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
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