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Florida Election Votes Certified 891

Ravn0s noted that CNN has reported that Florida has certified Bush as the winner, which of course means that he'll get the 25 electoral votes, and the presidency. We haven't had enough fun: Gore still has the popular vote nationally, and there are zillions of Florida ballots in question (felons who voted, multi-punched ballots, dangling chads and the list goes on). I wish I could say it's over ... closure with a President with the qualifications of a head of lettuce is still closure, but I suspect the mainstream media will continue to harp on this for awhile. But hopefully this is the end of the issue on Slashdot.
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Florida Election Votes Certified

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  • To: The citizens of the United States of America: In the light of your failure to elect a President of the USA and thus to govern yourselves, we hereby give notice of the revocation of your independence, effective today. Her Sovereign Majesty Queen Elizabeth II will resume monarchial duties over all states, commonwealths and other territories. Except Utah, which she does not fancy. Your new prime minister (The Rt. Hon. Tony Blair, MP for the 97.85% of you who have until now been unaware that there is a world outside your borders) will appoint a minister for America without the need for further elections. Congress and the Senate will be disbanded. A questionnaire will be circulated next year to determine whether any of you noticed. To aid in the transition to a British Crown Dependency, the following rules are introduced with immediate effect: 1. You should look up "revocation" in the Oxford English Dictionary. Then look up "aluminium" Check the pronunciation guide. You will be amazed at just how wrongly you have been pronouncing it. Generally, you should raise your vocabulary to acceptable levels. Look up "vocabulary". Using the same twenty seven words interspersed with filler noises such as "like" and "you know" is an unacceptable and inefficient form of communication. Look up "interspersed." 2. There is no such thing as "US English." We will let Microsoft know on your behalf. 3. You should learn to distinguish the English and Australian accents. It really isn't that hard. 4. Hollywood will be required occasionally to cast English actors as the good guys. 5. You should relearn your original national anthem, God Save The Queen, but only after fully carrying out task 1. We would not want you to get confused and give up half way through. 6. You should stop playing American football. There is only one kind of football. What you refer to as American football is not a very good game. The 2.15% of you who are aware that there is a world outside your borders may have noticed that no one else plays American" football. You will no longer be allowed to play it, and should instead play proper football. Initially, it would be best if you played with the girls. It is a difficult game. Those of you brave enough will, in time, be allowed to play rugby (which is similar to American football, but does not involve stopping for a rest every twenty seconds or wearing full Kevlar body armour like nancies). We are hoping to get together at least a US rugby sevens side by 2005. 7. You should declare war on Quebec and France, using nuclear weapons if they give you any merde. The 98.85% of you who were not aware that there is a world outside your borders should count yourselves lucky. The Russians have never been the bad guys. Merde is French for "shit". 8. July 4th is no longer a public holiday. November 8th will be a new national holiday, but only in England. It will be called Indecisive Day. 9. All American cars are hereby banned. They are crap and it is for your own good. When we show you German cars, you will understand what we mean. 10. Please tell us who killed JFK. It's been driving us crazy. Thank you for your cooperation.
  • Any discussion of the popular vote is meaningless. You see, there were some men ages ago (late 18th century) that could forsee candidates only campaigning in densely populated areas. Thus, if you take the big cities and states, you would win the popular vote and the less populated areas would basically be meaningless.

    USA Today had a map of the United States of America by county, and it was colored by county for either Gore or Bush. It clearly showed this was Gore's strategy. He owned Chicago, for instance, by pretty much the rest of the state of Illinois was all for Bush. Even in California, Gore only won the coastal counties, Bush taking the majority of land mass. These were enough to put him over the top in those states. If popular vote mattered, you can guarantee these would be the only areas that got any attention, Nebraska, the Dakotas, etc would be completely meaningless because they do not have enough popular votes to contribute to an election. So, to make sure EACH STATE matters a bit, the founders put in this thing called the electoral college.

    Popular vote counts matter as much as total yardage in a football game. Even if one side has 300 net yards vs 200, the one with the more actual points wins. It is interesting that in the other close elections (1876 or so, 1960), the losers bowed out (without taking it to courts) and won a term or two later. The question in this election is, will this hurt AlGore's chances at an election in the future? Nobody likes a cry baby. :)
  • ...Bush doesn't think he got a "mandate" from the people. But, knowing him, he'll say he got a mandrake, or something.

    - A.P.

    * CmdrTaco is an idiot.

  • The S&L scandal had nothing to do with liberalism or conservatism: it had to do with bad management.

    In case anyone isn't old enough to remember what happened, in the early 80s S&Ls were deregulated to the point where they could actually loan themselves money: federally insured money. This opened the door for crooks like Keating (and GWB's brother Neil) to make high-risk investments *with federally insured money*. When they went belly up, the federal goverment had to bail them out, because the federal government had insured the money.

    The fault lay not only with the crooks like Keating, but with the idiots under Reagan who let them do anything they want with federally insured money. That's bad management!

    The only thing liberal or conservative about the whole mess was that a lot of the crooks were big-ticket Republican donors.
  •'s an inconsistency.

    The original claim is still valid. The "winner" of this election had a winning margin that's less than the error margin. In other words, he didn't win anything.

    And for what it's worth, if you assume precision in the counting process, your recursion argument doesn't apply here. In this case, a margin of victory greater than the margin of error -- even by one vote -- is still a significant result.

    What this says to me is that we should adopt some real voting methods, rather than the "punch and pray" approach we use now. Otherwise, we're just fooling ourselves about the validity of our participatory democracy...
  • Nobody won in Florida. It was a tie. That would still be true even if Gore pulled into the lead on one of the recounts. Why do I say this? Because the margin is well within the range of error of the system they used. The real cuplrit here is the local Florida election handlers who used such a sloppy system that *cannot* guarantee accurracy, no matter how many recounts are done. The vote collecting technique is so bad that the data in their hands is sloppy - it doesn't matter how carefully you analyse and count the votes if they were collected in a sloppy manner in the first place. Punchcard machines that don't punch the chad out 100% of the time, and improperly printed butterfly ballots that put the arrow halfway between holes add up to well more than a 0.2% margin of error, such that no amount of human guessing will ever get the true "voter's intent" off of the data collected.

    The one thing this election teaches us is that no, your one vote really *doesn't* matter, because any time the margin is that close, the count will be ruined by our country's piss-poor data collection machinery used in voting.

    These problems have always existed, but it was only just now that it was so close that it mattered.

    The one thing this election will teach us is that it's high time we had election reform - no not the abolishing of the electoral college, not the reform of money-gathering techniques, but the very simple, technical reform of getting a better voting machine in place, and using it universally.

    Here in Wisconsin, the repubs briefly considered doing a recount because of the close margin here, but they gave up since we don't use obsolete chad-punchcards or butterfly ballots. We use a simple visual scanner that looks for a line you draw on the paper, and if the machine detects double-votes it spits the ballot back at you right there, so you know about it and can do it again. This system is good enough that a manual recount wouldn't really change much. Something similarly accurate needs to be nationalized.

  • Jikes! Imagine if we DID have a real democracy! 60% of the population wouldn't bother to vote on major issues. 85% probably wouldn't vote on routine issues. "Oooh.. you see now Grandma... you voted to eliminate social security there on this butterfly ballot. What you really wanted to choose was this third hole down here.. "increase social security by $1000 billion." :-)
  • So, theoretically, your margin of error would have made Gore win the first manual recount. He didn't. Bush has been ahead in every recount, even after recounts were done in only 3 heavily democratic counties. I am sorely waiting for the US Supreme Court to hand the Florida State Supreme Court an ass whoopin for violating the United States Constitution and the 14th ammendment.
  • Yeah, that's about what I expect from slashdot.

    Want to reply to me next time, you coward?
    pb Reply or e-mail; don't vaguely moderate [].
  • Thanks for your vote :-).

    Christopher Browne
    (Who Slashdot cut off at the "E")

  • Electoral votes are allocated to each state based on the population of that state, people.

    Bzzzzzt. Not quite. Electors are allocated based on the number of senators (always 2) + representatives (number based on population). That fixed 2 becomes important for small states.

    You see there's a minimum of 3 electors per state (one for each senator and rep, the minimum being 2+1=3, e.g. Wyoming), This gives Wyoming much more say so in the presidential race on a people's-votes-per-elector ratio. In CA, the ratio is far lower. So this inequity compels presidential hopefule, not to IGNORE rural America.

    Al campaigned in NYC/LA/CHI/etc. and neglected rural regions. Now he's paying the price. He cheesed off the fewer (rural) people who collectively wield more electoral votes than those representing the urban population.

    The constitution emphasizes CHECKS AND BALANCES above all else. The Electoral College is no exception.

  • Of course you are conveniently forgetting that
    • Gore has a right to ask for manual recounts under Florda law
    • Gore offered recounts in all counties
    • Manual recounts also occurred in Republican counties
    • Of the recounts he wanted the only one was finished, two more where cut short due to time constraints (Yeah, we like democracy, but we really need to hurry to get Bush in office in January now).
    • The Democratic counties use older, more faulty machinery
    • and ... and ... and
  • I voted for NEITHER Bush, or Gore

    I wish I could say the same. I didn't like Gore's woodeness and Bush's record. Frankly I didn't want to continue the Clinton presidency.

    I dunno about CmdrTaco calling Bush something like a "head of lettuce" as I don't see Taco having much real to say about politics. I really see little differentiation policy-wise. If Gore had done something notable for the environment in the last 8 years can someone point it out, please? That to me would be a good differentiation, as it seems his position on the environment got pushed to obscurity compared to other things.

    Honestly, IMO neither man deserves the job. Both are presently in figurehead positions, neither position truly prepares a person for the job, but can anyone tell me what job prepares a person for the Presidency? Even very militarily successful high-ranking generals have had very mixed results, some good, some bad.
  • The margin of error is not in the election itself, but rather in the counting methods used. According to the numbers I've heard, punch card ballots have an error rate as high as 4 or 5 percent (this is considered acceptable (by the people who made the decisions, not by me) since the errors are random and thus do not affect the results except in exceedingly close elections). Other common methods, such as pulling levers or optical scanners, have error rates ranging from 0.25% to 1%. The national popular vote has a margin of approximately 200,000 out of 100,000,000, or 0.2%, which puts it within the margin of error cited above. I'll leave it to the statisticians to determine if that means it's fair to call that a tie.
  • for Texans.

