More Fun With the Electoral College!
November 16, 2000 10:38 PM   Subscribe

More Fun With the Electoral College! What's most disturbing isn't that it may be weeks or months before we actually know who won the election. I mean who cares? Neither of these guys represent you. They both suck. The disturbing part is that it is actually possible the voices of hundreds of thousands of Florida voters might not be heard at all!
posted by ZachsMind (14 comments total)
I'm not sure when it went away, but for a really long time, we had this idea of personal responsibility in this country. If you don't have the strength to push that little stylus ALL the way through that piece of paper, get a rock, a brick, have someone help you push it. If it's too confusing for you, ask for help. If you are refused help, start raising hell, ask for help in a louder voice.
The voices of all of the Florida voices have or will be heard. Some of them just say, "I'm a dumbass". In no way/shape/form should votes be up for interpretation.
I'm not a Dem or Republican. I voted for Nader. I don't particularly think it matters which jackass they decide between. It's not going to make that much difference. I revel in the fact that Nader voters had an impact.
posted by jbelshaw at 6:27 AM on November 17, 2000

It's that "Hah-hah! Spoiled your fun!" attitude that makes me utterly unable to take you, anyone else who voted for Nader or, indeed, the whiny old grump himself, seriously. You don't find it at all distressing that you supported a candidate who refused to run on the platform of the party who nominated him? I hope you kids grow up in the next four years and the next Presidential election is about more for you than just pissing on the parade.
posted by m.polo at 7:50 AM on November 17, 2000

No I don't find it distressing at all. You seem to be under the assumption that there is a lesser to the 2 evils. Its the Gore/Bush supporters who so blindly believe that their candidate is the saviour of the masses and the opposition is so unbelieveably evil, that makes me ill. For all the people living in fear of 4 years of GW Bush, I feel the same way about Al Gore as well as Dubbya. They are both creeps. There is no lesser evil. I think of my vote as a no confidence vote. I'm happy about that.

And don't refer to me as a kid. I've voted in a few presidential races now. And politics has been a fascinating hobby of mine since I WAS a kid.
posted by jbelshaw at 8:05 AM on November 17, 2000

Nader voters didn't take the electrion seriously? Perhaps some didn't. But I don't see all the people talking about "spoilers" and "battleground states" and "lesser evils" as taking the election all that seriously either. Such phrases are the language of games, not reasoned political decisions.
posted by harmful at 8:12 AM on November 17, 2000

Regarding the article in question, the author points out that federal election law allows the state legislature to appoint electors if the popular election cannot be resolved by December 12. He expects that won't happen, but do you really think that the Florida legislature would really allow the President to be elected without its votes? Whatever! What they should do if things aren't resolved is send a proportional group of electors based on the popular vote (since we know the rough percentages even if we don't know who won). So Gore gets 12, Bush gets 12 and Nader could have one. That sounds fair to me. Then Oregon and New Mexico really do matter.
posted by daveadams at 9:01 AM on November 17, 2000

There's only one problem, jbelshaw, with your assertion.

In every other county where there were spoiled votes, those votes did not statistically affect the election. That is, the spoiled ballots were evenly distributed across the universe of possible candidated.

As you could see if you checked out the graphs in A Statistical Analysis of the Palm Beach County vote there was simply something broken about that *one* election. No other county displayed the numerical anomalies that this county's vote did.

This is *not* a case of stupid voters, and I retract here publicly my initial characterization of those voters that way. The problem was the ballot; if that county is not re-voted, a *violent* miscarriage of democracy will have taken place.

Why must that be interpreted as a partisan assertion? It's *math*. The stars (and the pols) might lie, as Mary Chapin put it, but the numbers *never* do.

Don't blame me, I voted Libertarian.
posted by baylink at 9:03 AM on November 17, 2000

It is, however, doubtful that the Florida's legislature will choose to employ this law. If Florida is unable to cast its electoral votes and neither candidates can muster 257 votes from among the states that do vote, look for the new Congress to select the new president and vice president.

