Bush sez American people not worthy of trust.
November 19, 2000 12:50 AM   Subscribe

Bush sez American people not worthy of trust. It's nice to know that our probable new President thinks his country is too lacking in honor or integrity to be trusted with a manual recount. Spineless liars: takes one to know one?
posted by Byun-o-matic (21 comments total)
I dunno- maybe I'm crazy but I dont trust them either. Machine counts may make mistakes, but you KNOW they're not making them on purpose. You can's say that about people/
posted by cell divide at 1:23 AM on November 19, 2000

Yeah, but if you look at the picture that accompanies the story, you'll see that there's not that much room for deliberate miscounting. There's a Republican and a Democrat overseeing each counter: the process is basically "this one for Bush", "yep", "yep" and it goes on the pile.
posted by holgate at 4:29 AM on November 19, 2000

At this point, I'm willing to say that the political machine in Florida, on both sides of the fence, has failed their own constituency as well as the American people on the whole. As their punishment, the entire state of Florida should be disregarded for this election. If other states can't come to a fair and legitimate conclusion as to how their state laws coincide with the constitution regarding presidential elections, they should be discounted as well.

I'm sick of this. At this point I'm not pointing fingers at Dems or Reps or trying to find who to blame because it's readily apparent that Florida's entire political machine simply dropped the ball. That state's election system is so screwed-up and archaic and deaf to its own voters' needs that it is found undependable. The people of Florida suffer for their representatives' inadequacy. The People should remember this next time any incumbent state or local official is up for re-election. The lesson must be learned here and now. Because of Jeb and Katherine and a bunch of other Florida officials on both sides of the aisle, none of the votes in Florida should be counted. The voice of Florida in this election has been made mute due to stupidity malpractice and partisan greed, yet we still waste the country's time waiting to hear them anyway.

It's a disgrace to include Florida. They've made a mockery of our entire political system. (Besides, Bush is a jerk)
posted by ZachsMind at 6:52 AM on November 19, 2000

It's a disgrace to include Florida. They've made a mockery of our entire political system.

no, 'they' have not. what you are seeing is simply a part of the process you were not alive to see the last several times it happened. hysterical fingerpointing and predictions of doom for the republic have historically accompanied this part of the process. yawn.

posted by quonsar at 7:26 AM on November 19, 2000

I dunno- maybe I'm crazy but I dont trust them either. Machine counts may make mistakes, but you KNOW they're not making them on purpose.

What's the point of an election -- to count the votes of the people or to count the votes of the people that machines can read? Thousands of votes that are perfectly understandable to a human are being ignored by these 1960s-era machines. Democrats and Republicans are participating in the process of hand-counting votes, and hand counts are well-established in the laws of Florida and many other states, including Texas.

The only reason that Bush is opposed to a hand count is because it may result in a Gore victory. The process itself is legitimate, and the next time Republicans stand to benefit from a hand count, you will see them stand solidly behind it.
posted by rcade at 8:32 AM on November 19, 2000

It's nice to know that our probable new President thinks his country is too lacking in honor or integrity to be trusted with a manual recount.

Given the events of the past few days, I don't think it's a question of if the manual recounts are tampered with. Now, it's a question of how much they're tampered with. I don't believe it's a widescale effort, but in an election this close, every vote counts.

As imperfect as the machine recounts are, they can't be accused of willful ballot manipulation. Just imagine the voter disenfranchisement if we have just one more uncovered incident of ballot tampering.
posted by dandot at 8:53 AM on November 19, 2000

It's not willful ballot manipulation to use a counting mechanism that is known to be fundamentally flawed??
posted by theparanoidandroid at 9:00 AM on November 19, 2000

The process is simply not fair. Here's why : ---The country, you know, all those 49 other states, had one chance to be heard, 3 democrat-picked counties, those that are strong for the democrats, already had 3 re-counts, 3 times their voices were heard. --- Again, 49 other states? Once; the counties outside those 3? Once. Each time the results were the same. Yes, Yes, I know, but the other states aren't this close? NM within a thousand votes. Same for Wisconsin, where news of fraud are appearing, and so on and so on. --- Which brings me to, what seems is a valid point : If you're going to have a manual recount in Florida, have it across US. It is not fair to include 'pregnant" or "hanging" chads in just those 3 Democratic counties. Yes, Gore talks about letting the 'will of the American people heard' and what you not, but, is the will of the American people limited to 3 counties? --- I think not.
Ofcourse there is not use arguing for something this drastically implausible, a manual re-count of the whole US would take months, and thus defeats the entire purpose of the election.
---A more practical idea if to re-count all counties. But-But Wait, didn't Gore offer this Bush? Yes, but, chances for the states to let hand-recounts be allowed in the whole state are slim to none. And again would take weeks, maybe months.
---So? While, I'm in for all the fairness and such and such, what's happening now is not fair.
posted by tiaka at 9:13 AM on November 19, 2000

While, I'm in for all the fairness and such and such, what's happening now is not fair.

