1. If legal “overvotes” according to the
2. The entire Bush margin was made up of handcounted votes that Katherie Harris allowed for Republican counties but not for Democratic counties.
3. Republican election officials knowingly purged thousands of legal minority voters, for no valid reason other than minority voters were highly likely to vote for Gore.
4. Republican election officials did not process large numbers of new voters registered by black universities and colleges and by the Florida Motor Voter program, voters much more likely to vote for Gore.
5. Over a thousand votes of the Bush margin were made up of votes that were illegally allowed by election officials to be manipulated by Republican operatives in Martin and Seminole counties (Democrats did not have similar chance).
6. Spoiled ballots were primarily due to systematic
problems in equipment and the election process, not due to characteristics of
the voter such as education level or literacy.
Minorities were more likely to have to vote on machines that were less
reliable and had a larger percentage of spoiled ballots than other voters. Minorities were systematically discriminated
against by the
C. Analyses after the election determined that if Florida had had reliable equipment and a fair election, where large numbers of legal minority voters were not excluded from voting Gore would have won by at least 40,000 to 50,000 votes.
(the Supreme Court decision in Bush vs Gore was not based on constitutional principals or issues)
Documentation that Gore won the 2000 election
Q: In December, The Herald published a statistical analysis of overvotes and undervotes that suggested that in a flawless election Al Gore would have won by 23,000 votes. Did I hear the margin is now larger?
A: While it is clear that 97 percent of the state's overvote ballots could not be legally counted, there are clues that suggest that at least some of them were mistakes by people who intended to cast votes for either Bush or Gore. While speculation of how those people really meant to vote is just that, speculation, 46,000 more people marked Gore on their overvoted ballots than marked Bush.
`OVERVOTES' LEANED TO GORE
But to win, he needed help of dimpled ballots or consideration of the thousands of legal democratic voters purged from the roles and not allowed to vote by the State Elections Office.
BY MARTIN MERZER email@example.com
Democrat Al Gore might be president today if
Republican George W. Bush still would have prevailed -- even with the overvotes tabulated -- if undervotes had been counted under more restrictive standards, the review indicates.
The review, conducted by The Herald, its parent company, Knight Ridder, USA Today and several other newspapers, also shows that Gore's name was marked on overvotes far more often than Bush's name -- fodder for Democrats who insist that most Floridians intended to vote for Gore.
Overvotes are ballots rejected by counting machines because they show more than one vote for president. Undervotes are ballots without presidential votes detected by counting machines.
The findings produce an ambiguous conclusion to an
unprecedented effort to examine more than 176,000 untabulated
The bottom line: After study and analysis of 111,261 overvotes and 64,826 undervotes, the agonizingly tight 2000 presidential election still ends in a virtual tie. (unless legal overvotes which were mostly for Gore were counted-see below).
And the outcome still depends on the standard used to gauge undervotes.
Gore wins narrowly under two undervote standards, by margins of 332 and 242 votes; Bush wins narrowly under two other undervote standards, by 407 and 152 votes. All are closer than Bush's official 537-vote margin.
And so, the new analysis of the election intrigued or irritated political partisans Thursday, depending on their point of view.
``These numbers certainly back up our feeling that more people turned out to vote for Gore than for Bush,'' said Doug Hattaway, a former Gore campaign spokesman. ``It's just a shame the system didn't count those votes properly. It's hard not to cringe when you think about the possibilities.''
Speaking for the Republicans, former Montana Gov. Marc Racicot said he never feared ballot reviews by the media.
``So what has changed?'' Racicot said. ``I always believed we would come to the same conclusion at the end as at the beginning. The election was not flawless, but it never is. The only count that really counts is the one conducted under the rule of law.''
The overvote study is the third examination of how the acrimonious 2000 presidential election might have ended if manual recounts had gone forward without court challenges and intervention.
In February, The Herald reported that Bush still would have
won the presidency if undervotes in
The Miami-Dade canvassing board halted that recount after concluding that it could not be completed by a state deadline. The Herald's review found that Gore would have picked up, at most, 49 net votes in Miami-Dade, using the most liberal undervote standard.
Last month, The Herald reported that Bush's victory almost certainly would have endured even if a statewide recount of undervotes ordered by the Florida Supreme Court had not been terminated by the U.S. Supreme Court. By the most liberal standard, Bush's lead would have widened to 1,665 votes had that recount been completed.
Now, the study of Overvote ballots indicates that Gore might have won the election -- if his campaign had requested and received a hand recount of every uncounted ballot in the state.
The Herald found that an astonishing 108,115 overvotes -- 97 percent of the total -- are lost forever. When a voter selects two or more candidates, the true preference cannot be deduced or assumed, so those votes are unsalvageable.
But the rest -- 3,146 -- bore markings that made it clear who the voter preferred, The Herald found. Generally, this occurred when voters chose a candidate and then cast a write-in vote for that same candidate.
``It's amazing to me how some people misinterpreted how to
vote, but it's clear what they intended to do,'' said
Ronald Legendre, chairman of
Most of those recoverable overvotes -- 1,871 -- were for Gore. Bush received 1,189 such votes. Other candidates received 86.
That net gain for Gore of 682, when coupled with the undervotes, would have been enough to carry the Democrat to the White House under two standards for gauging undervotes. Gore's margin would have been 332 votes if all dimpled ballots were counted. It would have been 242 votes if dimpled ballots were counted only when dimples also appeared in other races.
But if the undervotes were declared valid only when chads were detached by at least two corners, Bush would have come out on top by 407 votes. And if only cleanly punched ballots were counted, Bush would win by 152 votes.