So, if the Senate turns out to have been 50/50 at that point because Lieberman declines the Vice Presidency, the President will be selected by... the President of the Senate, Vice President Albert Gore.

Do I have that right? ;-)

So, whom will he appoint? Nader? Buchanan? Browne?
posted by baylink at 9:21 AM on November 17, 2000

Baylink, I agree that the ballot used there probably caused some of the confusion. But it is my understanding that it was also used in areas of Cook County (Chicago), and I haven't heard of any weirdness there.
I don't disagree that there was a statistical anomaly in Palm Beach County, but i'm just so tired of the whining. I refuse to believe that someone who would mistakenly punch the wrong hole in a ballot, would somehow realize their mistake upon reaching the parking lot, as was described by Mr. Wexler(state representative, i think) many times. It doesn't make any sense. And while I like and admire Rev. Jackson, I would've held off on the protest until there was a legitimate reason to protest.
I think that the best thing that will come out of this is that whoever gets into office, their power will be so weak that they won't be able to affect many changes.
posted by jbelshaw at 9:28 AM on November 17, 2000

I won't argue that with you at all; you're right.

That moron with the French last name who got all the airtime on CNN I wanted to *strangle*... precisely because he made your response to what really is a valid complaint look like a good idea. (No offense. :-)

Whether it's reasonable or not, the numbers show that there was a problem, and that was the only county in which it occurred. Are we really to believe that a dark spirit descended upon those square miles only that day?


Then I guess we must attribute those outliers to *something*... and the butterfly ballot seems to be the only thing available.

That it didn't cause a problem in Chicago is really immaterial to our argument here: there *was* a problem of some type in PBC, by inspection. The only major difference -- and one which can be demonstrated to *directly* contribute to the sort of anomaly seen -- is the ballot design.
posted by baylink at 9:58 AM on November 17, 2000

I'm sure you folks have all seen the stuff in Jacksonville (Duvall County) where 5,000 plus net Gore votes may have been lost because of a 2 page Presidential ballot ... more Ds than Rs (proportionately, twice as many) made that mistake because the D get-out-the-vote was extraordinarily sloppy, especially given that it was dealing with a not-to-sophisticated constituency -- not only not telling people how to navigate the ballot, but in some cases telling people "vote on EVERY page" to be sure that they wouldn't accidentally fail to vote the straight D slate -- but instead causing them to vote for one Presidential candidate on each page, nullifying their ballot.

Why were the D's so careless?
posted by MattD at 11:18 AM on November 17, 2000

Christ a'mighty. I punched a ballot card. I put it in a box with the rest of my precinct. From there, I have no idea whether it was machine counted, hand counted, pregnant with hanging or dimpled chads, or left in somebody's trunk.

The RECOUNT PROCEDURES have nothing to do with the ballot design issues. They don't even have anything to do with the double-voted ballots. This is simply a recount of the ballots that were properly or improperly counted by the machines. If it's a double vote per the machine, I expect in most cases they'll have no choice but to call it a double vote in the hand count. Machines can't see through dimpled chads. The votes that are being added to candidates' totals were probably among the thousands of ballots that were not counted at all as having a vote for President.
posted by dhartung at 11:20 AM on November 17, 2000

Yeah, Dan, we know that.

*My* point, since I was the one rousing that particular rabble, is that the poor ballot design can be statistically shown to have had a major effect on the results, no matter *how* they are counted, and that I assert that this is grounds for a judge to invalidate the *certifiability* (note: not the certifcation) of that county's election.

We are *both* singing the same hymn, no?
posted by baylink at 11:52 AM on November 17, 2000

If the count is deemed uncertifiable, my suggestion would be to throw Bush/Gore out, and bump the VP's up. Give them 1 week to campaign, then the entire country votes again. Just like Pez, take the next one off the stack. :)

You cannot just have a revote of PBC. You would have fanatics on both sides campaigning/buying all the votes they could get.
posted by jbelshaw at 12:31 PM on November 17, 2000

You may be right.

We may have to revote the entire country.

I predict the largest turnout in history.
posted by baylink at 8:03 PM on November 17, 2000

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