DNC should decide on a dual decision if no solution is found on the Michigan/Florida case until June: a 50-50 split of delegates (Michigan) and a half-vote per delegate (Florida).


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Given the time and financial limitations in the Michigan case, the 50-50 split of delegates is the best solution because a re-vote is almost impossible at this point, given the Michigan legislature’s stall on the issue. Also, half-vote per delegate would not be fair because Mr. Omaba withdraw from the race given the DNC’s decision on its illegality.

In what regards Florida, a re-vote is as well on the edge of improbability due to its time, financial and technical limitations. A half-vote per delegate would offer points to Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Omaba, but would not be decisive on the long run. Also, Florida decided not to have a re-vote and the DNC’s decision is considered the optimal one.

Both states would use a mail-in voting system, which none of them used before. Time and financial constraints make a re-vote improbable.


Not to have a re-vote would represent an unfair treatment to the citizens of Michigan and Florida, who’s previous votes were democratic (from their stand).

Primaries in Michigan and Florida

Whether there is no decided winner of the Democratic race, the issue of the Michigan and Florida primaries still remains one to be resolved. Even if Mr. Obama has an important lead, or if Mrs. Clinton has one, the seating system for the two states is important. If there is no clear victor when the primaries end, the DNC should take a decision that would be fair to all parties involved, but also keeping in mind the June time limitations for a possible extended process. A re-vote seems at first hand like the best solution. It is clearly the moral one, given the losses that Mr. Obama could have in the case of a seating according to the winter primaries. The question is: is such a solution feasible? This paper argues that it is not, and an equal seating for the two states is the optimal solution (in the case of Michigan) and a half-vote solution in Florida.

Michigan and Florida decided to go ahead with their primaries ahead of the date set up by the Democratic National Committee. Due to their decision, the results of these primaries were not taken into account, and therefore, Mrs. Clinton’s victories are unaccountable. The main question that has to be addressed now is under what circumstances the delegates of the two states will decide at the National Convention.

The two main parties involved, besides the Democratic National Committee, have both to win and to loose regarding Michigan and Florida primaries. Their positions are opposed, and should be taken into account when making an analysis of such a subject.

Mrs. Clinton’s position on the matter is very clear: “the delegates should be seated based on the results of the Michigan and Florida primaries [and that] and Michigan should hold new primary elections, probably in early June after the remaining primaries are completed and perhaps by statewide mail-in ballot” (Broder, 2008). Mrs. Clinton’s position is determined mainly from the fact that if the January results are kept, she gains points in front of Mr. Omaba, and if a re-vote is done, she can get a momentum from that, being certain on victories in the two states. The Clinton campaign does not agree with a 50/50 divide on delegates in Michigan, considering the primary in Michigan as fair and just. Mrs. Clinton also argues that if these results are not taken into consideration, “nearly two and a half million Americans in those two states (…) are in danger of being excluded from our democratic process” (Clinton, 2008).

Mr. Obama, on the other hand, said that “any revote would be problematic, particularly if conducted by mail in Michigan and Florida [arguing for the delegates to be] seated in an “equitable” way” (Broder, 2008). Also, as another solution to the problem David Plouffe, campaign manager for the Obama campaign, proposed a party-run caucus in Michigan, Florida, or in both states, proposal rejected by Mrs. Clinton’s side (Broder, 2008).

As professor Rick Hasen, expert on election law and administration suggests, the best solution that the DNC could find is “seating Florida and Michigan delegations with an even split between Clinton and Obama delegates [which] seems fairer than approving the results of a contest run under unfair rules and conditions” (Hasen, 2008). This represents and should represent the last solution that the DNC could find, given the limited time until June. It is not the best solution, but it is definitely the best one under the current circumstances. The re-vote solution, if the necessary conditions are fulfilled, would be the fairest solution to the matter. Yet, under the circumstances that shall be explained in the following paragraphs, a re-vote is considered too complicated, time constraining and could create even more scandal within the Democrat Party.