    He won't be our governor for much longer.
  • Actually, it looks like the result STILL isn't clear. Even the venerable [] can't get its numbers straight: []

    Looks like some more of that "fuzzy math."

  • No, if you look at the bottom of the chart, the total population for the counties that Bush won is greater than the population of the counties that Gore won and that population base is growing faster. It is significant in that it shows that Gore's support is primarily in metro areas or areas dominated by unions & minorities.

  • When Johnson ended a draft deferment program, anyone who flunked out of undergraduate school was automatically eligilble for the draft. As a result many professors that were opposed to the war inflated grades to make sure people wouldn't flunk out (ie. if you just showed up you would get a C or better). It was probably similar to what's currently being done to keep athletes in college. It was explained in in the second link (which you probably didn't notice because Slashdot screwed up the first one, which worked just fine in preview mode).

  • It was the sister/tobacco comination that I was referring to, not the Peace Corps. Gore has always sucked up to the tobacco industry and still does even after his sister's death. He should have gotten an Oscar for his 1996 speech. I used to work for the Federal Govt and it was stressed that it was against the law to use any Govt equipment or facilities for political purposes. There would be a difference if it was a cell phone bought with personal funds and not the taxpayer furnished. Check out this [] WND story about Gore's TN pollution. But I suppose since it goes against your views about Gore, you won't put much weight in them either.

  • A good map of the US by who won the electorial college votes by state is at vot e2000/electfront.htm []. An even better map is the one that shows who won each county. This map is at e20 00/cbc/map.htm [] There are several states where Gore only won a handful of counties and three where he didn't win any.

    I also wonder how many people in the Western states didn't vote because the networks called Florida prematurely and started predicting that Gore had it wrapped up. I've heard of several reports that when people at the polls in Western Florida heard that FL had been called for Gore, they just turned around and left. You also have to wonder how many Gore votes are due to the fiasco in St. Louis.

  • It needs to get wrapped up pretty quickly at least so the president-elect can assemble a cabinet, WH staff, etc. All these people have to go through FBI background checks and get started with the process of transition. Gore could have an easier time doing this by just keeping the bulk of Clinton's staff.

  • The FL Supreme Court set the deadline of 17:00 11/26/2K or if the office wasn't open 09:00 the next morning. IMHO, Gore only offered the hand recount for every county only because he wanted to continue the trolling for votes in the large counties that he won by quite large margins. Bush is forcing the counties to count the overseas absentee ballots that were excluded using the formula that the FL Attorney General (a Demo) initially sent out to each election commission. He later recanted these instructions because of the flack he received for excluding a significant number of military absentee ballots. The lawsuit is to make sure the counties abide by the revised rules. Also, if the US Senate decides which elector slate is valid, it is the current one, which isn't 50-50.

  • And how many people do you know that use proper English in normal conversations? Bush is also apparently fluent in Spanish. The citizens of Texas apparently like the job he did as governor for that state. He won healthy percentages of every demographic segment of the population. There were even Democrats from the TX state legislature campaigning for Bush in other states because they thought he did a great job in that state and could do the same for the country. I don't recall any Republicans campaigning for Gore.

    Also check out this Washington Post story& lt;/a> . Although Gore's SAT scores were better than Bush's (1355 vs 1206), he did worse in college. He got a D in Earth Science (poor in Science overall) and a C- in economics. Most of his improvements in his junior & senior years have been attributed to grade inflation by anti Vietnam war []professors []. Bush also got an MBA from Harvard while Gore got five Fs before dropping out of Vanderbilt Divinity School. Also given his big lies about his sister, tobacco, Love Canal, campagin fund raising, the polution generated by his properties in TN, etc., I'd hardly consider Gore a model of character and integrity.

  • With the EC, the state's right to their electoral votes trumps the citizen's rights to elect a president directly.
    As I had thought I pointed out earlier, the "right to elect a president directly" does not exist. Nowhere in the Constitution does it ever state that popular votes for a President even have to be held. According the the Constitution, each state's legislature decides how its electors are picked; by tradition they have all chosen to do this with a popular vote but this is not actually necessary (the only law regarding this is that the rules must be set before the election, and once set they cannot be changed once the election starts, at least not in such a way that the election in progress would be affected by said changes). "The Presidential election" as we know it is actually 51 statewide elections (plus a citywide one in DC); the winner traditionally gets all the electoral votes from that state, except in Maine and Nebraska.

    Lastly, every other race in america is won or lost by the popular vote. So why not the president as well?

    I'm not certain I understand this one. As far as I can tell, you mean one of two things: either that the popular vote has always agreed with the electoral vote, or that all other elected officials are done by popular vote.

    If you mean that all other presidential elections have had the popular and electoral tallies in agreement, you're wrong. This is not the first, or even the second, time that this has happened; it's the fourth. Granted, it's the first time in over a hundred years, but that means little. And in none of those cases was there ever such a controversy as this.

    If you're saying that other officials are elected by popular vote, that's not important. There are many ways to hold elections, and in the end no one way that is truly right and fair all of the time, not even popular vote (which is particularly unfair in the case of a nation where voters are heavily concentrated in certain small areas, such as ours). Besides which, the President was never intended to be elected by the people. In fact, the President and Vice President aren't even intended to run together; they're chosen separately, though again tradition holds that they run together.

    There are some very interesting quirks in this. All of the following, though extremely unlikely, are all mathematically possible outcomes for this election:
    • Bush is elected President, with Lieberman as the Vice President. This one is actually a possibility, because the Texas electors (remember Bush and Cheney won in this state) may not actually be allowed to vote for both of them since they're both from Texas.
    • Nader is elected President, with Gore as Vice President (a Presidential candidate can end up being elected the VP; in fact originally the person who came in second in the electoral college was the one to become the VP).
    • Cheney is elected President, with Bush as Vice President (all running mates are technically Presidential candidates as well).
    • The guy is elected President (electors don't have to vote for anyone on the ballot).

    No, the system's not perfect. But I maintain my assertion that it's the fairest one out there that I've seen.
  • While you are correct, consider: a candidate who can concentrate on campaigning heavily in fifteen cities will do so, because the likelihood of garnering votes will be greater.

    Remember, it only took four cities to turn the popular vote from Bush to Gore (all of them in California, and these four carried so much power they turned the whole state, which had actually voted mostly Republican otherwise). With fifteen, all but the closest elections -even closer than this one was- would be completely wrapped up with even a fairly small percentage majority (also note that the urban areas did tend to go heavily towards one candidate or the other, usually Gore, this time around).

    This is the beauty of the Electoral College. It is true that many comparatively small groups of people can turn an election under the current system. This is good, because it ensures that you have to please them all to have any mathematically reasonable chance of winning, rather than just concentrating on fifteen small areas.

    I live near an urban area. Either way; candidates will listen to what I have to say. But I would far prefer that candidates had to listen to everyone, and not just me. That is why the Electoral College works.
  • Pardon? I think the electoral college is crap because it explicitly works against the principle of "one man, one vote"
    Actually, I don't think it does.

    Consider: if you take a direct-popular vote, then realistically speaking, no more than fifteen US cities will decide every single election from now on.

    A candidate could well say "I support bulldozing the entire nation except for <insert major urban areas here> to create parking lots for <insert aforementioned urban areas>." Even if every single person not in those areas votes against this, if the people of those cities vote for it (a likely situation, given the terrible parking in most major urban areas), then the votes of those in rural areas were for nothing.

    Now, there's one other thing: the President was never meant to be chosen by the people. Nor, actually, was the Senate. The people get their fair representation in the House (where things are not quite proportional, since all the states have at least one representative, but no one disuputes this). The states (because keep in mind that each state is also its own entity) get their fair representation in the Senate (one state, two senators who oversee matters of the state as a whole). The office of the Presidency was created such that it would be chosen by the states; it's a rather interesting constitutional fluke but it's actually quite constitutional for a state to not hold popular elections for the President at all; only tradition dictates that they do). This is how each state is assured its voice in choosing the symbolic head. Also note that this is important in the case of the Vice President, who has voting power in the Senate just as a Senator does (but in the case of the VP, that power exists only in the case of a tie). This is why it's important for the states to choose: this is the arbiter for ties in the body which represents them.
    Note that the Constitution was later amended to support the direct election of Senators (they were originally appointed by state legislatures).

    The people get their representation. That's what the House is for: a body where everything is based on population (though note that in small states where there is only one representative, the people who voted against him/her get no voice at all: is this fair?) The states get their representation: this is the Senate and the Presidency. And the federal government itself gets its representation: this is the Supreme Court (or would you rather that the Supreme Court justices be forced to descend into politics, rather than being able to focus on upholding the Constitution and justice overall?)

    That's what checks and balances are for. The people are not the be-all and end-all of power, nor should they be: 99.95% of the people, very nearly all Slashdotters, and probably 99.99% of people who haven't studied law -noting that I haven't either-)don't have the knowledge or training it takes to run a country in any kind of effective manner. That is why we have elections. But sometimes mistakes are made here: that is why proportional representation is checked by nonproportional means as well (such as the Presidency itself; is it fair that we have only one President?); neither is powerful enough to overpower the other, so all must agree before a law is passed. It's not perfect, but it's more effective and, in the end, fairer, than any other system I've seen.
  • by isaac ( 2852 )
    The EC is a fair system, 4 major cities should not be able to determine the election.

    Pardon? I think the electoral college is crap because it explicitly works against the principle of "one man, one vote", instead allocating undue influence to sparsely populated states. I voted in California in this election (for neither Bush nor Gore, FWIW) - California has one electoral vote for (roughly) every 540,000 people. Iowa (to take a battleground state in this election) has roughly one for every 280,000. I don't call that a fair system.

    I'd go so far as to say the system works as designed - it gives that extra little nudge in a tight presidential contest to rural landowners, keeping the urban poor in check. If the broken system hadn't been enshrined in the body of the constitution itself (by our clearly infallible *ahem* founding fathers), but merely in statute, it would have been trashed decades ago as contrary to the fourteenth amendment.

