I know it's short notice
November 10, 2000 5:00 PM   Subscribe

I know it's short notice but if you're in one of these cities, and agree that the popular vote of the people should be honored and upheld, there's gonna be a lot of spontaneous protests happening tomorrow afternoon.
posted by ZachsMind (19 comments total)
The final popular vote is not yet known!

Regardless, the popular margin is razor thin, and public opinion is irrelevant. The constitution is crystal clear: a candidate must have an electoral majority to win an election.
posted by dandot at 6:18 PM on November 10, 2000

Public opinion will be a direct reflection of the popular vote, i.e. divided. And the will of the people is very important here, far from irrelevant, for this is a democracy. If the election was as seriously compromised as it appears to have been, there ought to be a re-vote in Palm Beach County. It's the only reasonable thing to do.
posted by aliensocks at 6:42 PM on November 10, 2000

you couldn't be more wrong. The USA is not a democracy - we are a representative republic. and there is nothing reasonable about having a re-vote in Palm Beach County.

No level of confusion created by the ballot can justify people voting for 2 presidential candidates. That just plain stupidity, and I don't want this election decided by people who don't understand that they get 1 vote, for 1 candidate. We had 101 million people nation-wide that got it right, putting it in the hands of the 19,000 in Palm Beach that didn't is neither fair nor reasonable.
posted by schlyer at 7:05 PM on November 10, 2000

Gee, i am not very surprised that people would blame the people who voted twice in Palm Beach County. Why do you think that these people voted twice? Obviously, they were aware that they could only vote for one presidential candidate. The very fact that they punched out TWO holes on the ballot only supports the fact that the ballot was confusing.
posted by nyukid at 9:52 PM on November 10, 2000

schlyer, I don't know what dictionary you're using. Democracies certainly may be representative, federal, and republics and still be democracies. That shibboleth you've been fed is nonsense.

So far, the recount of the Florida election has been undertaken as a direct result of Florida law that requires one when there is such a thin margin of victory. If there is a revote, that will also be a direct result of Florida law and legal precedent, not somebody's judgement of "confusion" or the opinion of outsiders that the people with the fuXored election aren't entitled to a franchise.
posted by dhartung at 10:52 PM on November 10, 2000

The time for these protests was before the election. At this point, well, we've got an electoral college, and everyone knew what the system was going in, and to try and change it now would really grossly undermine our country's institutions, in exactly the same way that passing laws and then retroactively prosecuting people would.

Funny how people are suddenly "remembering" that the electors are lobbyable individuals, rather than numbers associated with states. This particular distinction is one that history has pretty well smoothed out: so much has changed in the last two hundred years that looking to original intent in figuring out the role of the electors is beside the point.
posted by grimmelm at 11:34 PM on November 10, 2000

Popular vote is still being counted, in California there is still something close to 2-3 million ballets not counted yet, or so I've read. Popular vote difference is now at around 50,000. I agree with grimmelm that all these idiots waving around their last minute made signs are just looking for maybe getting a spot on tv or the papers, not that the media is paying attention.
posted by tiaka at 6:11 AM on November 11, 2000

I think there's a blatant misunderstanding on this page. These people are not protesting the electoral college by this national protest today. They are protesting the blatant disregard for a fair and impartial voting system. A system that so easily can deteriorate and become tainted.

As one example, they're protesting thousands of ballots dismissed because the ballot itself was unnecessarily confusing. Yes you can argue that an eight year old could have figured out the butterfly ballot, but an eight year old can open a child-proof medicine bottle too, while a senior citizen might have more difficulty.

The protest is not to change the constitution, but to stop voting system negligence, "irregularities" and even voter fraud. Maybe if you guys had actually read the page before knocking the protest, you'd understand it better.

"If election "irregularities" in one state are allowed to invalidate the nation's popular vote, then democracy is in real trouble."

I was second guessing myself about going today. It's a bit out of my way and I really didn't want to leave the house, but after reading y'all's responses, I now feel it necessary to make an appearance there. Even if there's only a half dozen or so people who actually show up, the american people who actually feel strongly about this need to speak out against it. Those responsible for this negligence need to learn they are being watched, and others do not like what they see.

I still don't believe one person's voice does make a difference in this country, but I will forever believe that it CAN, and the system should be designed to allow each and every one voice in this country to matter and allow it to make a difference without being silenced by questionable tactics on both sides of the bipartisan spectrum.
posted by ZachsMind at 9:51 AM on November 11, 2000

(If the problem is just voter stupidity, how come there aren't 19000 ballots invalidated because people voted twice for sheriff?)

If the ballot is a measuring instrument--and it surely is--then like every other measuring instrument there are limits to its accuracy. This is exactly the same logic that applies to the census, and the reason that statisticians argued a sampling approach to the census would be more valid than relying on an actual count. The fact is, no matter what the margin of error realistically is on the popular vote, Gore's lead is probably smaller. This election is basically a tie--that is, the popular vote has failed to indicate a preference for either candidate.

