Thursday, April 24, 2008

Michigan challenge filed

WE'VE MOVED! Democratic Convention Watch is now at

One of those 1/2 delegate proposals is out there again:

In the latest bid to get Michigan's delegates seated at the Democratic convention, the AP reports that a top Clinton supporter has filed a challenge to the DNC that would send 28 unpledged superdelegates and 128 pledged delegates to the convention in Denver. DNC member Joel Ferguson's plan calls for delegates to be allocated based on the results of the Michigan Democratic primary, which Clinton won, although neither candidate campaigned in the state.

The proposal calls for pledged Michigan delegates to get half a vote, while superdelegates would get a full vote at the convention.
The Obama campaign is still calling for Michigan and Florida delegates to be divided evenly between the two candidates.
If you give Obama 50 of the 55 uncommitted Michigan delegates, his Michigan delegate deficit is 35 delegates. Cut that in half, and it becomes 17-18 delegates. If his pledged delegate lead stays close to his current 150+, he could concede the 17-18 delegates, still have a 130+ pledged delegate lead, and just like that remove one major uncertainty in the nomination battle. While publicly they want an even split, behind the scenes, they're probably seriously considering this type of proposal.


Amot said...

That idea sounds weird to me. Those of you who read my FL&MI analysis know that it is not fair to treat both states the same way. If MI gets half pledged/full unpledged, what should FL get? As is? Would that be fair to everyone else who obeyed the rules?

In addition, to cut the pledged delegates (thats the popular vote) and to award the super full vote for creating such a mess is the stupidest thing ever.

If FL gets half pledged/full unpledged, than MI should get half unpledged plus quarter pledged 'as is' and the rest evenly split... Please, don't bother to argue the vote in MI was fair!

Unknown said...

If you're going to propose fractional voting, then I think giving each delegate, both pledged and unpledged, 3/5th's of a vote would be the most apt solution.

Seriously though, the votes representing the people shouldn't be weighted less than the votes of the party leaders who are responsible for violating the party rules in the first place.

Amot said...

Of course, I agree. If you have read my comments on MI and FL I am supporting the idea to strip MI of all super votes. About FL 1/2 is the minimum penalty for violating the rules unless they prove they did everything possible to move the date. In MI they definetely can't apply less than 50% penalty. I think they must leave only 50% of the unpledged but somehow assign them both fair and according to the vote - that is why my proposal is 1/4 according to the vote and 1/4 equally splt or according to recent polls or according to popular vote nationwide or according to total pledged nationwide.
But in all cases supers should take the responsibility and get worse or the same presentation as the pledged.

Galois said...

I don't think we'll see any action on Michigan and Florida until a nominee is decided. The Michigan/Florida situation though does remind me that both New Hampshire and Iowa will be doing some delegate selection on Saturday. Iowa will be selecting their 29 district level delegates. Based on the county convention results those are predicted to go 17 to Obama, 9 to Clinton and 3 to Edwards, but that could change. New Hampshire will elect an unpledged add-on. In addition, New Mexico will be electing an unpledged add-on, and Arizona will elect an unpledged add-on and a state vice-chair. So Saturday should result in 4 new superdelegates and 29 (already counted, but subject to change) pledged delegates. I'm going to be interested to see if this Florida/Michigan push hurts Clinton in either Iowa or New Hampshire.

DocJess said...

What will hurt Clinton most in the Florida and Michigan situations is the fact that her campaign came out yesterday saying that she had won the popular vote, which depended on the assumptions that the caucus states were not counted, and that not ONE person voted for Obama in Michigan.

It is that sort of nonsense that makes people NOT want to find a solution. She just pisses people off.

I have been unable to find an update to the Ausman challenge since it was first reported here on DCW -- but I somewhat recall that some finding should be expected around now -- that may give some clarity to the FL situation.

What I am waiting for is to see if the 4 remaining NC congressional delegation members endorse before 6 May, and whether Howard Dean decides to "lead by example" and personally endorse.

For my money, the endorsement I REALLY want to see is for Jimmy Carter to endorse Hillary Clinton. Now THAT would be the end of the ballgame......(grin)

Amot said...

:) I like that man - I mean Ausman... he makes me laugh!
His appeals are RIDICULOUS! I wrote that in my analysis at the specific thread...
That's the newest info I have:

Unfortunately some people in FL rely on that guy but what he sent as appeal was disastrous!
If it was up to me to file an appeal the text would be:

"RBC, here in FL we were forced to vote on a date violating the rules! We pushed hard and did everything possible to obey the rules (here are petitions and other relevant documents attached) but GOP officials prevailed. Unfortunately we could not run a party sponsored primary or caucus due to organizational and financial difficulties. We urge you to reconsider and apply the minimal penalty as stated in rule 20(c)1A.
In additon, we would like to invoke investigation and special hearing, allowing us to prove that we had well conducted primary with good turnout and fair rusults. We would like to ask for a special treatment according to rule 20(c)7 resulting in seating of our unpledged delegates and the rest of our pledged delegates (if necessary with partial voting rights). We believe that democrats in Florida deserve to be fairly represented at the national convention.