In order to support the 50/50 position and the half-vote per delegate, one should analyze the other two possibilities, and by elimination, this one becomes the optimal one. The first solution, which Mrs. Clinton supports given her results, is to seat the delegates on the basis of the primaries results. Yet, if the DNC takes this decision, it would create a precedent for other states to dodge party rules, and it would also create serious distortions within the Democrat Party. Mr. Obama’s clear position of not taking the primaries’ results into consideration is more than fair, taking into consideration not only the morality (or immorality) of the situation, but also party regulations. One might present as a counterargument that the Florida and Michigan delegates chose to vote, and not when to vote. From their part, it seems inequitable not to have delegates on the basis of their votes. Yet, when voting, the electors where aware of the risk they were taking, having in view the DNC’s prior decisions.

The second solution, even if it is obviously the fairest – a re-vote – is considered optimal if all conditions are fulfilled. Given the fact that the most advantageous process of election in the current circumstances would be a mail-in election, this has to be conducted in the best possible technical manner. In Florida, Chairwoman for the Democrat Party Karen Thurman endorsed this idea “but that fell through in the face of opposition from the party’s congressional delegation” (Henneberg, 2008). The problem is that neither Florida nor Michigan have experience in this type of voting, and time and financial limitations prevent such an electoral system to be put into practice.

Why therefore a 50/50 seating plan in Michigan and a half-vote per delegate in Florida? The half-vote per delegate proposal was presented to the ultimate deciding body, the Credentials Committee, and at this moment seems like the best solution for Florida. It is, as Ron Levitt argues “the last chance for a new primary by June 3 evaporated (…) any chance for a re-vote is gone” (Levitt, 2008). In what regards Michigan, the 50/50 seating plan that Obama proposed may not seem fair having in view that the electorate has no possibility to vote. Yet, if the DNC decision is to be taken when the primaries end, it appears that there is not enough time for a re-vote in Michigan. Having in view that Obama withdraw from the race in this state in view of DNC’s decision, a re-vote as soon as possible is the best solution at this point, for Michigan. But not in a few months time, when the primaries are over. Michigan is a problematic case: the best solution now would be a re-vote. But a re-vote now is unlikely to happen and moreover after the primaries are finished. The Michigan legislature has not taken yet a decision on a re-vote and “by the time lawmakers return [from their two weeks recess], it will probably be too late to approve and organize a new vote before early June, the deadline established by the national Democratic Party” (CNN, 2008)


Broder, John. “Clinton and Obama Split Over Florida and Michigan.” New York Times, March 2008, 2 April 2008. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/12/us/politics/12cnd-delegates.html?hp

Clinton, Hillary. “Clinton: Florida, Michigan Primaries were “Fair” and Should be “Honored.” The Huffington Post, April 2008, 2 April 2008. http://kydem.blogspot.com/2008/03/hillary-clinton-talks-about-florida-and.html

CNN Politics. “No deal reached on Michigan re-vote.” CNN Election Centre 2008. March 2008, 2 April 2008. http://edition.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/03/20/michigan.florida/

Hasen, Rick. ” Worries About a Florida Primary Do-Over Through Vote by Mail,” the Huffington Post, March 2008, 2 April 2008. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rick-hasen/worries-about-a-florida-p_b_90583.html

Henneberg, Molly, Bruns, Aaron. “Ambitious Re-Vote Plans for Michigan, Florida Heading Down the Tubes.” Fox News. March 2008, 2 April 2008. http://elections.foxnews.com/2008/03/20/ambitious-re-vote-plans-for-michigan-florida-heading-down-the-tubes/

Levitt, Ron. “Florida Moves Ahead Despite DNC Threat.” The Huffington Post. March 2008. 2 April 2008. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ron-levitt/florida-moves-ahead-despi_b_94288.html

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