Fla., Mich. delegates will get half votes

May 31, 2008 at 7:45 PM
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WASHINGTON, May 31 (UPI) -- Democratic Party officials Saturday agreed to seat the Florida and Michigan delegations at the national convention but the delegates will only have half a vote.

In a televised meeting in Washington, the party Rules and Bylaws Committee voted in favor of motions to seat delegations from Florida and Michigan, resolving a controversy growing out of decisions by party officials in the two states to violate national party rules on scheduling primary elections.

Alice Huffman, a supporter of New York Sen. Hillary Clinton, said the Florida resolution would leave the party more united than it had been coming into the meeting, The Washington Post reported.

However, another Clinton supporter, Harold Ickes, said the candidate "has instructed me to reserve her rights to take this to the credentials committee" at the convention in Denver -- leaving open the possibility that the contentious battle over seating of delegates from Florida may flare up again.

Rep. Robert Wexler, D-Fla., and Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., supported a proposal to seat half their state's 185 pledged delegates at the Denver convention, The Washington Post said.

Still to be decided is how to handle the Michigan delegation, due in part of the absence of U.S. Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., on the state's ballots.

The state's final ballot resulted in an estimated 40 percent of voters identifying themselves as "uncommitted," while Clinton easily won the state.

Before Saturday, none of Florida's or Michigan's delegates were supposed to be seated, punishment for state parties who moved up their primaries in defiance of the national party.

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