March 12th, 2008
12:54 PM ET
15 years ago

Obama camp resistant to mail-in vote

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Barack Obama's campaign said Wednesday it has reservations with a mail-in revote."](CNN) - Obama campaign manager David Plouffe expressed strong reservations on Wednesday to the prospect of a mail-in revote in either Florida or Michigan.

"I do think there's real questions about the mail-in option here," Plouffe said on a conference call with reporters. "These are very complicated elections to put on. In the state of Oregon which is kind of the standard for this, it took well over 10 years to get comfortable doing this statewide, to have signature verification in place, lots of alternatives for people to vote in person, there's questions around the list, both of these states have justice department review, that would need to take place, so there's a lot of questions."

The mail-in proposal is being strongly advocated by some leading Democrats including Florida Sen. Bill Nelson, who has said that it is the only reasonable and affordable option available to the state. Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean has also expressed support for a mail-in vote as one way to allow the state’s delegation to be seated at the party’s national convention this summer.

"Every voter gets a ballot in the mail. It's comprehensive. You get to vote if you're in Iraq or in a nursing home," he said on CBS' "Face the Nation" Sunday.

But a majority of the Florida’s Democratic delegation said in a statement Tuesday night they oppose both a primary re-vote and vote-by-mail.

"We are committed to working with the DNC, the Florida State Democratic party, our Democratic leaders in Florida, and our two candidates to reach an expedited solution that ensures our 210 delegates are seated," the delegation's statement read. "Our House delegation is opposed to a mail-in campaign or any redo of any kind."

Speaking with reporters Tuesday, Plouffe said the campaign will ultimately follow the DNC's resolution with regards to seating the delegates. But he sharply criticized the Clinton campaign for "trying to change the rules."

"Senator Clinton said she was playing by the rules through the early sates, we played by the rules," he said. "Now when they believe it serves their political interests, they're trying to change the rules and say these elections should count for something. We think that's the kind of political maneuvering and calculation that voters are tired of."

Responding to Plouffe's comments, the Clinton campaign noted that the Illinois senator co-sponsored a bill last June that "would establish a vote by mail grant program."

Full story 

- CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama
soundoff (281 Responses)
  1. Barb

    Why should either candidate object to a means of re-voting that allows all eligible voters (democrats and independents who did not vote in the Republican primary) to cast their ballot. This allows the elderly, people in the military, the young, etc. to recast their ballot in the most economic fashion. We know caucuses favor activists and disenfranchises the elderly and shift workers. So, beyond an expensive re-do and a cumbersome write-in add-on for the military and FL residents living abroad, what realistic option exists?

    March 12, 2008 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  2. Independent

    When you play with Clintons, never expect they play by rules. Don't we have learned enough from the impeachment episode? The danger to elect a Clinton president is that they do not play by rules! Now it is our country at the stake.

    March 12, 2008 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  3. Karen

    Try it and see. What would it hurt and stop blaming the candidates for what the States did to its citizens.

    March 12, 2008 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  4. tom austin

    Don't change the rules Hillary!
    Same goes to you Obama. Suyperdelegates have never been tied to the popular vote- don't go and change that!!

    March 12, 2008 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  5. Mary

    I keep asking why is no one addressing the candidates that dropped out after Super Tuesday who now lose the benefit of Florida and Michigan, this could be a very different race. Delegates will now be split between 2 people when in fact there were more people involved in the campaign when these states took it upon themselves to break the rules. I dont understand why CNN is not looking into those issues and how this re-vote can be anything but wrong at this point, seems like those that stayed in will benefit and those that bowed out graciously lose, I really dont get it !!!!!!111111111111

    March 12, 2008 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  6. Tvine

    I am 100% against a mail-in ballot: too much room for fraud.

    Florida should count as is, they were both on the ballot.

    BTW: Obama did campaign in Florida. I saw the ad with my own eyes while on vacation there.

    How's not playing by the rules. Please!

