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Sat Jun 23, 2012, 10:59 PM

The Stealing of the 2000 Presidential Election: Ch 1, Part 2 – The 36-Day Battle to Recount the Vote

I'm currently working with a publisher, Biting Duck Press, to publish a book (title as yet undetermined) on the corruption in our election system. We intend to have it published prior to the November election, and hope that it will help to make Americans more vigilant and concerned about the way our elections are run. I’ve drafted most of the book. I am currently intending to post large portions of it on DU, in the hope of stimulating discussion and obtaining useful feedback.

My first post on this topic dealt with Election Day 2000, and included explanations for the national networks’ two wrong calls that day and the automatic machine recount – all of which helped to explain how screwed up this election was. In this post I’ll discuss the highly controversial 36-day Florida recount, which ended when the U.S. Supreme Court abruptly ended the vote count and awarded Florida and thereby the national election to George W. Bush in what many consider to be one of the three worst U.S. Supreme Court decisions in U.S. history.


Controversies over the hand recounts and vote counting standards

The effort to initiate and conduct a hand recount was a long and arduous affair, with a great amount of legal wrangling, arguments, and posturing before the press, finally ending on December 13th, 36 days after Election Day, when the U.S. Supreme Court abruptly stopped the vote counting and essentially declared Bush the winner.

In the initial days following Election Day, the Bush team went to great effort to stop the recount from occurring, despite the fact that it was specifically allowed by Florida statute. Publicly, they tried to cast Gore as a "sore loser" for trying to obtain the recount. They even began to develop and use (in protest marches) big signs which read "Sore Loserman", as a pun on Gore/Lieberman.

Bush team arguments to stop the recount
Their most common arguments were several versions of the allegation that the Gore campaign was trying to obtain "recount after recount after recount, no matter how many times Bush won the election". This was the favorite refrain of James Baker, Bush's campaign chief in the post-election. Of course the phrase "recount after recount after recount" was meant to convey the impression that Gore was trying to obtain an infinite number of recounts, until he won the election. This impression was apparently facilitated by the fact that the networks had originally called the election for Bush.

But the fact of the matter is that only one recount was even close to being completed, and that was the recount that took place automatically, immediately after the initial election returns put Bush ahead with a margin of less than a tenth of a percent of the total vote, without the Gore team having to request it. The hand recount that Gore requested, on the other hand, was completed in only three counties prior to the Florida Supreme Court decision (see below) ordering every county in the state to perform a hand recount, with the exception of Broward, Volusia, and Palm Beach counties (which had already completed their hand recount), and part of Dade County.
In the same vein, the Bush team frequently noted that Bush won the election after each recount. Apparently what they meant by this was that every time a county stopped counting and a new vote total was announced, with Bush still ahead, that was considered to be another winning of the election. As time went on, this line of attack became less and less frequent, as it became obvious that not enough people were buying it.

Another line, which I associate with Mary Matelin, was that "These votes weren't meant to be counted by hand, they were meant to be counted by machine because machines are much more accurate," (why didn't someone ask her how she knew this?) After a parade of voting experts made the point that nothing could be further from the truth, this line of attack also slowed to a crawl.

The fact is, as the experts explained it, that an unknown number of ballots that were not counted in the second machine count (i.e., the automatic recount) may still have had hanging chads or have been partially punched through, indicating the intent of the voter to vote for a given candidate. In order to get a better look at what the voter intended, the best way to do this is to look at the ballots with the human eye. This was in fact what Florida law allowed for, as did the law of many other states. Yet the Bush team tried repeatedly to give the impression that the request for the recount was some sort of radical request.

When it was pointed out that Bush himself, as Governor of Texas, had signed into law in Texas a similar statute, which in fact clearly stated that hand recounts are preferable to machine counts because they are more accurate, this contention was made less often. But it didn't stop completely, because the Bush team was still able to think of all sorts of implausible explanations as to why the Texas law was different from Florida’s.

Then there was the contention that repeated handling of the ballots changed their nature, therefore magically producing additional votes for Gore. To "prove" this point, the Republican "observers" in counties where the votes were being counted actually photographed chads that had fallen onto the floor during the vote counting process. Apparently they believed that since they had photographic evidence of this, a certain number of unknowledgeable people would believe that this was important information. But it seems to me that a reasonably inquisitive person should have been able to question what the ballots looked like before the chads fell onto the floor. Did the chads that fell to the floor originate spontaneously from being handled by the vote counters, or were they created by the voters when they voted?

When Bush team people were finally challenged to explain how it was that these chads that ended up on the floor originated in the first place, they claimed that it happened from mere handling of the ballots. Chris Matthews of MSNBC wouldn't totally buy this, and I heard him at least once say to a Bush team person that he didn't see how that could happen (and noted that he couldn't do it himself). He even asked the guy to show him how it was done. When the man made a lame excuse for not being able to do this, rather than embarrass him further, Matthews quickly dropped the matter – thus missing a great opportunity to shed light on the fraud being perpetrated upon the American people.

