Florida to settle 2000 election lawsuit.
August 31, 2002 9:49 AM   Subscribe

Florida to settle 2000 election lawsuit. Major provisions include a promise for massive reforms in voter registration, voter-roll maintenance and polling practices, as part of the lawsuit pushed by the NAACP. Granted, it's good that a large angered group is "getting over it" as many (even on this board) have still been explaining, but should skeptics (read: Democrats) such as myself read the Florida legislature's desire to settle as a sign that they may not have thought they would have won against charges of rigging the election?
posted by XQUZYPHYR (11 comments total)
As with all my political posts, my open-secrets disclaimer: I'm a registered Democrat who agrees with every single line of the NAACP lawsuit.

However, I'm not trying to troll and raise that suggestion as the direct topic- my point is, and as I have already discovered has been proclaimed on the unabashedly pro-Democrat Media Whores Online, is the idea that Florida is settling the suit the equivalent of assuming that Florida didn't want to or moreover wouldn't have been able to actually defeat the allegations?

IOW, is MWO actually right (albiet over-dramatic) in their statement that "Jeb has conceded GOP stole the election" with this refusal to fight the charges all the way?
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 9:56 AM on August 31, 2002

My gut says yes. My wallet says it may be cheaper to just do the right thing and make the needed changes rather than fight the lawsuit. Knowing it involves a Bush I'm sure there will be a war involved somewhere down the road and someone will say "Let's Roll.".
posted by filchyboy at 10:03 AM on August 31, 2002

I think it's unfortunate that the case is being settled. I would much rather it go to court and the facts of the case be laid out for all to see.
posted by wsg at 10:24 AM on August 31, 2002

this is more than I expected--but it's too bad the settlement provisions won't be in place by november for the upcoming elections.
posted by amberglow at 10:33 AM on August 31, 2002

Ditto, wsg. I think the details of the purging of thousands of "felons" who weren't really felons from the voting rolls is what the state doesn't want to have explored in court. Harper's published a quick summary of the issue -- which I think is by far the single most important factor in Bush's stealing of the election (screw the punchcard/chad distraction):

Most of the voters (such as "David Butler," (1); a name that appears 77 times in Florida phone books) were selected because their name, gender, birthdate and race matched - or nearly matched - one of the tens of millions of ex-felons in the United States. Neither DBT nor the state conducted any further research to verify the matches. DBT, which frequently is hired by the F.B.I. to conduct manhunts, originally proposed using address histories and financial records to confirm the names, but the state declined the cross-checks. In Harris’s elections office files, next to DBT’s sophisticated verification plan, there is a hand-written note: “DON’T NEED.”

Katherine Harris belongs in jail, not Congress.
posted by mediareport at 10:59 AM on August 31, 2002

And I belong in the zoo, for not remembering to replace all apostrophes and quotes in cut-and-pasted text until the problem with a new server's database connector is fixed. That last sentence should read:

In Harris's elections office files, next to DBT's sophisticated verification plan, there is a hand-written note: "DON'T NEED."

Pretty horrifying, no? Harris's office *had* to know the process would result in thousands of incorrectly eliminated voters, declined to do even the most basic verification. Criminal.
posted by mediareport at 11:06 AM on August 31, 2002

Looking at the posts, I can see there's a lot of people with an interest in the statistics and nubers about the entire debacle, so I figured I should recommend to anyone who wants a long list of all of them to check out Jews for Buchanan by John Nichols, a book which lays out the evidence in a way that although still partisan, is nowhere near the levels of J.H. Hatfield's extreme cocaine allegations and Michael Moore's... well.. Michael Mooreness. (Not that I find anything wrong with either)

It basically analyzes the concept that most people in Florida who voted on Election Day intended to vote for Al Gore, and tallies the ways in which people were prevented from doing it "in way that would count" from before the election to the Supreme Court ruling. And yes, mediareport, after I read it it makes me wonder why Harris isn't serving time, too.

In light of what wsg said, that's sort of my stance and the answer to the question I originally asked. I think the whole point of the settlement is to prevent massive media exposure of all the stuff this book would show you.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 11:30 AM on August 31, 2002

I'd imagine that putting this in court would hurt Katherine Harris' shot at Congress.

Not to mention it's an election year for Jeb.

Purely political manuevering to save their own butts.
posted by RobbieFal at 11:49 AM on August 31, 2002

This is a quiet li'l tragedy, ensuring that history will remember all of the above as contested allegations rather than shameful, court-tested facts.

Combine this with Clinton's various 'indiscretions' and it's no wonder that Americans on both sides of the spectrum consider "American Idol" and the "choose the new M&M color" campaign better models of democracy.
posted by adameft at 1:30 PM on August 31, 2002

Another obligatory trolling disclaimer from me, with the question turned on its head: did the NAACP settle because they weren't certain they could make the charges stick? I think it points to a muddy situation all around. Even if you believe, as I do, that Harris and the GOP violated the rights of voters, part of the responsibility lies at the county level, simply by dint of the fact that some counties didn't do the purge, or did their own verification (however cursory). Ultimately I'm comfortable letting her off this weak, poorly-tied hook legally and letting Florida voters judge her at the polls.

And as much as I want to believe that the purges were the reason Gore lost, or a "chad problem", it was really his failures, and in Florida, the stupid Buchanan-vote mistake. Or, to be perfectly honest, the fact that putzhead didn't resign when he should have.
posted by dhartung at 4:42 PM on August 31, 2002

I'd imagine that putting this in court would hurt Katherine Harris' shot at Congress. Not to mention it's an election year for Jeb. Purely political manuevering to save their own butts.

Maybe I misunderstood the settlement, but I was under the impression that two counties settled, not the state itself. Now, maybe Jeb's running a tighter conspiratorial ship down there in the Citrus and Election Fraud state, but most of the people involved in county and/or municipal government I've known (admittedly, not very many) tend to use phrases like "those expletive deleted in name of capital city." So, unless Hillsborough (Tampa metro, right?) and Orange (Orlando?) are run by state party officials (not saying that's not the case, mind you), it seems unlikely that the settlement is political butt-covering.

That having been said, send Harris to Camp X-Ray.
posted by Vetinari at 10:15 PM on August 31, 2002

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