    March 12, 2008 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  7. DD, New York

    I believe that Florida and Michigan should have a re-vote of some kind. And I am not saying this as a HRC supporter. I don't care who wins the most delegates from either state, quite frankly. What bothers me are those citizens of Florida and Michigan will be disenfranchised – how extremely UNdemocratic. I believe that perhaps, like the Republicans, maybe we should seat only half the delegates from each state; sounds more fair than not counting them at all. Also, I believe we need to overhaul how our nation votes. Do the primaries of all the states over a 7-10 day period of time, tally up the votes for the next 5-7 days – enough of this long protracted primary process that we are currently in!

    March 12, 2008 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  8. Eric

    What happens to Spitzer's super delegate vote?

    March 12, 2008 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  9. Anonymous

    Yeah, and if Obama had won either MI or FL, he would be talking about those poor disenfranchised voters. Because he lost, he wants to stick to the rules. He is no better than Clinton or anyone else, he just likes to say he is.

    March 12, 2008 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  10. dt

    What happen to John Kerry statement that the Obama campaign would go along with whatever the states decide? What is his objection to the mail-in revote?

    March 12, 2008 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  11. lin B.

    The Clintons all of their Political Life have been changing the rules to suit them and she said early on she would follow the rules. She felt sure in the beginning she would win the nomination. Now as she is behind she wants to change the rules. How can she be a good honest president when she is not a good honest Candidate?

    March 12, 2008 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  12. B. Smart

    . . .We can be certain that voter security would be a factor.

    March 12, 2008 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  13. Leano

    If there were rules in place, and Michigan and Florida did not obey them, knowing the punishment thereof, why should they get a re-vote.This so-called re-vote will only cost us more money and time. The easiest solution is to split the delegates 50-50 since they have lost their right to be voted for. I find it suitable for the DNC exercise authority by simply dividing the delegates so that they can count for something...But they do not deserve a re-vote...Meanwhile the Clinton campaign is talking about this issue in the name of party interests but they know that they have vested interest on this one. They think they can win, but they actually might not win. Actually Clinton did not win any of these states, though she counts them in. There was no race in Michigan and Florida, although some votes were taken, there still was no race there, so how can you win a race that was cancelled.

    March 12, 2008 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  14. Gerry

    With never running a mail in vote before, I can see it being a disaster in both Florida and Michigan. If that happens, the democrats are gone in November. There's simply way to much risk.

    Obama is right. Either do it properly to eliminate the big gamble or don't do it at all. Seat the delegates at 50%-50%.

    March 12, 2008 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  15. joanna

    More of the same from the O's camp! So what is NEW? He is not discussing real issues such as, war, peace, the economy, foreign policy, his 20 years long relationship with Rezko. Mainly he spends his time complaining and whining about Hillary Clinton....thus hiding his incompetency to be president of the USA from his followers , who by the way, NEVER question anything he says, they just meekly accept whatever he tells them. So much for a well-informed electorate.

    March 12, 2008 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  16. Heidi

    It doesn't serve anyone, least of all the democratic process, to prevent millions of voters from having their say because of a tiff.

    What would the Supreme Court say about it? That should be the real acid test, not whether somebody can pay for it, or whether soembody broke the rules. The Constitution is the ultimate decider here.

    March 12, 2008 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  17. Chris, Middletown, CT

    When HRC "distorts" his record....thats a nice way of saying she "lies" – so....expecting a fair "mail-in" with the Clintons would be foolish – Florida and Michigan chose to go early – it was the Democratic party that chose the consequence....either they foot the bill – or stand with their decision.

    March 12, 2008 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  18. Jeff

    I wish everyone would quit wasting everyone's time and money. I knew full well that when I went to the polls on January 29th in Florida, that my primary vote would not count. I was there to vote on Amendment #1 (Homestead Act amendment) which did count, so I don't feel disenfranchised at all. All candidates knew FL and MI wouldn't count at the beginning of the year and no one complained...there's no use crying over spilt milk my children.

    FL and MI gambled last year by moving up their primaries for this year and lost...too bad. The World Series of Poker Main Event in Las Vegas doesn't allow re-buys...this political main event shouldn't allow re-votes.

