Magazine article Insight on the News

Fairness Was Not Gore's Objective in Florida

Magazine article Insight on the News

Fairness Was Not Gore's Objective in Florida

Article excerpt

Incessant claims by Vice President Al Gore and his spokesmen that they want every vote to count is belied by everything the Gore camp has done in Florida. If the Democrats really wanted every vote to count, then they would have started a manual recount all over the state, not just in heavily Democratic areas. If Gore wanted every vote to count, then why did one of his lawyers send instructions to other lawyers for the Democrats, throughout the state, on how to challenge absentee ballots from military personnel overseas?

Some countries where these military personnel are stationed do not follow U.S. postmarking practices, so this technicality could be used to disqualify military absentee ballots, which were known to be heavily for George W. Bush. According to the Associated Press, more than 1,400 overseas absentee ballots were thrown out Nov. 17, and one Florida county rejected 117 of its 147 overseas ballots.

If Gore and his people wanted every vote to count, then what were they doing contacting Republican members of the Electoral College and trying to get them to switch their vote to Gore, even though these electors' constituencies voted for Bush? The quiet intelligence-gathering by the Gore camp on these electors' backgrounds, reported in the Nov. 16 Wall Street Journal, suggests implicit blackmail to force electors to betray their trust in order to avoid having their personal embarrassments made public, as the Clinton/Gore administration has done with others.

Meanwhile, the magic phrase "hand recount" was thrown around as if these hand counts are more accurate than the machine counts. Machines may miss some ballots that were not properly punched, but at least they miss Republican and Democratic ballots impartially. Hand recounts are open not only to subjective and partisan interpretation but also to mishandling, both accidental and deliberate. A Democrat in Palm Beach County, Fla., has had a ballot-punching machine confiscated. It was found in his car after he had denied having it.

Things like this are no doubt among the reasons why the Florida law does not provide for a hand count of ballots. It does not preclude them, but Florida's secretary of state is given the discretion to allow deviations from the legally prescribed rules only in case of such unusual situations as floods, hurricanes, power outages and the like. …

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