    (Disclosute: I think both Republicrat-party candidates sucked most heartily this year, and would never have voted for either of those to jokers, even if I still lived in Florida. I would be grousing as loudly if Gush's and Bore's fortunes were reversed.

    Most civilized countries have proportional representation. Damn near all have provisions for runoff elections in a race where multiple candidates leave the race too close to call (some states and counties do this, too). A one-night-only, winner-take-all electoral system produces erratic results and generates no end of controversy when the results are within the margin of error. Add in the skew towards less populous states, and you have a process of questionable legitimacy.

    What needs to be done is to fix the real problem, punch-card ballots. I would definately support electronic voting in all counties.

    I'm with you on trashing punch-card ballots, but a adamantly against fully-electronic balloting. With physical ballots, the number of empties is known, and the completed ballots leave a physical record. Tweaking an electronic vote tally leaves no physical trace, unlike "losing" a stack of marked ballots (the lost number being reflected in the difference between the total count of ballots before and after the election). In other words, an election could be stolen *without incurring suspicion* simply because there would be no irregularities noted - the electronic count would be the sole, indisputable count. Ugh. Ugly to contemplate.


  • Seems to me there's something in the Constitution about people peaceably assembling and petitioning for a redress of grievances. I know the Bill of Rights is out of favor with many liberals, but it is still the law.

    Just wanted to jump in here and remind you that the court system is in fact the branch of government charged with evaluating petitions for redress and then ruling as to the soundness of the claim and the appropriate remedy, if any.

    That is to say, a legal process. A protesting mob is not a petition for redress. It is an exercise in free assembly, though, which I wholeheartedly support.


  • Spoken like a true Bush supporter.


  • Yeah, Bush speaks plainly, and he's a fucking fascists holding the sad world records of capital punishment per capita in his state. Way to go!


  • The problem is, there wasn't an equal vote in this state.

    Bush won.

    They recounted.

    Bush still won.

    They recounted again.

    Bush STILL won.

    How many times does reality have to slap Gore in the face before he wakes up? That idiot Bill Daley keeps yammering about "the will of the people". Yet the Gore camp disqualifies absentee ballots from military members. And STILL he yammers about "the will of the people".

    Well guess what Billy-boy. The will of the people HAS been followed. And despite your best efforts to derail it, you've lost.

    Does it suck? Sure. But that's the way the system was designed. He agreed to be bound by the rules of the system. Just because it didn't give him the results HE would have liked, doesn't mean that he shouldn't be bound by the decision after the fact.

    And before you start telling me that I'm a hypocrite and wouldn't say the same thing if it was Bush losing. Let me inform you. I voted for NEITHER Bush, or Gore.

    And if Bush had resorted to the same tactics (i.e. anything till "we" like the result) as the Gore camp has, they'd be seeing JUST as much derision from me as the Gore camp is getting now.

    Chas - The one, the only.
    THANK GOD!!!

  • ---
    ...gets an masters...

    "An masters"?

    - Jeff A. Campbell
    - VelociNews ( [])
  • Wow! What an articulate citizen you are. I am a 'freshly converted' Republican after going through three presidential elections registered as a Democrat. I see from your web site that you are a college student with "...little over 1 year of work experience...". If you are much like the people I went to school with, then you really only have time between work and classes to skim the news about the elections and candidates. If so, then you are mostly parroting the views of the people you grew up around and respect for various reasons. My views certainly matured greatly after taking the helm of a small business.

    In ten years you may want to look back at your post above and see how your perspectives have matured or changed.

    I don't own any stock at all, supported the M$ anti-trust case and voted for Bush in this election. My votes are not cast by party, but are based upon the information that I have about each candidate. It seems that I came to the same conclusion about Al Gore that the majority of Tennessee ( and Arkansas while I'm mentioning it) voters did.

    In closing, I don't hope you burn in hell. I do hope that you learn to be a bit more level headed before you venture into the job markets that don't rely on state funding.

    Take care Mr. Jackson.
  • What exactly, is a Joint Class? I think I had a few of those back in "High" School. :)
  • Bush(tm) (marca registrada) The President? Nah. Well maybe in the same way small children think Mickey Mouse is the King of Disneyworld. The President of the US o' A is James A. Baker III. He ran shit when Reagan was the Leader of the MoFo Free World and he will do it again with Reagan Jr.-Lite (tm). I'm sure Frat Boy will try to inject himself into the process but they'll talk over his head and use big words until he falls asleep or has a tantrum and leaves the room.
    BTW, expect that after Cheney keels over that Cardinal Baker appoints SchwartzPowell to the office.
  • The US election is a perfect example of what you get when you have two fundamentally bland candidates who totally fail to motivate people. Send people to the polls to choose between two indistinguishable candidates, and guess what? They'll come out 50/50.

    There's a good article on feed [] that points out: []

    ...after all of this, there will be only one indisputable fact about the Florida vote: The margin of error was larger than the margin of victory.

    It's impossible to find out what "the will of the people" is under these circumstances. No matter how you count, the margin for error will remain higher than the margin of victory. Thus, tossing a coin, asking a lawyer, or taking your life-line and calling a friend are equally valid ways of deciding who gets to be US president.

    Of course, the logical thing is to just hold the election over and over again until you poor Americans get it right.

    Charles Miller

  • >Do you understand the need for a manual recount now?

    The problem is that with every additional recount you do (manually OR by machine), you introduce further error into the count. This is because with a punchcard system such as they're using in Florida, moving the punchcards around may break off chads - which may or may not have been actually punched through by the voter (they may have only been indented, or "dimpled"). It may have been that they were about to vote for the candidate, dimpling the chad, and then didn't vote for anyone. Now during the recount, the chad falls out and it's counted as a vote the voter didn't intend. Or they may have been about to vote for a candidate, and then voted for another - in which case if in the next recount the dimpled/pregnant/whatever chad for the almost-voted-for candidiate falls off, as commonly happens with these punchcards, then that vote will be invalidated because it now looks like they voted for two presidential candidates.

    And there's no way for us to know which of these situations may or may not have occurred with each ballot.

    This is why there were different results in each of the recounts by machine, because sending them through the machine causes more chads to fall off (sending them through the hands of human counters would have much the same effect, as they get flexed and moved around, etc). Which is also why a manual recount isn't going to improve your accuracy, because the process of recounting itself is changing what the ballots are showing. Even if you ignore the potential for bias among human counters, the ballots they're trying to count are no longer going to show the same thing as they did on election night due to the physical limitations of the cards.

    I personally would like to see more counties moving towards electronic systems such as the touchscreen-based ones used in several counties nationally. They look much like an ATM, and people have found them very easy to use. This eliminates this ridiculous situation of having to look at chads, and somehow try to divine the intent of the voter from how much a chad is hanging off, or how much it's dimpled, etc.
  • Hell with flipping a coin. Demand a pistol duel!

  • PR (when done properly) is a Good Thing, as it allows the votes of the people to be translated as accurately as possible into electoral influence.

    I'm glad it works in Ireland, but the point remains that the combination of constitutional arrangements and political character has led to problems in some countries.

    Overall, I was just trying to point out the somewhat glassy nature of the houses people were throwing stones from, and I think the point is still valid.

  • Even if the CIA did precipitate the events of 1975 (which I find *very* difficult to believe for a variety of reasons which I can't be bothered going in to here), the fact remains that the hole in the constitution which left John Kerr and Gough Whitlam in the farcical situation of being able to sack the other at a moment's notice, and the fact that without the double dissolution triggers the whole Senate would not have faced the people, shows the constitution was and is seriously flawed.
  • American democracy has some problems with the health of political debate and electoral fairness. However, none of us are perfect - witness:
    • The potential constitutional quagmire in Australia exposed in 1975 but still left to fester until it is exposed again.
    • The fact that the British PM comes dangerously close to being an elected dictator.
    • Chaotic coalition governments in countries that rely on proportional representation for parliament (Italy, Israel etc.)
    • I don't know Canadian politics well enough to comment, but I'm sure there are problems with your own constitution (beyond the fact that your head of state, like ours, is a hereditary monarch who lives half a world away and has rules governing succession which undoubtedly violate your own anti-discrimation laws).

    Yes, it's nice to have a chuckle at the expense of arrogant Yanks, but get some perspective. Just because they don't understand the world beyond their own borders doesn't mean we should be the same :)

  • he senate is now popularly elected,

    Not really. Each senate seat is popularly elect4ed, there's a big difference between that and having a populkar election for the entire senate. Ditto with the house of representatives -- just because you can get 99% of the vote in seat A does not mean that you can forward 48% of the vote to another party member running in seat B.

    As for the "circus in florida", the problem has arisen because the election is too close (the voters may as well have voted randomly), not because the "system" is bad.

  • Maybe we don't need to abolish the electoral college completely, but what we need to do is separate the votes from the states. Have the candidates fight out over each and every vote... Like, right now, bush'd get 13 of florida's votes and gore'd get 12 and this'd been over weeks ago.

    You're kidding yourself if you believe that the problem was somehow "caused" by the electoral college. If the vote in Florida was split like that, and the votees in the other states were also split in such a manner, the two parties would be quarreling over one or two deciding electoral votes, you'd still have the same situation with both sides trying to gerrymander it their way. Even with a popular vote, the popular vote is close enough that it's be tied up in litigation (and the recounts would be somewhat more difficult !)

  • If we abolished the electoral college, then we'd not have to watch this sort of spectacle again, because the margins of victory would vastly increase.

    This is completely wrong. The margins of victory would increase, but so would the number of votes, so the difference between the margin of victory and the margin of error would not change that much. If a popular vote was used, you'd have Florida on a national level right now.

  • The American philosophy is one of less centralisation, there are substantial cultural and economic differences between the different reasons which is why in the context of the USA, decentralisation tends to make more sense.
  • If you haven't heard enough of the voting machines, there is an interesting lecture from a CMU faculty member who has worked for 20 years certifying voting machines (electrical, mechanical, paper, punchcard, optical scanning, etc...).

    This lecture describes not only how you can cheat these systems, but how and why it's so hard to get an accurate count (not to mention why it's nearly impossible to count the same number of votes twice , mechanically OR manually).

