Democrats cry foul over conflicting presidential primaries

07/30/07 Mitch E. Perry
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Florida’s presidential primary is scheduled for Jan. 29. the same date that South Carolina’s Democratic Primary.

The conflict has the Democratic National Committee threatening to penalize Florida by limiting the number of delegates for the party’s convention, as well as taking away delegates won by Democratic candidates who campaign in Florida.

The St. Petersburg Times quoted DNC Chairman Howard Dean on Sunday as telling a Myrtle Beach television station that “the Florida drama is not over yet.” He added, “My understanding is that Florida is going to have a different electoral procedure than they think they’re going to have.”

The DNC's rules and bylaws panel is scheduled to consider the Florida situation on Aug. 25th.

But Florida Democratic Chairperson Karen Thurman is convinced that she can convince Dean and other DNC officials to see things Florida’s way.

Her strategy, as told to WMNF Saturday night at the Hillsborough County Jefferson Jackson dinner, appears to be to blame the Republican led legislature for breaking the rules set up by Howard Dean.

Although there has been extensive coverage of the conflict between the national Democrats and Florida officials over moving up the state's presidential primary, there has been little reported on the Republicans breaking their party rules to pre-empt the so-called Super Tuesday Primary on Feb. 5.

U.S. News & World Report reports in the current issue that Republicans have left "wiggle room" to review state-by-state primary plans, and will probably do so this fall.

The magazine also reports that Michigan officials say they may follow Florida’s lead and move their caucuses from Feb. 9 to sometime in mid to late January.

Among those at the Jefferson Jackson Dinner Saturday night were Miami Democratic Congressman Kendrick Meek, former Tampa Congressman Jim Davis, and a host of other local Democrats in state and local politics.

One Democrat not currently in office who believes she should be is Christine Jennings. Although still very much involved in contesting her controversial defeat to Republican Vern Buchanan for Florida’s 13th Congressional District, the former banker has already declared she’s coming after Buchanan next year.

On Friday, the Government Accountability Office provided a closed briefing to Congress regarding the progress of its investigation into last year's disputed election in Sarasota County.

The investigation was prompted by the bizarre nature of that vote, where more than 18,000 ballots registered no vote in that race and complaints from numerous voters that touch-screen voting machines used in the election failed to respond to their touch.

Jennings said she doesn’t know what happened in that closed door session, but was heartened by public remarks made immediately afterward by the Rep. Charles Gonzalez, the chairman of the special task force investigating the disputed election.

California’s Secretary of State released a report Friday on findings of a wide-ranging research project into the accessibility, security and viability of electronic balloting.

She revealed that teams of computer hackers participating in a first-of-its-kind experiment in California succeeded in breaking into all three electronic voting machines they targeted. The systems were invaded in ways ranging from altering votes via a laptop computer to physically breaking into an electronic ballot box with small, concealable tools.

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