Thursday, February 7, 2008

May caucuses in Florida and Michigan?

The New York Post reported today that DNC Chair Howard Dean is encouraging Michigan and Florida Democratic Party chairs to hold caucuses sanctioned by the DNC so that both states can legitimately elect delegates.

MI Dem Party Chair Mark Brewer was quoted in the Detroit News encouraging everyone to "remain open-minded. So if someone comes up with a creative way that meets everyone's interests, we can do that."

My idea is this: Michigan and Florida should hold new contests on Saturday, May 10 (A Mother's Day Caucus). They should both allow voting by mail, Internet, and in-person at thousands of caucus locations in each state. A May date is far enough off that they would be able to get the events organized and voters educated about the new processes. Voting early by mail and Internet are important because these methods give voters other options for participating that might be easier than getting to a caucus location on election day. Michigan successfully used Internet voting in 2004, and Democrats Abroad are using Internet voting now in their week-long caucuses that started on Feb. 5.

These caucuses should be set as quickly as possible, and planning for them started right away, while the nomination race remains 50-50, so that no candidate has undue influence on the process. This would be in the best interest of the DNC and the best interest of the eventual Democratic nominee, because it removes the perception that Michigan and Florida Democrats have been disfranchised... so in the end this is also the best solution for voters.

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