Even so, there is ample room for argument that a significant plurality of Floridians intended to vote for Gore -- but more of them ruined their ballots by overvoting or undervoting.
One measure of that: Three of every four overvotes -- a total of 84,204 -- contained a mark for Gore; only one of three overvotes -- a total of 37,738 -- contained a mark for Bush. (Some overvotes show marks for both).
``Gore would likely have won if all overpunched ballots had been properly marked, based on measures of voter intent,'' said Anthony Salvanto, a political scientist at the University of California-Irvine who analyzed the overvote results.
This also seems clear:
At an early, crucial stage of the electoral impasse, Gore made a momentous strategic mistake by not asking for an official statewide review of every rejected ballot -- undervotes and overvotes. Instead, he requested a recount only in four counties.
His decision might have been a historic blunder. A statewide recount of undervotes and overvotes might have given Gore the vote lead and the political high ground -- before the legal brawl ever reached the Florida Supreme Court or the U.S. Supreme Court.
Hattaway, the former Gore aide, said the Democrats did not request a recount of that magnitude because it seemed too sweeping, too desperate and too unwieldly.
``There was no precedent for it -- until now,'' he said. ``It was discussed but the consensus was that we couldn't get it. There was a feeling the courts wouldn't give it to us.''
Signed Wednesday by Gov. Jeb Bush, the law requires a recount of every undervote and overvote in the state when the victory margin is less than a quarter of one percent of the total votes cast.
The 2000 presidential election ended in
The Herald's review of the state's overvotes differed in several ways from the newspaper's previous undervote review. The entire project cost The Herald, Knight-Ridder and its partners about $825,000.
The undervote review was undertaken by a public accounting firm, BDO Seidman, LLP, under the sponsorship of The Herald, Knight Ridder and USA Today. An accountant reviewed each ballot and noted its characteristics.
All tabulations of undervotes were provided by BDO Seidman, based on those observations. Separately, a reporter also reviewed each ballot, but the results of that review were used only as a statistical check for variation.
Each overvote, however, was reviewed by one person only -- a reporter from The Herald, USA Today or six other newspapers: The Tallahassee Democrat, The Bradenton Herald, Florida Today, The Tampa Tribune, the Fort Myers News-Press and The Pensacola News Journal.
In 59 counties, reporters physically examined every overvote ballot and recorded what they found. In eight heavily populated counties, the newspapers used official computer tapes to identify combinations of candidates marked on overvoted ballots. In those counties, reporters then examined all ballots that contained handwritten marks that would not have appeared on computer records.
The results of the overvote review were assembled into a database, and the various combinations were examined.
The Herald then attempted to recreate the conditions of the
election prior to any court action and before hand recounts in Volusia, Broward
Machine counts certified by each county by Nov. 14 plus
subsequently counted overseas absentee ballots and some recently identified undervotes from
Gore's 682-vote net gain from overvotes would have sharply reduced that lead -- to 455. And that lead would have been overtaken had undervote ballots with dimples been included.
But no such statewide recount of undervotes and overvotes was mandated by law last November, so county election supervisors were not required to search for recoverable votes or even accept any they found.
The canvassing board voted 2-1, however, not to rehabilitate those ballots because the board planned no systematic search of all rejected ballots.
``I was whooping and hollering the whole night,'' recalled Donna Miller, the canvassing board chairwoman, who lost that battle. ``I was so frustrated. There was no question in my mind who they wanted. I could hardly sleep that night, I was so upset.''
Among The Herald's other findings:
Statewide, the combination of votes for Gore and Pat Buchanan, the Reform Party candidate, represented the most common overvote, accounting for 10,234 botched ballots or nine percent of the total. Other common combinations: Gore and Libertarian Harry Browne, Bush and Gore, Bush and Buchanan.
A mark for Buchanan appeared on 36,757 overvotes, nearly as frequently as the marks for Bush. That probably was caused by Buchanan's proximity on ballots to both Bush and Gore, especially on Palm Beach County's now-notorious ``butterfly'' ballot.
Nearly 1,000 people voted for every candidate, disenfranchising themselves.
More than 3,600 voted for every candidate except Bush. More than 700 voted for every candidate except Gore.
``We could call these `anybody but him' voters,'' Salvanto said. ``One theory is that these are people who simply do not understand the voting process and are marking everyone of whom they approve. Just as long as the guy they don't like doesn't get in.''
Most of the overvotes in
A recent statistical study by six political scientists from
Eighty-four percent of overvoters in Duval punched presidential candidates on both pages.
Regardless of ballot design, regardless of voting system, every county in the state reported overvotes.
``I have directions printed on the ballot, directions with pictures, sample ballots with graphics sent to every household in the county, and the same thing goes in the [news]paper,'' said Pat Hollarn, supervisor of elections in Okaloosa County, which used the more modern and reliable optical-scan system but had 677 overvotes anyway.
``When we give them that much instruction, if they sent an absentee ballot that's marked double, then I can't tell what somebody meant by that. Nobody can. You can't guess what somebody meant.''
Still, The Herald's study confirms that many overvotes would have been accepted as valid -- if election officials had looked at them in time.
And in an election as close as the 2000 presidential race between George W. Bush and Al Gore, those ballots might have made a difference.
Herald staff writers Lila Arzua, Tyler Bridges, Tim Henderson and Jay Weaver contributed to this report.
