Matt Towery of the Florida Times-Union in Jacksonville has written a story titled Will Howard Dean step in GOP's Florida primary trap? He buys into the theory that moving Florida's Presidential Preference Primary to January 29th is part of some Machiavellian plot by the Florida Republican Party. Here's a sample:
The Republicans know the DNC is governed by hard-nosed and inflexible leaders who have managed to botch numerous presidential campaigns in recent years. Knowing that Dean likely will attempt to make a Jan. 29 Democratic primary meaningless, Republicans recognized the opportunity to be the only game in town.
But wait, it gets better. Towery displays his stunning knowledge of Florida election law thusly:
How does a party reeling from a loss of independent voters hope to win back those independents in Florida, the biggest state still up for grabs in the presidential election?
By holding its primary in a situation where independent voters can only vote Republican if they want their votes to count.
Here is Florida Statute 101.021 :
In a primary election a qualified elector is entitled to vote the official primary election ballot of the political party designated in the elector's registration, and no other. It is unlawful for any elector to vote in a primary for any candidate running for nomination from a party other than that in which such elector is registered.
The only way an independent voter can vote in a primary election is to change their registration from independent (or technically No Party Affiliation) to one of the political parties. A cursory review of voter turnout statistics reveals that there is no substantial evidence of massive voter registration changes and voting in primary elections by Florida's independent voters.
This kind of thing makes it hard to give credence to anything else Mr. Towery has to say on this matter. Having said all that, the Florida Legislature did put the Florida Democratic Party in a box. But that is the point, isn't it? This was an act of the Florida Legislature, not the Florida Democratic Party. Does it seem just to penalize Florida Democrats for the act of the Republican dominated Florida Legislature?
Doctor Dean, now is the time to remember how important the Florida Democratic Party was to your gaining the DNC Chair. Now is the time to ensure that the votes of Florida Democrats, of all people, get counted and counted fairly.
And, oh, bye the way, maybe now is the time to get that 50 state strategy cranked up in Florida so we are not put in this position by a Republican dominated Florida Legislature again.
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