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View Diary: A Letter to Justice O'Connor (114 comments)

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  •  Wait a minute. Other people disagree with your (15+ / 0-)

    conclusion...

    Here's one from Fair.org
    which offers a great analysis of the multiple-newspaper consortium report on the 2000 election, and sums it up at the end with:

    Whether or not you support the current administration, the real story of the consortium's findings was summarized by [Jonathan] Chait in The New Republic (11/15/01): " Bush won the presidency not because the system worked, but because it failed."
    This NYMag.com piece by Jonathon Chait from June, 2012, entitled "Yes, Bush v Gore Did Steal the Election:
    The general topic of wildly partisan Supreme Court rulings is on everybody’s mind right now for some reason. The Washington Examiner’s Tim Carney wants everybody to know that the Supreme Court really, truly did not hand the presidential election to George W. Bush. “You can disagree with the ruling in Bush v. Gore,” writes Carney, “but you can’t honestly argue that it decided the election.”

    The conclusion was erroneous. The newspapers assumed that the counties would only have looked at “undervotes” — ballots that did not register any votes for president — and ignored “overvotes” — ballots that registered more than one vote for president. An overvote would be a ballot in which the machine mistakenly picked up a second vote for president, or in which a voter both marked a box and wrote in the name of the same candidate. A hand recount in which an examiner is judging the “intent of the voter” would turn those ballots that were originally discarded into countable votes.

    Counting overvotes in which the intent of the voter was clear would have resulted in Gore winning the recount. And subsequent reporting by the Orlando Sentinel and Michael Isikoff found that the recount, had it proceeded, almost certainly would have examined overvotes. (Most of the links have been lost over time, but you can find references here and here.)

    and a TheDailyBeast.com republish of Michael isikoff's piece from Newsweek entitled: The Final Word?
    Buried deep in the files of the mammoth Florida litigation, Newsweek has uncovered hastily scribbled faxed notes written by Terry Lewis, the plain-speaking, mystery-novel writing state judge in charge of the Florida recount, that potentially changed the calculations rather substantially.

    The previously undisclosed notes lend firm documentary support to recent comments by Lewis that he might well have expanded the Florida Supreme Court-ordered statewide recount of "undervotes"--the disputed ballots in which machines did not record any vote for president. The notes show that--just hours before the U.S. Supreme Court issued its order--Lewis was actively considering directing the counties to also count an even larger category of disputed ballots, the so-called "overvotes," which were rejected by the machines because they purportedly recorded more than one vote for president.

    This is the group of disputed ballots that the consortium has now found that--had they been manually recounted--might have yielded a rich treasure trove of votes for Gore, enough even to put him over the top.


    "I like paying taxes...with them, I buy Civilization"

    by Angie in WA State on Mon Apr 29, 2013 at 07:30:32 PM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  Those support exactly what I said. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      VClib

      They said that the Florida Supreme Court had only ordered a recount of "undervotes," which is where there was no clear vote for President.  That's ALL that was being counted under the Florida Supreme Court order that was stopped by the SCOTUS.  The Florida Supreme Court order itself can be found here.  If the Supreme Court had not stepped in, and the counting had proceeded as the Florida Supreme Court ordered, only undervotes would have been recounted, and -- as the study showed - Bush likely would have won.

      Only undervotes were recounted, because it's far more difficult to discern which vote on an overvote ballot (a ballot with two votes for President) should be counted.  Nobody -- not Bush, not Gore, not the Florida Supreme Court -- asked for overvotes to be recounted.  

      What those two criticisms say is exactly what the article I cited said -- the only way Gore could have won is if overvotes had been counted.  The articles you cite say that the Floridia court should also have done what nobody asked for and recounted overvotes.  But they didn't.  So, if the Florida recount had proceeded as it was going, and had not been stopped by the SCOTUS, Bush likley would have won.

      •  It really's not clear what the Florida Supreme (6+ / 0-)

        Court ordered.  They state -

        Accordingly, for the reasons stated in this opinion, we reverse the final judgment of the trial court dated December 4, 2000, and remand this cause for the circuit court to immediately tabulate by hand the approximate 9,000 Miami-Dade ballots, which the counting machine registered as non-votes, but which have never been manually reviewed,
        and for other relief that may thereafter appear appropriate.
        They place emphasis on counting legal votes in accordance with established procedure -
        The circuit court is directed to enter such orders as are necessary to add any legal votes to the total statewide certifications and to enter any orders necessary to ensure the inclusion of the additional legal votes for Gore in Palm Beach County ...
        In tabulating the ballots and in making a determination of what is a "legal" vote, the standards to be employed is that established by the Legislature in our Election Code which is that the vote shallbe counted as a "legal" vote if there is "clear indication of the intent of the voter." Section 101.5614(5), Florida Statutes
        (2000).
        I think you can make a compelling argument that the Florida Supreme Court ordered every "legal" vote to be counted.  
      •  SCOFL never restricted to undervotes (10+ / 0-)

        They said that all legal votes should be counted--the votes that, according to Florida law, gave a "clear indication of the intent of the voter."

        According to RFK Lives, individual canvassing boards were already counting overvotes. And the FL state courts were indeed on the verge of making a statewide decision on what to do with the overvotes:

        The Newsweek disclosure – a memo that the presiding judge in the state recount sent to a county canvassing board – shows that the judge was instructing the county boards to collect “overvotes” that had been rejected for indicating two choices for president when, in reality, the voters had made clear their one choice.

        “If you would segregate ‘overvotes’ as you describe and indicate in your final report how many where you determined the clear intent of the voter,” wrote Judge Terry Lewis, who had been named by the Florida Supreme Court to oversee the statewide recount, “I will rule on the issue for all counties.”

        Lewis’s memo to the chairman of the Charlotte County canvassing board was written on Dec. 9, 2000, just hours before Bush succeeded in getting five conservative justices on the U.S. Supreme Court to stop the Florida recount.

        If SCOTUS had allowed the recount to continue, we would have had that ruling from Judge Lewis to determine the legal status of the overvotes.

        If indeed SCOFL had excluded the overvotes in its ruling, it seems strange that Judge Lewis would have bothered to issue a ruling on their status. Why does there need to be a ruling on votes that have already been excluded?

        It appears the system was working, however slowly and imperfectly, toward a just conclusion, until SCOTUS decided to call a halt to the proceedings. That just conclusion would have resulted in President Al Gore.

        "In America, the law is king." --Thomas Paine

        by limpidglass on Mon Apr 29, 2013 at 08:39:38 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  The Daily Howler covered the media (4+ / 0-)

      meltdown very nicely as well. Disgraceful, with conservatives screaming for Gore's head on a platter and liberals scurrying for cover, offering the presidency to Bush if they would just stop all that yelling. WaPo's Richard Cohen was the worst; he essentially wrote that the GOP would launch an armed insurrection if Bush didn't get to "win" -- they had already started mob riots in Miami -- and to avoid more violence, it would be best to just give it to Bush and let the GOP be in control to settle things down. Gutless little bitch. And most "liberals," at least in the Beltway media, were right there with him.

      November 24, 2000: Liberal Columnist Says Gore Must Step Aside, Leave Bush to ‘Unite’ Country

      Interesting that WaPo has let that column disappear from its site (note the Highbeam link in the entry).

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