    The lecture is in .ASF and powerpoint format... sorry. Click target=Lectures/Distinguished%20Lectures /2000 [] and select the bottom row (Michael Shamos's "What's happening in Florida")! For some reason, slashdot is mangling the URL, so there are some spaces on it when you click there... just remove them in your netscape window.

    Yes, some of the predictions that he made are somewhat dated (as the lecture happened on the 15th), but it is a very interesting overview of what can and *does* happen to your votes that you may not have thought about. It's a little long, but worth the time!

  • Well, he certainly hasn't done a good job in Texas and no matter what happens: He didn't win the election - the people didn't want him.

    Then why do 60% of them want Gore to concede defeat and stop the lawsuits?

    a well-educated, intelligent, proven person who's been part of the most successful administration for decades

    That's a good description of Bush, considering his 95th-percentile SAT, multiple college degrees, and proven excellent environmental record in Texas.

    and a not very bright, but "likable", person with a very bad track record

    And that's a good description of Gore, considering his zinc mine's multiple fines for environmental violations.

  • Your Republicanism is showing through. Among people who are not Devout Republicans, RR is generally considered to be a clueless luser almost in the same category as GuuB.

    Then how come so many Democrats voted for him? How come he won so many majority-Democrat states, including Oklahoma, which was something like 70-75% Democrat at the time?

    How come he won as governor of California, arguably the most heavily Democrat-dominated state in the union?

  • The elderly tended to, overwhelmingly, vote for Gore, so the majority of the votes so recovered will favor Gore.

    Not in Florida.

    You're talking about a county that is a Pat Buchanan stronghold (in fact, he lives there), and that voted majority Republican in the 1994 elections.

    And, yes, those over 65 voted majority Republican in many races in that election. Look it up.

    Palm Beach County voted for Connie Mack in 1994, by nearly 60%. There has been a widespread feeling among seniors in that county that Clinton betrayed them by concentrating on things like gays in the military instead of the things he promised them. They do not all believe Gore's attempts to get back in their good graces, and they remember seeing "that nice young man" his brother on TV a lot.

    A lot of old folks in Palm Beach county voted for Clinton because he reminded them of JFK. Nobody's making that comparison to Gore.

  • There is ample legal precedent for counting dimpled ballots. Counting the voters' intent is even the law in backwards places like Texas now, thanks to a law supported and signed by none other than GuuB himself.

    And what if the ballot is dimpled because the voter started to vote for Gore, then had an attack of conscience and voted "none of the above" by not continuing the motion?

    A lot of those ballots have clear votes on every single race except President. Almost none of the "dimpled chad" votes are going to Bush.

    Are we really supposed to believe that the voting machines all jammed up only on Gore?

  • A lot of those ballots have clear votes on every single race except President. Almost none of the "dimpled chad" votes are going to Bush.

    According to the inventor of the punch card voting system used, there is a mechanical flaw which can and does lead to the first column of punches being incompletely punched while all of the other rows are punched cleanly. This is particularly the case in old, worn out machinery like much of that used in the election.

    There is ample reason to count dimpled ballots, even when the only punch dimpled is in the first column which just so happens to be the presidential votes in question.

    That being said, a hand recount of the entire state is what is required and what should happen, to be as sure as possible that the result is as accurate as possible. Unfortunately the Republicans chose to denigrate the entire recount process -- something that is standard procedure in any close election -- rather than request recounts in Republican leaning counties, as was their responsiblity.

    The Democrats correctly requested recounts where they thought it would help them.

    Clearly, the entire procedure needs to be revisited -- in an election this close, a hand count of the entire state is what should have happened. It wasn't up to the Democrats to request it, but it shouldn't have depended on the Republicans requesting it either. It should simply have been standard operating procedure, begun immediately, with no certification until completed.

    Are we really supposed to believe that the voting machines all jammed up only on Gore?

    Bush has received some dimpled ballots. However, the dimpled ballot issue is a systemic phenomenon which targets the elderly and weak, who did not use enough force to puncture the first row of chads and thus have their vote counted. The elderly tended to, overwhelmingly, vote for Gore, so the majority of the votes so recovered will favor Gore.

    As it is, by refusing to count those votes were are excluding a particular group of people, namely those too elderly or too weak to fully displace the chads in the first column of votes. Since this excludes a demographic group which favors Gore, it is understandable that the co-chair of Guub's election campaign would be so unwilling to include them. What is not tolerable is that this stand: any and all discernable votes must be counted (and should be, statewide).

    That this isn't happening denigrates the entire process, and I blame both the Dems for not insisting more vocally on a statewide recount and denigrating the process when the other side obtains legal victories, as well as the Repubs for not doing their job in requesting recounts, gathering a mob to terrorize one canvassing board (Dade) into stopping their recount, and denigrating the process when the Dems have legal victories.

    A pox on both of their houses -- we should exile them from both from politics forever and start from scratch.
  • Well your facts are a bit distorted. Sure if you ROUND the numbers Bush got 48 and Gore 49 percent. However, rounding makes it seem much further apart than it really is. Gore got something like 48.6 and bush got something like 48.3. In other words, the most you could say, based on the facts, is that just .3% (350k) of voters prefer Gore to Bush. To put that in perspective, using your kind of logic, if Buchanan had dropped out his 499k votes would have gone to Bush, and Bush would've won the so-called popular vote. Or in yet a different light, more voters wanted Bush in this election than wanted Clinton in his first election. All that is irrelevant though, we have laws. We're not going to start inventing new ways of massaging the data to get the results we want, it's too dangerous.

    As for Nader, he's totally irrelevant. You don't know that Nader voters would have even voted. (I suspect a great many of them wouldn't have). Also, as I have previously indicated, I know at least a couple Nader voters that would otherwise vote Republican. It could also be argued that Nader changed the very dynamics of the election. For instance, Nader might have pushed Gore more towards the extreme ends of the democratic party, causing him to take risks that he would have otherwise never taken. What if, what if, what if. We simply can't know.

    I strenuously object to the assertion by the liberal media and Gore that these minor facts somehow give Gore a "moral" victory, as if somehow a Bush victory is amoral. We are a nation of law and at the end of the day that is our chief moral not the merely what .1% of the country thinks. I think the greater moral violence is that against law. In addition, if you believe in the "people" and polling/statistics, they show how the people really feel now (~60% favor Bush stance in many different areas, such as legitimacy, who "won" florida, who "deserves" to win, etc, etc)
  • Speak for yourself. The margin of error is not something that has been drummed into my head by pollsters. I say there is a margin of error because there IS one in every election, despite the assertions of some. The degree may vary. Some may choose to call it by another name, but it exists nonetheless. It does not mean that anyone is being "disenfranchised". You can say it's unacceptable and unfair till you turn blue in the face, but that does not change the fact that it exists.

    Are there better alternatives? Sure there are. But don't trivialize the problem and act as if getting rid of any and all error is a small task. There are serious issues at work here. Your solution may sound foolproof to you, but don't be so sure of yourself. So long as we're in the physical realm, we're going to have some error. If the error is sufficiently small so that an inaccurate election result is extremely rare, I'd rather have that than, say, a novel digital election with unknown risks (i.e., the potential for massive and untraceable fraud) but 0 or negligible error....
  • Then, by that same reasoning, it's also fair to say that more people in Florida want Bush. Also, Bill Clinton should have never been elected, because if you added Ross Perot's votes (far more than Nader et. al) to Bush Sr., Bush would've clinched it.

    It's not "definetly" fair to say that "most" people did not want Bush. On the basis of the results alone, it's almost exactly 50/50. If Gore so much as farted, that margin could have gone the other way. On the basis of the intent of the country, you simply can't know that. As I've already mentioned, the electoral college changes the way people vote (and also the way the candidates campaign). For instance, I know many people in California and New York that, believe it or not, voted for Nader (because they believe the environment needs more attention) but who would have otherwise voted for Bush (as strange as that may seem). The point is that you can't presume to know the will of the people until you've actually counted their explicit vote. A vote in the electoral college system simply cannot be summed up and called a popular vote, especially when it's this close. Can you really tell me that people making those kinds of decisions are not more than .3% of the vote? No, I didn't think so.
  • I'm not your typical slashdotter. Unlike the rest of slashdot, I generally consistently support IP.
  • Margin of error or not you can't dispute the fact more people voted for Gore then Bush nationwide and that more people intended to vote for Gore in Florida.
    I see. So you can reason your way around a .3% margin of error in Florida, but Bush can't do the same nationwide? Please. This is fundamentally inconsistent. Are you going to tell me that you know for a fact that mistakes were not made in the rest of the country? I hope not.

    The bottom line is that I do deny that Gore "certainly" got more votes in Florida, and to the extent that you can argue that Gore won Florida, I can argue that Bush won the so-called "popular vote". What we can agree on are the facts, that Bush won the official votes in Florida and Gore won more official votes nationwide. It'd be a mistake to abandon law in favor of this highly subjective reasoning of yours. Just who would you appoint to be chief reasoner? How is that protected from fraud, manipulation, and abuse? I'd rather have a concrete vote, no matter which way it turns, than the alternative subjective means.

  • No, you'd have each person having an equal say... Right now, where according to your theory, our votes are weighted by what the population density is. The higher the density the less each vote counts, basically. It's not like a candidate could go from LA to Houston to Miami to Altanta to DC to Boston to New York to Chicago and wrap the election like that, unless maybe they got 100% of the votes in each of those cities and the rest of the coutry forgot to turn out.

    Every other vote in this country is based on popular vote - senators, congressmen, governors, mayors, etc... And didn't we just sit back in glee when Milosivech (i know, i can't spell his name) lost the popular vote, called himself the victor and then watch on tv as the entire country revolted against him.

    Maybe we don't need to abolish the electoral college completely, but what we need to do is separate the votes from the states. Have the candidates fight out over each and every vote... Like, right now, bush'd get 13 of florida's votes and gore'd get 12 and this'd been over weeks ago. Because i hardly see how "every vote counts" under a system where the loser wins... No one recounted Massachusetts looking for extra gore or bush or nader votes because 66% of the state went for gore, making the other 34% basically throwaway votes.
  • Well shit, I didn't see your name on the ballot so apparently you aren't.

