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. Joyce, NY

    How complicated the dems make their nomination process simply baffle me. This is the best time to take over the White house. Trust the DNC to miss that oppurtunity again.

    Simplify the process. Make it a winner take all contest period.

    It is not fair to close the door on Florida and Michigan voters. We do not want to tick them off! Let their votes count.
    Florida results should stand. Michigan could do a re vote to be fair. Punish their super delegates instead. That's the sensible thing to do.

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

    The Democrats have shown the country (the world) how they handle a presidential election: 1) Only the Democrats have "superdelegates', who are in no way bound by the will of all other voters 2) Only the Democrats have a primary process in Texas that includes in addition to the general primary election and caucus also and the caucus voters are in no way bound by the will of all other voters 3) Only the Democrats agreed not to have early primaries before a certain date THEN two such states, florida and Michigan, violated that agreement and were penalized by the DNC for so doing and their primaries didn't count nor could they seat delegates 4) Only the Democrats are considering a "do-over" and hold yet second primaries and/or caucusses. WOW...are we sure we can let these clowns claim the White House"

    March 7, 2008 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  3. Thomas

    Whats with Obama and all his lies? This ticker blew me away:

    "Obama maintains a slight edge over his Democratic rival, with $181,000 in Big Pharma donations through Jan. 31, compared with Clinton's $174,000, according to the center. McCain is far behind with $44,000."

    He is going negative and his speeches are getting boring, I WAS a Obama supporter I'm really glad that I still get to vote...

    March 7, 2008 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  4. Daisy

    A new primary... This is ridiculous. Would this be happening if Hillary had more delegates than Obama? From this Floridian and educator– money use to re-finance this circle would be more beneficial in the school system. Let's see if our government leaders can see that our schools are in desperate need of finances. Schools have no budget but yet we can propose a new primary or caucus. A rule was set, abide by it, change it in the next 4 years.

    March 7, 2008 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  5. CB

    Let's ask Clinton and Obama if their campaigns will pay for the Re-Do votes in FL and MI. The governors of FL and MI signed the bills to change the primary dates in their states and the DNC's membership voted on the rules of engagement prior to that. This re-do voting in FL and MI should not cost the voters nothing. If Hillary wants the Re-do that bad, SHE SHOULD PAY FOR IT. We know she has at least 5 million dollars of her own money plus 1.26% interest.

    March 7, 2008 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  6. jp/michigan

    I hope the Democratic Party looks at their rule regarding super delegates and change it for 2012. NO! SUPER DELEGATES> Just the voice of the people. They should give Michigan and pay for a re-vote , if not then take the uncommitted and split that vote between Edwards and Obama. Florida is fine all candidates were on the ballots. Why did Obama And Edwards choose not to be on Michigan's ballots, but stayed on Florida's? Several million voter who are Democratic are defranchised by not allowing their votes count. Good reason to change parties, democrats took away are right to vote and be counted in this election.

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

    They could seek private sponsorship to pay for those primaries.

    HILLARY 08

    March 7, 2008 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  8. Black Republican in New York

    Please, somebody, anybody, please tell me this campaign and the DNC are not being held hostages to Hillary and Bill Clinton!

    The DNC makes a ruling against states bringing up their primary dates or pay by having their delegates NOT SEATED at the convention. Two states, Florida and Michigan, broke the rule, but now we are watching the Clinton machine at work trying to make the DNC look inept? Forget the governors of Florid and Michigan, they are two idiots who don't know what a rule is.

    And how will any decision to do over the votes in both states not be seen as unfair to John Edwards who was still in the race at the time, but has since dropped out? Edwards had supporters in both states who would have voted for him!

    March 7, 2008 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  9. Chuck in Oregon

    Amen William, and I might add to that it should be accomplished by popular vote only for both parties. Who ever comes out on top wins, even if the spread is only a few hundred votes. And your right, results are not to be released until the last polling station in the country has closed. That way no one will know the results or trends until it is all finished. Paper ballots YES (circle the name of the candidate you want) that way there is no chance of a screw up. Additionally there should be no other voting or measures on the ballots...this should be strictly a candidate selection, nothing more. The same should also apply to the actual presidential election.

    March 7, 2008 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  10. JAMES


    March 7, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  11. William

    End it here. Michigan and Florida were legitimately banned from having their votes count because their respective democratic parties chose to move their votes up so they could influence the election.

    The candidates agreed and accepted that Michigan and Florida's votes would not count. Even though their voters were disenfranchised, which should not be tolerated in this country, the ground rules were in place before the election began.

    To go back and allow repeat elections now is simply not fair. There are other candidates, now out of the race, that may have seen a different outcome had they been on the ballot and the votes allowed to count.

    Just lower the required value of delegates needed to win the primary by the amount Michigan and Florida would have contributed. End of story.

    Going back and changing the rules yet again is wrong. It goes against everything this country is about. All the players need to know the rules BEFORE any election and abide by them.

    This has all the earmarks of a setup and I for one do not like it one bit.

    March 7, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  12. Francis, the Netherlands

    Disenfranchised voters is what motivates this sudden drive by Florida (& Michigan) to have it's Delegates seated? Oh, seriously? I heard that the Florida Legislature is preparing a bill that will exclude the candidate of whichever national party does not seat Florida's Delegates. from the National Ballot in November (I forgot to write, sorry)

    If that is correct it's not only blackmail... it shows beyond any doubt that the Governor doesn't care a r*t's *ss about the constitutional rights of his constituents, but has a hidden agenda!

    March 7, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  13. vl

    Well, if the do hold another Primary here in Michigan, I hope they hold the polls open for a longer period of time. There are so many people working long hours these days (if they're lucky enough to have a job) that you have to take time off to vote.

    After the calamity this election cycle has been, I think the DNC should seriously look at revising the process. Make things uniform all over the country, #1 PAPER BALLOTS, those machines are stupid and faulty. #2 Limit campaigning, I mean heck, does this crap REALLY need to go on for almost 2 years? #3 Stop all the obnoxious fund raising. Give each candidate an amount to spend and be done with it! #4 Why doesn't the whole country vote on ONE day, make it another federal holiday if necessary and just be DONE WITH IT!

    I for one am SICK TO DEATH of this, and we've still got to listen to the garbage for 8 more months........YIKES!

    March 7, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  14. Theresa

    Figure something out...and get it done...ALL voices have the right to be heard....isn't that what sets America apart...isn't that what people fight for in other countries...SET AN EXAMPLE and let ALL voices be heard.
    Hillary 08

    March 7, 2008 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  15. troy

    Regardless of what happens in Michigan, or Florida, or from here on out, the democratic party has suffered fatal blows. The Clinton supporters act like their entitled to have Clinton receive the nomination by virtue of Bill being a prior president. I have also read about, heard about, and experienced racism and hate from so many Clinton supporters. And this is from the party of tolerance!

    Those whom support Obama will never forget the horror of hate and negativity visited upon them by those that support Clinton.

    There will never again be a unified democratic party, and this is the true tragedy of this fine mess of a primary.

    March 7, 2008 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  16. vl

    Another thought......CLOSED PRIMARIES!!! If you're registered republican, you vote republican. If your democrat, you vote democrat and so on. NO MORE CROSSOVER IN THE PRIMARIES!!!!

    March 7, 2008 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  17. Sam

    Split the delegates and let's get this over with so we can wish the Clintons goodbye.

    March 7, 2008 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  18. Paul

    If Florida and Ohio want a redo, let them pay for it. They knew the consequences for breaking the rules they had agreed to. Seriously, if the DNC agrees to pay for a redo, I'm going to lose confidence in this party. My state followed the rules.

    March 7, 2008 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  19. Jay Rehak

    The Decomcratic Party should bite the bullet and pay for new priomary elections. Anythign less will breed resentment and possibly cost the party both Michigan and Florida in November.

    March 7, 2008 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  20. VA

    Over on the Washington Times newspaper online, they are reporting a $700,000 windfall Bill Clinton received in dealings with Armand Rousso who was recently convicted in some shady dealings. Check out Washington Times online.

    I'm still waiting to see something on the Peter Paul vs Clinton campaign finance fraud case in California as we speak. Unlike the Rezko trial that didn't list Obama as a witness – ALL of the Clintons (including Chelsea) are listed as witnesses.

    March 7, 2008 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  21. Clete

    In the case of Florida, the original date of the primary was agreed to with the DNC. The State Legislators decided and voted to change the date of the primary which invaildated the results.

    It seems strange that Gov. Crist would appear on CNN and talk about voter disenfranchisement, when he needed only to walk over to the State house and hold his republican buddies accountable.

    What don't the Legislators pick up the tab.........with their own money. Maybe then they would be more careful with the power that they are entrusted with.

    March 7, 2008 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  22. Billary

    Does anyone know how we can stop this? I'm signing petitions and such, but I think its outrageous that the DNC would just go back on itself like this.

    We have rules for a reason, you don't just change the game halfway through because you don't like the outcome.

    March 7, 2008 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  23. Keith

    I couldnt agree with William more.

    Why is the election process so complicated, unstructured and confusing.

    March 7, 2008 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  24. Carol, WI

    There is no way to fix this fiasco properly. Trying to do anything other than splitting the delegates will disenfranchise so many Democrats. I, too, would be upset to live in FL or MI, but they ultimately did have a vote when they voted in their states' leaders who allowed this to happen.

    MI and FL governors, please do not expect the DNC or the campaigns to bail you out of this mess. Do NOT take the money I donated to my candidate and use it for a 'do-over.' This is real life, not a children's game, there are no 'do-overs.'

    I am very tired of certain states like Florida and Ohio making procomlations that they are more important than other states. If that truly is the case, call it like it is and stop allowing me to think my vote actually counts and only hold elections in those the important states.

    Howard Dean, you, and a host of others will be receiving a letter from me tonight requesting a change to this farce of a nomination system. It was too late to write that letter last night because I was busy writing to my superdelegates to beg them to please vote for the candidate the state of Wisconsin voted for as I thought delegates were supposed to represent the people. I guess I was wrong.

    March 7, 2008 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  25. Greg

    Florida should not be punished for the actions of it's Republican leadership, the democrats tried to change it back to Feb. 5th, but were denied by the Republican governor and state senate.. Meanwhile, 2 million Democrats who voted already are being disenfranchised, and that is OK by Obama and his followers, shameful.

    March 7, 2008 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7