March 9th, 2008
02:10 PM ET
6 years ago

Party leaders weighing Michigan, Florida mail-in re-vote

(CNN) – Democratic leaders in Michigan and Florida suggested Sunday they might be moving toward a solution that would allow them to send voting delegates to the party’s presidential nominating convention this summer.

Both states lost that privilege when they scheduled their primaries before February, despite party instructions, and the major candidates did not campaign there in advance of the contests. State and national party leaders and representatives of both remaining presidential candidates have been meeting to try to resolve the dilemma of whether – and how – to ensure representation for the delegate-rich fall swing states.

On Sunday, the idea of a mail-in primary seemed to be gaining some traction, despite concerns over the security and cost of a new vote.

On CNN’s Late Edition, Sens. Robert Menendez of New Jersey and Claire McCaskill of Missouri - surrogates for Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, respectively - did not rule out the prospect. “We can't change (party) rules in the middle of this process,” McCaskill told anchor Wolf Blitzer, but added that if party leaders “come up with a fair way to redo this, whatever they decide, the Obama campaign will respect” the new process.

Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a Clinton supporter, weighed in against the idea. "I would resist a re-vote for a couple of major reasons," she said on Fox News Sunday. "Number one, the re-vote that's being talked about right now would be a mail-in ballot. And we have never conducted a mail-in ballot in Florida. And in an election that is this important, an experiment like that is - now is not the time to test that."

But Michigan Sen. Carl Levin, who released a statement Friday that argued a second primary was impractical, said on ABC’s “This Week” that a mail-in vote was the only logical way to repeat the contest.

“Only a mail kind of a vote will work,” said Levin. “And there’s a lot of logistics which are involved in that which people are looking at right now to see if it is possible. If it is possible, I believe it should be considered.”

State leaders in both Michigan and Florida have expressed a reluctance to fund new Democratic contests. Levin said that he did not believe cost would be an obstacle to a re-vote: “If there’s a practical way to do it which people believe is secure and fair, I believe a couple of million dollars could be raised.”

Hillary Clinton was the only major candidate to appear on the ballot in Levin's home state Democratic primary in January; she won both the Florida and Michigan votes, and her campaign has argued that those results should stand.

On CBS's Face the Nation, Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean said he did not think cost would be an issue in Florida at all.

"Senator (Bill) Nelson and I have had some discussions which could lead to something fruitful, which is that the Florida party would be able to raise money,” said Dean. “They can take unlimited amount of money in Florida. I don't know if that's possible in Michigan or not, and there's some discussion of that too."

Nelson was the original proponent of the mail-in primary idea.

The state’s Republican governor, Charlie Crist, told ABC's "This Week" he would be willing to assist in ensuring a re-vote could take place in Florida.

Dean said the ultimate resolution of the potential crisis was up to state leaders – with the only stipulation that both Clinton and Barack Obama feel it is fair.

“I have to run these rules so that the losing side feels it’s been treated fairly,” Dean said on “This Week,” adding that he has discussed possible solutions with both Nelson and Levin.

–CNN's Peter Lanier contributed to this report


Filed under: Florida • Michigan
soundoff (53 Responses)
  1. Mike

    In all fairness, all votes for an actual candidate should remain and not change. If the people came out, it should stick. As far as other voters, I think that they should just have regular elections. I think a mail-in could have potential for extremely high levels of fraud.

    March 9, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  2. barry

    .DEMOCRATS NOT LETTING THE PEOPLES VOICE COUNT....FLORIDA 2000, OHIO 2004 DEMOCRATS AND HOWARD DEAN 2008. THIS IS HOW TO PUT A REPUBLICAN IN THE WHITE HOUSE AFTER 7 YEARS OF FAILED POLICIES FROM THE ECONOMY, HEALTH CARE, AND THE 2 WARS....WAKE UP HOWARD DEAN AND GET IT DONE NOW.

    March 9, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  3. Christian, Tampa FL

    Fine, let's do it. Just stop talking about it and give us a date so that we can start campaigning here in the sunshine state.

    March 9, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  4. Eith

    What would happen to the younger crowds' votes?

    March 9, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  5. Caleb

    The mail-in vote would be an excellent idea and there is no way EITHER side can claim it is unfair. It gives Clinton a chance to catch up, the obama camp can try and prove they can win in big states, and the people of Florida and Michigan have a say like everyone else. This is the only logical explanation.

