The end... finally.
November 14, 2000 10:00 AM   Subscribe

The end... finally. Today at five pm. Judge Lewis upholds the statutory deadline for election returns to be certified, despite media specualtion that he was initially inclined to extend it.
posted by mikewas (35 comments total)
That's really a shame. Imposing this arbitrary deadline will only decrease the chance we'll see anything approaching an accurate count.
posted by sudama at 10:07 AM on November 14, 2000

Oh dear.
posted by Mocata at 10:09 AM on November 14, 2000

FoxNews actually wrote the story before posting the headline.

posted by mikewas at 10:11 AM on November 14, 2000

Sudama: There are plenty of "arbitrary" deadlines - under federal law, for example, electors must be chosen by Dec. 12. This "arbitrary" deadline is a mandate of Florida law, and it would be an even greater shame to simply cast out the law because we don;t like the resultws.

I'll certainly be the first one to agree that Florida election law desperately needs to be reformed, as well as the actual mechanincs of voting. But we have to do that in the constitutionally-prescribed way. The judge here did the right thing.
posted by mikewas at 10:14 AM on November 14, 2000

nonsense. just give them a couple days to count the votes. the law wasn't written with a situation like this in mind. that's why give real live people like judges the power to use some common sense and bypass the law.
posted by sudama at 10:18 AM on November 14, 2000

er, why we give..
posted by sudama at 10:19 AM on November 14, 2000

But by the same token you have to be willing to accept those judge's decisions, no?

I don't really know what to think about this. It seems that those counties which haven't had time to do a hand count ought to be given time, however I don't see the value of re-hand counting once it's been done.

posted by s10pen at 10:27 AM on November 14, 2000

s10pen -- sure. I just wonder what the judge thinks is to be gained by stopping the count prematurely. It surely won't advance democracy in Palm Beach county.
posted by sudama at 10:33 AM on November 14, 2000

You don't "advance democracy" by disregarding its processes whenever you feel like it; that's just advancing anarchy. There are perfectly legitimate laws governing every aspect of this situation. If you don't like the outcome as determined according to this process, work to change the process. The rest of us want this to be over now...
posted by m.polo at 10:49 AM on November 14, 2000

in my opinion it would be reasonable for the judge to extend the deadline to friday, since there can be no conclusive result to the election before then, anyway.

having said that, this is a matter for the state to decide, and even though I'm very disappointed with this ruling, I'm satisfied with the process by which it was derived.

and one can hope for an appeal to succeed. :)

posted by rebeccablood at 10:55 AM on November 14, 2000

as i pointed out, the judge's discretion is a crucial part of the process. and as s10pen pointed out, i simply disagree with his decision.

it boggles my mind that anyone would rather see this election decided swiftly than justly.
posted by sudama at 10:59 AM on November 14, 2000

The Bushes have had this whole thing in hand for a while now...
posted by owillis at 11:00 AM on November 14, 2000

>it boggles my mind that anyone would rather see this election decided swiftly than justly.<

yep. if there were some danger of violence or revolution as the result of a protracted process, swiftly *might* have legs, but here?

we're just spoiled. not *so* long ago it took time to know who had won the presidency no matter what.

posted by rebeccablood at 11:06 AM on November 14, 2000

Um, have you read the judgement?

As I said earlier, the authority lies solely with the Secretary of State to accept late results. (That's the "may" clause.) But she can't use that authority arbitrarily.
posted by holgate at 11:36 AM on November 14, 2000

unless further court decisions, or unexpected action by the secretary of state to accept late counted ballots occurs, it looks to be a bush win. here are some ad hoc numbers, based on best-case scenario for gore.

estimated current margin: 331 (vns numbers via foxnews)
estimated absentee overseas ballots: 2300 (based on 96 returns)
number for gore to win: 1316 (gore) 984 (bush) (1 vote margin of victory)
percentage needed: 57.2 percent

of course, it gets worse for gore when you consider that some of the overseas ballots have already been tallied with the general election.
posted by lescour at 11:42 AM on November 14, 2000

And CNN called this all wrong. It didn't actually listen to the judgement.

Gore's up on this one PR-wise, because the judgement makes the Secretary of State look like a Bush crony, closing the door on any recount before the "proper" results are filed.
posted by holgate at 11:44 AM on November 14, 2000

mikewas: I'll certainly be the first one to agree that Florida election law desperately needs to be reformed, as well as the actual mechanincs of voting.