Yes indeed, the counting was halted (Saturday morning when the counting was set to be completed on Sunday, while the nefarious Dec 12 "deadline" loomed on the following Tuesday).Ostensibly, the idea was to get a count free of handcounts using differing standards. Did the USSC acheive this? No. The count that Katherine Harris "certified"...which turned out to be the count relied upon to award Bush the electors...contained MANY handcounted ballots. In other words, the "legal" count was one which was UNconstitutionally arrived at. At least six "Republican" counties and one "Democrat" county met the "deadline" to have their handcounted (by the Unconstitutional "differing standards") ballots included in the certification. The Republican counties added over 600 votes to Bush's total, by finding "handcounted" ballots for him, which if disallowed (as being unconstitutional) would have caused Bush to be BEHIND in the totals at certification time.Equal protection? For WHOM? Can you name ANYBODY, from among the voters in America, who received any MEASURE of "equal protection" from the ruling handed down in Bush v Gore?If so, I'd love to hear WHO, and why you think they GOT it.And on the question of "conservative vs. liberal" instead of "partisan" considerations being made by the Justices of the USSC, this idea is destroyed by the fact that the Rhenquist 5 had to violate their so-called "deeply held conservative principles" concerning the judiciary in many, many ways to arrive at their Bush v Gore ruling. They abandoned "state's rights", they set aside their stated (in writings) requirement for there to be both a specific harmed party AND a proven INTENT to harm that party before they would consider invoking "equal protection" (neither requirement was met in Bush v Gore), they abandoned Scalia's admonition that the Supreme Court has NO BUSINESS making "unique" rulings (Bush v Gore was "unique" in that the Rhenquist 5 said the ruling cannot be applied to any other future cases...is set NO PRECEDENCE WHATSOEVER). Further, Conservatives supposedly ABHOR "Judicial Activism", of which Bush v Gore was a textbook example.In short, if the Rhenquist 5 had adhered to CONSERVATIVE principles instead of PARTISAN considerations, they would never have taken the case in the first place. They abandoned their Conservative principles wholesale in order to install BUSH in office. From: jeffharrison3Date: Sun Jan 27 12:10 PM EST 2002******************
the oddest thing about
for a minor third party candidate of thousands of votes but only
a few hundred throughout the rest of the state. obviously, there
was a machine count error, but you never heard too much about it,
because if the votes had been recounted, the ratio of gore to
bush in that county (a democractic one)was such that gore would
have obtained hundreds more votes than Bush. But you can surely
bet Pig Boy on the radio would have been knashing his tusks and a
caravan of republican operatives would have invaded the county
like they did in miami-dade and
History will reveal that bush was an illegitimate pResident. i
only hope he doesn't f*ck up the country too much more before he
is thrown out of office on his sorry a$$ like his Poppy.
What is obvious is that even AFTER the GOP and their operatives
nd their "machine" in Jeb's corrupt-to-the-gills state performed
every underhanded and anti-American, anti-voter, anti-democratic
trick they could think of, Al Gore STILL got more valid, legal
votes than Bush.
There is now absolutely no doubt whatsoever that more voters in
is sniggling technicalities, legal maneuvers, and distractions
like declaring Dem voters are "stupid". Problem is, none of that
covers up the fact that, if the votes had actually been counted,
This was a triumph of trickery, fraud, bully tactics, vote
tampering masquerading as "honest mistakes", and partisanship IN
THE FEDERAL JUDICIARY, over the WILL of the PEOPLE. The GOP, the
Supreme Court, Bush, Cheney, Baker, and the whole Republican crew
have seething contempt for the American People.
I think the least I can do is second that emotion in return.
As the exit polls indicated, over 100,000 people more wanted to
vote for Gore than Bush, but their votes weren't counted. The
votes are still there for anyone who wants to check.
As the Newspapers analysis indicates, just by looking at the 3%
of the "overvotes"(where someone voted for Gore twice rather than
once due to the ballot layout and directions) if the clearly
legal votes had been looked at Gore won by over 30,000. But
looking at the 97% not considered here, its also obvious that
over 90% of these tried to vote for Gore, but due to ballot
design problems such as the confusing 2 page ballots with Gore's
and Buchan's buttons switched in order, many accidently voted for
Buchanan and other such situations.
The corruption and dirty tricks
pervasive. What I've talked about doesn't include the fact that
thousands of legal black voters were taken off the voting roles
prior to the election(blacks voted 90% for Gore) and thousands of
Democrats who signed up to vote in the Motor Voter program were
not put on the roles, while Republicans who signed up at the same
time were, and lots of voters in minority districts could not
vote due to problems in their polling places and faulty equipment
that didn't register their vote.
erification of the election result by the Congress, but none is
set in stone. Before Election 2000, the guiding principle was the
determination, as best the law could discern, of how all the
legal, valid voters voted. The FSC honored that tradition, by
calling for recounts. The USSC relied instead on an arbitrary
deadline to NEGATE the valid, legal votes of "the People".
Now, Prag and Max, an
Over 30 states have a "clear intent of the voter" standard for
manually recounting votes. Is this standard now UnConstitutional,
and illegal? Yes, or No?
within 7 days of election day, or Nov. 14, IF THERE IS NO
PROTEST. Legal protests were handled by a SEPARATE law, which
spelled out WHEN, under WHAT CIRCUMSTANCES, and HOW candidates
could demand manual recounts. IF the vote was so close it was
within one half of one percent difference, a machine recount was
mandatory. If the machine recount did not resolve the winner
OUTSIDE THAT MARGIN, then manual recounts could be requested
WITHIN SEVEN DAYS of the election.
Obviously, the State Legislature intended for the manual recounts
to be conducted, when the election was that close. The problem
is, it is a physical impossibility to manually recount within the
deadline for certifying elections that are NOT CLOSE.