    March 9, 2008 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  6. rrr

    I am asking AL GORE to solve this issue by doing what is right...COME OUT AND GIVE YOUR ENDORSEMENT TO OBAMA WHO HAS GARNISHED MORE STATES, MORE DELEGATES AND MORE POPULAR VOTE. This will end this issue and solidify the democratic party going into the national election. Stand up Mr. Gore for the sake of your party and the country!

    March 9, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  7. Lana

    This sounds like Bush v. Gore 2000, all over again. Allow both states a re-vote in a primary ONLY, and with a PAPER TRAIL. No caucuses ( disenfranchisement of elderly, poor and working, etc); no mail-in; no on-line.

    The money can be raised by the campaigns, private donors; heck, I will donate to the cause of justice to give people their voice.

    March 9, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  8. Free Man

    How about running a re-vote which most feel is fair to voters but only awarding 50% of the value in order to be fair to States who followed the rules.

    March 9, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  9. Geri Renfroe

    The Democratic National Committee should stand by their decision to disallow the votes in Florida and Michigan. I feel the media is not doing their part to encourage the committee to do so.

    It really isn't fair to the voting public but their elected officials who speak for them made the decision to break the rules knowing what would happen. Neither is it fair to ask the voters to do the whole thing over again.

    Michigan making reference to having caucuses will be totally unfair to Hillary. News media states over and over she doesn't do well in a caucus. The reason for that is us senior citizens are not able to participate in such lengthy ordeals. I for one voted early in Texas to avoid the lines but couldn't attend the caucus due to health reasons. I use oxygen, would have run out two or three times had I attempted attending the caucus. Us seniors regardless of health are just not able to participate in such lengthy processes, we need to get in and out and back home. Thanks

    March 9, 2008 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  10. Against the Cult

    Let Oprah foot the bill.

    While she is at it, she could offer up free cars to those with proof that they voted for Obama despite their predisposition...

    March 9, 2008 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  11. Mrs. America

    Florida and Michigan make the Democrats look totally stupid.

    March 9, 2008 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  12. Becky

    I don't care how they do it, they better count the votes. Dems should not disenfranchise voters after what happened to Gore!! And just for your info. Obama removed his name!!!!!!! from Mich. He also ran adds in Florida on cable, and some of us know it was intentional. If Hillary had done that there would have been a very loud outcry!!

    March 9, 2008 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  13. Fred

    What I would like to know is why wasn't anyone such as the governors in the state of FL and MI didn't say anything regarding voters being disinfranchised when they both agreed to the party rules. Why did they wait until way after the fact to make this such a major issue. This is so ridiculous I can't believe these are actual elected officials. Clinton campaign thinks they can just have things done there way, why not just split the delegates and call it a day and you won't have to worry about raising any type of money, but nope the clinton campaign is not hardly for that they want it just because her name was on the ballot in FL well what about MI what is your solution there clinton campaign? How could you say you won MI when you didn't compete with anyone and in FL when you agreed not to campaigne there at all I'll tell you why is because your trailing behind barack in delegates and you will do anything to get them. same ole politics as usual ENOUGH IS ENOUGH no more bushes or clintons in the white house.

    OBAMA 08!!

    March 9, 2008 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  14. Bad idea........!

    Well, since all peoples names were on the Florida ballot and over 1.4 million people voted – trust me – they know everyones names and what they stood for at that point in the campaigns. To say that Senator Obama did not campaign there is only a half truth – the rest of the truth is that he did have ads that ran in Florida over the airwaves. Seat the delegates of Florida as they voted!

    Now, Michigan – hummmm – and so Senator Clinton left her name on the ballot. Looks like experience to me...and looks like the boys followed by leaving their names on in Florida. Why should Senator Obama be given a second chance at Michigan when it was by his own chosing to remove his name from the ballot. Call it his learning curve from a more experienced Senator Clinton and those votes should also remain as voted. Everyone knew who he was and he had his campaign people there in Michigan voting in opposition to Senator Clinton. Just because he could go and outspend Senator Clinton to buy the votes......well, he and his campaign made a poor decision. Sorry Charlie!

    March 9, 2008 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  15. ron

    Redoing mich. or FL would be against the law any way they do it!

    You can not police it and there would be rampant fraud, lawsuits etc.