    March 12, 2008 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  19. Megan

    I can't believe this is still a discussion. FL and MI voters can be furious with their Democratic leaders who chose to violate the rules but that's it. No re-vote, no delegates seated. When the candidates were asked not to campaign in those states, both Edwards and Obama complied and even pulled their names off the MI ballot. Hillary of course had some campaigning going on and was the only name on the ballot in MI so the parity is already totally off. No redos for these states, if delegates must be seated-then it's a 50/50 split. This is actually probably not far off since it's never winner take all so neither state will help either candidate too much.

    March 12, 2008 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  20. MIchael "C" in Lorton, Virginia

    Obama would be preceived as a court-jesture is he agrees to any and all options to have a re-vote in Florida or Michigan. Those who live by the sword, will die by the sword; those who agree to the deal and break the deal, face the consequences. That is the price they pay for the choice they made. The options are only being explored because it will be in the best political interest of Hillary Clinton....or will it. Voters don't always vote the same way twice especially after they have had to chance to see Hillary in the light.

    March 12, 2008 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  21. Chris

    If HRC was in the lead this would all be a moot point. So now she wants to get the votes. I swear can you HRC supporters see what type of character this woman has?
    To avoid having to come up with money and to be fair just split them right down the middle evenly and avoid the mess. I mean how hard is that?

    March 12, 2008 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  22. George, Dallas, Texas

    Democrats can either have President Obama or President McCain. If they want a Democratic President, they should support Obama and go to the polls to vote for him in droves in the remaining contests. If they don’t do so, Hilary Clinton will divide the party and McCain will win in the general election. Ask Sen. Nelson and other Clinton surrogates if they want Democratic President Obama or Republican President McCain. Senator Nelson is working feverishly to deliver Florida to Hilary Clinton as Jeff Bush delivered to his brother in 2000. Please tell Sen. Nelson that this is a new day. God will not allow them to steal this nomination from Sen. Obama. In OBAMA we TRUST! If they want quick, equitable and fair resolution for this mess, SPLIT the delegates equally among Obama and Clinton.

    Ferraro’s comments were incendiary and divisive. Geraldine Ferraro could not equate her situation in 1984 with Obama’s current situation. First of all, she did not run for the primary to appreciate the enormous work it entailed to campaign in all the states with equally intense negative attacks. She was picked as a running mate. Senator Obama has toiled to earn the trust of all Americans. Obama did not receive the support of Black voters initially; he worked hard to earn their support now. In any case, Ferraro’s comments amount to insults to all well-meaning Americans—Democrats, Republicans, and Independents. Her comments were calculated and are part of the “kitchen sink strategy” of Hilary Clinton to win the nomination at all cost. It is again the politics of the past that would not work this time. Hilary Clinton may not win Pennsylvania after all. Hilary Clinton would prefer Senator McCain to be Commander-in-Chief instead of Senator Obama. Well, in OBAMA we TRUST!

    March 12, 2008 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  23. Dave

    "Senator Clinton said she was playing by the rules through the early sates, we played by the rules," he said. "Now when they believe it serves their political interests, they're trying to change the rules and say these elections should count for something. We think that's the kind of political maneuvering and calculation that voters are tired of."

    Well said. Where was her concern prior to signing the agreement?!?!?! Any HRC supporter please answer this question?

    What a joke?!?!?!?!

    March 12, 2008 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  24. vote

    I agree with Obama. The problem is that Hillary did not stand by her word. If she did not agree with the terms orginally, her asking for a revote will be a non issue. Since she agreed to not have Michgan and Florida seated in the convention, it is a problem when she does not practice what she preaches. She was not standing up for the voters in Michagan and Florida to have their votes counted when she agreed to the terms of not having the primaries in those states count. Stand by your word Hillary.

    March 12, 2008 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  25. LD Fan

    How is holding a new primary, whether by mail or not, changing the rules? I think it is highly suspicious that Obama is opposed to a re-vote in Florida...maybe it is because he knows he will lose. What happened to his call for everyone's voice to be heard? So much for a new kind of politics.

    March 12, 2008 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
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