March 19th, 2008
01:28 PM ET
11 years ago

Obama camp says legal issues could entangle Michigan re-vote


The Obama campaign says a Michigan re-vote could lead to several legal issues. (Getty Images)

(CNN) - Hours before Hillary Clinton is set to take the stage in Detroit, Michigan to personally make the case for a re-vote in the state, the Obama campaign circulated a memo from its top lawyer arguing a re-vote could encounter legal hurdles.

Bob Bauer, a longtime Washington lawyer and the Obama campaign's general counsel, said in the memo a rushed re-vote in Michigan like the one currently proposed by the governor is full of several flaws that could serve to disenfranchise voters there a second time.

"[The] questions could put at risk the running of the election, undermine acceptance of the results if the election is held, and in both cases effectively deny Michigan voters, a second consecutive time, meaningful participation in the nominating process," Bauer wrote. (Read full Obama memo [PDF])

Specifically, Bauer took issue with the re-vote proposal's stipulation that Michigan residents who voted in the the Republican primary in January will not be able to vote in any new Democratic contest - the campaign argues several Democrats voted in the Republican primary because the Democratic one was meaningless. He also says legal issues could arise over the financing of the election with so called "soft money," absentee voter rules, and the strain of preparing for a new election in such a short time frame.

Clinton's campaign released a memo shortly after Obama's that took aim at their rival for "refusing to give the people of Michigan the chance to exercise their fundamental right to vote." (Read full Clinton memo [PDF])

"The Clinton campaign believes the right to vote is a bedrock principle of our country and that empowering the people of Michigan and Florida to make their voices heard must be a priority for any candidate running for the Democratic nomination," the Clinton memo states. "As such, we must either honor the original vote or hold a state-run primary that doesn’t leave the taxpayers footing the bill."

The memo also takes issue with the Obama campaign's contention that many of its potential supporters may have voted in the Republican primary in January.

The Obama campaign’s allies in Michigan organized an effort to get people in Michigan to vote for “uncommitted” in the Democratic primary, helping to bring the uncommitted share of vote to 40 percent," the memo states. "So the Obama camp can’t reasonably argue supporters participated in the GOP primary and didn’t vote in the Democratic contest."

- CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney

soundoff (373 Responses)
  1. Ashley, McKinney TX

    It is ridiculous that the Obama team is indirectly stating they dont want these votes counted. Also, people have said that Obama did run campaign ads in Florida (which neither was supposed to do anyway) therefore he HAD an advantage over Clinton there. Why hasnt that notion been reported anyway?

    Just count the votes. These grown men and women are acting like kindergartners, lets move this along already!

    March 19, 2008 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  2. Elder

    OBAMA speaks of HOPE and CHANGE.
    This is the right time to show us of What are you made of.
    If Obama wants to win the Presidential Election.
    He should support FL and MI Re-vote.

    March 19, 2008 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  3. Monie

    Clinton certainly did not try to change the rules as laid out by th DNC on not counting Florida and Michigan delegates before the primary season began, so she did not want their votes to count. Democrats you have all lost it, this is coming from an independent leaning democrat. I just see Mccain getting the nod in the fall, what a waste this primary season has been.

    March 19, 2008 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  4. PKS

    The Clintoton campaign is ridiculous. Why is everything Obama's fault? He can't stop the election on his own. Besides, the Clinton campaign would not agree to finance the re-vote.

    Just another attempt to smear Obama with her "dittoheads" following behind.

    The DNC set the rules-so follow them!!!

    March 19, 2008 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  5. Hi

    Voting to choose someone to represent a political party is not a right. If this were the general election, then Senator Clinton's campaign would have a valid point.

    March 19, 2008 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  6. Michigan voter

    I don't think that Michigan should allow a re-vote, because I voted uncommitted already. Our future President, Barack Obama, was not on the original ballot. Policy makers should let us think for ourselves, instead of changing the rules midstream!

    March 19, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  7. Percy

    This is why it is true that Hillary will say and do anything to win. how can she say that she left her name on the ballot because she wanted the voice of Michigan voters to be heard, when she has it on record and the news media that the vote will not count. Hey! Hillary try and be sincere to the American people at least for 60 seconds.

    March 19, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  8. Former Obama supporter

    Obama will do anything to win, even if that means stopping Michigan and Florida from voting.

    March 19, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  9. lugina

    OBAMA please go –go–go - away , AMERICA need fighter...not losers...period...

    March 19, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  10. Fred

    The fact that Florida and Michigan's primaries didn't count didn't make much difference before it became apparent that neither candidate could win without these states respective votes. Give these people a chance for their voices to be heard.

    March 19, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  11. Diane, Buffalo, Wy.

    I do think it is truely unfortunate what has happened in Mi. and Fl. Neither Sen. Obama or Clinton were the ones who brought this problem about. The ideal thing would be to split the delegate count and for the delegations to be seated at the convention. Sen. Clinton though did not start making this an issue until she started to fall behind in the delegate count. Once she started to fall behind, that is when her camp started to stir things up. The problem though with Mi. and Fl. LIE WITH THE GOVERNORS AND LEGISLATURE. Not the DNC or the the candidates. I really hope that someday the US goes to a NATIONAL primary about 2 weeks before the convention and we will have this all over with in one day.