    I go by history, and history shows he is much more qualified than you, I mean.. look at it this way Anonymous Coward is responsible for most of the trolls on /.! (that was a joke btw)

  • The good news is the rangers are now much more popular. Look - every person has downfalls and benefits. My post was to be fair. Bush has a favorable history, at least favorable enough for half of the voting population to vote for him.

    They're politicians, they are supposed to be dark, menacing and have ugly controversial histories or they aren't doing their job right.

    I'm not a bush supporter either - my point is just be fair with evaluations and not these vague dissidents against him without any basis. Gore has as many (maybe more maybe less, I'm not God) strikes against him as Bush -- if you disagree you are naive and shouldn't be voting in my opinion.

    My point is this: Bush has done things right, he has to in order to get where he is at today. If you think you can do better and want to - do it. If not, then you are that mother on the sidelines screaming for their fat little kid to play in the game.

    But personally I would rather have someone in office that reflects the american majority (uses alcohol, drugs and is a real person) than someone who is robotic in everything they do (read Gore). The reason is simple, the president has no real unweilding holy power - they are merely a face to our nation. It's silly really.. all this talk about a man who doesn't do all that much in the major decisions of our country. They have advisors for the decisions people think the president made.

    Now, when picking a president I myself would rather choose the one who has better advisors -- and in this case it is obviously clear who does, the dubya campaign won the presidency against odds and managed to put someone up there that has a shady history (even though everyone does) and win. Now that is some good thinking with some seriously smart people behind it -- now those are the people who are doing a lot of the real work. I think it's all in pretty damn good hands, because Bush's hands aren't touching it, just delivering it.

  • You are actually rather confusing - you are completely bypassing any facts and going purely off of what other people have told you. Bah for me sheeple.
    Are you from Texas?

    If yes, then wow you must have been living in a cave to not see the changes that Bush made for the better and also the democrats campaigning for him - obviously he did something right beyond toting his daddies name around.
    And no, I didn't vote for Bush (or Gore) - but he is someone I would prefer to have in office over Gore, who is like watching a hooked on phonics commercial.

    Bush has 2 things, a history that speaks kindly and the presidency. I'd say he earned that regardless who is daddy is, although it helped. Look at the facts before you spout off - Bush did very well in his life and he's gone a lot further than you have, so show him some respect.

  • I do agree that Hillary (oh GOD NO) may be the frontrunner in 2004 for the Dems. But, things can change in 4 years. Hillary is probably going to embarass herself in the Senate. If you want to talk qualifications... What has SHE ever accomplished, besides cover up for all her husbands affairs?

    Let's see, she came up with a national healthcare plan that would have put most of us in the poor-house and stole an African saying (It takes a village...) and pawned it off as her own...

    Perfect Democratic candidate!

  • You're the primary example of the stupid Americans I plan on escaping once the paperwork goes through and I move to Vancouver.

    Let's see if I can get this right, you're unhappy with America, so you're moving to Canada? I take it you feel so strongly about this that you'll be renouncing your US citizenship and applying to be naturalized as a Canadian citizen, right?

    It will be interesting to see you come crawling back when you need to have surgery or get tired of paying out half or more of your income in taxes.

  • However, the fact that you say that shows that you believe that the Electoral College is still important than the voice of the people.

    Spoken like a true resident of California. Do you live in CA?? Think about it. If you get rid of the Electoral College, you place the country in the hands of California and New York. While New Yorkers typically claim nothing in common with CA, their political views both tend to be very liberal, thus the same. The Electoral College is the only thing keeping our governemt fair.

    It's ironic. Democrats claim to favor the little guy, the guy who has to struggle to get to the top, yet are more interested in steam-rolling the country with left-wing liberal politics.

    Do the math. Look at the concentration of people in LA county for example. It's more than several other states combined. Is it fair to let one group, even if more in number, from one small area determine what's best for everyone in the country, particularly for people thousands of miles away from them, who themselves have no say in their destiny, due to the system you want to see created? You may want to live in the United States of California, but the rest of us do NOT.

  • Bush trusts machines more then he trusts the people of florida.

    So do I. CNN took the Palm Beach County ballot around New York City, and asked people to identify the hole to punch out to vote for Al Gore. They asked a wide range of people, young, middle-aged and seniors alike. Nobody got it wrong.

    It's the sun down there, it's baked their brains and they're incapable of coherent thought, let alone being capable of following an arrow one-half of an inch toward the center of a piece of paper and then punching out the hole at the tip of the arrow.

  • Actually, regardless of whether Gore thinks the electoral system is fair, he agrees that it's the law. In a speech a few days after the election he said that although he may have won the popular vote, it's the electoral college that counts; essentially, that he knew the way the game is played, and will win or lose by those rules.

    The lawsuits and challenges you're seeing now, incidentally, are part of those rules. The law isn't a machine, and we can't expect a hotly contested matter to be resolved in one iteration. Lots of important things are decided just the way this is being decided, by citizens taking their disagreement to the judicial system. Blah blah checks and balances etc.
  • As an American, I'm not embarrassed by an election that takes a lot of time and a lot of lawsuits, as long as it's eventually resolved peacefully. Resolving our differences through appeal to law--byzantine and tedious though it may be--is a lot better than bloody revolution or assassination, two popular alternatives which don't look likely here (notwithstanding some rioting in Florida []). Believe it or not, this is how it's supposed to work.

  • by drsoran ( 979 ) on Sunday November 26, 2000 @07:42PM (#600451)
    If machine recounts are more accurate than hand recounts, why was there a difference of 1400 votes after the second machine recount? Sure as hell doesn't sound like "two votes in a million" to me.

    I'm sure it had nothing to do with the ballot boxes that kept turning up that poll workers had just "forgot" to turn in. Woopsie. "Hey.. I realize this is like.. my ONLY obligation in this whole process.. to turn in this box.. but I just plum forgot. Hey look at that.. 95% of the votes happen to be for Al Gore. Isn't it a good thing I found this box of ballotsin my trunk?"
  • by Julius X ( 14690 ) on Sunday November 26, 2000 @08:26PM (#600452) Homepage
    The media nightmare that the election of the presidency has become is just insane. I read somewhere something that hit the nail on the head: The reason the election was so close was becuase we, the American Public, had been given two candidates who were nowhere near adequate to truly lead this country. Whomever comes out of this mess, the the current story is that Bush has it, will not be truly fit to do the job as it should be done.
    That is why the election was so close. Not only in Florida, but all over this country, people saw the candidates being presented to them and did not know what to do. What does one do with two mediocre choices,
    when there is no other worthy option? Most chose to find things they believed to be the better of two evils, the candidate with the least amount of undesirable characteristics. Others, out of desparation from being faced with such inadequacy, did the only thing that would seem right and choose the impossible, and nearly as mediocre, third or fourth candidate. Whatever the choice, we all will end up with one who in all truthfulness, shouldn't be in the
    Oval Office.
    I believe the source of this difficulty is not the lack of good candidates, but something else. The early race for the election saw some good candidates, and some good potential. But they all faded away, dropped out, and disappeared. It begs the question, why?! Perhaps it has something to do with the wide held belief that we live in a Democracy; that it is the majority who rules, and the government that shall rule us. This is a complete fallacy. This country, as you would hear in any Elementary or High School History class, is Republic. It was designed to be run, for the people, by the people, with a small government serving them, not the other way around. That is why goverment-business and property is always called public, becuase it belongs to the people. We are living in an age where the original goals of this country have been lost. The people no longer hold any control in this country; it is the government, the political machine, the media, and the corporations are the ones who control this country. (More info on why we live in a Republic, here [].)
    Then we have the media. They were so swayed by those in charge of the parties, that we had no choice but see the people that they chose us to see. The politicians don't campaign to the people anymore, they only campaign to the media. I'm sorry, but the media isn't the one in the voting both, it is the people. Those politicians who don't pay up the dues or the news anchors choose not to pay attention to get no coverage. Then, the best eople, those who by all rights would be the best leaders for our country, choose not to even attempt to run, in fear of what the media machine would do to their lives. It seems there is something critically wrong here
    So now what? Well, for now, I think all we can do is put up with the ludicracy in front of us. But meanwhile, we need to begin to take back what was ours. This country was designed for the people, and only the people are the ones who will be able to take it back. If we do nothing, and expect the next guy to do it, well then, we deserve to be sucked into the media corporate madness that has evolved around us.

    -Julius X
  • by griffjon ( 14945 ) <> on Sunday November 26, 2000 @05:12PM (#600453) Homepage Journal
    first of all, the US legal system is a conflictual one. it's ugly, unpleasant, bitchy, but it works quite well, actually.

    Of interest, AFAIK the only state in the Union that must consider dimpled ballots on manual recounts is (drumroll please) Texas! and Bush signed into law legislation (HB331 of the 75th congress of Tx HB331 []) a bill that favors manual counting in a recount situation. I love irony.

    Unless Gore goes way, way too far, he will not be damaging the constitution or any of that jazz--with the race this close, a very accurate count is important. I'm in favor of inclusion of the dimpled ballots, but that would get lot of foul-play cries (if the non-postmarked military ballots are excluded, so should the dimpled ones, and vice verse as well).
  • by griffjon ( 14945 ) <> on Sunday November 26, 2000 @05:25PM (#600454) Homepage Journal
    99.9% of 2 million?

    Have you done your math?

    1000000 * .999 = 990000
    So, out of 1000000 (1 million) votes, 990000 are correct.

    1000000 - 990000 = 1000

    1000 > 2

    in fact, 1000 is almost twice the margin of victory (537)

    Do you understand the need for a manual recount now?
  • by Ralph Wiggam ( 22354 ) on Monday November 27, 2000 @07:10AM (#600455) Homepage
    About two days after the "selected counties" recount offer, Gore offered to hand recount the whole state. Bush politely declined and went running to federal courts to stop any recounting. It was an odd move for someone who values state's rights so much.
    Basically, this whole situation reminds me of a football (either kind) game where the last play is disputed. The winning team will run into the locker room as quickly as possible. The hope is that the officials will decide that it's too much of a hassle to get the other team back on the field and just call the game.

  • by troutman ( 26963 ) on Sunday November 26, 2000 @04:46PM (#600456) Homepage
    obviously you are a troll, but...

