Democratic National Committee rules require that the two states lose at least half of their convention delegates for holding elections too early, the party's legal experts wrote in a 38-page memo.
The memo was sent late Tuesday to the 30 members of the party's Rules and Bylaws Committee, which plans to meet Saturday at a Washington hotel. The committee is considering ways to include the two important general election battlegrounds at the nominating convention in August, and the staff analysis says seating half the delegates is "as far as it legally can" go.
Saturday's meeting is expected to draw a large crowd, with Clinton supporters among those encouraging a protest outside demanding that all the states' delegates be seated. Proponents of full reseating have mailed committee members Florida oranges and pairs of shoes to get their attention.
DNC officials are concerned about a potentially large turnout at the "Count Every Vote" rally outside the event and have asked the hotel staff to increase security to keep everyone safe. The DNC says the roughly 500 seats available to the public inside were taken within three or four minutes of becoming available online Tuesday.
The DNC analysis does not make recommendations for how the Rules and Bylaws Committee should vote, but gives context from the party's charter and bylaws for the committee to consider.
The analysis said there are two options to include half the delegations - either allow half the number of delegates from each state into the convention or allow the full delegations to attend, but give them each half a vote. "The rule does not actually specify whether the reduction is to be accomplished on the basis of delegate positions or delegate votes," the analysis said, giving committee members some justification for sending the entire delegations with half-votes as some leaders in the states want.
The analysis also underscores a prickly problem: If the Rules and Bylaws Committee decides to restore any of the states' delegates, there is not a simple way to divide them between Clinton and.
That's especially true in Michigan, where Obama had his name pulled from the ballot. He didn't have the option of removing his name in Florida, but all the candidates signed a pledge not to campaign in either state.
Clinton won the majority of the vote in Florida and Michigan and has been arguing that the delegates should be fully restored according to the results of the January primaries. But even if they were, it would not be enough for her to overtake Obama's delegate lead.
As it becomes clear that Obama likely will win the nomination, he has been working to win over voters in the two states with visits in recent days. He plans to return to Michigan on Monday.
The DNC staff analysis argues that the Rules and Bylaws Committee was fully within its rights to strip all 368 delegates from the two states when they scheduled primaries in January. Party rules said their nominating contests could be no earlier than Feb. 5. Michigan voted on Jan. 15, Florida on Jan. 29.
The analysis also said there is an option to restore 100 percent of the delegates - by a recommendation of the Credentials Committee that meets later this summer. However, that would mean a final decision would not be made until the first day of the convention in Denver since Credentials Committee decisions have to be approved by the full convention as it convenes - risking a floor fight.
Alice Huffman, a member of the Rules and Bylaws Committee from California who is supporting Clinton, said she has been barraged with e-mails in the past few weeks. She said the senders include Floridians who are upset that they are being disenfranchised, and she has started printing out the messages so she'll have a record to explain her decision.
"This is a really, really significant issue to women. Obviously it's a significant item to people of color too. So I'm just preparing myself as best I can," said Huffman, president of the California NAACP.
The shoe shipments are being organized by WalkAMileInOurShoes.org and the orange idea was promoted by a group called Florida Demands Representation, which plans to bus Floridians to Saturday's rally outside the meeting. Blaine Whitford, a volunteer helping organize the effort, said they are unaligned with any candidate.
Susie Buell, one of Clinton's top fundraisers, has formed a political action committee encouraging women to support full seating of the delegates. The WomenCountPAC has taken out ads in USA Today and The New York Times promoting attendance at the rally.