Lawmaker Proposes Florida Re-vote for Democrats

Monday, 18 Feb 2008 09:49 PM

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With every vote at stake in the tight Democratic White House race, one lawmaker has proposed a way to ensure all voices are heard -- calling a re-vote in Florida, scene of an infamous re-count that ushered George W. Bush to power.

Democratic candidates avoided campaigning in Florida's nominating contest last month after the national party officials stripped it of the delegates whose support determines the party's nominee. The punishment came after the state flouted party rules by moving forward the date of its primary contest.

With her presidential bid weathering an onslaught from Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton has called for her wins in Florida and Michigan, which was also stripped of delegates, to be counted in determining the party's nominee.

Now Florida's House Democratic Leader Dan Gelber has suggested on a blog on his website that the state could instead vote again by mail so that millions there could have a say after all.

"As the primary slog continues ... Florida Democrats find themselves wondering whether that all too familiar combination of self-destructiveness and bad luck will once again snatch defeat out of the jaws of victory," he wrote.

"Perhaps we should consider a primary election by mail that includes Independent voters," he added, in the posting on Friday. Only Democrats were allowed to cast ballots in January's primary.

Florida was the scene of chaos in the 2000 presidential election between Republican Bush and Democrat Al Gore. Its disputed result had to be decided by the Supreme Court after controversy over the counting of ballots.

With Clinton running neck-and-neck nationwide against rival Barack Obama, extra delegates could now nudge her towards the magic number of 2,025 needed to clinch the party's nod.

Clinton's camp dismissed Gelber's suggestion, the Miami Herald reported Saturday. It added that Obama -- who did not bother to campaign in Florida after its delegates were revoked -- could stand to win there in a re-vote.

Copyright © 2008 Agence France Presse. All rights reserved.

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