    The people have spoken? The people are pretty evenly divided on this issue. And with all of the lawsuits and count-lawsuits, I don't think we will see the end of this until the Electoral College votes. And maybe not even then -- wouldn't it be a hoot if one of the electors change their vote from Bush or Gore to Nader, and we ended up without anyone having the 270 required to win?

    The only ray of light in this entire process is perhaps the hope that some sort of standardization of voting proceedures and machinery will happen nationwide

    This is sort like when you keep telling your boss that you need to invest in new technology because it is broken (underpowered, unreliable, etc.), and they keep saying "no", until the day that their business is seriously affected by the old systems in place (computer dies, the backup system doesn't work anymore, etc.).

    Maybe it will finally become a priority to spend some money to upgrade to optical scan technology in those places that are still dealing with punched cards and hanging chads.

    Unfortunately, I can also see local election boards saying "wow, we will never have an election that close again, so now we don't have to worry about it".
  • by plunge ( 27239 ) on Sunday November 26, 2000 @09:04PM (#600457)
    But the Bush campaign HAS and IS engaged in the same thing. The whole fluster over the absentee ballots revolves around stretching the law. By law, unpostmarked ballots shouldn't be counted. But the DEMOCRAT in charge of making that decision finally decided to bend the law and allow them. So in one case it's "screw the technical law- it's the will of the servicemen GOD COUNTRY BLAH BLAH AT TOP VOLUME" and in another it's "we MUST follow the strict technicality of the law! GOD COUNTRY ALL THAT IS HOLY AND GOOD!" It's isn't hard to find such positions totally hypocritical. In one famous example, Bush lawyers lobbied intensely to disqualify 13 absentee votes from country employees that they believed to be for Gore, but were without precisely proper ID. When they found out that the votes were mostly for Bush, however, they dropped all challenges. I also find it hilarious that this supposedly "states rights" "we trust local politics over those fatcats in Washington (just not those good Republican fatcats- they're all right)" party is the one appealing to the Supreme Court (a move quite disturbing in it's implications for the ever expanding power of federal courts, espcially considering how flimsy the rationale for a federal suit is)- the one saying that local people just can't be trusted. That doesn't exactly paint the Gore camp as saints. They are quite craven and willing to fight. But at least there's little question of that. But the fact is, there is legitimate ground for a fight here. I really can't say which side is right. And I'm fairly suspicious of someone who claims that they can. And hey, you are a hypocrite, because you only look at a situation long enough until the view you get pleases your preconcieved notions.
  • by Rupert ( 28001 ) on Monday November 27, 2000 @06:19AM (#600458) Homepage Journal
    Your aims are laudable (I don't want those wackos in New York and Los Angeles picking my president), but the electoral college does not solve the problem. Instead, it gives disproportionate representation to large cities in rural states, such as Fargo, ND.

    My personal opinion is that a successful candidate for president must receive more than half of the votes cast nationwide, and a majority of the votes cast in each of at least 26 states. Clearly there is no fair voting system that can guarantee this, so you would have to leave the current president in office, or leave the position empty, until a new election could be arranged.

    A brief rant on the vice-presidency: I really think the idea of "presidential tickets" is counter to the spirit of checks and balances. Particularly in a close race like this one, a large number of people think that both candidates should be in the Whitehouse. Perhaps the prospect of your opponent being in your office every day for the next four years would make candidates more positive during campaigning.

  • by cje ( 33931 ) on Sunday November 26, 2000 @08:15PM (#600459) Homepage
    First of all, I'd like to point out that before all this madness occured, it was thought that Bush may win the popular vote, but Gore win the electoral vote. Gore didn't complain about that possibility. Now we come to the interesting proposition that Gore may have won the popular vote but lost the electoral vote. Now (gasp!) Gore doesn't think that the electoral system is fair.

    Is that so?

    Can you produce a single quote or statement since this election concluded where Gore has called for the abolition of the electoral college, advocated hearings to investigate it, or "whined" about the electoral college "not being fair?" Don't waste your time trying, because he hasn't. Plenty of people -- on both sides of the aisle, I might add -- have done exactly this, but Gore has not been among them. He has, in fact, done the opposite; he has defended the electoral college as the law of the land, which it obviously is.

    (But far be it from me to rain on your fire and vitriol!)
  • by Junks Jerzey ( 54586 ) on Monday November 27, 2000 @05:31AM (#600460)
    It seems that for the most important political job in the US (and arguably much of the world) the applicants should be the greatest of the great statesmen. They should be the brilliant minds that make people want to listen, the kind of person who could (literally) write _the_ textbook on politics. Instead, we get dolts who get ramrodded through the system. Is being governor of a state enough of a qualification? I don't think so. Neither is being a lawyer.

    How we got into this mess is beyond me.
  • by jmv ( 93421 ) on Sunday November 26, 2000 @04:48PM (#600461) Homepage
    OK, here's what I suggest in order to prevent that from happening again... You have to look at the problem in a scientific/statistical way. When you know that the difference in votes is in the order of 1000 for a whole state, you already know that the result, after recounting, WILL NOT BE STATISTICALLY SIGNIFICANT... whatever you do.

    There is then only one solution that makes sense: Put the two names in a hat and draw one. This is as scientific as the recount, but it saves lots of time and money. Of course, since I'm not american, I cannot vote for that law...
  • by Von Rex ( 114907 ) on Sunday November 26, 2000 @05:28PM (#600462)

    Let me bounce these facts off you:

    1. If machine recounts are more accurate than hand recounts, why was there a difference of 1400 votes after the second machine recount? Sure as hell doesn't sound like "two votes in a million" to me.

    2. If hand recounts are less accurate than machine recounts, why are hand recounts ordered by law in case in dispute in both Florida and Texas, as well as most of the other states?

    3. How easy is it to stuff the ballot box when you're in a roomful of extremely partisan observers from the other side? Do you think the Dem's are ripping out chads right under the Republicans noses?

    4. How can Gore have "clearly lost" the hand recount when the recount wasn't allowed to finish? Do you think shipping in goons to harass election canvassing boards into calling off recounts is an acceptable outcome in a Western democracy?

    5. The woman who certified this vote, and who has consistently attempted to block all attempts at hand recounts, is Bush's co-campaign chair in Florida. How can this be allowed to happen? Do they not have conflict of interest laws in Florida? Further, her job is due to be slated out of existence at the end of her term, which means she's looking for work. She'll get a plum appointment in a Bush administration, maybe even an Ambassadorship. Is this the way we do elections in America? Sounds more like one of those new Russian states making it's first attempt at democracy.

    6. Why are most of the optical counting machines in Florida in Republican areas, where the shitty old punchcard systems are in place in Democratic strongholds?

    I wish this was over too, but it ain't. Gore gave them a chance to do it right -- hand recounts in ALL of Florida's counties. But Bush refused, because he knows he'll lose if votes are accurately counted. Whether or not he'll get away with this swindle remains to be seen, but I fully support the efforts of the Gore team to see justice done here.

  • by StandardDeviant ( 122674 ) on Monday November 27, 2000 @03:46AM (#600463) Homepage Journal

    Well, no, not really. :-) The balance of power between the States and the Federal government is a dynamic one, the result of ~200 years of subtle and non-subtle pushing by both sides. The Federal government can exert strong control over some things which it has been given direct control of (and this is a suprisingly small list of things to people living in other countries), every thing else it basicaly has to persuade the States into doing.

    A prime example of this is the 55 MPH speed limit on the nations roads. For (what, 15? 20? 30? know it was in effect when I was a little kid 15+ years ago), this was pretty much universal across the country. The Federal government did not put this into place by fiat (even though they did build the interstate highway system), but rather by saying ``if you (a State) wish to gain the benefit of Federal highway and transportation funds, here is what you must do...", a list that included a raising of the drinking age from 18 to 21 and a lowering of the speed limit to 55 if applicable(which really, really sucked by the way in a state like Texas where I live, becuase the place is so goddamn big (bigger than France) that at 55 it takes quite a while to drive from one major city to any other).

    It's not like the States are trying to make an issue out of this, it's something they genuinely have the right to determine at the state level (furthermore, the State can't say anything about how some things are done ``on the ground'' by the local election boards, or else you know that Ms. Harris would kick the Palm Beach board straight in the ass...). The only way the Feds could try to influence this would be to try something similar to the highway funds thing (i.e. indirectly through money, like by offering a carrot of grants to pay for the upgrade(s) or by offering a stick in terms of taking away funding if they are not done).


  • by istartedi ( 132515 ) on Sunday November 26, 2000 @07:37PM (#600464) Journal

    There's not supposed to be *any* margin of error in the actual vote. That "margin of error" phrase has been drummed into our heads by pollsters.

    Regardless of who wins in the end, one of the first acts should be to pass legislation for a new, modern vote system verifyable by some kind of encryption key to preserve anonymity.

    I've been thinking that each ballot should have a public key attached, and that each voter should get a card with a private key when they vote. If there was any disputed ballot, the public keys would be posted by precinct both on line and in major newspapers (think full page, fine print, and hopefully a low percentage of disputes).

    It would be each voter's responsability to check and make sure that their key was not on the disputed list. In order for them to verify their votes, they would have to use their private key. The vote could be ammended anonymously online via SSL or in a private booth at the local courthouse. If the disputed ballot is not ammended within a certain time frame, it should be thrown out, case closed.

  • by nomadic ( 141991 ) <nomadicworld AT gmail DOT com> on Sunday November 26, 2000 @09:19PM (#600465) Homepage
    They could have graduated from MIT with honors and it wouldnt matter; my original point would remain the same: just because Bush (OR Gore for you repubs) has a different ideology from you _doesnt_ mean you have to make unsupported and idiotic claims about them.

    It's not just ideology though. I didn't like his father that much, but I recognized that he was basically a competent president. I voted for Clinton, but I didn't worry about Dole; he seemed a decent man who would do a fine job if elected. The claims against Bush aren't unsupported or idiotic. He has made several factual errors in his speeches; he has misrepresented himself as a moderate when in fact he is to the right of most of the Republican party; and he has basically no real credentials to be President.
  • by Amigori ( 177092 ) <eefranklin718@yaho o . c om> on Sunday November 26, 2000 @04:41PM (#600466) Homepage
    As an American, I'm fed up with this election. I also think that this year's election was humiliating for the US. Taking nearly a month to complete, lawsuits galore, loopholes in the law, the media jumping to conclusions, and people trying to force their ways even though they lost. I'm sure this will not be the end of it. I hope as we reflect back upon it, we decide that the system needs to be changed and updated for the 21st century.

