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RNC Makes Punishment of Early-Voting States Official

The Republican National Committee has punished five states for scheduling their primaries earlier than allowed, reducing the number of delegates they can send to the 2008 convention by half.

In letters that went out today, RNC Chairman Mike Duncan informed New Hampshire, Michigan, Florida, South Carolina and Wyoming to expect that only half of their delegates would be allowed to come to the convention.

The action was widely expected in the wake of decisions by the states to move their primaries into early January. With a few exceptions, the RNC had insisted that all contests take place between Feb. 5 and July 28.

Leaders in the five states have come to the conclusion that it's better for their state to be more relevant by holding their nominating contests earlier. Iowa and Nevada hold contests in January, but officially select their delegates later in the year, so they were not punished.

Strategists for the presidential campaigns have been expecting the action and have factored the smaller-than-usual number of delegates from those states into their planning.

There's always the chance that the organizers of the convention could reverse the punishments once the party's nominee is determined. But party officials have said that woudl be a highly complicated, unlikely scenario.

--Michael D. Shear

By Post Editor  |  October 22, 2007; 7:47 PM ET
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why dont we just have a one day primary vote for all the states, as we do in the regular election. That would be the fairest way to go, & there would be no more bickering. I live in florida & the republican legislature picked the early primate voting date, & the democrats dont have any say in the matter. democrats are being punished for something they have no power to change

Posted by: SGOOD99324 | October 24, 2007 8:13 AM | Report abuse

It is about time the two party system is put to an end to create a multi-party system. Most civilized democratic nations allow Multi-party participation in their election process or system. The sooner we have it the better to shake the foundations of some who think business in usual. Because, it is not and need to change!

Posted by: eidekay | October 23, 2007 12:00 PM | Report abuse

My recommendation to fix not only the primary system which is seriously flawed, and transform the entire political system would be: 1) eliminate the electoral college; 2) institute instant run-off voting; 3) seat members of congress randomly so that there are no sides of the aisle; 4) in an effort to eliminate "pork" each dollar of pork would cost that person 10 votes in the next general election.

Posted by: liteheart1 | October 23, 2007 11:23 AM | Report abuse

These petty power plays by the DNC and the RNC are going to feed the appetite for viable third party (independent?) candidates. Its just a matter of time before this crazy duopoly comes to an end and we finally get a multiparty system.

Posted by: opine | October 23, 2007 11:05 AM | Report abuse

I think the smaller states should be first up, with the traditional states (Iowa, NH) going in Jan, then follow with the smaller states the first Tuesday in Feb, the middle sized states in March, and the largest in April. That way, the smaller states get to scrutinize the candidates first without big bucks really needed to cover the state, which would be the case if big states like Florida were allowed to be in the early race.

Now, just try to get everyone to agree to that!

p.s. I don't work for the post - it's just my email address...

Posted by: washingtonpost | October 23, 2007 11:01 AM | Report abuse

The American political process needs to get with the 21st century and revamp its election system. I am sick beyond belief of the power that tiny, non-representative Iowa and New Hampshire have over our nomination process. Every four years the candidates dutifully troop to those two states and campaign like they're running for mayor, flipping pancakes, kissing babies and eating at every local IHOP. Meanwhile they're treating big states like California and Florida like ATM machines.

Posted by: neon_bunny | October 23, 2007 10:50 AM | Report abuse

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