A prominent civil rights leader has told the Democratic National Committee that refusing to seat delegates from Florida and Michigan would disenfranchise both states' minority communities.
In a Feb. 8 letter to DNC Chairman Howard Dean, NAACP Chairman Julian Bond expressed "great concern at the prospect that millions of voters in Michigan and Florida could ultimately have their votes completely discounted." Refusing to seat the delegates could remind voters of the "sordid history of racially discriminatory primaries," he said.
The DNC penalized Michigan and Florida for moving their primaries to earlier dates in violation of party rules. Both states were stripped of their delegates, and the party's presidential candidates signed a pledge not to campaign in either state. Florida lost all 210 delegates, including its "super delegates"; Michigan, 156.
Hillary Rodham Clinton's campaign has pushed hard for both states' delegations to be seated. Clinton won Florida's primary Jan. 29 and Michigan's Jan. 15; she was the only major candidate listed on the Michigan ballot after the other candidates removed their names.
The DNC has said it would allow both states to hold different contests, probably caucuses. Either state also can appeal the penalty to the DNC credentials committee. It will not meet again until summer.