Another excuse was that the recount would take too long, so that it would not be finished by Inauguration Day, or by the time that the Electoral College was supposed to vote. There might have been some believability to this originally. However, the individual canvassing boards made it clear that it would not take anywhere near as long as the Republicans would have us believe, and later events were to prove this beyond any doubt.

Another Bush team argument was that a hand recount could allow for cheating, whereas machines don't cheat. That could be theoretically possible, I suppose, but the fact that "observers" from both sides were on the scene at all times made that argument considerably less powerful. And machines do cheat when they’re programmed to do so.

Another theoretically plausible argument for not doing the hand count was that there was a big question as to what standard to use for counting the ballots. The Florida statute merely said that "the clear intent of the voter" should be ascertained. Nobody quite knew precisely how that should be done, and many of the canvassing boards sought legal input into this question and had a great deal of trouble in deciding upon the appropriate standard. The Bush team point of view on this was that since there was no well defined standard it would be unfair to count these votes at all, because that would "dilute" other votes cast in Florida. I will come back to this all important point later.

The great majority of arguments that the Bush team made for public consumption were not made in their court challenges because they knew that no court would buy them. In court they argued:

1. The count was unfair because only selected Democratic counties were chosen by the Gore team.

2. The law specified that the count should take place only when there was a demonstrated problem with the machine count.

3. The count was unfair because the standards for counting votes varied between one county and another, and there were no uniformly agreed upon standards. As such, it violated the equal protection clause of the U.S. Constitution by applying different standards to different voters.

Gore team arguments to continue the recount and extend the deadlines
The main Gore argument was that Florida law required that counties be given the opportunity to hand count votes in a close election. Given that, the part of the law that specified a deadline for certifying the returns did not make sense because it did not leave enough time to count the votes. The Bush team had no real counter argument to that (in my opinion), other than to reiterate that the law specified a deadline.

In court the Gore team rebutted the above noted Bush arguments with the following:

1. In response to the fact that the Gore team had requested only that selected counties be counted, the Court asked the Gore team if they would have any objections to Republican Counties being counted as well. Gore’s answer was that there would be no objections to that. The Court then asked the Bush team if they would like to do that, and the answer was no, they would not.

2. With regard to the issue of a demonstrated problem with the machines, the Gore team noted that there were in fact problems with the punch card machines, as it was demonstrated statistically that counties that used them had five times the undervote rate as counties that used other voting methods. Furthermore, the very fact that the first machine recount resulted in many additional Gore votes, and that the hand counting so far in every disputed county resulted in many additional Gore votes was further indication to this effect.

3. With regard to standards, the Florida statute said plainly that the ballots shall be evaluated to determine the clear intent of the voter. True, that statement could and was in fact interpreted in different ways. But that is what the statute said, and it was up to the individual counties to decide how to interpret it. With regard to the issue of equal protection, how could that even be an issue? It was obvious that different voting methods were used in different counties. So how could different ways of evaluating the votes make protection less equal? In any event, it seemed clear that hand counting the undercounted ballots made the protection more equal than it would be without any counting at all.


The Brooks Brothers riot

The Brooks Brothers riot occurred in the midst of all the legal and public controversy over the recount. Made to appear as if it were a spontaneous protest against the recount, which the Bush team vociferously argued against at so many levels, it was later found to be organized by the Republican Party. In fact, many of the participants later went on to jobs in the Bush administration or other high level Republican positions. The riot/protest is commonly referred to as the Brooks-Brothers riot because the expensive clothes that many of the rioters wore were not exactly what you’d expect of protesters.

The purpose of the riot was to intimidate Miami-Dade County election officials and thereby prevent them from concluding their recount in time to get the results officially certified. That goal appears to have been successful, as the Miami-Dade County recount officially ceased on November 22.

In the long run it does not appear that the episode had any effect on the final results, as the Florida Supreme Court later ordered the partial results of the Miami-Dade County recount to be added to the official vote count and that the counting be resumed as part of a state-wide total hand recount effort. The counting then was stopped a couple days later by order of the U.S. Supreme Court. Nonetheless, this episode is worth recounting as an example of the violent extent to which some will go to win an election.

According to Democratic County Chairman Joe Geller:

Suddenly, I was surrounded by a screaming, shoving, insane crowd, shouting that I had done something I hadn’t done… People grabbing at me and my clothes and there was almost no security. I couldn’t believe those people weren’t arrested.

The New York Times reported:

The subsequent demonstrations turned violent on Wednesday after the canvassers had decided to close the recount to the public. Joe Geller, chairman of the Miami-Dade Democratic Party, was escorted to safety by the police after a crowd chased him down and accused him of stealing a ballot. Upstairs in the Clark center, several people were trampled, punched or kicked when protesters tried to rush the doors outside the office of the Miami-Dade supervisor of elections. Sheriff's deputies restored order.


Florida Supreme Court Decision – December 8

Following a series of bitter legal challenges, hand recounts initiated in four Democratic counties selected by Gore, failure to meet recount mandated deadlines, stops and starts in the various county recounts, and the waxing and waning of Bush’s lead as recount results came in, Florida Republican Secretary of State Katherine Harris certified Bush as the winner of the Florida election on November 26. On December 4, the Leon County Circuit Court ruled against Gore’s contest of the election results, thus upholding Secretary Harris’s certification of Bush as the winner. Gore immediately appealed that ruling to the Florida Supreme Court.