    Don't blame me. I don't live in Florida.

  • by BenJeremy ( 181303 ) on Sunday November 26, 2000 @05:50PM (#600467)
    Yes, California doesn't need to tally the absentee ballots in their race, since Gore won by over a million, but those ballots could put Bush into the lead in the POPULAR vote! Neither side can claim the popular vote in this election. This lie has been propagated in the media, and ignores the many uncounted votes in this close election (200,000 votes, and with Bush garnering a 2-1 margin on those military ballots, the California vote COULD easily swing the poplar vote his way).
  • by bwalling ( 195998 ) on Sunday November 26, 2000 @05:42PM (#600468) Homepage
    Democrats are known cheaters when it comes to elections. It is well known that there was considerable fraud in the Kennedy-Nixon race. The biggest incidence was in Chicago, where ballot boxes were stuffed with Kennedy votes. Nixon just didn't pout about it.

    LBJ was elected fraudulently in Texas. All the precincts (precinct, county, not sure) came in, except the one where his good buddy was sherriff. He was losing by 10000 votes. The returns from that precinct gave him a margin of +10500 in that area. Go figure.

    Democrats are well known to give people cigarrettes to go vote. Of course, they are just giving out cigarrettes for voting - not necessarily voting Democrat. But, if you are dirt poor and don't care anyway, aren't you going to vote for the guy that just bought you a carton.

    The police found a Democratic Florida State Senator driving around with a ballot machine in his car on election day. No clue what that was about.

    Fraud was not necessarily committed. The counting machines are known to be inaccurate. There has never been an election in which the margin was smaller than the accuracy of the machine. Hand counting cannot possibly be more accurate.

    The reason so many more Gore votes are turning up is because they are in highly Democratic areas. He had 70% of the vote down there. So, when they find a ballot that wasn't counted the first time, it has a 70% chance of being for him. That is why he only asked for a recount in those counties.

    Despite what he says in public, he doesn't give a shit about the will of the voters. He only wants the will of the people that voted for him. He and Lieberman keep acting like they are doing the 'just' thing, but they are trying to skew the vote towards themselves.

    They made all attempts to throw out the military vote because it is known to be traditionally Republican. What about the will of those voters? Ahh, screw em - they're only serving their country, what the hell would they know about who should be Commander in Chief?

    I didn't vote for Gore because he is a major league asshole (to quote George Bush, who was talking about someone else). This whole election thing has made me think I was right in thinking that.

    Don't try to justify what Gore is doing. You can't. I'm not saying Bush is acting 100% respectably, either. I'm just saying Gore is being a bigger ass.
  • Its far from over. This is now going to go to the Florida suppreme court. Basically, they said Bush wins, but without counting ANY of the hand counted ballots, but instead is going from the number from the machine count. So its far from over, It could still go either way. But right after they announced this, Leiberman was there announcing that Gore is contesting. Now its up to the courts. This had to happen, because now it can be argued. We'll see what happens. Expect to see Bush's people talking about 'we need closure, we won, lets call it an election', and expect to see Gore's people say 'Every vote must count, we must have fair results' Get ready for another few weeks....
  • by osgeek ( 239988 ) on Monday November 27, 2000 @05:03AM (#600470) Homepage Journal
    There is ample legal precedent for counting dimpled ballots. Counting the voters' intent is even the law in backwards places like Texas now

    Does it really matter what practices are used elsewhere?

    • For the past 11 years, Palm Beach County had a policy of explicitly not counting dimpled ballots.
    • A local run-off type(?) election 8 weeks before this presidential one yielded a winner with 13 votes. The same canvassing board decreed that a hand recount was not necessary.
    • Theresa Lapoor, a member of the canvassing board, is on record as saying that counting dimpled ballots is improper.

    Changing the rules after the election is intrinsically unfair. Can any rational person deem it otherwise?
  • by washort ( 6555 ) on Sunday November 26, 2000 @06:10PM (#600471) Homepage
    Given the choice between Evil and Stupid, i'll take Stupid just about any day.

    I voted for Browne, btw. ;)
  • by |DaBuzz| ( 33869 ) on Sunday November 26, 2000 @06:16PM (#600472)
    closure with a President with the qualifications of a head of lettuce is still closure

    Certainly 49,819,600 people can't be all that wrong now can they? This is more votes than CLINTON got so I guess that means good 'ol Billy Boy has the head of a rotten squash?

    I've also yet to see a head of lettuce graduate from Harvard AND Yale. Didn't Gore drop out of college at one point? I think yes.

    And with this I suggest a new filter option in my profile, as well as giving me the ability to filter out Jon Katz, I suggest we also now have the option to filter out bleeding heart liberal editorializing that only goes to show why almost 50,000,000 people in this country DO NOT agree with you and your views.
  • by RevT ( 86512 ) on Sunday November 26, 2000 @04:36PM (#600473) Homepage
    Bush is infinately more qualified as president than CmdrTaco and company are qualified at editorializing.

    Of course that's not saying much, but most people do forget that Bush is a Harvard AND Yale graduate.

    proud Florida Browne voter
  • by Elvis Maximus ( 193433 ) on Monday November 27, 2000 @12:42AM (#600474) Homepage

    Bush won... They recounted... Bush still won... They recounted again... Bush STILL won.

    This is a mantra we hear frequently, but which misses the point entirely.

    It may very well be that more votes were cast in favor of Bush than Gore. The fact remains, though, that at no time has the margin of victory been more than 1,725 votes, or about .02% of the Florida votes cast.

    In a single county, Miami-Dade, there are more than 10,000 ballots that punchcard readers registered as having made no vote for president. We know that in many counties votes have been undercounted because these "hanging chads" sometimes get pushed back into the hole when they are fed into the machine.

    The current margin of victory is 537 votes, or about 1/20th of the number of undervotes registered in Miami-Dade alone.

    So it is ridiculous to be saying "we counted the votes, and Bush won, and then we counted them again, and Bush won!" In point of fact there are thousands of votes that haven't been counted at all.

    We're not talking about dimpled chads or butterfly ballots. We're talking about holes clearly punched in ballots and not counted by machines which, while neither Republican or Democrat, are also old and poorly designed. Is anybody on Slashdot really prepared to take the position that mechanical devices -- particularly 40 year-old mechanical devices -- can do everything automatically and never need human intervention?

    So we counted some of the votes, and we didn't know who won, and then we counted some of them again, and didn't know who won, and then in two counties we counted all of the votes.

    And apart from those two counties, we still don't know who won. And we won't until we count all the votes.


  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 26, 2000 @04:39PM (#600475)
    volatile int president;

    while (!president)
  • by pb ( 1020 ) on Sunday November 26, 2000 @10:14PM (#600476)
    More people voted for Not Bush than for Bush or Gore; therefore, Not Bush wins.

    However, more people also voted for Not Gore than for Gor or Bush; therefore, Not Gore wins.

    So, with Not Bush and Not Gore in office, I guess we're stuck with someone else. But who? Nader? BRAK? OOG? Slashdot Cruiser?

    pb Reply or e-mail; don't vaguely moderate [].
  • by Booker ( 6173 ) on Sunday November 26, 2000 @06:32PM (#600477) Homepage
    Every interview I have seen involving someone who has actually _met_ Bush says that he is very smart man.


    By Dick Hermann, a Washington lawyer/publisher

    I haven't said much during the presidential campaign season, but the time is getting short and I think I might regret not expressing myself on the matter of George W. Bush possibly being elected president.

    I went to school with George. In fact, I knew him quite well, both through athletics, socializing, joint classes, and particularly as my immediate lab partner in a Freshman science class. The fact that he is tantalizingly close to becoming the most powerful and important person in the world is both astonishing and terrifying. I had quite a number of classmates whom I thought might one day be worthy of, and competent to serve as, president, but George was most definitely not one of them.

    I did not come away from my four years of interaction with him with a very positive feeling about him. He was intellectually lazy, not particularly interested in anything serious, rather arrogant, contemptuous of studying, and purposeless. To think that someone so "average" could be leading this nation is a scary proposition. Sure, people change, but not that much. He would have to do a great deal more morphing in order to be up to the job to which he aspires.

    One of our fellow classmates advances the theory that George is so limited and narrow that he would have to surround himself with great advisors; hence, there is nothing to fear. I disagree. Ultimately, presidents have to make big decisions, and I worry about that. The prospect that our children might have to survive in a world heavily influenced by George should give anyone pause.

    One other point, one that has been made by others, but that I was witness to, "up close and personal:" George has NEVER been tested. He has lived a life of rare privilege, secure in his name and the largesse of the powerful and influential people who circle his family. No one ever had a safety net like George--whether it meant getting into Andover, Yale, Harvard Business School, the Air National Guard when (take it from me and the other 50-plus percent of my class that wound up on active duty after graduation) there were absolutely no Guard or Reserve slots available anywhere, the oil business, extricating himself from his oil company, the Texas Rangers, the gubernatorial nomination, and the presidential nomination--and few have taken more advantage of it. Like Ann Richards once said: "He was born on third base and thought he hit a triple."

    Please don't help him steal home.

    Dick Hermann


  • by FallLine ( 12211 ) on Sunday November 26, 2000 @05:19PM (#600478)
    First, we don't have a "popular vote". The so-called "popular vote" is really just the sum of each state's votes. The campaigning by both candidates, as well as the actual voting by the country, are made with the electoral college in mind. Both the candidates and the voters would have behaved totally differently under true popular vote.

    Secondly, the margin for Gore's victory in the so-called popular vote is something like 0.3%, well within of the margin of error. So not only can we say that recounts (like those we've had in florida) could result in shifting of numbers, but we can also reasonably presume that the slightest change in behavior of either of the candidates could have overcome that margin (i.e., under a popular vote).

    Thirdly, the electoral college is the law of the land. We simply cannot violate it based on whim.

    Fourthly, there are good arguments for and against the electoral college. If you're going to argue against the status quo, you should at least make a strong case for it.

