The Process is Political: Florida's Early Primary

Thursday, September 29, 2011

People listen during a get out the vote rally put on by local unions and Democratic politicians on the grounds of the Jackson Memorial hospital on October 18, 2010 in Miami, Florida. (Joe Raedle/Getty)

Our daily look at the details that can change everything.

Florida Moves On Up: Remember watching the 2008 Iowa caucus results while you were still nursing a New Year's hangover? Well, it could happen again. State officials are expected to announce this week that Tuesday, January 31, will be the new date for the Republican primary in Florida.

That will likely prompt a dash among early primary states to move up their votes from February to January. So instead of an extra month of campaigning, it'll be Iowa-New Hampshire-South Carolina-Nevada just after the new year. That'll help candidates with the most money and momentum at this point, the Wall Street Journal points out — and put pressure on any stragglers to get in. You listening, Christie? (Wall Street Journal)

Colorado Fight Over Eligibility for Mailed Ballots Falls Along Party Lines: A Democratic county clerk in Colorado says he's been directed by the Secretary of State not to send ballots to military personnel who are registered, but didn't vote in the 2010 election or respond to postcards prompting them to reactivate their status. The clerk in Pueblo County wants to send ballots to both active and "inactive" registered voters, and he says the Secretary of State's interpretation of the law is flawed. Denver County, also led by a Democratic clerk, has already mailed ballots to both active and inactive voters, which prompted the Republican Secretary of State to sue the county, which is a Democratic stronghold. The Secretary of State's office says it's trying to preserve uniformity across the state, but two Democratic Congressman have asked the Department of Justice to review whether the lawsuit violates the Voting Rights Act. If the policy on inactive voters stands, voters who don't vote in this November's election could be considered "inactive" for the 2012 election, when Colorado is expected to be a pivotal swing state. (Colorado Independent)

Electoral College, Class of 2012: A poll out Wednesday showed a majority of registered voters in Pennsylvania favor giving all the state's electoral votes to the statewide winner, as opposed to a Republican-backed plan to divide most of them by congressional district. That's just one potential way the electoral math in 2012 could differ from 2008. The reapportionment of congressional districts is also changing the math. Because of population changes, traditionally Republican states have picked up six additional electoral votes. Still, the electoral math favors Obama, argued Gerald Selb in Tuesday's Wall Street Journal.

Democrats "happen to start with a bloc of reliably blue states that is larger, and much richer in electoral votes, than the reliably red bloc Republicans have on their side," he wrote. But in The New Republic, William Galston countered that Obama doesn't "have the luxury of building his campaign on a solid-blue foundation of 242 electoral votes in 2012." Narrowly targeting key states like Colorado just won't work, when the president is vulnerable in states that he counted on before, like Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. The real challenge, Galston writes, is for the president to build up broad, popular support. (The New Republic)


More in:

Comments [1]

Given the choice, most Pennsylvania and U.S. voters want a national popular vote.

A survey of 800 Pennsylvan­ia voters conducted on December 16-17, 2008 showed 78% overall support for a national popular vote for President.
Support was 87% among Democrats, 68% among Republican­s, and 76% among independen­ts.
By age, support was 77% among 18-29 year olds, 73% among 30-45 year olds, 81% among 46-65 year olds, and 78% for those older than 65.
By gender, support was 85% among women and 71% among men.

The National Popular Vote bill would guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC).

Under National Popular Vote, every vote, everywhere, would be politically relevant and equal in every presidential election. Every vote would be included in the national count. The candidate with the most popular votes in all 50 states would get the 270+ electoral votes from the enacting states. That majority of electoral votes guarantees the candidate with the most popular votes in all 50 states wins the presidency.

National Popular Vote would give a voice to the minority party voters in each state and district (in ME and NE). Now their votes are counted only for the candidate they did not vote for. Now they don’t matter to their candidate.

With National Popular Vote, every vote, everywhere would be counted for and directly assist the candidate for whom it was cast.

In Gallup polls since 1944, only about 20% of the public has supported the current system of awarding all of a state’s electoral votes to the presidential candidate who receives the most votes in each separate state (with about 70% opposed and about 10% undecided). A Washington Post, Kaiser Family Foundation, and Harvard University poll shows 72% support for direct nationwide election of the President. Support is strong among Republican voters, Democratic voters, and independent voters, as well as every demographic group surveyed in virtually every state surveyed in recent polls.

Most voters don’t care whether their candidate wins or loses in their state or district… they care whether he/she wins the White House. Voters want to know, that even if they were on the losing side, their vote actually was directly and equally counted and mattered to their candidate. Most Americans consider the idea of the candidate with the most popular votes being declared a loser detestable.

The bill has passed 31 state legislativ­e chambers, in 21 small, medium-sma­ll, medium, and large states, including one house in AR, CT, DE, DC, ME, MI, NV, NM, New York, NC, and OR, and both houses in CA, CO, HI, IL, NJ, MD, MA, RI, VT, and WA. The bill has been enacted by DC (3), HI (4), IL (19), NJ (14), MD (11), MA (10), CA (55), VT (3), and WA (13). These 9 jurisdicti­ons possess 132 electoral votes — 49% of the 270 necessary to bring the law into effect.


Sep. 30 2011 01:31 PM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.

Get the WNYC Morning Brief in your inbox.
We'll send you our top 5 stories every day, plus breaking news and weather.


About It's A Free Country ®

Archive of It's A Free Country articles and posts. Visit the It's A Free Country Home Page for lots more.

Supported by

WNYC is supported by the Charles H. Revson Foundation: Because a great city needs an informed and engaged public.  Learn more at


Supported by