March 9th, 2008
02:10 PM ET
10 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. j

    wat can the democratic party not understand.. florida and michigan broke the rules and knew what they were doing.... why r they still trying to find a way to keep their delegates. hello just take away the 331 delegates neeeded to win the nomintaion

    March 9, 2008 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  2. LC

    and how much time will they allow the candidates to campaign?

    March 9, 2008 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  3. Obama 08

    How can you "win" anything if the other candidates weren't on the ballot, or someone who was no longer in the race is on the ballot and when people did not vote because they were told it didn't count?

    March 9, 2008 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  4. Lynn

    Perhaps CNN should either update the delegate count or star the false numbers they are reporting as news as inaccurate.

    March 9, 2008 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  5. bond

    Maybe Florida should be seceded from the union when any national elections roll around sheeezsh! McCain and republicans are loving all of this nonsense.

    Easy fix, 50-50. Its fair and costs no one money.

    March 9, 2008 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  6. Joel

    Obama's primary wins are in States which are mostly republican and will more than likely vote for Mccain. Wyoming, Montana, Utah, Idaho
    Washington state, Oregon Kansas (Dole country) just for starters.
    New York will Vote Mccain because of Bloomberg.
    Texas is Republican . Arkansas, Oklahoma , North Carolina
    Florida and even California will not vote for Obama, because of Governor Arnold./Shriver. Sen, Obama's record (what there is of it)
    will be scrutinized carefully and his inexperience will then be revealed
    by his 3 years in the U.S. Senate with no real accomplishments.
    Does anyone think the Super Delegates will cast their votes (incase of a deadlock) for Obama? Who's kidding who.

    March 9, 2008 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  7. JumbledSinTax

    It is inaccurate to characterize any forthcoming votes in Michigan and Florida as revotes for the Democratic Primary – they have not held primary elections this year, they held an unsanctioned exercise in futility. There should not be discussion of how to make the existing ballots count, nor a presumption that Clinton has already won these states in any manner. I also wonder if John Edwards and Bill Richardson should still be splitting the vote?

    March 9, 2008 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  8. john

    the onley reason they are givin michigan/florida trouble is becouse they know obama wont win either one.

    March 9, 2008 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  9. Pia

    I can see where this re-vote is going if Obama wins in either of the two states. Hanging chads anyone? Hillary will declare that she deserves yet another re-vote. She will never stop until the win is hers and by hook or by crook......

    Hillary agreed to the rules and that should stand. If anyone took the Fla. and Mich. voter's rights away, it was she and the other Democratic candidates by agreeing to the rules months in advance.

    March 9, 2008 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  10. MLH

    If leaving Florida and Michigan out of the mix is so intolerable, why didn't the concerned citizens of Florida and Michigan lobby their Democratic parties BEFORE the primaries? Come on, people. Have we completely lost our capacity for accountability? Having set the rules, the DNC should grow a pair and simply refuse to seat the delegates from these two states.

    March 9, 2008 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  11. Gary in CT

    Everyone else has an opinion........I say give Hillary her 55% of the Florida delegates that she won (115) and give Obama the rest (95). Give Hillary the 50% she won in Michigan (78) and Obama the rest (78). She's still never going to catch him.

    March 9, 2008 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  12. roxana

    I am a Floridian and we did have a primary.... Apparently some people don't like the result and want to experiment with a mail in ballot. My comment is, the Republican Governor and a Republican legislation moved up the primary and now. democratic voters have to pay the consequences? I SAY, UNACCEPTABLE!

    March 9, 2008 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  13. Tom Wittmann

    A mail-in vote is an acceptable form for issues which are not all
    important OR IF SO, for an a reduced percentaGe of of the totaL vote..



    Has anybody thought that a much simplier way would be:




    March 9, 2008 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  14. Wendy

    I think that a mail in vote would lead to a lot of voter fraud and is not the way to go. The elections that were already held were fair and should be counted as they are. Obama took his name off of the ballot in Michigan and then campaigned to have his supporters vote uncomiitted. Obama also ran a national ad that was seen in Florida when the candidates had agreed not to campaign in Florida or Michigan; so if anything, Obama had the advantage in these primaries. The voters of Michigan and Florida who came out in record numbers to vote should not have their votes disenfranchised, they deserve to have their votes counted. Let's quit playing games with our right to vote and let everyone's vote be counted!!

    March 9, 2008 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  15. Don White

    I don't understand why the delegate count cannot be adjusted down to remove Florida and Michigan, so that the democratic candidate can reach a target number of delegate. It seems to me, that should have been taken into consideration before a state violated the rules,

    March 9, 2008 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  16. America

    The Leaders who made these rules should agree to correct this “insane” rule and let the votes count the first time.

    Florida has voted in the Primary. If this truly is a democracy Florida votes should count the first time.

    The Primary date changing from January until June “Anytime” before the date of the Democratic Convention should be acceptable.

    Who makes these rules? This is taking away Freedoms from Americans! Whoever decided this should step down from the job and the rules need to be corrected.

