Proposed Florida Vote By Mail Primary Unlikely

March 13, 2008

The head of Florida's Democratic Party said Thursday the proposed vote-by-mail presidential primary is unlikely to go forward because of strong opposition and concerns about conducting the vote.

Karen Thurman said she is asking Democratic leaders, the national party and Sens. Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton to consider the option as the best way to resolve a delegate dispute. Florida was stripped of its 210 delegates to the national convention after it violated national party rules by holding a January primary.

When asked if the alternative will be implemented knowing what she knows about potential problems executing the plan and widespread concerns, Thurman said, "I have a feeling that this is probably closer to not, than yes."

Thurman will review comments from Democratic leaders and make a decision by Monday on whether to proceed with the revote. But she acknowledged that Obama has had concerns and the Democratic National Committee won't support a proposal unless both candidates also back it.

She said there's a serious question about whether the state could legally verify the signatures of a privately run election. The party sent the campaigns and state and national party leaders an outline of the proposal on Wednesday.

All of Florida's 4.1 million Democrats would be mailed a ballot. They could send it back, or cast a ballot at one of 50 regional voting centers that
would be set up. The election would end June 3, a week before a DNC
deadline to name delegates. The estimated cost is $10 million to $12 million.

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