So, the laws were in conflict. The secretary of state was given "
discretion" over the deadline, but Katherine Harris had no
inclination to follow the second law, since the first one would
give the election to Bush.
This conflict was taken to state court, as all conflicts in state
law SHOULD be and usually ARE, for the legal resolution.
The Florida Supreme Court overruled Harris (who, out of thin air,
decided only a hurricane could negate the first certification
deadline), and the FSC said her discretion should fall to
determining the ACTUAL winner, and the ACTUAL will of the voters,
rather than adhering to an arbitrary deadline meant for
unchallenged elections clearly won by one party or the other.
The problem in meeting the FIRST deadline is that it was intended
for votes which were NOT CLOSE. Elections so close they must be
manually recounted, according to state law, could not possibly be
expected to adhere to the first deadline.
2. The USSC negated state laws to make their decision to end the
vote counting. The law IN PLACE at the time of the election
called for manual recounts in close races. The law IN PLACE at
the time of the election called for the canvassing boards to
determine "the clear intent of the voter" by examining the
ballots. The USSC overruled these laws. Thus, the USSC changed
the laws in place at the time of the election. You say these laws
cannot be changed. The USSC changed them, or rather, set them
aside. On Nov 7, these laws existed in force. On Dec 12, they
were gone, as if they never existed. Can't change the laws AFTER
the election any more than THAT.
Yes, the USSC made some determiniations, citing "equal protection
". The recounts must be done, according to the USSC, statewide,
by a uniform and more detailed standard than "clear intent", and
must include ALL votes, including OVERVOTES. Following the USSC's
rules, the Consortium determined Al Gore got more votes, and
WOULD HAVE won the election.
And yes, the USSC said "time is up" to enact these procedures and
standards. They did so by saying that any votes counted after Dec
12 THEY would consider "unconstitutional". Why? Because if done
after Dec 12, then the slate of electors resulting from a later
count MIGHT result in a conflicting slate of electors sent by the
resolve the conflict, and should have been allowed to occur. Dec
12 was a "safe harbor" deadline, which was never meant to negate
the accurate counting of valid and legal votes. The USSC decided
NOT to follow the constitutional procedure, and instead decide
the election outcome themselves.
As a result, NOBODY was accorded "equal protection". Nobody at
all. But the USSC didn't care. Equal Protection was only the "
justification" they needed to hear the case. The USSC had no
intention of their intervention resulting in equal protection of
ANYBODY. The sole resulting beneficiary of this equal protection
invocation was one person: GW Bush.
3. There IS no "date certain" for election results. There are
deadline "triggers" for various conditions...certification,
meeting of electors, and v(continued in next response...)
I don't even know where to start, is it....
1. the use by republican operatives in county after county fixing
only republican registration forms in county clerks offices
against the law,
2. the use of a republican organization paid by katherine harris'
office to purge voter rolls of felons and have thousands of
non-felons purged from the voting registrations rolls.
3. the incredibly repugnant sight of paid congressional aids and
republican party operatives rioting before the vote count offices
in palm springs that shut down the recount in that county.
4. the GOP attcking Gore for questioning absantee military
ballots as un-patriotic in some counties while doing just that in
5. the fact that bush signed into law in texas the use of hand
counted votes as the final arbiter of elections tallies, and then
arguing againt it as a less reliable method, even when the man
who invented the machinery that counted the votes stated
uncatagorically that the hand count method was more reliable.
but I shall let the words of Justice Stevens be my final words on
this issue because no one said it better than Justice Stevens in
his dissent on the verdict in Bush vs Gore. It should be
inscribed on all 5 of the Justices tombstones that voted for
"The Constitution assigns to the States the primary
responsibility for determining the manner of selecting the
Presidential electors. See Art. II, Section. 1, clause. 2. When
questions arise about the meaning of state laws, including
election laws, it is our settled practice to accept the opinions
of the highest courts of the States as providing the final
answers. On rare occasions, however, either federal statutes or
the Federal Constitution may require federal judicial
intervention in state elections. This is not such an occasion."
"One thing, however, is certain. Although we may never know with
complete certainty the identity of the winner of this year's
Presidential election, the identity of the loser is perfectly
clear. It is the Nation's confidence in the judge as an impartial
guardian of the rule of
Read the whole text.
And as to the self congratulatoy Judge Posner, if his latest book
on intellectuals and his methods area an indication of his
acumen, i would never consider him for advice.
Q: I'm not a lawyer and I don't understand the recent Supreme
Court decision in Bush v. Gore. Can you explain it to me?
A: Sure. I'm a lawyer. I read it. It says Bush wins, even if
Gore got the most votes.
Q: But wait a second. The US Supreme Court has to give a
Q: So Bush wins because hand-counts are illegal?
A: Oh no. Six of the nine justices believed that hand-counts
were legal and should
count. Indeed, all nine found "
basic command for the count of legally cast votes is to consider
'the intent of the voter.'" "This is unobjectionable as an
abstract proposition." In fact, "uniform rules to determine
intent" are not only "practicable" but "necessary."
Q: So that's a complicated way of saying "divining the intent of
the voter" is perfectly legal?
Q: Well, if hand counts are fine, why were they stopped? Have
the re-counts already tabulated all the legal ballots?
A. No. The five conservative justices clearly held (and all
nine justices agreed) "that punch card balloting machines can
produce an unfortunate number of ballots which are not punched in
a clean, complete way by the voter." So there are legal votes
that should be counted but will never be.
Q: Does this have something to do with states' rights? Don't
conservatives love that?
