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. Dave

    The Party needs to have some adherence to the rules they started with or it will collapse. Florida and Michigan voters were told that their votes wouldn't count, so many of them did not vote, resulting in tainted vote totals.

    The Party said they wouldn't admit the delegates from an early primary, so doing so now would kill faith in the DNC leadership.

    If there are subsequent later votes in the two states, then the DNC will have achieved its objectives and gained some credibility.

    If Florida can figure out how to do a second vote, can Michigan deny its Democrats the same opportunity, or vice versa? The DNC should insist that both states provide the same opportunity, so that will mean that the DNC must help fund two votes.

    March 7, 2008 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  2. Matt


    I am not really a fan of either candidate, but honestly, its not like Barack has enough delegates to win the nomination. Neither will have enough pledged delegates, although he leads.

    Be real and try to understand, neither will have the required amount of delegates either way, and last time I checked, he hasn't been able to defeat her on multiple occasions. He couldn't close the deal in New Hampshire, on Super Tuesday or in Ohio and Texas.

    Both are very strong candidates, and the only thing that matters is that a democrat wins in November.

    March 7, 2008 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  3. Tom

    I voted in Michigan. It should count. Obama is the one who decided to take his name off the ballot here. Cry me a river Obama. Clinton and you did not campaign here or in Florida. Obama was'nt required to remove his name. It's his problem. Not ours. Niether campaigned in Florida but were both on the ballot. Count it as it is. Obama is a crying loser. What change is he yelling about "yes we can" We can WHAT. He never says.
    HILLARY 08

    March 7, 2008 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  4. Nader not looking so bad...

    Does that means we can re-do everything that's happened since so Edwards (and the others) can get back into the race? I mean, that'd be the fair thing to do, right?

    March 7, 2008 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  5. James

    The only option here is to PLAY BY THE RULES. Sorry Mich, Flo, but your local democratic party F'd you. Blame them.

    March 7, 2008 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  6. Karen

    Funny how Americans' point their fingers 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 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  7. Chris

    Both Florida and Michigan knew the consequences of moving their primary, they were warned, months in advance that if they moved their primaries before Feb 4th, that they would lose their delegates.

    The Party of each respective state was counting on the fact that the candidates would back their position and demand the delegates be seated. They of course didn't.

    Both Hillary Clinton and Barrack Obama agreed not to campaign in either Florida or Michigan. In Michigan Clinton was the only major Democratic candidate to appear on the ballot.

    Now that she is behind in delegates she is crying foul. She wants to change the rules in the middle of the game. Had Michigan and Florida gone for Obama, you would see her singing a different tune.

    Now the question is, can we have a do-over. Its is the only viable solution since, the vote on Jan 29th is unfairly tilted towards Clinton because Obama didnt campain in either state and didnt even appear on the ballot in Michigan.

    So even though they were warned, and even though all the major candidates backed the decision of the DNC. Now Florida and Michigan want the DNC to pay for new elections......gimme a break!

    March 7, 2008 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  8. Steven Ahrens

    What if they did do their primaries over, and the results came out different. Who would be complaining then? As I see it, the people don't have to vote the same they did the first time...they have had more time to study the candidates.

    March 7, 2008 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  9. Florida Voter

    We have a movement in the state legislature right now that is considering removing the Democratic Nominee from the General Election Ballot in November. I think voting for McCain or Nader is just fine.

    I will file suit against this state if they waste our tax dollars on another election.

    Let HRC and BHO pay for a second round. The whole mess benefits them!

    March 7, 2008 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  10. Mary from Sarasota FL

    Having just finished reading the piece by Jessica Yellin & Rich Phillips I am totally nauseated by the ridiculously complicated procedures put in place by "the good old boy" syndrome in Florida to forestall any resolution to this horror story.
    It is particularly disgusting that the Democrats who voted in good faith on 1/29 were being manipulated by the Republicans in Florida's Legislature when the date was selected back in August '07
    Also, the rest of the world thinks we Democrats are whiny pains in the ___ when all we want is to be part of the process. I am personally so angry over being disenfranchised 3 times in 8 years I can hardly stand it. (I voted in the Christine Jennings run for Congress 2 years ago when the machines "lost" thousands of our votes and Vern Buchanan won by less than 300 votes.) Disgusting;
    It is incumbent on our Super Delegates (reps in DC) to rectify this issue and soon. THIS time I want my vote to count for something besides jokes from the media. Yes, we CAN COUNT !! and in more ways than one !!

