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. Whiskey

    reading all of these comments from all these dillusional HRC idiots make my head hurt. Give up already for you have been clearly beaten by the supior person and candidate. HRC fans...stop hoping, praying, whining, back door dealing.........and accept utter defeat.

    March 7, 2008 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  2. William

    Unbelievable. Well, I guess Florida and Michigan got exactly what they wanted – prominent star treatment and the ability to decide the primary.

    This country needs to hold ALL primaries on the same day, and not release any results until all polls have closed.

    It should be a straight vote - no more of this "super" delegate stuff where some individual person holds the same sway as a thousand or so regular voters.

    One person, one vote, no early or late primaries. It is the only fair way to do it.

    I am sick and tired of seeing our political system manipulated so many different ways by so many different factions.

    It's time to fix it.

    And get rid of those idiotic electronic, and easily hacked, voting machines. Paper ballots all the way around. There absolutely must be a reliable means to hold a recount.

    March 7, 2008 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  3. Justin

    This is giving me a headache...Let's just have everybody call in their vote by phone or online. haha. It would be full of fraud, but cheap! And doesn't cheap always=good?!?

    March 7, 2008 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  4. CW

    We pay our TAXES online, why can't we VOTE online?

    Why are superdelegates that profess support for one candidate before the convention allowed a seat at the convention?

    How much of BO's $55 mil was federal money given under Welfare programs?

    March 7, 2008 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  5. Karen

    Funny how Americans' point their fingers and send their bombs to countries that don't have democracies, but do we? Are we all going to sit by for the 2nd time, and watch (Florida) republicans determine the outcome of our "democratic" race for a Presedential nominee? Republican Governor Charlie Crist VOTED TO DISENFRANCHISE HIS DEMOCRATIC VOTERS by moving up his primary, now he wants to portray himself as a Governor for all of the people of Florida...give me a break! He knew the consequences of his actions, and now the GOP is going to get exactly what they wanted; the upper hand in the Democratic nomination.
    We are just puppets on a string until we stand up for ourselves.

    March 7, 2008 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  6. Mary in Oklahoma

    This is certainly unfair to the voters in these two states. Are they not citizens whose votes should not be counted when, in Texas, the same voter could vote twice.

    Hope something can be worked out.

    March 7, 2008 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  7. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    I say let Hillary pay for everything, that way she can hide it in her tax returns and it will show her supporters how she will do anything to get elected. And it shouldn't be a problem, Bill just made $20 million in a Dubai investment.

    March 7, 2008 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  8. Corey, Maryland

    I still don't understand this. They knew what would happen, still they did it anyway, and now they are complaining when they had the opportunity to skip this entire problem and just stick with their dates anyway. Now they don't like the punishment and its all their fault. They are like a bunch of whinny teenage girls!!!! If they really must have a recount, then they should just have a caucus, which will be the most least expensive and then they can just shut up, and Barack can be even closer to the nomination!!

    Obama Richardson 08!!!

    March 7, 2008 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  9. ABG

    Just one question... Can voters in Fl and MI can sue their state gov't or the DNC for not counting their votes? The Constitution is clearly on their side! Why is not Obama fighting to have their votes counted? Does he not believe in ALL of the Constitution as he claims he does?

    March 7, 2008 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  10. Barack Oprah

    Obama got a lot of money.
    He can pay for them.
    It's a better idea spending his money for the party than wasting money for losing primary.

    March 7, 2008 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  11. David

    these lawmakers from MI and FL need to be publicly flogged. it is their fault they are in this predicament. and the citizens pay for their stupidity to go against the law/rules.

    March 7, 2008 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  12. Mike in IL

    Like I said this is a disaster!!!

    I love watching CNN analysts telling people last night that Obama is the easier candidate for McCain to beat... Clinton has a valid statement because she has won the states that carry more votes in the electoral college...

    Republicans just keep "fanning the flame"!!!

    March 7, 2008 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  13. Alex H

    All of these obstacles point to one solution:

    Don't do it.

    March 7, 2008 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  14. Greg, NY

    What would be realllly funny and entertaining is if Obama comes out as the winner during a re-vote.

    Watching Hillary try to get the votes not counted after she has argued so hard to get them counted will just be amazing.

    March 7, 2008 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  15. Anne C.