    Fifthly, Gore was more than ready to win on an electoral vote (see his tapes on CNN and company) when that was what the media was predicting.
  • by Black Parrot ( 19622 ) on Sunday November 26, 2000 @09:03PM (#600479)
    > On to the subject of the dimpled chad and all that. There were ballots that were clearly punched through for all other offices but "dimpled" for president. Was this voter incapable of punching the holes? I think not.

    You should have said, "I think. Not."

    There is ample legal precedent for counting dimpled ballots. Counting the voters' intent is even the law in backwards places like Texas now, thanks to a law supported and signed by none other than GuuB himself.

    Why so? Because the whole point of holding an election is to find out what the voters want.

    > As far as the whole military absentee ballot thing goes...

    Pure spin by the Republican attack dogs. See my post on the topic elsewhere under this article.

    > On an added note, in Palm Beach County, FL a local news station took that "butterfly ballot"...

    Another thing that the "liberal media" isn't bothering to tell everyone is that "butterfly" ballots caused so much confusion in the 1984 election that the US Congress ordered an investigation (General Accounting Office, IIRC), and the investigators reported back that such ballots were inherently unreliable, and recommended that they should not be used anywhere.

    The shame is that state and local officials are not aware of these things. I wonder how many voting systems are just snake-oil solutions being peddled by someone out to make a profit? (I hear that the county commissioners in the county where the capital of Texas is are going to vote within a month about whether to upgrade to a slick new computer voting system. They probably don't have the first clue about the pitfalls with such systems, as recently discussed in comp.risks. Their decision will be based on the fact that they tried it in a single booth during this election, and "didn't have any problems with it". In the event, they are dragging their feet because of the price tag rather than because of concerns for system integrity, auditability, and the other issues recently identified by people researching computer voting.)

    > They only recounted Democratic counties.

    Agreed. IMO any election in any jurisdiction with less than a 2% difference between the top candidates should trigger an automatic hand recount throughout the jurisdiction. (And here the "jurisdiction" would be Florida, since that is the source of the block of electoral votes.) Notice that under my rule, a couple of other states would have needed statewide recounts as well.

    > And, as far as I'm concerned, the changes in counts are more due to human error now than machine error then.

    There is absolutely no basis of this claim, other than by invoking the Republican SpD's as authorities. Before this election, everyone agreed that hand counts were more accurate in a tight situation, and machine counts were just useful because of their superior speed and cost effectiveness whenever an election was not too terribly close.

    > By the way, this isn't even the worst election in US history. Take John Quincy Adams and Andrew Jackson.

    Also, a very complex situation with Rutherford B Hayes, ultimately resulting of a postponement of the inauguration until March of 1877 (IIRC). And some decisions by the US Congress that sound distinctly unconstitutional to me.
  • by iElucidate ( 67873 ) on Sunday November 26, 2000 @04:38PM (#600480) Homepage
    for the status quo. I agree with Nader on this one, just like they do in New Mexico when elections are equal -- you flip a coin, draw straws, or play a game of poker, and the winner is the leader of the free world.

    Really, how would that be any worse than what we have right now? Whoever becomes President will lack any kind of mandate, that much is clear. What is more important, though, is that no one really wants either of them. Like in the 1800s with Hayes and Tilden, the election was so close there that they finally came to an agreement: Hayes will be Pres. (Republican), but would not seek a second term, and he would not change any policy substantially. This should be what happens here -- preserve the status quo, get rid of the two of 'em as soon as possible, and start fresh in four years.

    Yeah US History!

  • by blakestah ( 91866 ) <> on Sunday November 26, 2000 @08:07PM (#600481) Homepage
    However, I clearly think that if Gore continues to go ahead with his lawyers in front of Democrat judges (who already have rewritten the law, in effect changing the rules of the game after the ball has been put in play), he's going to destroy his party.

    The judges said the law was inconsistent. Therefore it needed interpretation. The interpretation was that the counties could recount if they so chose, and the certification deadline needed to be moved to accomodate. That is hardly changing the rules. So the counties that had large problems with ballots recounted manually. Or, rather, one of them did. Another was harassed by people flown in courtesy of the Republican party to harass vote recounters in Democratic counties. Another couldn't finish in time. None of the Republican counties chose to recount manually.
    Those were choices made on a county by county basis. Really the secretary of state should've
    1) set standards for manual recounting
    2) had the entire state manually recount
    No matter what happened in that case, I think it would have achieved maximal trust in the process in Florida and the US. Arguing that a piece of crap election process should be allowed to stand as is forms arguments of patent lunacy.

    Let's not forget the accuracy of the count in Florida is at least 10 times worse than the vote tally difference. The entire Florida election is one big ugly mess. The voting and counting process is horribly inaccurate. In the case of a nearly tied vote, the only appropriate thing to do is to work as hard as possible given time constraints to improve the accuracy. Unfortunately Bush's Florida campaign manager is in charge of the process, the Florida legislature is Republican, and the State Supreme Court is stacked Democrat. Any moves made by either side would immediately be interpreted as partisan and destructive - yet improved voting accuracy is essential to our trust of the election process. Gore is fighting mainly for his votes, and Bush is fighting to force acceptance of the piece of crap. I'd rather see efforts made to achieve maximal accuracy in the entire state.

    Americans hate lawyers, as do I. In my view, the person who, after multiple counts and recounts is resorting to using lawyers for the sole purpose of getting a judge to appoint him President.

    For all the blame throwing, Bush has contested the vote in more counties than Gore. But ask yourself one question before assessing Gore's actions. Suppose on election night Gore has won by 1900 votes, not Bush. Do you really think that Bush would not have gained the lead by now ?? Do you think he would have used any less tools to challenge the election than Gore ? I suspect he would have gained far more votes than Gore has (were the tabled turned), and it would have been done much more smoothly.

    BTW, Gore's lawyer, Boyd, is the lead government lawyer in the Microsoft case, don't know if anyone's mentioned that yet. This shakes my faith in the Reno case against them, IMO, he has damaged his credibility severely by arguing specious cases on Gore's behalf.

    Gore's lawyer is David Boies, not Boyd. He was IBM's lead attorney when they had their antitrust case dropped. His strategy then was to stall and delay - a very successful strategy. He was the Attorney General's offices lead attorney against Microsoft. By most accounts he was stellar against Microsoft. He also represented Napster against the record companies. This is clearly a very efficient lawyer who enjoys taking on cases of national importance that work at the edges of the interpretation of the law. Don't forget, the value of a lawyer is based on how he does with what he's got. So far Boies has beaten Microsoft for the government, beaten the government for IBM, and negotiated a settlement for Napster. I don't think he is worried about the phone ringing for more cases.

    Let's all hope that the case in Florida moves in ways that allow us to maximally trust the accuracy of the process. I doubt that will happen - I don't think either candidate really wants it.
  • by cecil36 ( 104730 ) on Sunday November 26, 2000 @06:35PM (#600482) Homepage
    When executed:

    Segmentation fault: Gore dumped
  • by garethwi ( 118563 ) on Monday November 27, 2000 @01:34AM (#600483) Homepage
    OK, I can't represent a completely British point of view here (not having had time to personally consult with all 60 million+ Brits), but amongst my friends there are two very basic faults with the voting system:

    1. Americans don't know how to make ballot sheets.

    Surely every state should have the same design for ballot sheets, and they should be boring and completely free from any attempts at design. A simple table which contains a cell for the candidates name, and a cell next to it for the vote is all that is needed, nothing more, nothing less.

    2. Americans don't know how to count votes.

    In Britain you have to put an X inside the box next to the the candidates name. If the X even touches the box, then that vote is declared spoiled, and the ballot slip is thrown away. If something other than an X is used, then the ballot is spoiled and the ballot slip is thrown away. That may seem harsh, but the rules are clearly laid out for everyone to see, and they are uniform across the whole country. The reasoning behind it is that if you are too stupid to follow the instructions, then you are too stupid to have your vote count. The idea of a judge being allowed to change a vote because the voter intended to vote for someone else is ludicrous. If there is more than one vote on the ballot slip, then it is spolied, end of story, and one stupid voter has lost the chance to have their say.

    That's all that was needed to make this whole election an open and shut case; simple ballot papers, and simple rules.
  • by Grant Elliott ( 132633 ) on Sunday November 26, 2000 @05:38PM (#600484)
    First of all, I'd like to point out that before all this madness occured, it was thought that Bush may win the popular vote, but Gore win the electoral vote. Gore didn't complain about that possibility. Now we come to the interesting proposition that Gore may have won the popular vote but lost the electoral vote. Now (gasp!) Gore doesn't think that the electoral system is fair.

    Next point it why Gore won the electoral vote. He won by a margin of somewhere in the vicinity of 200,000 votes. He won by a greater margin than this in New York City alone. What this means is that, outside of NYC, Bush had the greater popular vote. So, is it really that unfair, Al? This is one reason for having the electoral college - so one city can't choose the president.

    On to the subject of the dimpled chad and all that. There were ballots that were clearly punched through for all other offices but "dimpled" for president. Was this voter incapable of punching the holes? I think not.

    As far as the whole military absentee ballot thing goes, Gore just managed to upset the people who risk their lives for this nation. Probably not a very good plan...

    On an added note, in Palm Beach County, FL a local news station took that "butterfly ballot" and replaced the candidates with cartoon characters. They then asked small children which circle to mark to vote for a particular character. Guess what? They figured it out... (and, keep in mind, that ballot was approved by the Democrats, published in the newspaper, and sent to the home of every registered voter prior to the election.)

    Even if Gore had won the Florida recount, what would it mean? They only recounted Democratic counties. And, as far as I'm concerned, the changes in counts are more due to human error now than machine error then.

    Of course, it's not over yet- but it should be. I think everyone is entirely sick of this. Time to move on.

    By the way, this isn't even the worst election in US history. Take John Quincy Adams and Andrew Jackson. Jackson won both the popular and electoral votes. BUT he didn't have a majority. Henry Clay had managed to take enough electoral votes away that no one had a majority. So, the two candidates with the most electoral votes go to the House. Clay threw his support to Adams, who won the election despite an obvious loss to Jackson. Interesting stuff....

    The above is my opinion on a few of these matters. You're entitled to your's too. Don't troll me. Don't flame me. Let me be.

A bug in the code is worth two in the documentation.