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Judge Rules for DNC in Calendar Fight

In the ongoing war between the Democratic National Committee and its state affiliate in Florida, score one for the national party.

A federal judge ruled Wednesday that the DNC has the right to enforce its voting calendar and to punish a state which disobeys the approved schedule of voting, as Florida did by approving its primary for Jan. 29. The DNC had required that most states hold primaries or caucuses on or after Feb. 5.

By disregarding that rule, Florida's Democratic leaders sparked the ire of the DNC, which stripped the state of its delegates to next year's national convention. The party has sued, claiming that the DNC action violates the U.S. Constitution by denying people the right to have their votes counted.

But the court dismissed that argument, saying the DNC, not the state party, has the ability to decide when the party's presidential primaries will take place.

Democratic National Committee Communications Director Karen Finney said "We're pleased the court ruled in our favor, recognizing the constitutionally protected right of the Democratic National Committee to enforce its rules and treat all state Democratic parties in a fair and equal way. The DNC is committed to protecting the right to vote for every American, and we look forward to continuing to work together to ensure that Florida turns blue in 2008."

But state leaders, including Sen. Bill Nelson, vowed to fight on by pushing for legislation that would set the voting schedule legislatively and would give Florida and other big states a greater voice in the nominating process.

"This fight is not over. This fight is going to go on another day," Nelson said. "This decision in the court today just emboldens by determination to not let party bosses make the decision over the people's right to vote."

--Michael D. Shear

By Washington Post editors  |  December 5, 2007; 6:41 PM ET
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There should be some weight given to time zones too. The east west differences weight the east coast too much in national voting, and there needs to be a real world offset for this problem in our democracy with both parties.

Posted by: timscanlon | December 6, 2007 8:02 AM | Report abuse

The national committees are shooting themselves in the foot. I'm a Florida Democrat and I'm so pissed that I'm boycotting the general election.

Posted by: pescaderotarzan | December 6, 2007 5:02 AM | Report abuse

Does anyone remember that it was the GOP not the DEMS that did this, They run the state, all the northerners that have moved here, they are the one to blame. Here in Dade county, except for a few cubans, we would not have this problems.

Posted by: danrmcculley | December 6, 2007 4:57 AM | Report abuse

this here is DJ in San Diego dont fret florida will always have a special place in this boys heart.No body an I mean nobody can cook like the south.talladega muscle to ribs on the fire.This Blog is gettin alittle hot under the collar you and I are a little bit older than that and besides its not polite to confuse why you came with what the dogs are barkin collect californias kin folk.

Posted by: jeqnadri | December 6, 2007 3:17 AM | Report abuse

There is an important legal distinction between political elections of the parties and that actual general election in which all people vote for a common slate of candidates.

Posted by: TabLUno | December 6, 2007 1:21 AM | Report abuse

Florida's numb-nut politicians lead by the Republicans (Dems have no say in this state), tempted fate because they wanted media coverage during the middle of winter. It was a political maneuver and advertising ploy period.
Now the court has decided to take away half of the votes. That certainly is not a shock in Florida, we are used to that, especially since Gore was cheated out of votes in 1999/2000.

Posted by: GWMan_FL | December 5, 2007 11:28 PM | Report abuse

The state of Florida should be complying with the DNC's rules. If all the other states follow the DNC's rules and come out fine in the end, then why is Florida different or special? Plus it is only an 8 days difference so what's the big deal. I probably can only see one side of the story because I'm sure there was a legitimate reason for the caucuses to be on January 29th rather than the 5th of February. But out of all the possible scenarios that I have come up with, none of them are that important that Florida couldn't wait 8 days.

Posted by: pbgodec | December 5, 2007 10:49 PM | Report abuse

The court should have plainly stated that Senator Nelson is an imbecile and his case is without merit. Suggestion to the DNC for 2012: the smallest states should go first and the largest states last, with the dates spread over a full six months. Every state would have influence because every state would be bigger than the ones that came earlier. The biggest states in the final round have enough delegates to rewrite the whole campaign. Winning a majority would not happen until much closer to the convention, something many consider a strategic advantage.

Posted by: rlfast | December 5, 2007 8:19 PM | Report abuse

Uh, not that a reporter could never overlook something possibly VERY significant, But-


The Ninth?

Posted by: rat-the | December 5, 2007 6:55 PM | Report abuse

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