Truly yours, [10 FL DNC members and PLs]"

That would work. What Ausman sent was "a partisan memo ...[with] some unpleasant insinuations in it!" More the point that memo showed ignorance and misunderstanding of the rules, lack of respect to DNC and obviously was not aiming the public good but the good of the supers. It was also misleading since seating in Denver doesn't necessarily means right to vote in the nominee selection. To me it looks like for Mr. Ausman it is more important to visit Denver than guarantee fair presentation of his state. Shame on him!

I am not judge in the Supreme court but I have written various legislation and I have been known for my expertise in interpreting the meaning of the law. My opinion on this matter is not partisan. Actually I believe a good appeal could allow FL to be seated as is with 25% penalty.

FL, if you want to visit Denver, change your attorney!!!

jon.ausman said...

24 April 2008


Four points of interest today: one, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) Rules and Bylaws Committee (RBC); two, a recent poll in Florida and Michigan of primary voters; three, the cost per vote in Pennsylvania; and, four, Dean’s call for the superdelegates to announce their choice for President.

Rules and Bylaws Committee

On Monday, 17 March 2008, I filed with the DNC RBC a two part appeal on behalf of more than twenty Floridians signing notarized affidavits. The first appeal noted that DNC Charter states Florida’s US Senator, US Representatives and DNC Members “shall” be delegates to the 2008 Democratic National Committee. If granted that would give Florida 23 delegates.

The second appeal states the required penalty for a timing violation is a 50% reduction in delegates. This would give Florida 92 more delegates. A solution here would be either to reduce the number of delegates but give them a full vote or accept all the pledged delegates and give them a half vote.

I have spoken with one of the Co-Chairs of the DNC RBC and exchanged numerous voice mails with the other. In addition, I have talked with various staff members and with a number of other informed parties outside the DNC RBC.

The Co-Chairs are, indeed, taking a lot of time in making a decision. It has been 39 days since the appeal has been filed. The Co-Chairs, in their reflections, are just one day shy of the forty days Jesus spent in the desert - a time of prayer and temptation - getting ready for his ministry.

The Co-Chairs have likely spent the last 39 days praying a clear cut front-runner would emerge. I am sure they have been tempted to let this chalice pass from the lips.

However, it is nearly time to announce a schedule so Floridians can know whether a legitimate challenge will be heard, or not. I believe the Co-Chairs want to have this handled before 29 June 2008 (which is the day the DNC RBC lose jurisdiction on the question) and perhaps before 3 June 2008 (the day of the last primary).

I am not critical of the time being taken as I am aware there are a multitude of issues involved. Nonetheless, the time to move forward on the appeals is rapidly approaching.

Poll Results of Florida Voters

A recent poll was conducted by Public Policy Polling for the This polls clearly shows that Florida and Michigan Democrats want their participation in their respective January primaries to result in the allocation of their state’s delegates.

The poll was conducted 18-20 April 2008 and included 1,200 Democratic voters. Overall it has a margin of error of +/- 3.1% (4.3% in Michigan and 4.4% in Florida).

The following finds are from a Business Wire report.

· Voters in both states do not support evenly-splitting their delegates; 82% of Florida Democrats and 77% of Michigan primary voters support seating delegates on the basis of the early primary results or using a new primary over an evenly-split delegation. Even among supporters of Barack Obama (who would benefit from an even split), only 42% favored this option.

· A significant majority (58%) of Florida Democrats support seating delegates based on early primary results; more Michigan primary voters support this option than any other individual option.

· 62% of Florida Democrats and 53% of Michigan Democrats support the appeal before the DNC Rules & Bylaw committee seeking restoration of 50% of Florida's delegation to be seated on the basis of early primary results.

· There is considerable pressure on the DNC to allocate these state delegations based on the will of the people of these two states. Over 28% of Democratic voters will vote for Republican John McCain or a third party candidate in the general presidential election if the DNC does not allocate delegates on the basis of their votes, an effect that is consistent no matter whether Hillary Clinton or Obama is the eventual nominee.

Below are some two slides from this report.

You may have noticed the cut text in the slide above. The cut text was in the original slide and is not the result of cutting and pasting them into this letter.

Cost per Vote

Below are the media cost per vote for the Pennsylvania Primary. The Huffington Post is the source for the dollar amounts spent on media and CNN is the source for the vote results.