On December 8, the Florida Supreme Court ruled in favor of Gore by a 4-3 margin, totally repudiating the Leon County Circuit Court’s ruling. They ordered not just a review of the ballots that the Gore team requested, but a recount of all of the undervotes in Florida that had not been previously recounted by hand. The majority ruled:

The {Florida} legislature has recognized the will of the people of Florida as the guiding principle for the selection of all elected officials… We vigorously disagree that we should … abandon our responsibility to resolve this election dispute under the rule of law… We are confident that with the cooperation of the officials in all the counties, the remaining undervotes in these counties can be accomplished within the required time frame… [A ballot] shall be counted as a legal vote if there is clear indication of the intent of the vote.”

The Court also ruled that the results of the Palm Beach County hand recount and the partial Miami-Dade recount, both which had been rejected by Secretary Harris for being late, be added to the official record – thus dwindling the Bush lead to a little over 100 votes. As the statewide recount began, it appeared that Gore would win.


None Dare Call it Treason – The awarding of the Presidency to George W. Bush by the U.S. Supreme Court

On December 12, four days after the Florida Supreme Court had ordered the hand recounting of the 2000 Presidential election by all of Florida, the U.S. Supreme Court, in their Bush v. Gore decision, by a vote of 5-4 ordered the vote counting to cease, thereby awarding the U.S. Presidency to George W. Bush. Many constitutional scholars consider Bush v. Gore to be one of the three worst U.S. Supreme Court decisions in U.S. history.

In his article, “None Dare Call it Treason”, Vincent Bugliosi (best known for his successful prosecution of Charles Manson before he wrote his expose on the Bush v. Gore decision) goes a little further, as the title of his article implies. His bottom line point is that the Court, in rendering their decision, acted as a surrogate of the Republican Party, rather than as arbiters of the law, as they are required to do. I believe his reasoning is quite sound.

His first point is that only grounds on which the Supreme Court was justified in even hearing the case would be to prevent the petitioner (Bush) from being harmed. Yet the only harm that could accrue to Bush from a full counting of the votes would be that he would lose an election – if Gore received more votes than him.

The first argument that the Supreme Court used to justify their decision to stop the vote counting was based on the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment. They argued that since different interpretive standards were used in different counties to count the undervotes, equal protection was not provided to voters from different counties. So their solution was to not allow any of the hand counted undervotes to count. That decision was absolutely bizarre on several levels. First, every state, and most counties within every state use different methods of voting, which impinge on election results. By the reasoning of the Court, the whole Presidential election would have had to have been invalidated on that basis. Furthermore, how are the voters protected by having their votes not count at all? Yet the Court argued that their decision was meant to preserve the “fundamental right” to vote. And their decision was tragically ironic because the 14th Amendment was initially passed to protect minorities, and yet it was largely minority voters who were disenfranchised by their decision. Bugliosi notes that the real violation of the Equal Protection Clause was the Supreme Court’s decision to stop the vote counting. Thus Bugliosi concludes (correctly in my opinion) that:

With the election hanging in the balance, the highest court in the land ordered that the valid votes of thousands of Americans not be counted. That decision gave the election to Bush. These five justices deliberately and knowingly decided to nullify the votes of 50 million Americans who voted for Al Gore and to steal the election for Bush…. The stark reality, and I say this with every fiber of my being, is that the institution Americans trust most to protect its freedoms and principles committed one of the biggest and most serious crimes this nation has ever seen – pure and simple, the theft of the presidency.

Bugliosi marshaled several other lines of evidence, which I won’t go into, to prove that there was no legal foundation on which the decision was rendered. He provides his final argument by first noting that decisions by high courts are supposed to stand for legal principles, yet the Court’s majority gives plenty of evidence that they knew that their decision did not stand for any legal principle. Based on their decision, all future national elections could easily be invalidated on the same grounds that the Court invalidated this one, since every state and most counties within states use different equipment and voting machines in their elections. So, to get around that problem, the Court majority wrote that their ruling was “Limited to the present circumstances, for the problem of equal protection in election processes generally presents many complexities”. Bugliosi comments on this:

In other words, the Court, in effect, was saying its ruling “only applied to those future cases captioned Bush v. Gore.” Of the thousands of potential equal protection voting cases, the Court was only interested in, and eager to grant relief to, one person and one person only, George W. Bush. This point… all alone and by itself, clearly and unequivocally shows that the Court knew its decision was not based on the merits or the law, and was solely a decision to appoint George Bush president.

Another way of putting this is that the majority justices said that their decision should definitely not be used as a precedent for any future cases – an unprecedented statement in the annals of U.S. Supreme Court history. Bugliosi concludes with the consequences of the decision:

The Republican Party… nominated perhaps the most unqualified person ever to become president, and with the muscular, thuggish help of the Court, forced Bush down the throats of more than half the nation’s voters… That an election for an American president can be stolen by the highest court in the land under the deliberate pretext of an inapplicable constitutional provision has got to be one of the most frightening and dangerous events ever to have occurred in this country.

