The law that pushed Michigan's presidential primary to Jan. 15 was ruled unconstitutional by a court Wednesday, at least temporarily jeopardizing the state's plan to leap to the front of the 2008 nomination contests.
Ingham County Circuit Court Judge William Collette ruled that part of the law passed by the state Legislature setting up the primary election is unconstitutional because it prevents public access to some information related to voting records in the primary.
The ruling could be appealed. The Legislature also could change the law in time for the primary to be held.
Political consultant Mark Grebner and several others sought the judge's ruling to keep Michigan's presidential primary from going forward until issues are resolved over who will have access to information showing which voters asked for Republican ballots and which took Democratic ones.
No public record would be kept, but the state political parties would be given that information, which Grebner wants.
Grebner said his intent is not to stop the primary - all he wants is access to the information that was guarded from public disclosure in the legislation that set up the election.
"If someone can figure out a way to save it, that's fine with us," Grebner said.
Michigan Republican Party Chairman Saul Anuzis said Wednesday he still plans on a Jan. 15 primary.
"Judge Collette's ruling made it clear that there is no problem with holding a presidential primary in early January, and that is encouraging," Anuzis said in a statement. "This is just a 'hiccup' in the process ..."
Michigan Democratic and Republican party leaders are already under pressure from their national party leaders to rollback the early date.
Michigan Democrats who support the Jan. 15 presidential primary date said Tuesday they've got the votes on the party's executive committee to defeat any efforts to switch the date or hold a caucus instead.
The Michigan Democratic Party's executive committee met Wednesday night in Lansing, but pulled from the agenda a scheduled vote to make the Jan. 15 primary date official. State party chairman Mark Brewer said party leaders need time to review the ruling and their options.