02 Jun 2008

Did the DNC Rules Committee Break the Law?

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Peter J. Wirs points out that the DNC Rules Committee’s artificial assignment of Michigan delegate votes to Barack Obama (who did not even run in that state’s primary) may not be as easy to pull off as the power brokers in that party’s back room supposed.

The democrat bosses forgot that federal election law exists. Hillary’s side has recourse, and it looks like Arlen Specter may be preparing to give her a hand.

This past Saturday, the Democratic National Committee Rules Committee voted, as many anticipated, on seating the Florida and Michigan Democratic delegates with only half of vote. Moreover, 59 Michigan delegates were awarded to Barak Obama, notwithstanding he was not on the January 15 Michigan primary ballot. As Clinton adviser and Rules committee member Harold Ickes asserted, the outcome for Michigan was a hijacking of voters’ intent because it assigned delegates to Mr. Obama even though he did not win them.

As we reported last week, Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA), the former chairman and now ranking minority member on the Senate Judiciary Committee, is seriously evaluating whether he should call for Congressional hearings. …

Specter, probably one of the most legally astute of GOP Senators, contends the DNC is violating one of the most fundamental of all constitutional rules, that once a vote is cast it must be counted. This constitutional principle, pronounced by the United States Supreme Court since Ex parte Yarborough (1884) and reiterated as recently as Gray v. Sanders (1963), is simply beyond reproach. This rock-bottom constitutional demand applies to primaries as well as general elections. …

No one is disputing the Democrats have every right to set what its rules are and how its delegates are to be selected.

But once the Democrats evoke the state’s machinery in order to hold a public primary, a bright line is crossed. As the Supreme Court in Gray v. Saunders observed state regulated party primaries “show that the State . . . collaborates in the conduct of the primary, and puts its power behind the rules of the party. It adopts the primary as a part of the public election machinery. The exclusions of voters made by the party by the primary rules become exclusions enforced by the State.” Grey v. Saunders went on to assert that “state regulation of this preliminary phase of the election process makes it state action.”

The issue isn’t that the DNC is asserting some “for members only” admission to a clubhouse. The issue is that the Great States of Florida and Michigan held primaries, which although concerning one or another of our two major political parties, is part of the electoral process. These primaries weren’t private affairs. They weren’t even party affairs. They were official state actions. The DNC was acting by virtue of the power delegated to it by the legislatures of both Florida and Michigan. The taxpayers of both Florida and Michigan, not the DNC, paid for the primaries. If the DNC wants to exclude voters, or count only half of the votes cast, or award Obama delegates he did not win, then they should hold private affairs (like that San Francisco cocktail reception where Obama asserts most of us are bitter by virtue of believing in God). Let them sell tickets and pay for the events themselves. …

when I go to the polls to vote, I don’t want someone to cancel or dilute my vote. I expect my vote to be count as one vote, nothing more, nothing less.

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Pat Carter

I have great respect for you Senator Spector and appreciate what you are doing. My feelings is every vote should count just as cast. Thank you and I hope you proceed.



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