John Paul Stevens, one of the four dissenting judges in the case, was slightly more cautious than Bugliosi in his criticism of the decision. Stevens was a life long Republican, appointed by Richard Nixon to the U.S. Court of Appeals in 1970 and nominated to the U.S. Supreme Court by Gerald Ford in 1975. Sevens’ 7-page dissent may be unprecedented as a scathing indictment of his fellow justices in the annals of U.S. Supreme Court history. At the end of his opinion, Stevens writes, after noting that the majority decision represented an assault on Florida election law caused by an utter lack of confidence in the Florida judges who ordered the recount:

Otherwise, their position is wholly without merit. The endorsement of that position by the majority of this Court can only lend credence to the most cynical appraisal of the work of judges throughout the land. It is confidence in the men and women who administer the judicial system that is the true background of the rule of law. Time will one day heal the wound to that confidence that will be inflicted today. One thing, however, is certain. Although we may never know with certainty the identity of the winner of this year’s Presidential election, the identity of the loser is perfectly clear. It is the Nation’s confidence in the judge as an impartial guardian of the rule of law.


My next post will complete my coverage of the 2000 Presidential election in Florida. In that post I’ll discuss: 1) the Florida voter purge prior to the election; 2) how the Miami Herald spun the results of its own recount to make it appear that Bush won the election anyhow, and: 3) a summary of the many ways in which Al Gore was cheated out of the presidency in Florida.

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Reply The Stealing of the 2000 Presidential Election: Ch 1, Part 2 – The 36-Day Battle to Recount the Vote (Original post)
Time for change Jun 2012 OP
Festivito Jun 2012 #1
Time for change Jun 2012 #6
robinlynne Jun 2012 #2
Time for change Jun 2012 #7
robinlynne Jun 2012 #27
kentuck Jun 2012 #3
rhett o rick Jun 2012 #4
robinlynne Jun 2012 #28
Time for change Jun 2012 #9
kentuck Jun 2012 #12
mattclearing Jun 2012 #5
Time for change Jun 2012 #11
mattclearing Jun 2012 #14
magnifisense Jun 2012 #8
Time for change Jun 2012 #17
magnifisense Jun 2012 #43
cbrer Jun 2012 #10
pa28 Jun 2012 #13
Time for change Jun 2012 #36
pa28 Jun 2012 #39
Gregorian Jun 2012 #15
nashville_brook Jun 2012 #16
Tennessee Gal Jun 2012 #18
Time for change Jun 2012 #22
Tennessee Gal Jun 2012 #23
Tennessee Gal Jun 2012 #24
Time for change Jun 2012 #25
Tennessee Gal Jun 2012 #19
annabanana Jun 2012 #20
Uncle Joe Jun 2012 #21
kentuck Jun 2012 #26
Time for change Jun 2012 #29
inna Jun 2012 #30
csziggy Jun 2012 #31
Time for change Jun 2012 #32
csziggy Jun 2012 #33
Time for change Jun 2012 #37
csziggy Jun 2012 #38
Zorra Jun 2012 #34
KBlagburn Jun 2012 #35
MadHound Jun 2012 #40
Time for change Jun 2012 #41
Overseas Jun 2012 #42
Time for change Jun 2012 #44
joycejnr Jul 2012 #45
Time for change Jul 2012 #46

Response to Time for change (Original post)

Sun Jun 24, 2012, 12:32 AM

1. I am enjoying your reports. Some notes for you.

Hand recount not completed, not: never completed. The University of Chicago completed it.

Mary Matalin, no e.

TV saturation with Republicans from all over creation. I saw Michigan's R governor Engler. What was he doing in Florida aside from being a shrill shill. Engler, BTW, was our first governor to not balance the budget leaving not only a deficit to D Jennifer Granholm, but also leaving tax cuts in place that would go into effect after he left town. Despite being governor during the Clinton years of expansion, having high tax rates, and cutting services he leaves a deficit.

Where is the story about the FL judge that would not rule on merit for a week because he was busy in trial? That further delayed the recount with a looming deadline which played into the following:

As I recall, SCOTUS determined in favor of Gore – except that after waiting around for days and days they announced their decision on TV between 10 and 11 PM allowing only one hour to recount the six million votes before that midnight deadline they had refused to extend.

I'm enjoying your writing.

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Response to Festivito (Reply #1)

Sun Jun 24, 2012, 08:10 AM

6. Thank you.

Yes, I realize that the hand recount was never completed. I say in the OP:

"On December 12, four days after the Florida Supreme Court had ordered the hand recounting of the 2000 Presidential election by all of Florida, the U.S. Supreme Court, in their Bush v. Gore decision, by a vote of 5-4 ordered the vote counting to cease, thereby awarding the U.S. Presidency to George W. Bush."

I hope I made it clear that the vote was never recounted prior to the awarding of the presidency to Bush. I'll re-read to see if it needs more emphasis.

A recount was completed several months after Bush was installed in office, under the auspices of the Miami Herald, which I'll discuss in my next post in this series. But that had no effect on the election, of course. I was not aware of a count by the University of Chicago. I'll have to look that up. What did they find?