Bush had the opportunity to request a manual recount in any Florida county, but he declined. He already had the benefit of an unrequested hand recount in Seminole County, which reportedly gained him 300-400 votes. And you don't see Bush offering to give those votes back because manual recounts are unfair, do you?
posted by rcade at 9:55 AM on November 19, 2000

a manual re-count of the whole US would take months, and thus defeats the entire purpose of the election.

But it shows that there's been a complacency over the reliability of the various machines (levers, punches and optical readers) used in previous elections. And if, as a Salon column suggested, candidates in future elections will be similarly hard to separate, you'd better hope that some "big government" gets applied to the voting system. And not just in terms of the mechanics of casting a vote: additionally, to ensure that minority precincts are better staffed.

(And three -- admittedly small -- Republican counties carried out manual recounts in the week following the election, so it's not just a case of Democrat selectivity. Which gives some weight to their argument that the Democrat counties shouldn't be penalised simply because of their larger populations.)
posted by holgate at 9:59 AM on November 19, 2000

they need to have a freaking recount...setup some easy touchscreen computers and get the thing over with
posted by physics at 11:29 AM on November 19, 2000

Yeah, the "party of personal responsibility" missed the deadline for recounts. Who's the crybaby now?

One of the features, not a bug, of the electoral college system is that we only have to worry about the states that are close in a recount. As far as I'm concerned the Republicans are perfectly welcome to request recounts in Oregon, New Mexico, even Wisconsin and Iowa. But they've invested so much rhetorical energy in this insane neanderthal "recounts bad" argument that they can't bear the loss of face to do that. Waaaah. I'm so sorry. It's your own damn box.

Instead, the party that "trusts people" is demonizing something as simple as putting a ballot in the wrong pile, which the observers caught, and corrected. Big whoop. That's why the freaking observers are there. Do Republicans honestly believe that vote recounters are secretly plotting to throw the election right under the noses of multiple party observers, sheriff's deputies, and television cameras?

I can imagine the planning sessions. "Okay, when they have the observers, and the deputies, and the cameras on you ... that's the best time!"
posted by dhartung at 12:19 PM on November 19, 2000

with all the talk of vote manipulation and such I'd just like to say a word for the hard-working people on the voting boards who are doing this work, and, I believe, doing it as fairly and as well as they can.

the media doesn't talk much about these people, but I think they're the real heros of the story. they've been up late nights counting and recounting ballots, wading through florida law, navigating through an ever-changing landscape of litigation and court orders.

these are people who have basically administrative positions suddenly thrown into the middle of a hurricane with a microscope upon them.

I reject *any* allegations of willful ballot manipulation as it pertains to these hand counts. for one thing, there are observers from both parties present at the manual recounts.

beyond that, I believe in the innate fairness of people and in their desire to uphold the law, especially in circumstances like these. these people did not know how close the election would be, nor did they ask for the extra work and scrutiny this situation has engendered.

I believe the average citizen working in this kind of position feels a real responsibility to do the right (lawful) thing. dandot, you should be ashamed for impugning the integrity of these people. they've lost a lot of sleep, they've had to make hard decisions about what is fair, and, I believe, they have tried and are trying to do the right thing in far less than ideal circumstances.

posted by rebeccablood at 12:24 PM on November 19, 2000

The bottom line is: you count it a dozen times, and you'll end up with a dozen different figures.

It's too late to solve this problem, but they can make sure we don't get in this mess again in the future, by putting together a new voting system that is closer to perfect.