A: Yes. These five justices have held that the federal
government has no business telling a sovereign state university
it can't steal trade secrets just because such stealing is
prohibited by law. Nor does the federal government have any
business telling a state that it should bar guns in schools. Nor
can the federal government use the equal protection clause to
force states to take measures to stop violence against women.
Q: Is there an exception in this case?
A: Yes, the "Gore exception." States have no rights to control
their own state elections when it can result in Gore being
elected President. This decision is limited to only this
Q: C'mon. The Supremes didn't really say that. You're
A: Nope. They held "Our consideration is limited to the present
circumstances, as the problem of equal protection in election
processes generally presents many complexities."
Q: What complexities?
A: They didn't say.
Q: I'll bet I know the reason. I heard Jim Baker say this.
The votes can't be counted because the Florida Supreme Court "
changed the rules of the election after it was held." Right?
A. Wrong. The
US Supreme Court made clear that the
Supreme Court did not change the rules of the election. But the
US Supreme Court found this failure of the Florida Court to
change the rules after the election was wrong.
A: The Legislature declared that the only legal standard for
counting vote is "clear intent
of the voter." The
was condemned for not adopting a clearer standard after the
Q: I thought the Florida Court was not allowed to change the
Legislature's law after the election.
Q: So what's the problem?
should have. The US Supreme Court said
Supreme Court should have "adopt[ed] adequate statewide standards
for determining what is a legal vote"
Q: I thought only the Legislature could "adopt" new law.
Q: So if the Florida Court had adopted new standards, I thought
it would have been overturned.
A: Right. You're catching on.
Q: Wait. If the Florid(continued in next response...)a Court had adopted new standards, it would have been overturned
for changing the rules. And since it didn't do it, it's being
overturned for not changing the rules? That makes no sense.
That means that no matter what the Florida Supreme Court did,
legal votes could never be counted if they would end up with a
possible Gore victory.
A: Right. Next question.
Q: Wait, wait. I thought the problem was "equal protection,"
that some counties counted votes differently from others. Isn't
that a problem?
A: It sure is. Across the nation, we vote in a hodgepodge of
systems. Some, like the optical-scanners in largely
Republican-leaning counties record 99.7 percent of the votes.
Some, like the punch card systems in largely Democratic-leaning
counties, record only 97 percent of the votes. So approximately
3 percent of Democratic-leaning votes are thrown in the trash
Q: Aha! That's a severe equal-protection problem!!!
A: No it's not. The Supreme Court wasn't worried about the 3%
of Democratic-leaning ballots (about 170,000) thrown in the
Q: Was it the
butterfly ballots that violated
fooled more than 10,000 Democrats into voting for Buchanan or
both Gore and Buchanan?
A: Nope. The courts have no problem believing that Buchanan got
his highest, best support in a precinct consisting of a Jewish
old age home with Holocaust survivors, who apparently have
changed their mind about Buchanan's view that Hitler was not all
A: The problem was neither the butterfly ballot nor the 170,000
or 3 percent of Democratic-leaning voters (largely
African-Americans) disenfranchised. The problem is that somewhat
less than 0.01 percent of the ballots (less than 600 votes) may
have been determined under ever-so-slightly different standards
by judges and county officials recording votes under strict
public scrutiny, as Americans have done for more than 200 years.
The single judge overseeing the entire process might miss a vote
Q: A single judge? I thought the standards were different. I
thought that was the whole point of the Supreme Court opinion.
A: Judge Terry Lewis, who received the case upon remand from the
Florida Supreme Court, had already ordered each of the counties
to fax him their standards so he could be sure they were uniform.
Republican activists repeatedly sent junk faxes to Lewis in
order to prevent counties from submitting the standards to Lewis
in a way that could justify the vote counting. That succeeded in
stalling the process until Justice Scalia could stop the count.
Q: Hmmm. Well, even if those less than 600 difficult-to-tell
votes are thrown out, you can still count the other 170,000
votes (or just the 60,000 of them that were never counted) where
everyone, even Republicans, agrees the voter's intent is clear,
Q: Why not?
A: No time.
Q: I thought the Supreme Court said the Constitution was more
important than speed.
A: It did. It said, "The press of time does not diminish the
constitutional concern. A desire for speed is not a general
excuse for ignoring equal protection guarantees."
Q: Well that makes sense. So there's time to count the votes
when the intent is clear and everyone is treated equally then.
A: No. The Supreme Court won't allow it.
Q: But they just said that the constitution is more important
A: You forget. There is the "Gore exception."
Q: Hold on. No time to count legal votes where everyone, even
Republicans, agrees the intent is clear? Why not?
A: Because they issued the opinion at on December 12.
Q: Is December 12 a deadline for counting votes?
Q: So why is December 12 important?
A: December 12 is a deadline by which Congress can't challenge
Q: What does the Congressional role have to do with the Supreme
Nothing. In fact, as of
still hadn't turned in their results.
Q: But I thought ---
A: The Florida Supreme Court had said earlier it would like to
complete its work by December 12 to make things easier for
Congress. The United States Supreme Court is trying to "help"
the Florida Supreme Court out by reversing it and forcing the Fl
orida court to abide by a deadline that everyone agrees is not
Q: But I thought the Florida Court was going to just barely have
the votes counted by December 12.
A: They would have made it, but the five conservative justices
stopped the recount last Saturday.
A: Justice Scalia said some of the votes may not be legally
Q: So why not separate the votes into piles -- hanging chads for
Gore, indentations for Bush, votes that everyone agrees were
intended for Gore or Bush -- so that
we know exactly how
voted before determining who won? Then, if some ballots (say,
indentations) have to be thrown out, the American people will
know right away who won
A. Great idea! An intelligent, rational solution to a difficult
problem! The US Supreme Court rejected it. They held in
stopping the count on December 9 that such counts would be likely
to produce election results showing Gore won and that Gore's
winning the count would cause "public acceptance" that would "cast a
cloud" over Bush's "legitimacy" and thereby harm "democratic
Q: In other
they won't accept the US Supreme Court making Bush President?