You are certainly right about saturation of the state with Republicans. This was an election that was of monumental importance to the Republican Party -- and to us as well. And they were pretty much in lock-step with each other regarding their message. It was sickening. I do recall a single Republican who, on TV, would not go along with their spin -- Chuck Hagel, then U.S. Senator from Nebraska.

I remember the Florida judge who took so long to rule. There were so many delays in this process, all aimed at one purpose -- to stop the counting before whatever deadline they could get to be declared. It is also true, as you say, that the deadline for completing the process was the other reason that SCOTUS gave for stopping the counting (and their own deliberations further delayed the count, as they refused to give Florida a chance to count the vote even as they deliberated for four days.) But in the end they ruled that the counting must stop permanently anyhow, regardless of what the deadline was or even in the absence of a deadline, giving the bogus Equal Protection Clause as their sorry excuse. Maybe I should discuss the delays in greater detail -- but there were so many of them (Why else would it be 36 days between the end of the election and the SCOTUS ruling?), and in the end they were immaterial because SCOTUS was determined to stop the counting regardless.

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Response to Time for change (Original post)

Sun Jun 24, 2012, 12:57 AM

2. jsut started to read, but I remember going to sleep with Gore as pres, then waking up the next

day with Bush as president. Didn't they call it for Gore first? Then Bush's cousin called it for Bush and they all changed to Bush?

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Response to robinlynne (Reply #2)

Sun Jun 24, 2012, 09:31 AM

7. Yes, they did call it for Gore first, and then they called it for Bush, and then they called it

"too close to call".

I discuss the two wrong calls and the reasons why the networks got it wrong in this post:
http://www.democraticunderground.com/1002845053

Very interesting, IMO.

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Response to Time for change (Reply #7)

Sun Jun 24, 2012, 08:58 PM

27. When Obama won, I was afraid to go to sleep. They switch presidents while you sleep.

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Response to Time for change (Original post)

Sun Jun 24, 2012, 01:01 AM

3. The Republicans made a great discovery during the 2000 election ...

They discovered they could steal an election and get away with it. They are attempting to do a repeat this year with Florida again. So far, there is no evidence they will not get away with it.

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Response to kentuck (Reply #3)

Sun Jun 24, 2012, 01:05 AM

4. It appears the Democratic Party isnt the lest bit concerned with

 

electronic vote theft. If they wont take it seriously, we are sunk.

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Response to rhett o rick (Reply #4)

Sun Jun 24, 2012, 08:59 PM

28. the Party actively defends Registrars who dabble with Diebold, and I do mean literally.

They do dog and pony shows when the public gets upset. But they keep the crooks in place.

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Response to kentuck (Reply #3)

Sun Jun 24, 2012, 12:06 PM

9. Indeed they are trying to do it again

When they've done it before, there have been no prosecutions.

We should have begun with the prosecutions a long time ago.

Now the Obama administration is trying hard to stop the purges and other disenfranchisement for re-occuring, because they know damn well that it is going to hurt Obama's chances of re-election. I hope it isn't too late.

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Response to Time for change (Reply #9)

Sun Jun 24, 2012, 02:52 PM

12. And the Repubs know they cannot win without Florida...

...and it was so easy to steal the last time, why not get the low-hanging fruit first?

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Response to Time for change (Original post)

Sun Jun 24, 2012, 04:52 AM

5. About that Brooks Brothers Riot

This is from Jews For Buchanan, by John Nichols (a personal favorite book about the recount):



Apologies for the shaky phone pic.

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Response to mattclearing (Reply #5)

Sun Jun 24, 2012, 02:14 PM

11. Maybe the picture should be included in the book

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Response to Time for change (Reply #11)

Sun Jun 24, 2012, 04:17 PM

14. Yeah, the Wapo archive seems to have lost its artwork.

Now if you see these people on the street, you can kick them in the shin.

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Response to Time for change (Original post)

Sun Jun 24, 2012, 11:08 AM

8. Now that was a long national nightmare!

I don't think I can handle another, but 2012 is looking to be a very messy affair with all the Super PAC money being spent to destroy the president, and the voter suppression laws passed in the swing states.

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Response to magnifisense (Reply #8)

Sun Jun 24, 2012, 07:00 PM

17. Yes, the influence of money in politics and the restrictive voting laws are a terrible thing

for our democracy. Our country needs to wake up to these things.

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Response to Time for change (Reply #17)

Tue Jun 26, 2012, 02:33 PM

43. How do we wake people up?

How do we make people aware?

Now how is this for irony? If we had enough Super PAC money perhaps we could get our message out how damaging Super PAC money is to our democracy.

Ends justifying the means?

Well, should Romney win and the GOP start dismantling Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and stripping us of our civil liberties, maybe that would wake up, shake up Americans. Though by then it would be too late.

Again, the irony. You don't know what you got until you lose it.

Americans may wake up only after they've lost everything. And that will include the only tools they had to fight back, having had their civil liberties, their freedoms, restricted or abolished.

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Response to Time for change (Original post)

Sun Jun 24, 2012, 01:08 PM

10. Scathing Indictment

 

Between you and Bugliosi, there is little doubt about the facts behind the theft.

