College students in Tallahassee disagree with the Democratic National Committee’s March 17 decision not to allow Florida to hold a second presidential primary election.
“I think they should do another one so the candidates can obtain more delegates,” said Florida A&M University student Shaquana Harper, 20, a junior political science and English student from Orlando.
David Grimes, a representative of College Democrats at Florida State University, also said a second primary would have helped the candidates.
“I think it’s a very complex issue, but I think the best thing to do right now is to hold another primary so the Democratic candidates can solicit more voters,” Grimes said.
Grimes, 22, a senior political science and interdisciplinary social science student from FSU, added that Florida should hold another election because if it does not, the state and Democratic Party will disenfranchise the citizens of a very important state. He described not having another primary election as unthinkable.
“We criticize other countries for the same thing of not having people’s vote count,” he said.
FAMU student Gary Cooper, 21, a business administration student from Tallahassee, said voters have not been disenfranchised in this case because “they understood beforehand that neither candidate would be awarded any delegates and they still came out to vote.”
But Cooper and Harper said even more people would come out to vote in a second primary because some understood the Jan. 29 primary did not count toward the seating of delegates at the Democratic National Convention and therefore did not go to the polls.
“It will give Florida voters another opportunity to vote who they really want to be president,” Cooper said.
Mario Henderson, a FAMU College Democrats representative, said a lot of people might be discouraged to vote in a second primary because people are tired of politics. He also said if the DNC does not seek another primary, it would hurt the party in the general election.
“If the Democrats don’t seek another primary, voters will think Democrats don’t care about Florida and they will vote against them to hurt the political party,” said Henderson, 20, a junior political science student from Daytona Beach.
Grimes agreed that had the DNC allowed Florida to hold another primary, many people would not have voted because they are frustrated.
“They (voters) feel that they have been disenfranchised and the government does not care about them,” he said.
Cooper, Grimes, Harper and Henderson said they prefer the second primary be a regular election in which voters go to precincts. According to the Florida legislature, the process would have cost the state millions of dollars.
“I would prefer a regular precinct election, but if it is more feasible for the state and the candidates, then I’m OK with a mail-in ballot,” Harper said.
Henderson said he thinks the Democratic Party should pay for the second primary.
“They are the individuals who are counting on the votes of Floridians,” Henderson said.
Grimes said he believed the state should sponsor the primary but knew it was not likely to happen. He added that it was the Republican legislators who pushed to move the primary up to Jan. 29 from Feb. 5.
“I don’t think the legislature is going to put up the money for Democrats to vote again, so the mail-in ballot is the best way,” Grimes said. “It’s unfortunate, but I think it’s the best way to go.”
Cooper said he disagreed with the notion to have mail-in ballots. It would not be an accurate count.
“People usually don’t remember to mail their ballots back in, although they have the intention to,” he said.
According to Cooper, a precinct election would bring enough excitement for more people to want to vote to have their voices heard. Cooper, an Obama supporter, said that any opportunity for people to voice their opinions again is always good. He said Obama might have gained more votes in a second primary because his supporters would know that their votes would count.
Harper, an Obama supporter, also said Obama would gain more votes.
“Obama wasn’t that far behind in the original primary and will win more votes the second time because more people know more about him,” he said.
Henderson, a Clinton supporter, said the results would not be that different from the original primary. He said there were millions of people who came out to vote in the first primary, and people know whom they are going to vote for.
“It’s not like people in Florida didn’t know what was going on during the first primary,” Henderson said. “We’ve been watching the debates and coverage as they (the candidates) have traveled around the country.”