Media Expenditures by Campaign

Votes Received in PA Primary

Media Cost per Vote

Call for Superdelegates to Make a Decision

Currently I am an uncommitted superdelegate from Florida (of course, at the moment, I do not have a vote according to the RBC even though the DNC Charter states otherwise).

DNC Chair Howard Dean has asked all the superdelegates to declare their preferences as soon as possible. After Howard Dean announces his preference, I will think about making up my mind and announce mine.

My choice will be based on the following three criteria: one, which candidate is most likely to get 270 electoral votes and win the Presidency; two, which candidate will help us pick up US Senate seats; and, three, which candidate will help us pick up US Representative seats in the House.

Frankly, that is what politics is all about. The Democratic Party has a philosophy and we attempt to implement that philosophy through the capture of public office. We must win in order to govern.

As always, if you have any questions please write me at or call me at 850-321-7799.

With respect, I am,

Jon M. Ausman, Member

Democratic National Committee


Matt (not that Matt) said...

Mr. Ausman, certainly every person can make their decision on whatever criteria they wish. Even as a super delegate (if you get a vote) you can still use whatever criteria you wish.

I was just hoping to see somewhere in there, "1) Which candidate would be the best president?"

The lack of that thought is part of what's wrong with politics in this great country.

Mike in Maryland said...

Mr. Ausman said, "We pushed hard and did everything possible to obey the rules"

If that is the case, Mr. Ausman, how many Democratic Representatives voted against the law changing the date of the primary in Committee? And how many Democratic members were on the committee?

How many Democratic Representatives voted against the proposed bill when it was being considered on the floor of the Florida House?

How many Democratic Senators voted against the law changing the date of the primary in Committee? And how many Democratic members were on the committee?

How many Democratic Senators voted against the proposed bill when it was being considered on the floor of the Florida Senate?

If the answers are not every one of the Democratic Representatives and Senators, then it is a lie to state "We pushed hard and did everything possible to obey the rules".

If even ONE Democratic Representative or Senator voted for the proposed law, ESPECIALLY in committee, they did NOT push hard and do everything possible to obey the rules.

And by the way, I know that more than one Democratic Representative, and more than one Democratic Senator, voted in the affirmative to pass the bill in both committee and on the floor of the respective chambers.


Amot said...

Mike, 'the push hard' was what I would file as an appeal. Unfortunately as you point, it is
not a solid case... (but it is much stronger that the one filed).

I once more repeat that seating a delegate doesn't mean giving him/her voting rights on all subjects.
I don't know what the co-chairs of RBC think at the moment, but those appeals are really weak!

On PPP poll - I like twisting numbers:
FL and MI were asked 3 options: 'as is', revote, even split! In MI neither get 50%. One more thing - it looks like Obama people don't like the idea of 'as is' at all. 42% want even, 18% want 'as is'. And if they were asked only 2 options: 'as is' or 'even split', they would probably go 65% for even (maybe 80% in MI). That poll is totally off-topic with no chance for a revote possible. It is absolutely clear to me that who paid for the poll made the questionary with the idea to twist the results later!

Another thought of mine:
Imagine FL and MI voters as jurors. They are locked in a hotel room (their states) with a limited access to information. They have heard so far only the defence (their PLs). That defence is also the defendant. The prosecutor (DNC and Dean) is blamed to be stupid, rude and disfranchiser, and is not allowed to make statement at court.
Do you call that a fair process?

What I have seen in that poll is there is huge and increasing division between both camps and PLs are doing their best to enlarge it! Congrats! FL and MI will donate GOP 5-6 seats in Congress this fall!

With all my respect to Mr. Ausman, I really think he should not twist the situation like that. He better focus on his state only and start building a case that FL did everything possible to move the date of the vote. Otherwise he and his colleagues have only one option left - pray! Pray that the nominee and Dean agree to seat them somehow!

Amot said...

Mike, you know they din't push very hard, though I think they pushed a little bit... (of course that is FL only; MI is joke when it comes to pushing - they pushed in the other direction)!

But they can make the case and ask for rule 20(c)7. They only need to cheat the RBC the way they cheated voters in their state - that it was a fair vote and they were forced to vote early by the mean and evil Republicans!

To be honest I would like to hear RBC saying they will seat FL super but without right to vote in the nominee's selection! That would be fair!

MI - I don't understand how they even dare to file appeal like that!

I know that when you start a deal you ask much higher price than the one you are going to settled at, but you can't start asking $1M for a banana.

As Chuck sair - voters have been disfranchised by DNC, supers disfranchised themselves by their own behaviour. And I don't see them doing anything decent to deserve their voting rights restored!