GOP to also disenfrancise some primary voters

NY Times:

The Republican National Committee plans to penalize at least four states holding early primaries, including New Hampshire and Florida, by refusing to seat at least half their delegates at the party’s national convention in 2008, a party official said Tuesday.

Much of the focus in the primary scheduling fight up to now has been on the Democratic National Committee’s moves to penalize Florida by not seating its convention delegates because of the state’s decision to move up its primary. But the Republican rules are even more stringent, and the national party said today that it would not hesitate enforcing them.

The actions by Republicans and Democrats to move against states holding early contests is a rare instance of the two parties moving in concert, in this case to regain control over a rapidly evolving primary calendar that has thrust the nominating system into deep uncertainty just months before it is to begin.

“The rules are clear,” said Tracey Schmitt, a spokeswoman for the Republican National Committee. “Any state that holds their primary outside of the window shall be penalized delegates.”

In addition to Florida and New Hampshire, Michigan and South Carolina also face sanctions for moving their contests before Feb. 5. Two other early nominating states, Iowa and Nevada, will escape Republican sanctions because they hold nonbinding caucuses, not primaries.

Republican Party officials in both Florida and Michigan said yesterday they still believed it unlikely that they will face penalties — despite being told exactly the opposite by national party officials — and are crafting a plan to make their voice heard during the convention.

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There is a real simple way to stop the silliness. Outlaw the provisions that require certain states to be first. Have a simple rule that the first day on which primaries may occur is X day of Y month in the year of a Presidential election. I don't that not all states will pick the fist available day. There will be some advantage to being the deciding state, which will be one in subsequent weeks. There will be jockeying for positions to be the deciding state. To make it more interesting the first date can be much closer to the actual election day.

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