    March 19, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  12. NIC

    These Clinton Haters are so funny. They should really watch their words, alot of what they say is offensive. Not to mention, if Hillary gets the nomination or wins the Presidency, there will be alot of back tracking and denial on past inappropriate comments. Reminder here, we are trying to stop the hate. The same people that say racism, sexism and ageism is a big issue, are the same people causing the hate, causing the divide. Be more thoughtful on your responses then a knee jerk reaction remarks.

    March 19, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  13. Daniel

    The Obama camp doesn't want a re-vote in MI or FL because they know they'll LOSE! Meanwhile, they try to portray Clinton as the bad person for bending the rules to suit her – as if a no-vote wouldn't suit Obama! Obama is done. He tried to portray himself as something different, but he's just another politician ... except he contently sat in a racist church for 20 years and won't disavow his buddy Wright. If I were a resident of FL or MI and I my vote wasn't counted, I would definitely vote for McCain in November.

    Hillary '08

    March 19, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  14. Mark

    Dirty politics from the Obama camp. Sounds like they are afraid to have a re-vote because Hillary will take the lead. Shame on the Obama camp for trying to take away the Michigan vote. Talk is cheap
    and Obama has been doing alot of that.

    March 19, 2008 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  15. Bill from Oklahoma

    I guess unity and audacity of hope does not include Michigan and includes the states he can win..

    March 19, 2008 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  16. Ashley, McKinney TX

    GOBAMA the only people that is disillusioned is you.

    March 19, 2008 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  17. DEM, Texas

    Thruogh the word of God, that men are not perfect.

    We learn to forgive and forget. Slavery was not nice and yet we live together, fight together and in some cases die together.

    America is greater than the sum of it's parts.

    Let us rise up and work together and restore America to her greatness.

    Go Obama..


    March 19, 2008 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  18. Rob

    Wow. Obama hasn't said he has a problem with a re-vote, he just wants a FAIR re-vote. It is a valid concern that Democrats that voted in the Republican primary won't get to vote in a new primary. Even if that were reversed, it is a concern that some people in Michigan may get *two* votes in this primary process (in Republican and Democrat primaries).

    The bottom line is that there are too many problems with a re-vote and the results would be disputed regardless of the outcome. What's done is done. The time to debate this was *before* the original vote.

    March 19, 2008 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  19. Michele

    Why did Obama take his name off of the ballot? Someone please explain it to me!

    March 19, 2008 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  20. Sylvia

    For you fools who are still commenting on the Pastor's speech. Here is an insight..Obama said time and time again that he was not in the congregation when the 2 sermons were given by that pastor that were plastered all over the internet.

    Again, stop taking what you believe he said and read for once. He said he was in the congregation when the pastor made other comments and he did not agree with those comments/statements. He is not talking about the 2 sermons you see on the net. See, typical ignorant people who will hear only what they want to hear and not read anything in its entirety. So you can spew your hatred on the net but you are still by all accounts ignorant.

    March 19, 2008 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  21. Rex Alan

    You Hillary supporters that insist that Michigan and Florida count are the type of people that cheat at Monopoly. Obama didn't break the rules. Clinton as well as the 2 States in question did. Obama didn't sanction the 2 States, the DNC did.
    For the DNC to even consider a revote of any type is also cheating at Monopoly.
    Win at all cost Clinton will not win this one. Most Michigan voters I talk to don't want another vote. They, unlike the little HRC cheerleaders on this blog, understand who screwed them over, and sure as hell wasn't Barack Obama.

    March 19, 2008 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  22. FoxyRoxie

    If we are losing do we always find away to cheat????? Who voted to not let the states be seated if they moved up their primaries? The voters in those states need to look at the people who moved the dates.....

    Obama 08

    March 19, 2008 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  23. Angela

    Something is seriously wrong with this country when a State Legislature and Party leaders can make rules that can deny citizens their constitutional right to vote. Where have the rights of the people gone?
    We(voters) didn't change the primary dates, nor did we vote on the punishment that would disenfranchise our vote. and furthermore, the Candidates agreed not to campaign here in FL, but didn't chose the primary date or the punishment from the DNC.
    The DNC and States Leaders are at fault and they should be the ones punished, not the voters or the candidates.
    Not party rules or State leader should have the right to deny voters their rights.
    No re-vote!! Let the original votes count!

    March 19, 2008 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  24. Unsensored youtube.The Shocking Video Hillary Does NOT Want You To See

    I am for re-votes if it doesn't cost the voters money.
    There is no guarrantee that either one of them will get 60% of the votes in Michigan. Again it will not make either candidates to reach the delegate numbers required, so therefor i urge the Michigan democratic party to split the delegate and move on.

    The voters will participate in November election that will be free from State DNC Party disobedience.

    We can fight for the voters to re-vote or split the delegate and move on.
    Voters themselves have work to go to or have other commitments at hand.

    March 19, 2008 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  25. carlo

    If they took the votes as counted, Clinton still wouldn't have enough delegates. So why is it again that Obama is scared?

    March 19, 2008 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
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