Monday, August 4, 2008

Forida Delegates may regain full voting strength

By Faith Chatham - DFWRCC - August 4, 2008

Senator Obama wrote the co-chairs of the Democratic National Convention Credentials Committee this month requesting restoration of Full-voting strength for Florida and Michigan delegates:
"I believe party unity calls for the delegates from Florida and Michigan to be able to participate fully alongside the delegates from the other states and territories."

Senator Obama advocates that the Credential Committee pass a resolution restoring each delegate to a full-vote (from the current half vote imposed by the Rules and By Laws Committee earlier this year). The next meeting of the Credentials Committee is Aug. 24th.

The letter was written months after the DNC Rules and By Laws Committee stripped Michgan and Florida of half of their delegates' voting strength. Senator Obama's campaign objected to granting full voting strenght to Florida when the Rules and By Laws Committee met.

Combined, Michigan and Florida have 368 delegates. Enough delegates are in play between the two states to determine the nomination for president. Despite the Obama campaign, the DNC and many media outlets, declaring Senator Obama the presumptous Democratic Nominee for president, restoration of both Michigan and Florida's full voting strength to their delegates significantly narrows the the margin between the pledged delegates of Senator Obama and Senator Clinton. Clinton is the only candidate who has not conceded the race or released her national national delegates.

The Obama campaign counted endorsement from Unpledged Super Delegates in their delegate count when declaring him the winner. However, superdelegates are unpledged. Endorsements from super delegates are non-binding. Super delegates, unlike other national delegates, vote in secret. Historically, the votes actually cast by Super Delegates at Democratic National Convention frequently do not parallel their presidential endorsements. Some Super Delegates change their minds, without making public the candidate who actually gets their vote.

Click on image to enlarge.
Declaration of Senator Obama the presumptous Nominee before the National Convention is criticized as disenfranchising the voters.

For a candidate to legitimately be the "presumptous nominee", the threahold of 2118 delegates should be reached from pledged delegates selected from the 60% of delegates who are elected from the State Conventions without inclusion of any of the 40% of unpledged Super Delegates in the total delegate count. Some Democratic activists believe the DNC, media and Obama campaign have misreperesented the nomination process to the public, causing many to believe that including unpledged delegates with the pledged delegate count gives a reliable indicator of the outcome of the election at the Convention. Despite many unity events and cooperation by Senator Hillary Clinton, belief that the Obama campaign and the DNC are resisting entrance of Senator Clinton's name into nomination at the convention, and conduction of a fair, democratic election for the Democratic Presidential Nominee where both Sen. Clinton and Sen. Obama's names appear on the ballot and there is a recorded roll call vote is believed by many to be contributing to Sen. Obama's favorable ratings remaining soft and reflections in the polls that he continues to be unable to energize Democrats who are not already his supporters.

Without leadership from the Clinton Campaign (which was suspended in June), a network of activist groups continues to lobby, demonstrate, and stage visibility events working toward restoration of the full voting strength of the Florida and Michigan delegates, and entrance of Sen. Clinton's name in nomination in Denver.

Prospects for the General Election:
In November, Michigan and Florida will be key battleground states. Numerous visits to Florida and Michigan have not "sealed" the election for either Sen. Obama or Sen. McCain in those states. In Florida this past week, the Quinnipiac poll released Thursday morning (July 31), lists Florida as "officially too close to call". Senator Obama's slight lead over Sen. John McCain is disappearing. In June, Obama led McCain in Florida by 47 to 43. This last poll shows that lead narrowed with Obama leading only 46 to 44 for Sen. McCain among likely General Election voters. This is within the margin of error. Obama's championing restoration of the delegates voting strength, even though it comes rather late, may help improve his ratings in Florida which is rich in Electoral Votes.

McCain beats Obama among white voters in Florida. In Florida, Obama's strength is with African American and Hispanic voters. He needs to make better inroads with progressive white voters. Read more in Central Florida 13 News.

Disgruntled Floridians who resent the DNC for having reduced the weight of their primary votes half could definitely determine the outcome of the General Election. Flordia may ultimately determine who is the next occupant of the White House.

Months after the DNC's decision by the Rules and By Laws Committee, the "Count Every Vote movement" continues to exert pressure, demanding that the DNC restores the delegates of Michigan and Florida and allows them to represent the voters.

Nationwide, in a syndicated story on NPR News August 2, 2008, "New polls show that the presidential race is looking close nationally and in swing states. Although Charles Cook of the Cook Political Report says it is too early to predict the outcome of the race, he says that the Electoral College vote will be closer than the popular vote.

Swing State Voters In Flordia and Michigan Seen as Crucial to Winning in November:

Florida has a total of 208 Delegates to the Democratic National Convention. Of these delegates, 182 are pledged and 26 are unpledged Super Delegates. If they are granted full voting strength, Senator Clinton has earned 105 of Florida's pledged delegates, Sen. Edwards, 12, and Sen. Obama, 65 pledged delegates. Even though Sen. Edwards has withdrawn and endorsed Senator Obama, his delegates are not obligated to vote for Senator Obama.

If the DNC restores full voting strength to Florida's delegates, Senator Clinton will gain 65 pledged delegates for a total of 1693 pledged delegates. Her pledged delegates will give her 80% of the delegates necessary for nomination. Senator Obama will gain 33 pledged delegates (total of 1793) giving him 84.7% of the pledged delegates necessary for nomination.

The nomination will be determined at the National Democratic Convention by the secret ballots of 825 UNPLEDGED Super Delegates. Super Delegates' endorsements of candidates are not reliable indicators of how they will actually vote at the Convention. Historically, some Super Delegates who declare for a candidate prior to the convention change their minds. Frequently they do not release who they voted for after the Convention. This year 14% to 20% of the delegates necessary for nominating a presidential candidate will come from the vote of unpledged Super Delegates who cast secret ballots at the National Convention.

Polls consistently show that Florida will be a pivotal swing state in this year's General Election. Senator Obama's hardline resistance to granting Florida delegates full voting status has not enabled him to poll significantly higher than Sen. McCain among likely voters in Florida. His numbers remain softer in other states than they should considering the high unfavorable ratings of many Republican incumbents and the George W. Bush administration. The DNC's violation of the principles of one person one vote in penalizing Florida and Michigan is a firestorm which has not died down among activists across the nation.

A fair, Democratic convention where Senator Clinton's name is entered into nomination, and appears on the ballot at the National Convention are demands which consistently are made by her supporters. Unless her supporters see that a fair election for Presidential Nominee is conducted at the National Democratic Convention, a significant number of the voters and donors necessary for a Democratic Nominee winning in November remain defiant and unconvinced. Senator Obama's letter to the DNC urging that they restore Michigan and Florida delegates full voting status at the Convention is a step toward real unification instead of empty rhetoric.

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