Q: Is that a legal reason to stop recounts? or a political one?
A: Let's just say in all of American history and all of American
law, this is the first time a court has ever refused to count
votes in order to protect one candidate's "legitimacy" over
Q: Aren't these conservative justices against judicial activism?
A: Yes, when liberal judges are perceived to have done it.
Q: Well, if the December 12 deadline is not binding, why not
count the votes afterward?
A: The US Supreme Court, after conceding the December 12
deadline is not binding, set December 12 as a binding deadline at
on December 12.
Q: Didn't the US Supreme Court condemn the Florida Supreme Court
for arbitrarily setting a deadline?
Q: But, but --
A: Not to worry. The US Supreme Court does not have to follow
laws it sets for other courts.
Q: So who
A: The Bush lawyers who, before Gore filed a single lawsuit,
went to court to stop the recount.
The rent-a-mob in
constant request for delay by Bush
And, primarily, the US Supreme Court, which refused to consider
Bush's equal protection claim on
the recount entirely on December 9, and then, on December 12 at
, suddenly accepted the equal protection claim they had
rejected three weeks earlier, but complained there was no time
left to count the votes in the two hours left before
Q: So who is punished for this behavior?
A: Gore. And the 50 million plus Americans that voted for him,
some 540,000 more than voted for Bush.
existing for a hundred years are now suddenly unconstitutional?
A: Yes. According to the Supreme Court, the Legislature drafted
the law in such a messy way
fairly counted. Since Secretary of State Katherine Harris never
got around to setting more definitive standards for a counting
votes, Gore loses the election.
Q: Does this mean the election laws of any of the other 49
states are unconstitutional as well?
A: Yes, if one logically applies the Supreme Court opinion. The
voters of all 50 states use different systems and standards to
vote and count votes, and 33 states have the same "clear intent
of the voter" standard that the US Supreme Court found illegal in
Q: Then why aren't the results of these 33 states thrown out?
A: Um. Because . . . um . . . the Supreme Court doesn't say . .
Q: But if
declared by the US Supreme Court to be unconstitutional, we don't
know who really won the election there, right?
Q: But then what makes Bush President?
question. A careful statistical analysis
Herald extrapolates from the 170,000 uncounted votes
to show Gore clearly won the state and may have done so by as
much as 23,000 votes (excluding the butterfly ballot errors).
Q: So, answer my question: what makes Bush President?
A: Since there was no time left for a re-count based on the
non-binding "deadline," the Supreme Court decided to choose
itself who will be President and has picked Bush to win by a vote
of 5 to 4, based on the flawed count it just determined to be
Q: That's completely bizarre! That sounds like rank political
favoritism! Did the justices have any financial interest in the case?
A: Scalia's two sons are both lawyers at law firms working for
Bush. Thomas's wife is collecting applications for people who
want to work in the Bush administration.
Q: Why didn't they remove themselves from the case?
A: If either had recused himself, the vote would have been 4-4,
the Florida Supreme Court decision allowing recounts would have
been affirmed, and Scalia said he feared that would mean Gore
winning the election. Justices Rehnquist and O'Connor had both
said before the election that they wanted to retire but would
only do so if a Republican were elected, and when O'Connor heard
from early (and, we now know, accurate) exit polls that Gore had
Q: I can't believe the justices acted in such a blatantly
A: Read the opinions for yourself
9 stay stopping the recount)
http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/supremecourt/00-949_dec12.fdf(December 12 opinion)
Q: So what are the consequences of this?
A: The guy
who got the most votes in the
under our Constitution (Al Gore)
will lose to
choice (George W. Bush), since Bush has won the all-important 5-4
Supreme Court vote, which trumps
in a democracy, the guy with the most votes wins. At least in
the Electoral College, shouldn't the guy with the most votes in
democracy, or even a republic. In
the most US Supreme Court votes wins. That's why we don't need
to count the People's votes in
Q: So what will happen to the Supreme Court when Bush becomes
President?A: He will appoint more justices in the mode of Thomas
and Scalia to ensure that the will of the people is less and less
respected. Soon lawless justices may constitute 6-3 or even 7-2
on the court.Q: Is there any way to stop this?A: YES. No
federal judge can be confirmed without a vote in the Senate. It
takes 60 votes to break a filibuster. If only 41 of the 50
Democratic Senators stand up to Bush and his Supreme Court and
say that they will not approve a single judge appointed by him
until a President can be democratically elected in 2004, the
judicial reign of terror will end?.and one day we can hope to
return to the rule of law and the will of the People.
Q: Why can't we impeach the justices?
A: That takes a majority of the House and 2/3 of the Senate and
is far more controversial. Don't worry. A 4-year judicial
filibuster will definitely get the Court's attention. Indeed, it
is probably the only way to get the Court's attention.Q: What
can I do to help?A: Email this article to everyone you know, and
write or call your Senator, reminding him or her that Gore beat
Bush by more than 540,000 (almost five times Kennedy's margin
over Nixon) and that you believe that elections should be
determined by counting the People's votes, not the Supreme
Court's. Therefore, to stop our unelected federal judiciary from
ever again overturning the will of the people, you ask your
Senators to confirm NO NEW FEDERAL J
NON-DEMOCRATICALLY ELECTED PRESIDENT until 2004 when a president
can be finally chosen by the American people, instead of Antonin
Q: Doesn't anyone on the US Supreme Court follow the rule of
A: Yes. Read the four dissents. Excerpts below:
Justice John Paul Stevens (Republican appointed by Ford):"
Although we may never know with complete certainty the identity o
f the winner of this year's Presidential election, the identity
of the loser is perfectly clear. It is the Nation's confidence
in the judge as an impartial guardian of the rule of law."
