Not very clever.
November 13, 2000 8:12 AM   Subscribe

Not very clever. Florida's Secretary of State (the BBC reports her being described as "a bit of an airhead") manages to make her position look even more ridiculous. Anyone get the disturbing feeling that this may be resolved, not in the courts, but on the streets?
posted by holgate (16 comments total)
Cue the Second American Revolution.

I wanted this high-up, but didn't want to murder everyone with yet *another* election thread: a very easy to follow explanation of why the Electoral College is A Good Thing, from St Pete Times columnist Howard Troxler. If you live in a small state, this is no news to you. If you live in a big one, quit being a bully.

If you still don't get *any* of this; go find your High School civics teacher, and audit their next semester.
posted by baylink at 8:16 AM on November 13, 2000

I just hope that volunteers start lining up outside the counting stations in the relevant counties.
posted by holgate at 8:16 AM on November 13, 2000

I think they're using every available county employee.

I'm not at all surprised that a Federal judge refused to interfere with the recount. I believe the Bush camp's lawsuit used a very weak argument (14th Amendment, equal protection) given that the hand recount is addressing mechanical counting issues.

Certainly the Buchanan votes and the double-votes would be sufficient under civil rights oversight procedures to order recounts or changes in future election procedures, if those were being raised by the Democrats, but despite the publicity given to them, they're not the reason for the recount.

The Bush camp made a serious tactical error by a) taking an anti-counting-all-the-votes position, and b) jumping into court to defend that position. This kept them from applying for recounts in counties where they could have balanced the Gore advantage. They made that particular bed for themselves. Today their talking points people were arguing for a compromise ruling where "both sides" got recounts, but they had their chance.

So far all the Gore camp has had to do is let Florida law take its course.
posted by dhartung at 12:04 PM on November 13, 2000

This I think points to a problem with the Bush campaign in general, which is basically the same team he used to run for governor and isn't used to the nature of national politics. While I applaud him for his show of loyalty, his advisors have always been a step behind the Washington insiders that Gore employed (for example how they handled the DUI case).
posted by gyc at 2:11 PM on November 13, 2000

As pointed out somewhere on Salon (I guess this is the MeFi "assertion without printed evidence"), Bush's staff gets more mileage out of loyalty than talent. (And this doesn't mean any of his daddy's retainers on his "transition team.") They are all fiercely loyal to their man Dubya, even though the more I hear Karen Hughes, Bush's communications director, talk, the more I keep thinking, "Boy, she really loves working for Bush. She also sound like she's a few tacos short of a Value Meal.

"Hey, just like her boss!"
posted by RakDaddy at 3:44 PM on November 13, 2000

If you live in a small state, this is no news to you. If you live in a big one, quit being a bully.

I disagree with this entire argument about large states vs. small states. It's supposed to be "one PERSON, one vote," not X number of votes per state. If states feel underrepresented, let them try to attract more residents.

People matter. States don't. We're all U. S. Citizens.

posted by rushmc at 4:38 PM on November 13, 2000

You won't find "one person, one vote" anywhere in the Constitution.

You will find the electoral college there, however.

posted by Steven Den Beste at 5:57 PM on November 13, 2000

And the U.S. would stand for....
posted by s10pen at 6:00 PM on November 13, 2000

The U.S. would stand for the Constitution's validity-- the idea is that we're ruled by documented ideas rather than a person.
posted by EngineBeak at 7:21 PM on November 13, 2000

This is the nature of federations.
States matter, people don't.
posted by lagado at 7:39 PM on November 13, 2000

Electoral college reform really is hardly necessary and in any event a political impossibility because of the blocking position of small states. In a very close election (the only ones where it could possibly matter), I'd frankly rather rely upon its controls on the influence of runaway margins in highly partisan states than on paper-thin national margins.

What we _may_ well see is reforms on voting systems, such as a uniform national electronic ballot, and (maybe) the introduction in a few venturesome states of a STV system to retard the "spoiler" effect of third party candidates. (The nice about that is that everyone wins: no one feels they "waste" their vote, a STV system _encourages_ people to vote first-choice for the third party, and thus voice their enthusiasm and maybe allow for a few to sneak through and win!)

posted by MattD at 7:47 PM on November 13, 2000

If you read the actual statute, this issue becomes much less clear:

Here's the relevant paragraph:

"Returns must be filed by 5 p.m. on the 7th day following the first primary and general election and by 3 p.m. on the 3rd day following the second primary. If the returns are not received by the department by the time specified, such returns may be ignored and the results on file at that time may be certified by the department."

Considering those "may"s in there, it looks like the State could look the other way on this, if they wanted to.
posted by smackfu at 9:41 PM on November 13, 2000

The problem being that "may" puts matters in the hands of the State and its authorities: it'd be interesting to see if a judge can translate that into compulsion, unless there are other statutes (on a state or federal level) which guarantee the rights of voters.
posted by holgate at 10:23 PM on November 13, 2000

There's only one problem: the preceding section requires that the Election Canvassing Commission disregard results from counties who miss the deadline. It says:

If the county returns are not received by the Department of State by 5 p.m. of the seventh day following an election, all missing counties shall be ignored, and the results shown by the returns on file shall be certified.

That "shall" is a requirement. Now, Florida can do one of two things - accept returns after the deadline, in which case it violates Sec. 102.111, or it can ignore them, and comply with both sections. Which would you do?
posted by mikewas at 8:56 AM on November 14, 2000

Leave it to a judge.

As for "And the US would stand for...?", it stands for the United States.


Not people.

Each *state* votes for President, the way it's residents say to. There are, effectively, 51 votes for the president.

Why is that, and the reasons underlying it, so difficult to understand?
posted by baylink at 9:41 AM on November 14, 2000

Why is that, and the reasons underlying it, so difficult to understand?

Because the "reasons" are obsolete and elitist?

posted by rushmc at 7:18 PM on November 22, 2000

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