    March 7, 2008 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  11. OH WELL

    Split the prize down the middle. Michigan , Florida and Hillary had no business breaking the rules of the dem. party. Promoting breaking the rules after all the self -righteous talk is ridiculous.

    March 7, 2008 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  12. Tom,des moines

    All I can say is this,let those vote be count and that the end of it. Go Hillary 08!

    March 7, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  13. After further review,Texas

    The play stands as called.No more Florida or Michigan.

    March 7, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  14. Greg Minnesota

    I'm a Hillary supporter, however I believe it would be unfair to seat these delegates after they broke the rules their party bosses were completely aware of and knew the consequences. It's unfortunate that the average citizen's vote in those states now fail to count, but it would be extremely unfortunate for Hillary to receive the delegates from largely uncontested races. Sorry just wouldn't be fair

    March 7, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  15. Chris

    I disagree, I would support four primaries. One in each section of the country with each section rotating who goes first.

    One primary would favor the super rich and not promote a healthy discourse.

    March 7, 2008 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  16. mary

    I agree they should have voting on the same day.
    i am getting tired of Hillary and Obama , I voted for Hillary
    but now I can see they both are troubeling and I am not to sure
    eather should be president. So i have decided to go to John McCane
    and after that i will vote no more I did not vote after JFK untill
    President Clinton. And CNN keeps fires burning which i am so
    tired of them I will not watch them any more they just have to put
    Hillary and Obama agenst each other all the time.

    March 7, 2008 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  17. Bayou Joe

    Seat the Delegates from both states. Hillary won. She was smart enought to leave her name on the Ballot. Obama had his name on the Florida ballots. So where is the beef. He lost. Now seat the delegates.

    March 7, 2008 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  18. Adam, LV, NV

    My question is, will Barack Obama keep his word to the voters and not put his name on the Michigan ballot?

    He said those agreements should be honored and no changing the rules in the middle of the game. If he puts his name on the ballot in Michigan, would he not be changing the rules? He got a win in Iowa out of that promise.

    Now of course I do expect him to put his name on the ballot, but to him for future reference, maybe he should think about things completely before hand. I thought he had the best judgement? His agreement does not seem like good judgement now.

    March 7, 2008 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  19. Sheri

    Hillary Clinton is so dirty. I hate to say that. I persona lly believe that she would do ANYTHING, ANYTHING and I mean ANYTHING to get the democratic nomination.

    March 7, 2008 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  20. optimistic

    I don't understand why DNC did not think of reducing the required number of delegates for the nominee when FL and MI were kicked out of the primaries.

    There will be problems even if FL and MI run a second primary.

    It is better off simply reducing the number of required delegates and saves every penny of the estimated 25 millions.

    March 7, 2008 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  21. Sherylanne

    It is unfair not to have FLA & MI voices heard. They did nothing wrong; it was the politicians who screwed up so why should they be punished?

    Since Obama ran TV ads in Florida, that states votes should count. MI should split the delegates.

    At this point no matter who wins all of us lost.

    March 7, 2008 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  22. M. S. Indiana

    Let the Republican party pay for it, they want HRC to win

    March 7, 2008 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  23. Susan, TX

    You, know Whisky I have to agree with you...It is the HRC people who are really screaming....For those who knew the votes wouldn't count actually stayed home....I feel bad for the Obama people because they stayed home and now HRC is trying to tip the scales in her favor. That's why I think they should split the delegates in both states. HRC doesn't gain anything by this fiasco and would be fair for Obama.

    March 7, 2008 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  24. Allen

    Sounds like another rigged election is in the making....

    March 7, 2008 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  25. Spirit of America

    What ever happened to one voter, one vote? Since when are the voters of Michigan and Florida less worthy than those of Ohio and Vermont? We either count all the votes or none of the votes really counts. That's the spirit of America, at least a democratic one.

    March 7, 2008 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
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