Monday, March 17, 2008

On Michigan, Florida, and an online vote

I think we should be testing out new technologies allowing for ever greater and more inclusive participation in our political process. However, I am skeptical that adequate preparations can be made in time for Florida and Michigan in this cycle, and I don’t think testing in such a highly consequential set of elections is the best idea with untested technology. I am also concerned whether certain parts of the electorate (seniors, minority populations, and some others) will have adequate access and savvy to make fair and effective use of the technology.

— Posted by The Wise Bard (#319, March 17)

It looks like folks are addressing a wider range of issues than specifically invited, so I’ll spew my own as well.
I have no principled objection to allowing a re-vote (following opportunity for meaningful campaigning)in Michigan and Florida, assuming it can be paid for and administered fairly. These states are important to a Democratic victory in the Fall, and even a small level of resentment toward the party could be decisive in a close general election.

If this is not feasible, or cannot be paid for (and there are other good uses for the money, in both Presidential and down ballot races), then seat evenly split delegations from one or both states, which will not skew the balance achieved in jurisdictions that did follow the rules agreed to in advance by all the candidates.

I have no abiding commitment to the current ordering of primaries, and believe a system of regional primaries (perhaps following a rotating set of single states where retail politics is possible) has much to recommend it. But if we are to move to a fairer and more rational primary system –as I hope we will–there must be meaningful and credible incentives for states to follow the rules, whatever they may be. Senator Clinton’s after-the-fact attempt to game the system is unworthy, to say the least.

— Posted by The Wise Bard (#328, March 17)

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