As long as none of the reform takes place this time around, right? Do you really want Bush to win because one of his campaign managers called "tick-tock, the game is locked" at 5 p.m., and not because he got more votes in Florida? You're setting him up for a magnificently failed presidency.
posted by rcade at 11:58 AM on November 14, 2000

Why is 5pm good?Because it's getting f*ckin rediculous. Geez. Counting ballots by hand to determine voters "intention".. that's not democracy in action, folks, its poor sportsmanship and damn scary precedent.The vote was close, fine recount. Still not good enough, recount again. But don't decide that we need to do this by hand and allow plam beach idiots to revote (i've seen the ballot. A moron could figure it out.)side note: I voted Nader. I just want this stupid election to be done with...
posted by Zebulun at 12:07 PM on November 14, 2000

Because it's getting f*ckin rediculous. Geez. Counting ballots by hand to determine voters "intention".. that's not democracy in action, folks, its poor sportsmanship and damn scary precedent.

Why is it frightening for a human being to determine if a vote was cast but reassuring for a machine to do so? Machines are fallible. Volusia County just discovered that 320 votes were not recorded on Tuesday or during the immediate recount, and the reason was that a voting machine cleared its memory once as it was reading ballots on Election Day.

I think the best solution is a full manual recount of Florida and no revote in Palm Beach County or anywhere else.
posted by rcade at 12:22 PM on November 14, 2000

I voted for Nader too. I want this stupid election done too. However, I want a fair election. It's bad enough that regardless whether it's Bush or Gore, half the country will be unhappy about it. There is no overwhelming confidence in either of these two clowns. Just the same, I would at least like to believe that whoever wins the election won it fair and square, and I just don't see that now.

I think Michael Moore is right. Bush has been given this just like he's been given everything in his life. The only error Gore made was play the wrong game. He didn't have all the right people in the right places. He didn't have a relative running Florida. He didn't have loyal stooges in key places amongst the Florida election system. Bush will forever be haunted throughout his stint in the White House as a man whose father and connections bought him the election. He didn't win it fairly.

Well hell, even if he did, no one's gonna believe it now. But who cares, right? He cheated fair and square. Let's get it over with. Who cares anyway right? I mean it's just the president. It's not like we're voting the Oscars or something important.
posted by ZachsMind at 12:23 PM on November 14, 2000


Counting ballots by hand isn't democracy in action? I don't think the ancient Greeks had high-speed ballot counting machines, but we don't hold that against them, do we?

You say a "moron" could figure out that butterfly ballot. Fine. I'm having problems understanding why people who are quick to call confused voters morons are slow to understand that a combination of softly punched ballots and high speed counting machines results in ballots not getting counted, period. Hand counting is the only way to count those ballots. In a normal election, these uncounted ballots aren't enough to swing an election, so a hand count rarely gets done. But we all know that they could make all the difference here.

It's hardly a damn scary precedent, either. It happens everywhere there are punched ballots and close races. Massachusetts recently banned punched ballots because of a recount mess that ended up in the courts. George W. Bush himself signed into law in Texas a measure very similar to Florida's that calls hand counting the best way to resolve such a dispute.

Impatient Americans with a MTV attention span are forcing this election to be called before some votes are being counted for the very first time. How is that helping democracy?
posted by ewagoner at 12:25 PM on November 14, 2000

"George W. Bush himself signed into law in Texas a measure very similar to Florida's that calls hand counting the best way to resolve such a dispute."

Yeah, ain't dat sumphfin? =)
posted by ZachsMind at 12:32 PM on November 14, 2000

Counting ballots by hand to determine voters "intention".. that's not democracy in action, folks, its poor sportsmanship and damn scary precedent

"If a counting team is unable to determine a voter's intent in casting a ballot, the ballot shall be presented to the county canvassing board for it to determine the voter's intent."
Florida State Code 102.166, Subsection 7b.

The law allows for the county canvassing board to determine the voter's intent.