I'm not sure which atrocity bothers me more.

GW Bush's body count? Or crushing of International law?

SCOTUS composition and rulings, which continue to this sad day.

The American public's willingness to accept this outrageous abortion of justice.

Thanks for the article, as well as the research and publishing. Even if it made me reach for my blood pressure medicine.

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Response to Time for change (Original post)

Sun Jun 24, 2012, 03:35 PM

13. Can't wait for the whole book.

Sounds like you'll be expanding on some of the themes RFK Jr. took on with his excellent piece on Republican election fraud.

I want to know why:

1 Exit polling in our own country was highly accurate until around the year 2000.

2 In German elections exit polls have never deviated more than one third of one percent from the actual results but we accept five point shifts.

3 Exit polls have been used by our government to successfully detect fraud in foreign elections but we change our own exit polls to match the "results".

We need to have independent observers looking at the results of US elections to detect election fraud. Fraudulent elections were exposed by exit polling in the Ukraine and when you a have a permanent five point "red shift" favoring Republicans it's time.

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Response to pa28 (Reply #13)

Mon Jun 25, 2012, 10:39 AM

36. Thanks -- I will be covering the 2004 exit poll discrepancies from the official vote count

in Chapter 2, which I'll be posting soon.

In the meantime, I'll try to address your questions:

1. I would not say exactly that national exit polls for presidential elections in our country have been highly accurate in the past. They almost always show the Democratic candidate doing better than the official vote count. The reason for that is pretty simple (and I'll be discussing that later in the book as well): Poor and minority precincts tend to be allocated inferior machines, with which to count their votes, especially old versions of the Votomatic punch card machines. As these machines age, they tend to lose their ability to punch clean holes in the ballots, thus resulting in a lot of undervotes. People who are the victims of not having their votes counted by these machines believe that they voted for their candidate and respond as such to exit polls. Since Poor and minority precincts tend to vote Democratic, this results in exit poll discrepancies, with the exit polls over-representing the Democratic candidate compared to the official vote count. I don't believe that Mitofsky ever mentioned this. If not, that's really too bad. He must have known about it.

However, the exit poll discrepancy for President in 2004 was greater than in any other presidential year since records have been kept on this subject in our country. I tried to find a link to show you to make this point, but after looking for 1-2 hours I couldn't find a good one. But I vividly recall seeing this data four years ago. This makes me suspect that references to the issue have been scrubbed.

2. I'm not sure that it's true that German exit polls have NEVER deviated more than a third of one percent from the official vote count. I looked at some data on the subject presented by Steven Freeman on several German elections over a span of several years, and the average for each year never failed to be within one percent of the official count. That does seem to be a remarkably good record, especially compared to our presidential election results. The only explanation I can figure relates to my discussion of the reasons for inaccuracies in our official vote counts, above.

3. Why we don't use exit polls in this country to monitor (and investigate) fraud is the million dollar question. I can only offer my opinion on this: As noted above, exit polls generally show better results for Democratic candidates than the official vote counts. The powers that be in our country have long preferred the Republican Party, and they don't want analysis of exit polls to interfere with their ability to elect their own preferred candidates. Why else would the "news" organizations who funded the exit polling of Edison/Mitofsky repeatedly refuse to release their raw data to the U.S. public? What does that say about them as "news" organizations?

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Response to Time for change (Reply #36)

Mon Jun 25, 2012, 01:23 PM

39. Thanks for the detailed answer. I wanted to kick and add a couple of links.

I'm sure most everyone here has seen the RFK Jr. article I referred to but I forgot to link in my last post.

http://www.commondreams.org/views06/0601-34.htm

I have some exit polling data bookmarked with Richard Charnin's compilation of exit poll data. (2004 exit polling showed Kerry trouncing Bush) You probably have that too but it was all I could find.

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/pub?key=0AjAk1JUWDMyRdFIzSTJtMTJZekNBWUdtbWp3bHlpWGc&output=html

Glad somebody is covering this issue. Once again, looking forward to the book.

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Response to Time for change (Original post)

Sun Jun 24, 2012, 04:21 PM

15. Vanity Fair's article has a description of what went on before the SCOTUS made their decision.

There was an article on Bush v Gore, where they discussed how the liberal half of the SCOTUS regretted not being more forceful in their opposition. Something along those lines.

I felt that it was a very important piece of this entire topic. Liberal voices have been civil in situations that in retrospect were too important to lose. What would have happened had the court liberals begun to shriek about the injustice that was unfolding? And then I extrapolate that to the things that have happened. It seems that liberal voices are now armed and ready, which may be why this Fast and Furious scandal that Issa created has failed him.

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Response to Time for change (Original post)

Sun Jun 24, 2012, 04:30 PM

16. big k and r

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Response to Time for change (Original post)

Sun Jun 24, 2012, 07:34 PM

18. Sent you a DU mail. Even the first recount was never completed.

From the Los Angeles Times: http://articles.latimes.com/2000/nov/15/news/mn-52135

Florida law dictates that each canvassing board "examine the counters on the machines or the tabulation of the ballots cast" and "determine whether the returns correctly reflect the votes cast." It is silent as to whether individual ballots need to be examined.

