Florida Democrats sue their party for blocking early primary
MIAMI (AFP) — Two top Florida Democrats on Thursday sued their own party in a dispute over the timing of the presidential primary in the state famed for the chaos that held up the 2000 presidential election results for five weeks.
The bitter battle has its roots in Florida's decision to hold its primary elections on January 29, earlier than allowed under the Democrats national rules.
The Democratic National Committee retaliated by voting to exclude the 210 Florida delegates from the 2008 convention where the party's presidential candidate will be picked.
The lawsuit filed by US Senator Bill Nelson and Representative Alcee Hastings claims the DNC's decision would deny millions of voters a say in the electoral process.
"Every one of the more than 4.25 million registered Democratic voters in Florida will be completely disenfranchised and their constitutional rights ... rendered meaningless," Nelson and Hastings said in the lawsuit they filed in Tallahassee, Florida's state capital.
The lawsuit argues that the right of voters trump the rights of a political party, including its right to enforce rules for primary elections.
"The right to vote and have your vote matter is the cornerstone of our democracy," said Nelson. "As to our right to vote, and have that vote count, there can be no debate," he said.