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Arment Dietrich

Uncommitted Means Disenfranchised to Michigan Voters

By: Arment Dietrich | January 23, 2008 | 
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Blog written by Shawn M. Kahle, APR

I grew up in a political family in Indiana.  My mom was an elected official or worked in jobs that came or went based on the party that was in office.  That meant from the time I was three years old I went door-to-door with mom registering voters, handing out bumper stickers, watching political conventions on television, and believing that if you wasted your opportunity to vote – shame on you!

I vote — in primaries, in school board elections in the rain, and especially for the big races for state and national offices.  I am a registered voter in the state of Michigan – have been for about 30 years.  Generally, when I must declare a party, I go with the Democrats.

Last week, my party let me down in an unforgivable way.

There is so much spin surrounding what really went wrong with the move by Michigan to an earlier primary that it would take months to unearth the whole story.  Here’s what I know.

Leading Democrats in Michigan – Governor Granholm, Senator Levin, and others wanted to move up the Michigan primary so the state would be more relevant sooner in influencing the presidential election cycle.  In the process of doing so, the Michigan Democratic Party and the National Democratic Party had a major falling out – big time!  The controversy grew so great that leading candidates such as Barack Obama and John Edwards refused to file in the state of Michigan rather than face the reprisals of the national party.  Democrats who went to the polls on primary day could either vote for Hillary Clinton, or Dodd (no longer in the race), Kucinich, Gravel or “Uncommitted.” 

On Jan. 15, 2008, Senator Clinton “won” with 55 percent of the vote, leading “Uncommitted” by only 15 percent.  While a weak showing, her victory was irrelevant.  She did not garner any convention support as the National Democratic Party says the Michigan delegation will not be seated at the convention.  In effect, Michigan Democrats don’t count – at all – in deciding the candidate who will represent “their party” in the November general election. 

We live in a world where people still die every day fighting for the right to vote.  Party politics killed the right for Michigan Democrats.  

But, let’s give the wolverine state credit for accomplishing one goal — Michigan became more relevant in the presidential election cycle … FOR THE REPUBLICANS!

Yes, nationwide every major news service focused on the fight between Mitt Romney and John McCain.  In Chicago, local media traveled 90 minutes to New Buffalo and Union Pier to snap photos, and do stand-ups for stories that went on and on about the results of the Republican primary and the debacle of the Democrats.  Yes, the GOP won the airwaves and the jealousy of real voting Democrats who still want to have a say in who will be the next President of the United States

People wonder why Michigan is losing population so fast?  Add one more reason.  They strip away the true right to vote from their residents.  No blood was shed, only integrity.  Talk about “Uncommitted”.

3 comments
Shawn
Shawn

Scott - Thanks for setting up your Web site -- I checked it out and it has lots of great tips on steps we can take to express our outrage. I'm told the same thing has happened to the Democrat voters of Florida -- imagine that, the land of chads! The national Democrat party is on record as saying their delegation won't be seated at the convention either. I signed your petition and will take your tips on some other emails to send along to the party and leaders. Others should do the same. Thanks for letting us know about it.

Gini
Gini

Hey Scott. Thanks for the comment! Shawn is vacationing this week, but we'll have her check out whostolemivote.org when she returns to the office.

Scott Gifford
Scott Gifford

Hi Shawn,

Yes, what happened in Michigan's primary this year was a fiasco. We were completely disenfranchised from the primary process because the state and national parties couldn't sit down and work something out to ensure we had our vote. The party prioritized strict adherence to party rules over the principle of "one person, one vote", and Michigan's voters lost out.

It's important that those of us who are angry about this let party leaders and our state legislators know. I have set up a Web site with some tips on doing this at http://WhoStoleMiVote.org