State election officials and the Florida secretary of state did not return calls Tuesday seeking comment.

Baker's Remarks Put in Question

The differing methods sanctioned by Florida officials appeared to undercut arguments by James A. Baker III, a lawyer for Texas Gov. George W. Bush's campaign, that last week's computer recount was more efficient and standardized than the manual recounts sought by lawyers for Democrat Vice President Al Gore.

Consider what happened in Calhoun and Citrus counties, both small counties that use ballots similar to lottery ticket forms. Voters color in circles and the ballots are then run through a tabulator, which spits out any ballot that has no vote or more than one vote.

When Calhoun, which is about 50 miles from Tallahassee, conducted its recount, the canvassing board merely reran the computer tapes for each tabulator. "We ran our tapes on our precinct counters. That was about all we could do," said county elections supervisor Martin Sewall. The recount found no mistakes.

But in Citrus County on Florida's west coast, elections operation manager Maureen Baird found a way to reprogram the computers and scan every ballot again. The result after 14 1/2 hours: two more votes for Gore. "That is how a true recount should be done, by counting every single ballot," Baird said. "Trust me. What I'm saying is true."

Most of the 16 counties that failed to actually recount ballots are in sparsely populated parts of North Florida, but they also include the metropolitan areas of Orlando and Jacksonville. Eleven of the 16 counties went for Bush.

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Response to Tennessee Gal (Reply #18)

Sun Jun 24, 2012, 08:08 PM

22. It sounds like you're talking about the automatic machine recount, right?

I wasn't aware that even the machine recount was not complete. In any event, the hand recount ordered by the Florida Supreme Court should have addressed this issue, if the counting hadn't been stopped by the USSC.

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Response to Time for change (Reply #22)

Sun Jun 24, 2012, 08:19 PM

23. Yes, the machine recount. 16 counties did not complete that.

That recount was mandated by Florida law and they did not do it. Therefore, there was never a completed recount of any kind.

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Response to Time for change (Reply #22)

Sun Jun 24, 2012, 08:22 PM

24. In your piece posted you say this:

"But the fact of the matter is that only one full recount was ever completed, and that was the recount that took place automatically, immediately after the initial election returns put Bush ahead with a margin of less than a tenth of a percent of the total vote, without the Gore team having to request it. The hand recount that Gore requested, on the other hand, was never completed."

That is incorrect. No full recount was completed.

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Response to Tennessee Gal (Reply #24)

Sun Jun 24, 2012, 08:30 PM

25. Yes, I will change that. Thank you for pointing it out.

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Response to Time for change (Original post)

Sun Jun 24, 2012, 07:51 PM

19. 'Recount' Means to Count Again, Florida Official Ruled in '99

From the Los Angeles Times: http://articles.latimes.com/2000/nov/21/news/mn-55143

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — When the state's top election officials accepted vote totals last week from 16 counties that did not actually count their presidential ballots again, they were violating a 1999 state ruling that said every ballot "must be reprocessed" during a state-mandated recount.

The official opinion--issued from Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris' office--said that counties could not simply rerun their computer tabulations and consider their work done.

"Such a step would only serve to prove that the counts in the voting system have not been altered since the next previous result tape was printed," wrote Ethel Baxter, who was director of the division of elections in 1999. "It is our opinion that 'recount' means to count again."

But the Los Angeles Times found that 16 of Florida's 67 counties simply reran their computer tapes or inspected the electronic memories of their tabulating equipment when they gave their recount totals to Harris' office.

Some of those counties did not physically examine a single ballot cast in the presidential election. Others reprocessed only their absentee ballots or a sample from certain precincts.

Yet no one challenged their recount totals. Republican George W. Bush carried 11 of the counties; Democrat Al Gore carried five. Many of the counties are in the predominantly Republican areas of the state, in North Florida and the Panhandle. But Monroe County, which includes the Florida Keys, also is included.

Harris and other election officials did not return phone calls seeking comment about the discrepancy between last year's ruling and their decision to accept the tabulations this year.

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Response to Time for change (Original post)

Sun Jun 24, 2012, 08:04 PM

20. Here is a picture from the Day America Died:

Never Forget
12-12-00

After The Court STOPPED the count:

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Response to Time for change (Original post)

Sun Jun 24, 2012, 08:06 PM

21. I'm looking forward to reading your book.

Thanks again for your good works, Time for change.

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Response to Time for change (Original post)

Sun Jun 24, 2012, 08:38 PM

26. There was one day that stands out in my memory when...

They were finding a dozen votes here and dozen votes there and the Democrats were gaining votes with each recount.

Then, without any public recount or anything resembling a recount, the Repubs found something like 300-400 votes and offered no explanation??? They simply added them to their totals. And they got away with it. I can't recall what county it was?

Then there was the one incident where they were disputing the military votes that came in late. Some had a date on them that was after the election took place. Very late indeed! But the Democratic nominee for VP, Joe Lieberman, took the side of the Republicans and insisted that those votes should be counted since they were military votes. It was a mess but the Republicans were going to "win" Florida, no matter what they had to do to steal it.