    This really is not American for the votes not to be count the first time!!!!

    March 9, 2008 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  17. Lynn D

    Why do we need to redo the primaries in Michigan and Florida? Senator Obama had the option of leaving his name on the Michigan ballot and he chose not to do so. But Senator Obama did have a group titled "Uncommitted" that campaigned against Senator Clinton and the uncommitted group did vote against. In spite of this, Senator Clinton won in Michigan so she gets the majority of the delegates. In Florida, no one campaigned, all the names were on the ballot and Senator Clinton won so she gets the majority of the delegates. I don't understand why we have to waste money on a redo. The voters already voted and chose who they wanted. Some Obama people didn't vote cause they thought their votes would not count. Some Clinton people didn't vote cause they also thought their votes would not count. Divide the delegates according to the percentage that each candidate received and be done with it. (In Michigan, Senator Obama would get the uncommitted's percentage of votes.) Senator Clinton and Senator Obama will both receive delegates. I don't understand why everyone is making this so difficult. If we redo these states, then let's redo other states where one or the other candidate didn't like the results. Howard Dean: Let these states seat the delegates based on the percentage of votes each candidate received during the voting process. The money for a redo would be wasted money. Please seat the delegates according to the percentage of votes received during the primaries in Michigan and Florida. Sometimes it is just best to do the right thing.

    March 9, 2008 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  18. gene

    If the Democratic party hopes to win in the fall, they better work out a redo of the primary elections for MIchigan and Florida. It needs to be a vote on premises and not mail in and should be limited to Democrats.

    March 9, 2008 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  19. Charlotte

    Anything but caucus, in Wyoming less then 9000 people decided for the whole state, how can this be fair. It is hard enough to get people to the polls much less stand around for hours. Only young people with nothing else to do can stand around for hours, maybe that's why Obama wins them, suppose?

    March 9, 2008 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  20. Ron

    In my opinion Flrida and Michigan decided to buck the rules because of shear arrogance. What the DNC needs to do is seat them and split the delegates 50-50. This will set a tone in the future that if you make an agreement and then break it there will be REAL consequences. What REALLY should happen is the people of Florida and Michigan need to make sure they don't reelect the knuckleheads that made the decision to break the original agreement with the DNC....NOBODY seems to be talking about this. I live in Michigan.

    March 9, 2008 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  21. Rene Dawson

    As a Michigan voter who voted, 'just in case my vote would count", I am furious with my state and the DNC. Clearly, I am now convinced that politicians live in a bubble of self-aggrandizement and not for the people. "The People" were not considered, nor asked when our state decided to break the rules. How dare you, the almighty party, of "THE PEOPLE". Yes, remember us, we voted you in. Secondly, in all fairness to "The People", we need to have a fair election here. Also, just when I was surrending to the Obama phenomenon, the man who claims to be for the people isn't speaking up for the voters of these two states. Shame on you....who we truly are is always revealed over time. Is this how you would run the White House, or would you just occupy the space.

    March 9, 2008 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  22. SDunn

    That's got voter fraud written all over it!

    March 9, 2008 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  23. Kim, Los Angeles, CA

    For the good of the party and our country, Hillary should be President and Obama should be Vice President. Hillary is more experienced and knowledgeable about the issues, especially foreign affairs, the economy, and health care. With his recent lies on Nafta/Canada and
    his advisers telling the British Press that he is "only taking a hard line on withdrawl through the election", it is quite obvious Obama lacks the leadership and judgment skills to be Commander in Chief.
    Plus, McCain will demolish him on those issues in the Fall. Obama is not even in command of the troops on his campaign. It really is the best of both worlds, Hillary is President for 8 years; and then Obama, who will be ready by then, will be president for 8 years. We will have
    16 years of Democrat leadership in the White House

    March 9, 2008 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  24. david

    It looks like CNN is ready to pay for it. do you think that mail in vote is quite easy? there is only way to solve this problem.split the delegates 50-50 for two candidates. No way to to mail in revote.

    March 9, 2008 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  25. Kate

    This voting system does not belong in the 21st century. This is the first time I saw the wholesale graft involved trying to acquire delegate votes. This should not exist . The vote of the american people is the only vote that should be counted, not delegate votes devised to sway the vote to the choice that the party thinks would be best. The party's idea to have candidates remove their names from the ballots of these two states was incorrect, after all the primary is a voting process to elect the candidate for the president of the US. If there are no names on the ballot, who were the voters to elect, thus denying them their vote. Obama made a bad choice in removing his name in protest. This was a time for change, he should have been there for the voters, instead of this archaic system. Hillary stayed for the voters and has been called a cheater. She said she was for change and indicated this by her action. The solution for the Michigan & Florida delegate votes, and costing no money at all is to cancel all the delegate votes and let the vote of the american people be counted as it already stands and give back honesty to our voting system. We need one set primary day throughout the states, not all these different dates & have the debates on tv were everyone can view them. I don't need to meet them, I want to know what they are about. There is no reason why so much money should be involved. There would be more candidates to choose from.

    March 9, 2008 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
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