Florida Democrats pitch plan for a mail re-vote
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03/13/08 Mitch E. Perry
WMNF Drive-Time News Thursday | Listen to this entire show:

Florida Democratic Party Chairwoman Karen Thurman today announced plans for a mail-in voting process but acknowledged that it may never come to fruition.

Thurman says she first wants to hear from as many Democrats as possible in the next 24 hours before formally presenting the plan to candidates Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. You can write your response to her by going to fladems.com.

Thurman says she will review those comments over the weekend. If the candidates and state Democratic leaders agree, she says a commission of "respected and knowledgeable" leaders will be appointed by her to oversee the vote. The plan also needs to be approved by the Democratic National Committee.

Chris Griffin is a Tampa based attorney who supports Hillary Clinton. He says he doesn’t think a re-vote by mail is a good idea.

Clinton said Wednesday she prefers that the Jan. 29 vote stand but her second choice would be a re-vote of some sort.

Tampa Democratic political consultant Victor DiMaio is already suing the Democratic National Committee for throwing out Florida’s delegates as a punishment for holding the primary in January. He says he’ll go to court again if the mail re-vote actually happens.

On Wednesday, Florida Senate Minority Leader Steve Geller said a mail re-vote may not be the greatest idea, but he hasn’t heard anything better yet.

House Minority Leader Dan Gelber was the first prominent Democrat to float the idea. He said yesterday there is no time to waste.

Democratic leaders yesterday announced results of a poll that showed 59 percent of Democrats surveyed said they supported a re-vote. But that doesn’t impress DiMaio, who argues that the votes from the Jan. 29 primary should count when he goes before the U.S. Court of Appeals next Monday.

Attorney Chris Griffin says any legitimate vote does and would again favor Sen. Clinton – his candidate. Griffin also says there could be legal challenges if the DNC approves a new vote. Griffin said he wasn’t certain such a vote is even legal.

Under Thurman’s timetable, fundraising would begin today and end April 12, when ballots go to production. Overseas and military ballots would be sent out April 19. Fifty temporary election offices would be set up on May 1 in poor areas to ensure access to voters with mail difficulties. On May 9, the bulk of the ballots would be shipped out, and the election would officially begin on June 3 and would end the primary season.

The party says the cost, estimated to be at around $10 million, would probably be picked up by "soft money" donations largely banned from federal elections but allowed for some party functions. The party says that no one who voted in the Republican primary on Jan. 29 would be eligible to vote in the Democratic primary, even if they switch parties.

Barack Obama has said in recent days that he was skeptical about the legimitacy of a mail re-vote.

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