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Response to kentuck (Reply #26)

Sun Jun 24, 2012, 09:19 PM

29. I'm pretty sure you're referring to the 680 technically illegal overseas ballots

Bush wanted them counted because he believed that most of them would be for him. It's difficult to say how many of those should have been counted. One could make a case that none of them should have been counted, since they were technically illegal. In any event, the allowing of these overseas ballots were made in a manner that was very favorable to Bush, as those from Bush counties seemed to get favorable treatment. We can't say for sure how many net votes Bush picked up in this way, since we don't know the identity of the votes:

http://www.nytimes.com/2001/07/15/us/examining-the-vote-how-bush-took-florida-mining-the-overseas-absentee-vote.html?pagewanted=all

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Response to Time for change (Original post)

Sun Jun 24, 2012, 10:18 PM

30. K&R

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Response to Time for change (Original post)

Sun Jun 24, 2012, 10:30 PM

31. Have you interviewed Dexter Douglass and Ion Sancho?

Dexter Douglass was the local attorney who gave standing to the out of state attorneys for the Gore team. I have never read any interview with him and I would think it would be interesting to get his side of the story. He lives just down the road from me here in Leon County though I don't know him personally. He is very elderly now and I hope someone interviews him before he is no longer available.

Ion Sancho has long been an advocate of better voting machines. He is and was the Supervisor of Elections for Leon County and did complete both the original recount and the hand recount for the county. He also consulted with several other counties on how to conduct recounts for optical scanned ballots - such as in neighboring Gadsden County which had a notoriously high error rate in the original count. Mr. Sancho posted a PDF of the images of every 'rejected' ballot on his county office website. I have a copy of that PDF on a CDR somewhere around here.

Mr. Sancho is still fighting for fair and verifiable elections and gives a great interview. He's been on Rev. Al Sharpton's and Ed Schultz' shows recently about the current voter purge. He could give a great perspective on the recount from the point of view of an elected official who tried to do the right thing despite the efforts of the state government.

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Response to csziggy (Reply #31)

Sun Jun 24, 2012, 10:34 PM

32. Thank you

Good ideas. I will consider that.

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Response to Time for change (Reply #32)

Sun Jun 24, 2012, 10:39 PM

33. If I can help you contact them, PM me

I'll see if I can find Dexter's info. Ion Sancho is easy to find.

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Response to csziggy (Reply #33)

Mon Jun 25, 2012, 10:47 AM

37. Thank you

I will probably be contacting you soon about this. I need to consider how I will use their information. Maybe the best plan would be to send them the relevant portions of the book and ask if they would be kind enough to comment on them?

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Response to Time for change (Reply #37)

Mon Jun 25, 2012, 11:22 AM

38. That might work with Ion Sancho

Mr. Sancho seems to be very responsive to people and I think you'd have a good chance of assistance from him. Dexter Douglass might need more ego stroking.

I'll try to get a chance to ask my BIL - he's also an attorney and may have insight into Douglass' character.

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Response to Time for change (Original post)

Mon Jun 25, 2012, 12:35 AM

34. Nice work! nt

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Response to Time for change (Original post)

Mon Jun 25, 2012, 05:20 AM

35. K & R

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Response to Time for change (Original post)

Mon Jun 25, 2012, 01:28 PM

40. One important issue that you need to address

 

That is the Votescam scandal, the purposeful disenfranchising of tens of thousands of (mostly) Democratic voters. Greg Palast brought this to the attention of the Gore campaign early on in the recount process. He laid out for them how Katherine Harris had done a wholesale disenfranchisement of Florida voters. He was, essentially, hand Gore the means with which to banish the Bush family to the political wilderness forever.

Yet Gore didn't use that information, didn't make one single comment regarding this. Why? I'm sorry, but if I see a politician breaking the Constitution, as VP I am duty bound to correct the situation. Furthermore, if I see a way to destroy a political family as destructive as the Bushes, I would do so in a heartbeat. Yet Gore didn't, and for that mistake, we have all paid.

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Response to MadHound (Reply #40)

Mon Jun 25, 2012, 01:57 PM

41. I will address that issue in my next OP

I was not aware that Palast had brought this to Gore's attention.

However, Gore had to devote all his time in November and early December to winning the election, which meant getting the votes counted. Dealing with this issue would not have helped him win the election.

Perhaps he could have dealt with it after he lost the election. But he had only about one month left as VP. I doubt that that would have been enough time to do anything about it, knowing that whatever investigation got underway would be quashed when Bush took office.

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Response to Time for change (Original post)

Tue Jun 26, 2012, 09:27 AM

42. K&R. The federal supreme court overruled the state supreme court.

And they did it again in Montana, overturning their rule against corporate spending in election campaigns.

The Republicans talk states' rights when it suits them but trample that principle quite often.

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Response to Overseas (Reply #42)

Tue Jun 26, 2012, 04:31 PM

44. You got it

The Republicans on our USSC have no principles whatsoever. They don't give a damn about states rights, human rights, or any rights besides their own.

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Response to joycejnr (Reply #45)

Sun Jul 1, 2012, 12:32 PM

46. Several nifty charts -- and links

Thanks.

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