Thursday, November 8, 2007

Michigan court rules January 15 primary unconstitutional

From today's Detroit Free Press:

Scramble on to keep primary in January
Judge rules law setting up election is unconstitutional
By Dawson Bell

Backers of Michigan's Jan. 15 presidential primary said Wednesday they hope to find a way, in court or in the state Legislature, to hold the election despite a judge's ruling earlier in the day that the law establishing the primary was unconstitutional.
The Legislature could address the issue today.

Click here for the full article.

This might be bad news for Michigan Republicans, who were planning to use the January 15 primary even though the RNC has said it will strip them of some delegates because the date violates national party rules. The DNC has not officially ruled on the Jan 15 date, because Michigan Democrats have never indicated to the DNC that they plan to use the date. According to the DNC and the Michigan Democratic Party, Michigan Dems have always planned on holding caucuses on February 9. The MDP Executive Committee met last night and was supposed to have voted on whether to support the January 15 date, but the vote was tabled so they can take more time to decide what to do. The law sets a deadline of November 14 for when the state party chairs must tell the Secretary of State if they are using the January 15 primary.... so maybe we will know something by then.

The lawsuit that prompted the court's ruling was filed in part by Mark Grebner, the longtime voter file vendor in the state. Grebner has also collaborated on academic projects. His problem with the law is that it suppresses public access to information about what party's ballot a voter chooses. This is valuable info since Michigan does not require a voter to select a party when they register to vote. It would be really valuable for my own research, since without party ID on the voter file it is really hard to tell who is a Dem and who is a Rep in Michigan.

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