What pisses me off is how they rejected more than 40% of overseas ballots.
posted by Witold at 2:01 PM on November 19, 2000

If you count it a dozen times and get a dozen different figures, I'd bet anything that those dozen figures wouldn't be randomly distributed, and we'd not only have a good figure for the vote (the mean) but also a reasonable idea of how confident we should be in that figure.
posted by rodii at 2:48 PM on November 19, 2000

Do you see now why we need the electoral college? If you think the Florida recount is a pain -- imagine a nation wide recount.
posted by matt324 at 4:25 PM on November 19, 2000

No, you don't. You need to take a look around at how other countries do it. This ain't rocket science, guys!
posted by lagado at 5:27 PM on November 19, 2000

Whatever voting system is in place is subject to dispute when there's a close result.

One of the other Florida counties used paper ballots that you marked like a standardized test form. Must the circle be 100% blacked in? Does an X count? What if there's a mark of any size in one of the conflicting spots?

Lever machines can be mis-programmed (e.g. to allow two votes). When I used them I would always go back and flip up the levers that I didn't want flipped down, just in case.

A computerized system, even with a physical receipt, is always going to leave voters suspicious that their vote wasn't counted.

No matter what technology we use, in the end we will rely on the impartiality of local officials and the oversight of partisan representatives.

Some of the "problems" being bandied about lately (felons voting, dual-residence voting, apparent college student 25-vote "pranks") are things that we have always relied on to be resolved by the overall integrity of the system and the penalties for individual infractions, though there was no agency charged with oversight. I'm more than a little worried that this trust between the government and the people has been broken, and we will now see some sort of federal-level enforcement system that will do cross checks and recommend prosecution of violators, but worse, will require the dreaded universal identification, and require poll workers to have more technology at their disposal and check in with a central database before Citizens are permitted to Vote.

Yes, this dispute will probably bring to the United States the most Stalinesque revamp of our voting system you can imagine.

People are being interviewed in the paper: "All I had to do to vote was SIGN MY NAME!" What planet have these people been living on? I never had to do anything different until I moved to Illinois, where we are issued Registration Cards. Nevertheless, at my polling place, I said my name, my address, and signed my name. SHOCK HORROR!

This is the New England/Normal Rockwell ideal of democracy that we once aspired to.

Good riddance. From now on, it'll be, "Citizen! Your papers?"

(Because, God knows, poor black people vote in both their city and country homes.)
posted by dhartung at 8:53 PM on November 19, 2000

Okay, so let's give a nice succinct analogy:

I am responsible for the safe at a large restaurant/bar. At night, before I go home, it's my responsibility to count the safe. The numbers have to match up. If they don't match up, I recount.

If the numbers continue not to match up, I continue to recount until I get two counts in a row that provide me with the same number. In order to facilitate this, I have others assist me, and I check all of the data to make sure that what I'm counting is correct.

And once I get two figures that match, I decide if there's a small enough margin of error to allow any discrepancy between the current count and the count that I should have.

Okay. Pretty clear picture, yeah?

So why is the recount so contested? It seems to me we keep recounting until we reliably get the same result at least twice in a row. I don't think that's too much to ask. To imply that the recounts are subject to flaws, well that's somewhat ridiculous. I'm with Rebecca on this.

Besides, the recount is subject to so much more tampering and error than the inital voting process, right?


posted by dgallo at 1:13 AM on November 20, 2000

I reject *any* allegations of willful ballot manipulation as it pertains to these hand counts. for one thing, there are observers from both parties present at the manual recounts.

Rebecca, as I said, I don't believe that this is a widespread effort. But I think it's irresponsible not to raise an eyebrow when you have allegations of Democratic canvassing-board members aggressively handling ballots and making inappropriate comments. This type of behavior is inexcusable, and it is my hope that this is an isolated incident. But it disturbs me that this hasn't received more coverage. The media is supposed to be our watchdog, one of the checks and balances, and somebody's asleep at the wheel. This should be front page news.

I stand by my position: machine counts, however imperfect, cannot be accused of partisanship or ballot manipulation. If we have just one more person like Carol Roberts, who thinks this kind of behavior is acceptable, we're going to have a whole lot of disinfranchised voters on our hands, people who think not that their vote doesn't count, but that their vote is being tampered with.
posted by dandot at 6:29 AM on November 20, 2000

Machines can only be as infallible and ethical as their operators.

Six on one hand, half a dozen on the other.
posted by dgallo at 11:55 AM on November 20, 2000

« Older No, PostgreSQL does not suck.   |   "The rules of this game were set by the people... Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments