A guy on MSNBC -- a reporter, I believe, whose name I missed -- said that he has heard from a reporter that the Miami Herald has a team of 50 ready to go to count all the votes in Florida. Under the freedom of information or sunshine law that they have in Florida, the Herald has already applied in all 67 counties to see and count the votes. It may start as soon as Friday. (Does 50 people seem like enough to do that?)
They plan to count categories of votes -- clear votes, hanging chads, dimpled chads, double punches. I assume they will try to do it by candidate, though I think that was implied, not stated.
Sara "until verified, this is only a rumor"
[This message has been edited by Sara at home (edited 12-14-2000).]
With 50 people it could take them several months to count all the ballots. I think it would be interesting to see a conservative newspaper in Florida count independently of a liberal newspaper to see whether their numbers are the same - no implied partisanship here. Frankly, I feel that the counting project could be done well by a university - wouldn't that be a cool class?
Getting back to the ballot issue, I would be willing to concede that a hanging chad is probably a vote for a candidate, but I am hesitant to allow pregnant or dimpled chads to be votes. It just gets into too much of trying to figure out what the voter wanted which we really cannot ascertain from a ballot that is not at least punched through.
Consider a scenario where someone goes to the polls and sits there thinking, "Do I really want to vote for either of these turkeys? (while resting the puncher thingie on, lets just say, Ralph Nader's dot) Nah, I think I just won't vote for that race." Now, that voter probably left a dimple by Nader's name, but they didn't intend to vote for anyone.
I will be interested to see what numbers the Herald comes up with for a count.
Schner "wasn't that a great speech Gore gave last night?" vel
I heard a Republican functionary on NPR saying that the Florida ballots must now be destroyed. No Way! This is history, man! I could see how they might not be counted for the next four years, just to protect the honor of the Presidency. (As if!) I can see freezing them for ten years, or even twenty. (I don't like it, but I can see it.) But they must not be destroyed! That really smells like a cover-up, and, besides, future generations are going to be as curious as we are!
(And, in addition, the longer they're stored, the more those "pregnant" and "dimpled" chads will be flattened out...)
Count 'em now, sez I, or count 'em later if we can't handle the truth, but never, never destroy history!
quote:Originally posted by Alias_Rex: An article in this morning's Los Angeles Times reports that certain Republicans will now attempt to have Florida's ballots sealed for 8 years for "National Security Purposes."
That's obviously the right thing to do. Those chads are too fragile to be letting a bunch of media clowns play with.
Assuming Florida law was followed, all the votes WERE counted.
quote:Florida Statutes, Title IX Section 101.5614
Canvass of returns.--
(5) If any ballot card of the type for which the offices and measures are not printed directly on the card is damaged or defective so that it cannot properly be counted by the automatic tabulating equipment, a true duplicate copy shall be made of the damaged ballot card in the presence of witnesses and substituted for the damaged ballot. Likewise, a duplicate ballot card shall be made of a defective ballot which shall not include the invalid votes. All duplicate ballot cards shall be clearly labeled "duplicate," bear a serial number which shall be recorded on the damaged or defective ballot card, and be counted in lieu of the damaged or defective ballot. If any ballot card of the type for which offices and measures are printed directly on the card is damaged or defective so that it cannot properly be counted by the automatic tabulating equipment, a true duplicate copy may be made of the damaged ballot card in the presence of witnesses and in the manner set forth above, or the valid votes on the damaged ballot card may be manually counted at the counting center by the canvassing board, whichever procedure is best suited to the system used. If any paper ballot is damaged or defective so that it cannot be counted properly by the automatic tabulating equipment, the ballot shall be counted manually at the counting center by the canvassing board. The totals for all such ballots or ballot cards counted manually shall be added to the totals for the several precincts or election districts. No vote shall be declared invalid or void if there is a clear indication of the intent of the voter as determined by the canvassing board. After duplicating a ballot, the defective ballot shall be placed in an envelope provided for that purpose, and the duplicate ballot shall be tallied with the other ballots for that precinct.
The way I read it then is that if there was a problem with the ballot (damaged, torn, wrinkled) so that it could not be read, then it was manually inspected. So problems with the ballot itself should not have kept them from being counted. All other ballots went through the tabulating machines (which were tested before the election). If the ballot had been filled out correctly and there were no physical defects with the ballot, then the vote was counted. As an example, here is the Palm Beach County ballot instructions Note that it clearly, in bold and all caps, says
quote:If you make a mistake return your ballot card and obtain another.
AFTER VOTING, CHECK YOUR BALLOT CARD TO BE SURE YOUR VOTING SELECTIONS ARE CLEARLY AND CLEANLY PUNCED AND THERE ARE NO CHIPS LEFT HANGING ON THE BACK OF THE CARD.
If the voter makes a mistake, then it's not a vote. If the voter fails to follow directions (and assistance is provided for those who have difficulty reading) and casts an incomplete or improper ballot, then they have cast an improper ballot and it's not a vote. How difficult is that, really?
[This message has been edited by pinqy (edited 12-14-2000).]
I've been looking forward to a privately-requested ballot recount in Florida -- but it didn't hit me until today: What do we do with this information?
Assuming George W. Bush is sworn in on January 20th, no recount can depose him. But it sure would make him look like an @$$.
(See, I don't envision the Miami Herald getting its recount complete by Inauguration Day, or even months down the road.)
I imagine the network news anchors sighing and saying, Well, I guess Al Gore really *should* have won the presidency. But that's not what they'll do. They'd go positively ape -- not that there's anything to be done at that point.
--Grump "now you've let the can of worms out of the bag" y
I'd be interested to see how many total ballots there are now vs. how many people cast ballots in the election. I've heard reports from some that after some recounts, the county ended up with more ballots than there were people who voted in the election. I'd like for someone to find out if that is actually true.
If the reporters counting the ballots actually do seperate them into the categories (ballots with pregnant chads, ballots with hanging chads, etc), then I would be more for it. If they just decide on a standard and don't report how many ballots were of each variety, then I'm less interested.
To me, this election has shown two things. One: We need to upgrade our voting machines and ballots, and Two: Legislatures need to set more specific standards for what constitutes a vote. As people have brought up, Texas counts dimpled chads as votes. If Florida law had been as specific (in whatever way), at least some of the mess could've been avoided.
Interesting that the newspaper people won't be allowed to handle the ballots, so the paper will have reporters looking over the shoulders of election officials who probably have other things they need to be doing to count these undervotes.
And what will all of this prove anyway? If the undervotes are going to be counted in Florida by the press, shouldn't they also count all the undervotes in other states? Maybe Bush won Wisconsin and New Mexico and Oregon if we have a broad enough standard of what constitutes a vote.
quote:Originally posted by Mortimer Brewster: If the undervotes are going to be counted in Florida by the press, shouldn't they also count all the undervotes in other states? Maybe Bush won Wisconsin and New Mexico and Oregon if we have a broad enough standard of what constitutes a vote.[/B]
Now cut that out, MB. You can't compell a newspaper to count all the ballots in the whole country because they decide they want to count the ballots in Florida. And you can't prevent them -- apparently -- from counting the ballots in Florida if they want to. If some organization or some newspaper in those other states wants to count the ballots in those other states, they may if the other states have the same FOI or sunshine laws as Florida. (Are those laws found in all 50 states?)
I think this is more about the election process than about the winner. And I think it's more about a Pulitzer Prize than anything else.
BTW, I don't believe counting these ballots can hurt Bush. Sometimes, when your team benefits from the bad call, you feel a little bad about it but you still take the win. The bad call can go against you as easily as for you. If the shoe were on the other foot, Gore people wouldn't be insisting that it wasn't fair, that Gore should let Bush win because it's the right thing to do. Bush supporters won't be turned off if the ballot count is able to prove that Gore should have won. (There is no proof that this is what will happen.) Gore supporters already think this so proving it changes nothing.
However, Gore can lose. Suppose an accounting of the undervotes shows that Gore did not get as many votes as is popularly believed in some quarters. Gore supporters have to eat crow and Bush supports get to say "Told ya so".
And I don't believe that a true accounting will cause any chaos in this country. Once Bush is the President, he is the President and the leader of our country. Won't be the first time a segment of the population didn't like or respect or whatever the President, won't be the last. There may be bad jokes but there won't be chaos.
I agree that it's not going to be that big a deal if the press recounts the Florida votes. There are more than 50 million votes out here for Gore, and a good chunk of them already think Bush stole the thing with help from Jeb and all their hangers-on in the Banana Republic.
And even if it was ever determined beyond all doubt that Bush won fair and square (which I myself doubt can be proven - aside from the ballots, there never will be a way to count votes that didn't happen because state troopers set up some kind of roadblock/ID check to scare off some black voters, if that is proven to be true) there are still the 330,000+ votes for Gore in excess of what Bush got. That doesn't mean Bush lost the White House, it just means that three elections in a row now, Republicans can't get a popular majority, or even a plurality, in a Presidential race. I never hear Rush Limbaugh describing it that way, funny, when he says that this is a conservative country.
Besides, the real grief for Bush will actually start when his past financial dealings start getting investigated. The Texas Rangers thing had fishy elements, and that oil company called Harken has a real dark side, I mean, as far as Bush doing something illegal and making money off of it. Why it wasn't a bigger issue in the campaign, I don't understand, but it was a bigger deal than Whitewater, and that was a big deal for some people. I am saddened that Gore didn't win, but in a way, this might be fun to watch, and it'll probably start about January 21st.
quote:Originally posted by Ewok: Dagnabbit, what am I supposed to use for a default smilie now that shades-wearing smilie has turned into babbling smilie? Anyway... [QUOTE]I'd be interested to see how many total ballots there are now vs. how many people cast ballots in the election.
I heard that the original "19,000 bad ballots" was actually the number of spoiled ballots that had been replaced during the voting.
I had heard something different than that. WHat I had heard was more along the lines of after some of these counties finished counting, they had more total votes in their official totals (including undervotes and overvotes) than there were people who voted in the election.
Like I said, I don't know if it's true or not because one hears a lot of things that aren't necessarily true (as we all know).
As for the Texas Rangers deal (as mentioned in someone else's post), I don't see where there is even the appearance of fishy elements in that deal.
As for the counting. I don't think counting the ballots would hurt Bush, either, but I think it's a big waste of time and doesn't prove anything (unless Bush comes out ahead, but even that doesn't prove anything because there are other matters, such as the misvotes in Palm Beach County that people will point to if they want to claim the Bush presidency is illegitimate).
And as for counting all the ballots everywhere. I didn't say that the Miami Herald had to count all the ballots everywhere. I just said that their story isn't complete otherwise. If they're going to bother to count some ballots, they should count them all (or at least go count in other states that were also very close).
And, for the record, not all states have the same Sunshine laws. Some states are more restrictive.
[QUOTE]Originally posted by Mortimer Brewster:
As for the Texas Rangers deal (as mentioned in someone else's post), I don't see where there is even the appearance of fishy elements in that deal.
I probably shouldn't have said "fishy" regarding the Texas Rangers deal. I should have said "unethical." This is they guy from the party that claims to protect individuals from the tyranny of big government, and he got the government to take control of a bunch of land, apparently many many more acres than was needed just for the new Texas Rangers stadium. (I don't remember for sure if it was condemned or bought at below-market prices, or both.) Then the new stadium was built (not with his money) and his rather small investment grew very large, through the magic power of government.
We have a local scheme like that, where some out-of-state developers want to be given 6,000 now-prime acres of former Army munitions plant land, and through taxpayer bond financing and tax cuts, build a kind of "Disneyland Midwest." The taxpayers give up the land and money, take most of the risk, and get none of the rewards. So far, the county commissioners have held them at bay, in spite of the enormous pressure the business community has put on them. I'm glad George doesn't live here.
The Harken oil company thing with Bush has more to do with illegal trading based on inside information, etc. It could turn out to be big, and could be more accurately described as "fishy." I'm going to start writing my people in Congress to ask how independent counsel investigations get started.