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. bantou

    I completely agree that something is terribly amiss with how primary elections are set up in our country. This is finally being exposed because the Democrats have two equally strong candidates in this electoral cycle. Why can't all the states vote in one day ? Why do we need this protracted process of voting that runs from January to June, forcing several states into irrelevancy, and costing hundreds of millions of dollars ? We peddle democracy all over the globe, but we can't even come up with a simple, efficient, electoral system ? why don't we just join the 21st century on this issue ?

    March 7, 2008 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  2. James

    The biggest obstacle appears to now be Hillary Clinton. Hillary has stated that she wants to disenfranchise the voters of Florida and Michigan. ideas about holding a re-vote via a primary or a caucus have been declined outright by Hillary Clinton. Hillary has stated she wants the results of the two non-democratic primaries to be ratified.

    The issue is as follows:
    With Michigan, only Hillary was on the ballot, so many voters chose either not to vote and/or vote uncommitted. Michigan had a low voter turnout for the Democrats as such; because all the Michigan Democrats were told their votes would not be counted.

    With Florida, the same voter turnout process occurred. Many voters just did not turn out for an election that was not to count.

    if Hillary and her surrogates are serious about not wanting to Disenfranchise voters, she should be in support of either a caucus or a primary and stop stonewalling the process.

    In the end, neither of these states will end of counting due to Hillary Clinton.

    March 7, 2008 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  3. M Rich


    March 7, 2008 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  4. Sandra Pesino

    I agree with William 100%.

    March 7, 2008 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |

    ok so all of a sudden hillary wants to include florida?? bring it ON we are ready to vote

    OBAMA 08!!

    March 7, 2008 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  6. Brad, Obamaha NE

    anytime i break the rules my parents forgive me and then placate to my feelings of disenfranchisement.

    i should be a state.

    March 7, 2008 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  7. kelly WI

    The dems are cheating in WI already. They won't allow us a referandum on voter integrity. We want voter I.d. and they won't let us even vote on it. They have too many fraudulent voters in Milwaukee.

    March 7, 2008 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  8. Alecki

    New idea:

    Florida: Obama and Clinton were on this ticket...leave it
    Michigan: Clinton keep her votes...Obama takes the undecided
    or have another primary in just Michigan

    March 7, 2008 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |

    Michigan I get but Florida I don't. The answer in Florida is quite simple seat the delegates as elected. The republican screwed up down there not the Demo., both Clinton and Obama stayed on the ballot and the people voted. Neither candidates had an advantage over the other so why not listen to the people after all isn't that what an election is about. I'm surprised that the people in Florida even bother to go vote at all anymore. If I was Obama I would try to remember that come Nov. he's going to need these same people on his side. Isn't this a chance to put the voters first?

    March 7, 2008 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  10. Ratgurl


    Well said! I've been suggesting that for years!

    March 7, 2008 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  11. MR

    This is outrageous. I have children who are watching this historical moment in time, and what are we telling them ? Don't worry you don't have to follow rules. There are no real penalities for not following instructions. If the rules where set, stated clearly and agreed upon by all parties involved, then they should be upheld. Rules are set just so we can avoid chaos and confusion just like this. I truly appreciate Howard Dean speaking out and standing his ground. I back you one hundred percent Dean, and It's to bad you have to step in and babysit grown men and women.

    March 7, 2008 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  12. Kevin

    Where is Solomon when you need him! The voters in each state had their say! The DNC has its rules now they can modifiy the penalty by determining how the delegates will be seated! Split them in half! No gain for either candidate. It is not complicated the party keeps the party together and the Clinton camp gets what it deserves! No gain, no advantage!

    Wisdom is the principal thing!


    March 7, 2008 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  13. Joe

    Let's get a plan for Michigan and Florida done soon. These states have plenty of money and can easily pay for the elections. All the fighting over who is going to pay is stupid. Let the states pay for it and then they can look for state parties.

    March 7, 2008 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  14. Cindy

    What do the people who moved up the primaries in Mich and Fla say? They're the one's that created this mess.

    Reversing the original DNC decisision sets a bad precident. In the future, states will use this a an example of why it wouldn't matter if the party says no, they'll just do it, then sit back and let the fur fly and get their way anyway.

    Somehow, there's gotta be repercussions... to them, not everybody else. Yes, eventually, we'll all have to pay for it, even the states who followed the rules. But it would be only fair for those people who created this mess, pay for it more than us.

    Lemme guess... the people who created this mess... were Republicans? So they wouldn't even care if the Dem voters in their states get their votes in?