As for the deadline... Since the absentee ballots are not due until Friday, November 17, there is no reason to hurry the recount. Doing so only shows the partisanship of Katherine Harris. Who, by the way, looked horrible in the picture on the front page of the Washington Post Monday where she was cocking her head to the side and demurring to James Baker. Bet she gets the ambassadorship she is rumored to want so badly.
posted by terrapin at 12:39 PM on November 14, 2000

bush also requested and received a partial hand count in seminole county that gained him votes...sounds like a case of do as i say not as i do
posted by centrs at 12:40 PM on November 14, 2000

*sobs quietly in the corner*
posted by ratbastard at 12:41 PM on November 14, 2000

This *will* go to the Florida Supreme Court. The question is only how long it will take to get there.

Has anyone heard why Mr "No Recount" is soliciting $5000 donations to "fund the Florida Recount effort" on his website yet? I called the St Pete Times, and *they* hadn't noticed it either...
posted by baylink at 1:49 PM on November 14, 2000

This whole situation really sucks.

Let people who took the time to vote be counted. What's the big damn hurry? It's pretty obvious that there needs to be some serious changes in the voting practices of this country. Each state uses a different voting mechanism. Each state has it's own laws regarding vote counting, etc. Voting is way too important to be fragmented in 50 different ways like this.

If things are that fucked up in Florida, I can't even begin to imagine what we'd find if we investigated the voting situations in the other 49 states.

This whole thing is WAY too scary!
posted by jaz at 2:34 PM on November 14, 2000

This much is true.

But I'll bet you that nothing is done to fix it in the next 4 years...
posted by baylink at 2:41 PM on November 14, 2000

I am suing.

I played the lottery the other night. It was for $61 million. I didn't win.

I looked at the card you use to fill in the numbers, and realized that I had picked the wrong numbers!

I actually meant to pick the winning numbers! Jeeze... what a mistake.

I wonder if I have a case?
posted by da5id at 3:18 PM on November 14, 2000

A head case.
posted by rodii at 3:45 PM on November 14, 2000

estimated absentee overseas ballots: 2300 (based on 1996 returns)

That's almost certainly a serious underestimate.

From an article in the New York Times:

"An informal Associated Press survey of 64 of Florida's 67 election supervisors found that they had mailed out more than 19,300 overseas ballots. Of those, more than 10,000 had been returned and the majority of them counted. It was not immediately known how many ballots were outstanding."

Counted, but not yet reported, because the deadline is Friday.

Also, while it's true that overseas ballots are usually military, this year has an odd twist -- Joe Lieberman. PRI's radio program The World had a feature piece on Election Day about how the US Embassy in Israel was chock-a-block with absentee voters, some of whom hadn't been seen in reportedly decades.

So, it ain't over, almost regardless of what happens today.

posted by aurelian at 4:11 PM on November 14, 2000

It's not necessarily the case that military votes will break for Bush, either. You've got plenty of minority and working-class enlisted troops stationed abroad, and a guaranteed high turnout from registration drives.

Also, the forces are choosing their Commander-in-Chief, as well as who'll spend what on military funding. The BBC interviewed one of the officers at a US base in Britain, who said that military voters, more than most Americans, understand the role played by the US in world affairs. I'd imagine that if you've served on the ground in Kosovo or Somalia, you'd have a subtly different view of foreign policy to that of either candidate.

(Though I can't see Nader getting much of a look-in.)
posted by holgate at 7:33 PM on November 14, 2000

So, the question here is: since it's *Bush* who wants all the recounting stopped... will he still think that if the absentee's suddenly steal his lead.

More interestingly, will the Gore camp continue to want the recounts in that same case. I'm betting they *will*, even though it might re-lose them the election.

At least, that's the way *I'd* play it.
posted by baylink at 6:49 AM on November 15, 2000

I'd guess that if the absentees push Gore in the lead, the Bush camp would call for a state-wide hand recount, arguing that it's for the purpose of fairness, since only a handful of counties on both sides will have made hand recounts. And to be honest, I wouldn't disagree with that argument, because it guarantees an equal consideration to all votes in the state. And if that were to happen, I'd imagine that the Gore camp would support it as well, since it would allow for greater scrutiny in the minority districts where the accusations of irregularities are strongest.

But this is all speculation upon speculation.
posted by holgate at 8:58 AM on November 15, 2000

Well, fuck me if I didn't get that completely arse-backwards. I now retire as political speculator.
posted by holgate at 5:57 AM on November 16, 2000

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