It's a question of validity, not just accuracy. Is voting a valid indication of popular preference? We simply know a lot more about how to make inferences about populations from samples than we knew in 1789. This whole process, like the census, is in extreme need of some rationalizing. I realize the ballot box and the popular vote is a sacred cow, but at least we could have an educated dialogue about the process. But what the hell, it's a sunny day, we're young and bored, let's go wave some signs instead.
posted by rodii at 10:59 AM on November 11, 2000

In the blogging spirit, some links (too many, no doubt ) to the census controversy:
[1]   [2]   [3]   [4]   [5]   [6]   [7]
posted by rodii at 11:28 AM on November 11, 2000

zachsmind: I read the page. I read things like the following:

It is perfectly constitutional for the electors to represent the popular vote. Bush should step down and ask electors to cast their vote for Gore. If the guy who got the most votes doesn't win, then IT ISN'T DEMOCRACY!

Asking Bush to step down is no better than asking Gore to step down. We have a system for picking a president, and the point is to make sure that system is fair and reliable. We have ways of making sure the system's results are trustworthy, starting with procedures like automatic recounts, and working its way on into the court system. As sourpussy as the Bush camp's challenge to a hand-recount is, it's playing within the system, too; it's part of the legimiate process our country has set up to deal with contested elections.

Calling for a careful examination of "irregularities" is wonderful; complaining that they "invalidate the nation's popular vote" is silly, given that we don't pick our president by popular vote (which was my original point). Perhaps we should, but that's a question for the next election, not this one.

posted by grimmelm at 12:27 PM on November 11, 2000

As far as I'm concerned it's time to get rid of the electoral college. I don't wat to live in a country where the popular vote doesn't elect officials.I think there should be a recount in every single state. Even here in North Carolina, where Bush won by a large majority there have been complaints about doors being locked in black districts, polls that were closed early and one case of a registrar actually tearing up people's ballots (though we don't know for what reason).
posted by Mr. skullhead at 12:51 PM on November 11, 2000

Sorry about my typo above: it's 'want' not 'wat'.Word to the wise: spilling Sun Drop on your keyboard makes the keys stick!
posted by Mr. skullhead at 12:54 PM on November 11, 2000

I was a little concerned about how this "countercoup" demonstration would go, given that Daley Plaza at 1pm in Chicago was going to be taken up with a Veterans Day ceremony, and that various GOP-favorable groups were planning counterdemonstrations, and that downtown Chicago was already in high-security mode because of a Jewish conference that had been targeted for Palestinian-sympathizer protests. Didn't hear a word, though.
posted by dhartung at 4:16 PM on November 11, 2000

Well I was hoping the "protest" would be about the election itself. What it deteriorated into was about sixty or seventy people on one side of main street in downtown Dallas rooting for Gore and a little over half that many on the other side of the street rooting for Bush. They were shouting things like "count all the votes" and crap like that. It looked staged. It looked fake, just like the entire election process.

And those of us who voted for Nader? I guess we were supposed to stand in the middle of the street and get run over. Every vote doesn't count. Every voice is not heard. In order to be heard, you have to join in the chants of the two loudest choruses.

Even the lunatic fringe should get its time. Even the militant nihilists and racist bastard nazis should be heard, or we have no democracy. And this isn't a democracy. It's a republic. We vote people in who are supposed to represent us and they have zero accountability. They go in and do what the heck they want and give us all a dazzling light show to blind us from the truth.

We should stop calling ourselves a democracy. We should start calling ourselves a joke. I mean it was a fun afternoon. I got some great laughs out of it. People shouting across the street waving signs at each other and not listening to each other. A woman came up to me and said, "God I love this! This is just like in 1968!" And I told her I was an embryo in 1968.
posted by ZachsMind at 4:32 PM on November 11, 2000

The fuss over the electoral college just annoys me. Yes, it's old. So is everything else in the Constitution. But it still works, more or less. The thing that confuses people is that they thought they elected the President. Nope. The states elect the President. Like someone said, it's not the United People, it's the United States.

Of course, we could just repeal the twelfth amendment, and whoever came in second would be the winner's Vice President. I'm eager to see the Bush/Gore administration. Also, Al makes a great VP.

posted by Jart at 4:42 PM on November 11, 2000

Heres an example why popular vote is a bad idea.

A presidential canidate is very popular in the Northeast states, Maryland north. He only campaigns in those states and is only interested in those states issues and never visits any other states. This canidate could easily carry the national popular vote with just those states. Assuming the rest of the country was split between 2 other canidates.

Note: the number of electorial votes in each states mirrors the number of congress+senate represenatives. It is an extension of the same system. Makes perfect sense.

Popular vote is an illusion. The founding fathers knew what they are doing: protecting your right to equal and fair representation. Dont think Hillary Clinton believes that though.
posted by stbalbach at 10:25 PM on November 12, 2000

[Mr.skullhead] I don't want to live in a country where the popular vote doesn't elect officials.

Then you don't want to live in the US even if we do get rid of the electoral college. Popular vote also doesn't choose the Secretary of State, the Attorney General, the Secretary of Education, the Secretary of Commerce, the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of Labor, the Secretary of Energy, the "Drug Czar," or countless other cabinet and bureaucratic positions with a lot of power. All of those positions are chosen by the President and the Senate. And remember that the Senate doesn't represent the people either, heavily favoring the interests of individuals in states with low populations.

[stbalbach] Dont think Hillary Clinton believes that though.

What does any of this have to do with Hillary Clinton?
posted by daveadams at 8:39 AM on November 13, 2000

[daveadams] countless other cabinet and bureaucratic positions

And judicial positions, too. All federal judges are selected by the President and approved by the Senate.
posted by daveadams at 8:40 AM on November 13, 2000

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