March 7th, 2008
02:00 PM ET
13 years ago

Obstacles remain for Michigan, Florida


Obstacles remain for re-votes in Florida and Michigan (AP Photo)

(CNN) - Elected officials, state and national party leaders and campaign advisers in Michigan and Florida are confronting major obstacles in their quest to stage new Democratic votes in those states that would allow delegations to be seated at the party’s summer convention.

Negotiations for a new Michigan caucus fell apart Thursday evening, and were to re-start Friday, according to a source close to discussions.

The plans were stymied when the chairman of the Michigan Democratic party, Mark Brewer, reported that a new vote – which would involve an estimated two million voters - would cost $10 million.

The source said the cost "is a very real challenge," since the state party, which had agreed not to use taxpayer money to fund any re-vote, is uncertain how they would cover the cost. One option under consideration was to cover expenses through a combination of fundraising, money provided by the Democratic National Committee, and funds directly from the campaigns themselves.

Now a group has been formed to "figure out a solution and start again.” The group includes: Debbie Dingell, GM Union President Ron Gettelfinger, and Rep. Caroline Cheeks Kilpatrick. They will talk to the state party, the DNC and the campaigns to determine how to raise the money – though the source tells CNN the campaigns have not made it clear to the other parties precisely what they want, or what they would be willing to agree to.

One plan would call for a "firehouse caucus" that would take place at some point between mid-May and June 6. A "firehouse caucus" is an all-day vote that is run by the state party; it is called a caucus because the party cannot legally hold a primary: and unlike the procedure in a typical caucus, voters are free to show up throughout the day and voting is done by secret ballot.

In Florida, Florida Department of State spokesman Sterling Ivey, which oversees the State Board of Elections, said that any statewide primary would take at least 90 days to organize from the moment a plan is set in motion.

One potential snag is the fact that 15 counties in that state are changing over from touchscreen voting equipment to optical scanners. That new equipment is required by law to be in place by July 1 - so that may be the earliest a statewide vote could take place.

Another obstacle, as in Michigan, could be the cost. Estimates of the price tag for a new vote run as high as $20 million – although a mail-order election idea being floated by some Democratic state senators in Florida would cost significantly less, around $5 million.

And that plan comes with its own set of logistical headaches: there would have to be special legislation and state direction involved – and the process itself, which would be unprecedented in state history, would require special safeguards to ward off potential fraud.

- CNN’s Jessica Yellin and Rich Phillips

soundoff (161 Responses)
  1. Sue, Michigan

    Say what you will, Whiskey, but I as a Michigan voter, did not buck the DNC, and I am not happy about being taken out of the process. Maybe the DNC rules are stupid, and need to be looked at. Did our Governor know what the penalties were? Yes, but here in Michigan, the economy has been an issue for a long time, and she was trying to get the economy into the conversation. She did succeed in that, because the Republicans who were here did have to talk to auto workers and union people, who have been hit the hardest by this slump. Now that there is no way for the candidates to take the lead without us, we are suddenly important again, and need to be counted in some way. And it is easy for those of you in other states to thumb your noses at us, but be fair-we did not break any rules-we just voted when they told us to vote. Would you rather we had all stayed home? Do you care?

    March 7, 2008 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  2. isaac

    I think the best solution to this problem is for the DNC is to share the delegate equal among the candidate, because she don’t want causes and he don’t want primaries. So the best best is to share the delegates. And to be frankly there is no money to do another election. So from my view that the best, because if you look at it. They share the delegate equally. So what the need of doing a new election. To be fair they should share the delegates

    March 7, 2008 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  3. Mike Connelly

    I believe it would be completely wrong to seat the delagates in Michigan without everybodies name on the ballot. I'm from west michigan. I didn't vote in the primary because of this. I feel a revote is the only way to be fair in this election process. If the state of Michigan has to ante up the money than so be it.

    March 7, 2008 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  4. Mary W.

    I vote the Democratic National Committee immediately start soliciting and taking non-tax-exempt public contributions to help fund new votes or caucuses in Michigan and Florida, to defray the costs and break the logjam. I'd certainly throw fifty bucks toward such a worthy goal and I'm guessing I'm not alone.

    March 7, 2008 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  5. Charlotte

    I still believe the election process should be by time zones. All the states in the Pacific Standart Time vote one month Mountain Time the next month, etc.

    March 7, 2008 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  6. Nomination solution

    if the delegate count is close enough and Clinton can claim nomination with superdelegates, then I think the only solution is this: Clinton/ Obama ticket for Democrat nomination, However Clinton should only serve 1 term in the white house. This way, Obama backers can wait only 4 years, and Obama can become president in only 4 years (if Clinton does not screw it up while in ofiice for the next 4 years). And by then, H Clinton may have help the Economy, and she can retire because she will be 64 then.

    March 7, 2008 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  7. mac

    I'm from Michigan, and I don't even want our delegates to count. We screwed ourselves over & now we can't accept the consequences of breaking the rules.

    March 7, 2008 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  8. Joe-Wilmington, DE

    Yes, and if Hillary was ahead she would certainly want "the rules" enforced.

    What a bunch of crap. Change the rules when it suits you.

    Hillary Clinton is a lying, coniving, unethical so-and-so just like her illustrious spouse.

    March 7, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  9. mary cleveland, ohio

    Come on! The voters of Fla. and Michigan knew their vote wouldn't count. How else could Hillary have done so well?! She went down there even though there was no campaingning. Hillary needs to concede to Obama so the Democrats can get on with winning the general election. She lost fair and square.

    Michigan's Govenor is backing Hillary and Florida's Governor is a Republican. The Republicans sent e-mails to the registered Republicans in Ohio asking them to vote for Hillary in our primary on Tuesday because they aren't worried about McCain beating her.

    March 7, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  10. Bebble

    If Florida decides to have a second Presidential Primary this year, Hillary Clinton will begin the race with a sixteen-percentage point lead over Barack Obama.

    The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey shows that Clinton attracts 55% of the Sunshine State Primary Vote while Obama earns 39%.

    March 7, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  11. One Voice

    Florida/Michigan knew well in advance that their delegates would not count and they both blatantly disregarding the Democratic Party ruling. Of all the commentary that I've heard/seen, neither Governor has been asked why they didn't acknowledge the Party's guideline. What message would the Party send, if primaries are held again? Say what you mean, and mean what you say. If money can be found for another primary, then the money should be used to keep a school open, buy new books, fund an arts program...let's put some feet under the Education arena that all politicans love to talk about, yet has done very little about it.

    March 7, 2008 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
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