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DISQUALIFY MILITARY VOTES : A how-to.
November 20, 2000 7:00 AM   Subscribe

DISQUALIFY MILITARY VOTES : A how-to.
posted by tiaka (16 comments total)

 
One thing I don't get is that these are the "absentee ballots", correct? Why does it seems like 100% of them are armed forces voters, at least from all this talk (and the linked page above). Here in Arizona, anyone can cast an absentee ballot.
posted by pnevares at 7:06 AM on November 20, 2000


Anybody can cast an absentee ballot, but armed forces personnel, especially those serving overseas, are probably the largest identifiable group which need to vote absentee. Since military folks tend to lean Republican, and (IIRC) military post has identifiable postmarks, etc. you have an easily distinguishable mass of votes that would probably favor the Republicans. Democratic partisans seem to be bending over backwards in their attempts to challenge these votes. In particular, there have been claims that Democrats are applying a double standard, attempting to disqualify as many of the military ballots as possible, but not pressing matters on other overseas ballots. After all, the second largest group of absentees seems to be Floridian Jews living in Israel, who are expected to overwhelmingly support Gore/Lieberman.
posted by harmful at 7:26 AM on November 20, 2000


Drudge B.S. detector - Whoooop whoooop whoooop whoooop!
posted by quirked at 7:57 AM on November 20, 2000


You could headline it as "ACCEPT MILITARY VOTES: A how-to", since that's literally what the memo describes: the terms which make the ballots acceptable. That said, I think that both sides are playing silly politics with this.
posted by holgate at 8:03 AM on November 20, 2000


Most of the absentee ballots have already been counted. The difference here is that overseas absentee ballots don't have to be received until 10 days after the election. A huge portion of overseas absentee ballots are military, which presumably lean heavily Republican. But that said, there were only a few thousand overseas absentee votes compared to several hundred thousand absentee votes filed in Florida or elsewhere in the US.
posted by daveadams at 8:09 AM on November 20, 2000


If I understand the Republicans line of thinking, it's OK to disenfranchise the elderly because they can't punch a hole in a ballot that's readable to a Votomatic machine, but it's wrong to disenfranchise absentee voters because they can't figure out how to use a post office that postmarks mail.

I think this latest talking point is dramatically exagerrated. Many Florida counties decided to count these absentee ballots without a postmark. Of the ones that didn't, there's no reason to conclude they were all military ballots.
posted by rcade at 8:27 AM on November 20, 2000


If there's anything in here which directly contradicts Florida law I'll be suitably astonished.

Since the line on incorrectly filled-out Palm Beach ballots is that the voters were "stupid", even "retards", I suppose we may assume the same of military personnel who submitted incorrectly-filled out ballots?

Postmarks appear to be a problem: sloppy military postal service doesn't always do 'em. I'll give 'em that.
posted by dhartung at 8:28 AM on November 20, 2000


Ah, rcade beat me to the same approximate point.

I'll also note that a week ago, the line was that maybe a lot of those overseas ballots were Democratic-leaning residents of Israel. Hence the reasons to post facto disqualify those votes (sudden revocation of dual citizenship, etc.) were flying fast and furious. Now ...
posted by dhartung at 8:30 AM on November 20, 2000


Indeed. It's worth noting that someone pointed out that military outbound mail may well *not* have postmarks...

so there's a balance between keeping people from ballot box stuffing (which is the reason for the postmark requirement), and assuming that the military itself would prevent such stupidity.

It's *also* worth noting that if all you're basing your repitition of the "military votes Republican" canard on is the '96 election... that election pitted a Republican war-hero against a Democratic draft-dodger... and is therefore probably a lousy choice of statistical universe.

And Dan? You may or may not have noticed my retraction of my original opinion call against the PBC voters. Yeah, they should have paid more attention, but they had help.

Similar problems with poorly designed user interfaces happen every day... in nuclear power plants.

Be afraid. Be very af-rayed.
posted by baylink at 8:32 AM on November 20, 2000


At this point, does anyone believe that we'll have a president whose election is considered legitimate by more than 50 percent of the population? There's more than enough ammunition on both sides to keep this in question until 2004.

I think the best solution is to have a second Election Day for the 50 percent of Americans who didn't vote on Nov. 7. Let them pick the president -- the rest of us had our chance and failed to pick one of these guys by a decisive margin. (While we're at it, maybe we should let these apathetic or lazy people take over the media and Congress, too.)
posted by rcade at 8:54 AM on November 20, 2000


If we're going to do the election over, can we try it with actual candidates this time?
posted by harmful at 9:06 AM on November 20, 2000


Only about 50% of the population votes, and with the "don't lose" strategy, there hasn't been a president in a while that had more than 25% of the nation voted for. So who cares anyway? they all suck-- it's pointless to even fret over it.
posted by cell divide at 9:17 AM on November 20, 2000


If I understand the Republicans line of thinking, it's OK to disenfranchise the elderly because they can't punch a hole in a ballot that's readable to a Votomatic machine, but it's wrong to disenfranchise absentee voters because they can't figure out how to use a post office that postmarks mail.

Nope. The military personnel turning in the ballots had no control on whether the armed forces postmarked their ballots or not, while the voters in Palm Beach could control whether they could follow the thick black arrow or not.


posted by gyc at 9:47 AM on November 20, 2000


gyc, an unspecified number of those ballots were disqualified for reasons other than postmark. Military personnel, if they know anything, ought to know how to sign their name to a sheet of paper.
posted by dhartung at 10:32 AM on November 20, 2000


I think this latest talking point is dramatically exagerrated. Many Florida counties decided to count these absentee ballots without a postmark. Of the ones that didn't, there's no reason to conclude they were all military ballots.

Then you'll not be surprised to find that the counties who disqualified the most overseas ballots were Broward County, which rejected 304 of the 396 ballots received, and Miami Dade County, where 312 were opened and 209 were rejected. These numbers were in a chart in today's Washington Post, which they unfortunately failed to reproduce online.
posted by mikewas at 11:16 AM on November 20, 2000


The military personnel turning in the ballots had no control on whether the armed forces postmarked their ballots or not, while the voters in Palm Beach could control whether they could follow the thick black arrow or not.

The machines in Palm Beach county did not spit out invalid ballots to let voters know a mistake was made. Machines up here in heavily Republican North Florida did, so we had every opportunity to submit a valid ballot here in Bush country. This fundamental disparity is one of the reasons why (a) the Florida vote will always be perceived as flawed -- Gore has been shorted around 15,000 to 20,000 of his votes, and (b) the Democrats running elections in Palm Beach County and other heavy Democratic areas are woefully incompetent.

Then you'll not be surprised to find that the counties who disqualified the most overseas ballots were Broward County, which rejected 304 of the 396 ballots received, and Miami Dade County, where 312 were opened and 209 were rejected.

In that case, why is the GOP mad? Many of those votes were probably for Gore. The big military votes arrived in Duval County, the county that includes Pensacola, and other military towns.
posted by rcade at 12:16 PM on November 20, 2000


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