Justice David Souter (Republican appointed by Bush):"Before this
Court stayed the effort to [manually recount the ballots] the
count all the disputed ballots now.Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg
(Democrat appointed by
Chief Justice Rehnquist would "disrupt"
regime." [In other words, democracy in
The court should not let its "untested prophecy" that counting
votes is "impractical" "decide the presidency of the United
States."Justice Steven Breyer
(Democrat appointed by
There is no justification for the majority's remedy . . . " We
"risk a self-inflicted wound -- a wound that may harm not just
the court, but the nation."
Mark H. LevineAttorney at MarkLevineEsq@aol.com
I would respectfully suggest that we look at exactly WHAT those seven of nine were actually SAYING. Massagatto suggests the nine said the FSC erred. That is not the case. The seven said simply that partial recounts, using varying standards, presented an equal protection problem. The seven agreed the FSC had no choice as to the standard, since it was set by the Florida Legislature, but the seven DID agree that the FSC could remedy the situation by having the recount overseen centrally by a judge (terry lewis already had that job), doing the count statewide, and including ALL disputed votes, including undervotes AND overvotes. So, saying the vote of 7-2 was EITHER an acceptance of halting vote counting altogether, OR represented a rebuke of the Florida Supreme Court...is simply FALSE. Furthermore, the seven did not seem upset enough about the "equal protection" hazard in Florida OR nationwide to actually set a PRECEDENCE in this case. As has been mentioned above, they agreed election systems are unfair, but that there's nothing they could do about it. So, they limited their "findings" ONLY to denying Gore a victory. Nothing else.
Yes indeed, the counting was halted (Saturday morning when the
counting was set to be completed on Sunday, while the nefarious
Dec 12 "deadline" loomed on the following Tuesday).
Ostensibly, the idea was to get a count free of handcounts using
Did the USSC acheive this? No.
The count that Katherine Harris "certified"...which turned out to
be the count relied upon to award Bush the electors...contained
MANY handcounted ballots. In other words, the "legal" count was
one which was UNconstitutionally arrived at. At least six "
Republican" counties and one "Democrat" county met the "deadline"
to have their handcounted (by the Unconstitutional "differing
standards") ballots included in the certification.
The Republican counties added over 600 votes to Bush's total, by
finding "handcounted" ballots for him, which if disallowed (as
being unconstitutional) would have caused Bush to be BEHIND in
the totals at certification time.
Equal protection? For WHOM? Can you name ANYBODY, from among the
from the ruling handed down in Bush v Gore?
If so, I'd love to hear WHO, and why you think they GOT it.
And on the question of "conservative vs. liberal" instead of "
partisan" considerations being made by the Justices of the USSC,
this idea is destroyed by the fact that the Rhenquist 5 had to
violate their so-called "deeply held conservative principles"
concerning the judiciary in many, many ways to arrive at their B
ush v Gore ruling. They abandoned "state's rights", they set
aside their stated (in writings) requirement for there to be both
a specific harmed party AND a proven INTENT to harm that party
before they would consider invoking "equal protection" (neither
requirement was met in Bush v Gore), they abandoned Scalia's
admonition that the Supreme Court has NO BUSINESS making "unique"
rulings (Bush v Gore was "unique" in that the Rhenquist 5 said
the ruling cannot be applied to any other future cases...is set
NO PRECEDENCE WHATSOEVER). Further, Conservatives supposedly
ABHOR "Judicial Activism", of which Bush v Gore was a textbook
In short, if the Rhenquist 5 had adhered to CONSERVATIVE
principles instead of PARTISAN considerations, they would never
have taken the case in the first place. They abandoned their
Conservative principles wholesale in order to install BUSH in
You are quite right; what's done is done.
Bush is "legally" our President.
In court, one wins, the other loses.
Having said THAT, there are many ongoing repercussions to Bush v
Gore. In my opinion, these can be very good indeed.
First, it was demonstrated how horribly inadequate, biased, and
antiquated our election machinery is
already passed new laws to "clean up" the mess. Congress is
considering appropriating money to update election equipment
have been eliminated in
thought the USSC set no "precedence" with Bush v Gore, they DID
indicate that "equal protection" should apply to election
apparati. This is a GOOD development.
Second, the Rhenquist 5, in order to install Bush, had to abandon
so many of their previously claimed "deeply held principles". No
more will they be able to claim such things as "state's rights"
and scold such things as "judicial activism". They have put the
LIE to these claims, and as a result the Rightwing will nevermore
to be credible on these issues.
Third, with the help of James Baker in
view of the Judiciary as indeed a POLITICAL and PARTISAN job.
Previous to Bush v Gore, the confirmation hearings for
replacement justices were kept on "qualifications" and shied away
from any "litmus test" on party affiliation. The USSC in Bush v
Gore has thoroughly blurred that distinction. James Baker told
us, in no uncertain terms, that a JUDGE cannot be trusted to rule
impartially, if it's a political
question. He smeared the
SC as "hopelessly partisan", and by so doing, removed the patina
of "blind justice" from the judiciary from top to bottom.