    March 7, 2008 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  15. Alecki

    Florida: Leave it
    Michigan: Revote or give the undecided voters to Obama and Clinton keeps her votes

    Let's do something to end this primary so we can fight against McCain

    March 7, 2008 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  16. Trev

    I agree with William on a national primary. I would like to see a revote in primary form.

    Hillary 08

    March 7, 2008 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  17. Nancy

    To the first poster, William. I think it's silly you complain about Michigan and Florida just because they voted for Hillary. I'm appalled by the sexist treatment of this candidate by the mail dominated higharchy.

    You should be ashamed. We women have finally united under the banner of Clinton, and we've met so much opposition. Florida and Michigan are one of the biggest examples. I think it's no coincidence that our votes aren't counting there, just because a woman won.

    March 7, 2008 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  18. Randy

    Florida and Michigan should pay for this. They knew the rules and violated them. Why does it make sense for anyone else to pay for the election but them?

    March 7, 2008 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  19. yael

    Well it seems to me that the Democratic Party should find a way to get this done. The way Democrats are donating right now, it seems to me that mere donations to this one cause could get it done. No Democrat wants to exclude a few MILLION other voters simply because their state party leaders made bad choices. That simply is not democracy. It is punitive. It isn't what American is all about. These states have had time to watch the election unfold and will probably have huge turn out. There is no guessing which way it will go, but this race is to close. There really isn't another choice.

    And EVERY Democrat needs to remember: United We Stand... Divided We Fall (again.)

    Or as my Republican husband put it: "The Democrats are ripping defeat from the jaws of victory."

    March 7, 2008 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  20. Kaye

    I'm a FL Democrat and agree with Howard Dean's position. My elected officials moved the primary, silenced my voice and now want to scream "foul". FL did not have a legitimate, competitive primary – the delegates should not be seated based on that election. Gov Crist is hypocritical to speak of his disenfranchised constituents...where was his indignation when he signed the legislation moving the FL primary beyond the boundaries agreed to by the candidates and the DNC? Where was his indignation when the DNC offered funds to support a "do-over" election?Just another example of politics at its worst and affirmation that we must change the way our elected officials tend to the business of governing!
    I want my vote to count but I believe in playing by the rules...

    March 7, 2008 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  21. GGamma

    I put all my hope on Florida and Michigan to be count!! So that I can win, but the Question is way they broke the rule in the first place!..means If you don't follow the rule you will be in trouble and that's what is happing right now.DONE! DONE!DONE no excuses.

    March 7, 2008 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  22. Victor


    It is amazing how many people have been brainwashed by the empty speeches delivered by the candidate who is "just words"

    How much hatred can you deliver in a nation that believes in God? And even if you do not, you cannot put people down like that without knowing them in real life.

    Compare the resumes from both Obama and Hillary and you will learn that Clinton has in fact the best resume to run for President of America.

    Facts and no words, unity and no more hatred


    HILLARY 08

    March 7, 2008 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  23. Taylor

    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

    That sounds like a great idea to me. I would also like to add they should elimate caucuses. I've been caucusing in Iowa for years and it never seems like it's very organized.

    March 7, 2008 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  24. Alecki

    Wake up Amerrica!

    Please vote for Hillary. She is so capable for this job. Why is it no one can sees this?

    Please listen

    Universal health care for All Americans
    She has a plan for foreclosures in the housing market
    She is going to increase the minimum wages
    She is going to fight for ALL of Americans
    President Clinton is a Plus! We had NO debt or job losses when he was in office. He's not smart. He's brilliant with economics.

    March 7, 2008 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  25. Chris-Atlanta,GA

    I'm sorry but its tough cookies for Florida and Michigan. Both states Democratic Parties voted on and agreed to the rules set a year and a half before any primaries took place. The states decided to violate those rules knowing full well what would happen to their delegates. It’s not the fault of the people of these two states; it’s the fault of the Democratic Party leaders of FL and MI for trying to do exactly what they were protesting against by violating party rules. They are trying to be the big bad influential states; the first primaries held in Jan had no real bearing on the Dems race in proclaiming a front runner. If they had stuck to the original plan we probably would not have to be subjected to this painful show of bickering between Clinton and Obama. We may have had a clear front runner by now and a united Democratic party...but noooooo! FL & MI had to try and one-up everyone. They made their bed, they silenced their voter’s voices by trying to act more important than they really are, let them lie in the mess they have made.

    March 7, 2008 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
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