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article imageMichigan's presidential primary law unconstitutional

By Cynthia Trowbridge     Mar 28, 2008 in Politics
A federal judge has ruled that Michigan's presidential primary law is unconstitutional. She has blocked the state from giving voter lists to the state's major political parties from the Jan. 15 election.
U.S. District Judge Nancy Edmunds said the part of the law that would only have given the lists to the state Republican and Democratic parties is unconstitutional. She agreed with the American Civil Liberties Union, that giving the list only to the two major parties violated the rights of all the other political parties.
According to Edmunds' decision which was issued after a court hearing in Detroit, said that the statute
"benefits the major political parties to the detriment of others." She ruled that the state does not have to give the voter's party preference to anyone, but if they do then the list should be available to everyone.
The suit had been filed against Michigan Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land by the ACLU. They were representing the Green, Libertarian and Reform parties of Michigan, the Metro Times and Winning Strategies, a political consulting firm. A law passed in 2007 made it a misdemeanor for anyone other than the major parties to use the lists.
State Elections Director Chris Thomas said they do not plan to appeal the decision and will not give the lists to anyone.
The decision has been watched closely by political observers, especially Clinton's Democratic supporters. Clinton has been pushing for a do-over primary in Michigan.
According to Michigan Democratic Party Chairman Mark Brewer the ruling has probably ended the chances for a new Democratic election which many feel is needed to to try and resolve the ongoing dispute about what to do about Michigan's delegation to the Democratic National Convention. Without the list there would be no way to check if someone had voted in the Republican primary in January.
Brewer said, "If the Michigan Democratic Party cannot get the lists, then our friends at the ACLU may have driven the final nail in the coffin of any re-vote in Michigan,"
Even though Clinton won the Democratic primary, Michigan's Democrats were stripped of all their delegates to this summer's nominating convention for scheduling an early primary in violation of party rules.
Obama had taken his name off of the Michigan ballot and will not agree for a do-over vote.
Clinton trails Obama nationally.
More about Michigan, Presidential primary law, Judge rules
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