Therefore, when and IF Bush ever gets to send a nominee to the
Supreme Court, the gloves are off. Partisan political issues are
FAIR GAME, because Rhenquist et al have demonstrated that the
court will intervene in choosing our political leaders, if at all
possible. It's now a relevant issue. This, too, is a GOOD thing.
the 3% figure as the overall national error rate attributed to punchcard ballots, as opposed to less than half a percent
error rate for optical scans. But, you are of course right. I also recall the
AVERAGE error rate in Florida was closer to 6%, with some areas being much higher.Florida was supposed to go early for Bush, and then
be subsequently ignored. The Republicans were confident they had gamed the system in
eligible Democratic voters excluded from voter roles by Bush Admininstration in
Florida Sun‑Sentinel reports: "The Florida Department of Corrections
is investigating an error that may have disenfranchised a number of eligible
voters in four counties in the past four years. A handful of probation officers
in Broward, Monroe,
1. Media Consortium Statewide Count of "Undervotes" and "Overvotes" Proves Gore Won Under ANY Standard
Consortium hired the
Gore Deficit or Lead
Certified by Katherine Harris
Valid votes found after certification
Correctly marked paper ballots
Poorly marked paper ballot
Dimples with sunlight
Unfortunately, the members of the Media Consortium insisted on distorting the analysis of their own clear data (see "Spin Control" below).
Without counting a single hanging or dimpled chad,
Gore won by 662, according to the Miami Herald. The votes
below were crystal clear votes as determined by the Herald's accounting firm,
BDO Seidman. Under
Gore Deficit or Lead
Certified by Katherine Harris
Clear "Undervotes" (optical scan)
Clear "Undervotes" (punch card)
Unfortunately, the Herald insists on distorting the analysis of its own clear data (see "Spin Control" below).
3. Other Media Counts Lead to the Same Conclusion
You can see the same data in greater detail here:
_ Unknown News
Gore Deficit or Lead
Certified by Katherine Harris
Florida Supreme Court ruling
Hernando (Hernando Today)
Miami-Dade #1 (Palm Beach Post) - minus prior recount included in 12/8
15 County (Orlando Sentinel) -minus prior recounts in
Miami-Dade #2 (Miami Herald)also: how the media twisted this recount into a "Gore lost" story
Martin, St. Lucie
Total Gore Gain from Recounts
4. Overvote Analysis - Gore's True Margin of Victory
If every county in
Gore Deficit or Lead
Analysis of overvotes in 8 counties by the Washington Post
Analysis of overvotes in 15 counties by the Orlando Sun-Sentinel
Gore-Libertarian overvotes in 16 counties by Orlando Sun-Sentinel
Analysis of overvotes
Analysis of overvotes
statewide by the
5. Disputed Votes
There are several categories of votes that have been widely disputed. Unlike the votes above, these disputed votes could not have been resolved by county canvassing boards, either on election night or during the subsequent recounts.
It is impossible to quantify most of these categories, but we can try to give our best estimates.
Categories favoring Gore
_ Absentee ballots that could not be read by voting machines, but were illegally "duplicated" by county election officials: 10,000 (over 60% Bush)
_ Legal voters who were disenfranchised by Katherine Harris through the criminally inaccurate purge of "felons": 1,100 (90% Gore)
_ Absentee ballots cast in Seminole and Martin counties by Republican voters following the criminal alteration of defective ballot applications by Republican operatives: 5,000 (99% Bush)
_ Votes meant for Gore but
cast for Buchanan because of the "butterfly ballot" in
_ Voters who went to the polls but were unable to cast a vote because of language problems (and no translators) or physical disability: (70% Gore)
_ Registrations submitted from black colleges but not processed: (90% Gore) (thousands)
_ Overseas military ballots that were not legal, but were counted because of massive pressure from the Bush campaign: 680 (71% Bush)
_ Police checkpoints near black precincts:
Categories favoring Bush
_ Premature network projections for Gore 10 minutes before polls closed in the Panhandle: 10 (60% Bush?)
6. Racial Discrimination
_ Whose Votes Don't Count?: An Analysis of Spoiled Ballots in the 2000
_ Report of the
_ NAACP et al v. Katherine Harris et al
_ Votes of Poor Are Discarded
3 Times More than Votes of Rich Across the
7. The Untold Story
A wide range of suspicious activities were reported by eyewitnesses and the news media. Many of these activities have still not been investigated.
_ Questions the
_ Oral Majority: The Evidence Room
_ "Lost" Votes and a Stolen Election
_ Bush Never Won
_ 13 Myths About The Results Of The 2000 Election
_ Scary Facts about the
_ Al Gore's Margin of VICTORY
_ How Did This Happen?
_ Election 2000 FAQ
_ The Five Worst Republican Outrages
_ Democracy Subverted - November 2000 Election Irregularities
8. Spin Control - Media Distortion of the Stolen Election
Each new revelation about the Stolen Election has been accompanied
by articles that were deliberately distorted by editors and reporters to deny
the reality that Gore Won
_ Media Lies Once Again to Declare Bush the Winner
_ The Bush Propaganda Machine
Strikes Again in
_ Now its
Unofficial: Gore Did Win
_ Gore Moves Ahead in
9. Republicans Would Never Accept a Gore Victory
_ Bush Set to Fight An Electoral College Loss
_ A President by Judicial Fiat
10. The Republican Criminals Who Shut Down the Miami-Dade Recount
These are some of the thugs who staged a riot at the
11. Spoiled ballots were primarily due to systematic problems in equipment and the election process, not due to characteristics of the voter such as education level or literacy.
Minorities were more
likely to have to vote on machines that were less reliable and had a larger
percentage of spoiled ballots than other voters. Minorities were systematically discriminated
against by the