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Obama wants full voting power for Florida and Michigan

Latest update : 2008-08-04

US Presidential Barack Obama called for the renegade states of Michigan and Florida to be restored with full voting power, after having halved voting rights in May through a party decision.

Democratic White House hopeful Barack Obama, now safely secure in the party nomination, called Sunday for the renegade states of Michigan and Florida to be restored with full voting power.

His call represents an olive branch to Democratic officials and voters in two states that will be vital players in November's presidential election.

But it could also open Obama to charges of opportunism after his campaign had fought hard to punish the states and so curtail Hillary Clinton's dogged challenge for the Democratic nomination.

Obama said that despite a hard-fought compromise struck in late May, the two states' delegates should enjoy full participation in the late-August Democratic convention for the sake of party unity.

Obama said he had supported the Democratic Party's efforts to enforce its primary calendar. Those efforts saw Florida and Michigan initially stripped of all their delegates for advancing their nominating contests into January.

"As we prepare to come together in Denver, however, we must be -- and will be -- united in our determination to change the course of our nation," Obama wrote in a letter to the party's credentials committee.

"To that end, Democrats in Florida and Michigan must know that they are full partners and colleagues in our historic mission to reshape Washington and lead our country in a new direction," the Illinois senator said.

"Accordingly, I ask that the credentials committee... pass a resolution that would entitle each delegate from Florida and Michigan to cast a full vote."

The credentials committee will meet on August 24 to decide the final slate of delegates to the Democratic convention, which starts the next day in Denver.

Under the May compromise by the party's rules and bylaws committee, delegates from Michigan and Florida were restored to the presidential convention, but with their voting power halved.

The deal scuppered Clinton's hopes of making a significant dent in Obama's delegate lead, and the former first lady backed out of the race on June 7, after the final primaries.

Clinton won both unofficial contests, though neither candidate campaigned in Florida, and Obama was not on the ballot on Michigan.

Clinton welcomed Obama's intervention with the credentials committee, whose co-chairs pledged Sunday to deliver "a fair process and a unified Democratic Party so that we can win in November."

"The Democratic Party has always stood up for the principle of counting every person's vote," the New York senator said in a statement, noting Obama's call for the two delegations to get back their full representation.

"This is the right position for the Democratic Party and for the country and I urge the credentials committee to restore full votes to Florida and Michigan delegates," said Clinton, who has promised her support for Obama.

Date created : 2008-08-04