    March 9, 2008 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  16. JAMES IN BAMA

    I DONT THINK CONSIDERING THE WAY EVERYTHING HAS HAPPENED AND THE TOTAL COST OF IT THAT WE CAN HAVE A RE-DO IN FLORIDA. I MEAN WHAT WILL IT BE NEXT, A BEST 2 OUT OF 3. IT WAS AS FAIR AS IT COULD BE IN FLORIDA, NO ONE CAMPAINGED, NO ONE RAN ADS OR VISITED THE STATE. VOTES WERE CAST AND THE DELEGATES SHOULD BE SEATED AS THEY WERE. BUT IN THE MICHIGAN CONTEST, WELL YOU HAVE TO SOMEHOW TRY TO RE-DO IT IF AT ALL POSSIBLE. IT WAS NOT FAIR TO OBAMA AND AT LEAST IT SHOULD BE DONE WHERE EVERYONE WILL HAVE THE SAME CHANCE. I THINK THAT ALL OF THOSE DELEGATES SHOULD BE SEATED THOUGH NO MATTER IF THERE IS A RE-DO OR NOT. YOU CANT JUST TELL MILLIONS OF PEOPLE THAT THERE VOTES DONT COUNT, NO MATTER IF IT WAS COMPLETELY FAIR OR NOT. SO LETS KEEP FLORIDA'S PRIMARY RESULTS AND RE-DO MICHIGANS, AND GET THOSE DELEGATS SEATED AS SOON AS POSSIBLE TO GET THIS STRAIGHT FAST!!!

    March 9, 2008 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  17. nmben

    I wonder why the Democratic Party leaders are allowing this soap opera to continue, fully aware that she has no chance in hell to catch up with Obama.
    A ~150 delegate lead in a system that allocates by proportional representation is no narrow margin. The corollary: if it was narrow, she would easily overcome it. Then again, the journalistic body is mostly (with some exception) made of the sector of the student body that is particularly weak in math and not consciousness of doing homework. They would rather repackage campaign propaganda than do their own analyses.
    Please spare us more of the blood sport the Clintons’ are playing. I hope that the Obama campaign does not agree to any kind of “re-do” in Michigan and Florida – it is another trap meant to weaken Mr. Obama. While the Democrats would going through a futile exercise of either 1) not change the present course, or 2) reverse the result of the fair process up to this point, the Republicans are defining the message and expectation for the Fall campaign.
    Is the Democratic Party such a hostage to the Clintons? This is cutting into muscle.

    March 9, 2008 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  18. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    I don't believe the Florida and Michigan voting situation has such a complex resolution as some would like us to believe. Take Obama out of the equation, he does have the most delegates, and Hillary becomes the grand prize winner, problem solved. So the DNC needs to stop making excuses and enforce the rules as they stand, I'm not buying into excuses and I'm sure many democrats are not, so let's get on with it, Obama has the most delegates, period, zero.

    March 9, 2008 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  19. Judy

    Whenever you try to change the rules in the middle ot the game you will have a "train wreck". Rules are made to keep the order. FOLLOW THE RULES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    March 9, 2008 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  20. Amanda from MI

    Sounds like another travesty of a democracy for my state!

    March 9, 2008 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  21. FOR HILLARY

    isn't this going to be more of a mess than the usual voting process? you will then hear about mailing not arriving on the deadline etc.

    March 9, 2008 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  22. Grif

    I want to see a Republican Government in Office: In the USA.

    So Who care's? Still Imagine a Brand New, Democratic Party!

    "American Conservative... Party! To try to Unite the Country. But, as it was,

    Hundred years ago... 1909AD.

    March 9, 2008 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  23. James

    Ok, why don't they run a caucus or a primary? The argument of doing a mail in or an internet primary is absurd. Neither of these mechanisms for voting have ever been tested and even the casual observer realizes they are processes that can easily be tainted with fraud.

    If you can't run a primary due to cost, go with a caucus. Hillary allegedly already won these races, so what is wrong with a caucus. her arguments against caucuses are not only absurd, but also insulting to the voter. Hillary likes to count caucuses in New Hampshire and Nevada, yet has issues when she loses a caucus and claims they are not democratic.

    Seriously, get over yourself. If Hillary truly feels she won these contests, the caucus process will have no impact. I like everyone else realize why Hillary is concerned. She knows she can not win a competitive process in these states and realize that a loss in either state will be the nail in her political coffin.

    March 9, 2008 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  24. Reality check #1

    Anything but an all day caucus. Florida should leave the vote as is, both candidates were on the ticket, and only the loser had television ads in Florida.

    March 9, 2008 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  25. fairness

    Possible only if the counting is monitored and completely fair (e.g., all eligible voters are well aware of the process and deadlines, counting is completely transparent, etc.)

    March 9, 2008 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
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