CALLED- DO THE RIGHT THING!
DON'T CAVE IN TO CLINTON PRESSURE, DO THE RIGHT THING!
BARACK OBAMA IS THE DEMOCRATIC NOMINEE!
BARACK OBAMA WILL DEFEAT MCCAIN IN NOVEMBER!
ALL HILLARY CLINTON SUPPORTERS PLEASE VOTE FOR OBAMA!

As an Michigan voter , I have several choices. 1. Write in Hillary, for nomination to the Presidency ( many supporters are thinking about this). 2. vote for McCain. 3. vote for Ron Paul. 4. stay home and not vote. As you see Obama is not one of the choices, he is unelectable! Obama took away my chance for a re-vote and voters in Michigan will not forget!

To Phil Smith Jnr: what I've written here will doubtlessly go above your head added to the fact that Americans like you have just a limited attention span; that why you're so ignorant and ill-informed. nevertheless, here goes.

What have all your four options got in common? Figure it out you moron. I wouldn't expect someone so obviously and totally dumb to know what objectivity is. Didn't all the Democratic presidential candidates sign an agreement that Florida (corrupt to the core) and Michigan wouldn't count because of their infringement of the rules? A situation that was actively aided and abetted by the Republican administration in these states that moved and passed the enabling legislation for their nullified primaries knew when they did so expressly for political gain, since the overwhelming majority of those who voted for Hillary Clinton in these specific primaries were Republicans, as intelligent Democrats knowing their primaries would be nullified sensibly stayed at home. Hillary didn't care then about these voters, anymore than she does now, since she was the establishment candidate with instant name recogniton, saw herself as the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee and, of course, the entitled and annonited next president of the United States. And the Roman Catholic Father Pfleger - ironic since morons like you keep wilfully deluding yourself that Barack Obama is a Muslin, almost like being an established whore and a naive virgin at the same time (not possible)- hit the nail right on the head when he succintly parodied Hillary's crying antics and racist assumptions in his pulpit sermon.

I wonder what your take would be on the matter if the exact same situation existed but it was Barack Obama in the position Hillary Clinton now is, and he was whinging the way she does? Maybe your alleged father should call or recall for a re-vote in respect of your conception and birth - if indeed he's really your biological father, which I doubt. How would that sit with you, or your mum for that matter - Cretin? And you should do the same if you've any supposed children of your own - someone who is a father but never sired those kids because your wife/partner didn't play by the rules. And frankly your vote means bugger all to me as a Brit; we're far more politically matured than clowns like you who only deserve to be political and canon fodder for the wars - well over 50 since 1945 - that your country illegally wages against other nations, which your country isn't - just a collection of different racial tribes living in your own self-imposed ghettoes. So vote McCain. Let's have some more US-inspired wars, and I'll be greatly elated if I find out that either you or some of your nearest and dearest are sent back home in body bags; ignored by the same politicians who although they assume they have an omnipotent right to govern the USA, don't share the same enthusiasm for putting their own lives, or those of their children, in the line of danger to do so. Bill Clinton dodged the draft that would have seen him sent to Vietnam and holed up with Hillary in my country the UK - he even named their daughter after the London Borough of Chelsea. He wasn't the only privileged one to do so. Bush and Cheney didn't go either.

The pastor Jeremiah Wright, by contrast, did so and served with the marines. Frankly assholes like you make me sick, and the world is thoroughly sick of you. Here in Europe - even in Geraldine Ferraro's ancestral home of Italy - Barack Obama has 75% popularity rating, something that reputable poll after poll has researched and published. Who are you? A nonenty that gets your few seconds of fame on a blogger's website and who then slinks back off to the obscurity you daily occupy? For Christ sake - get a life. And that goes for all those who think irrationallylike you do.

Prof. Dr. Stanley Collymore.
London, England.

jp, and other Michigan Democrats, your state Democratic party officials knowingly and deliberately took away your chance to vote in the primary; vent your frustration on them.

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on May 28, 2008 7:58 AM.

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