    Let the Florida delegates stand as originally elected. Michigan is more complicated because some of the candidates chose to leave their name off the ballot. They were not required to do so. But the solution is not to hold a firehouse caucus just because it's cheaper. Cost should not be the driving force behind finding a fair solution.

    March 7, 2008 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  16. I agree!

    One vote, one day!

    March 7, 2008 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  17. Chris

    All of this back and forth stuff is getting out of hand… I read all the posts on here and people are fighting over words and gossip… this is getting out of control… this is exactly what the Republicans want to happen…

    Obama's ad in Miss… that was a spin and taken out of context… if you read the story she was commenting on the fact that neither Iowa or Miss have never had a woman elected… She was shocked to hear that…

    What is sad is if you watch CNN last night the Republican Analyst was cut off when he started to talk about how Obama was the easier candidate to beat… A democratic analyst questioned the math scenario because Clinton has won the states that by the electoral college gives her the nomination… all of them were cut off and it is sad that the real stories do not surface…

    Both of them were telling CNN why the super delegates are not taking sides… this has caused a split in the democratic party… the super delegates are afraid of all of the threats of not voting… we are headed for a disaster!!!

    March 7, 2008 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  18. simple thought ?

    one person, one vote. everyone should count.
    and for dean to punish fl. & mi. because of the republican run state
    of fl. that wasn't concerned with the democrats position is just ludercrious.
    sure they agreed not to move up the Dem. race before feb.5th but
    the republican run admin. wasn't worried about the dem.s decision to boycott the states delegates,
    they done it to put the fly in the democrats pudding.
    and dean isn't smart enough to see this?
    come on, that's why dean tried to do a 48 state race( i mean 50) in the first place. so that redistricting would fall to a democratically controlled
    majority could decide on the redistricting not the republicans.
    doesnt anyone remember the Texas feasico?
    one person,one vote for all of America..............

    March 7, 2008 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  19. Mark

    Clinton and Obama knew the rules too. How stupid to not be on the ballot in Michigan?

    Clinton won both states, give her the delegates.

    March 7, 2008 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  20. g

    whats the point of the rules if no one follows them, michigan and forida knew what would happen if they moved their primary up.. clinton trying to count thm is totally underminding the entire democratic party as wel as anyone who agrees with her...

    March 7, 2008 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  21. ForHope

    I am Sorry that Florida and Michigan officials fouled their primarys, but from everything I have read, it was their own faults. The DNC offered to reschedule and absorb a portion of the costs a few months ago and both states refused. Now they cry foul as if they had nothing to do with the decisions made.

    A re-do may not go the way the republicans want as much of the "negative Clinton tactics" may win in Obama's favor with both states. If you are reading these blogs more and more people from Florida and Michigan are coming over to Obama for President.

    I have read Hillary's comments on a Joint-ticket, and I promise you now, if she is on the ticket for President in any way shape or form, McCain will become, as I have had to vote for the past 40 years, the Lesser of two very BIG EVILS.


    March 7, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  22. Bill

    A Harvard Professor should have been less candid, perhaps something from Shakespeare like "Lady Macbeth" would have conveyed the same sense of "tactical flexibility". Obama needs to watch these proceedings in Michigan very closely. This is now the kind of murky, behind closed doors dealmaking that the Macbeths thrive on to further their ambitions. In fact it could be a preview of the convention...

    March 7, 2008 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  23. KMAN

    Since Florida tends to have real problems with holding fair and democratic elections ... it wouldn't be unreasonable to eliminate them from all futurre federal elections ... corruption at it's worse is defined by Florida's voting record.

    March 7, 2008 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  24. Indie in Iowa

    Mail the ballots to all registered democrats, then have them mailed back by a certain date. How much does that cost?

    March 7, 2008 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  25. Ry in Seattle

    How can officials in Michigan and Florida even hold a straight face when asking for this kind of preferential treatment – "Hey, I know we agreed to do things in line with everyone else, but we changed our minds! Now fix the situation for us so we can be a part of the party!" Ridiculous. And Hillary should be ashamed of herself for having "worked" this angle from day one to sock away some unfairly earned delegates just in case Obama pulled ahead. I can't believe that this could have an impact on the final delegate count. Next time, follow the rules you agreed to and this won't happen. Quite whining to Howard Dean and the country and replace your party officials who took your votes away.

    March 7, 2008 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
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