Jewish World Review Nov. 14, 2001 / 28 Mar-Cheshvan, 5762
Debra J. Saunders
Interpreting the entrails of Election 2000
THIS JUST in: George W. Bush was elected
president. You already knew that. You knew that
Al Gore won the popular vote, but that Bush won
the Electoral College -- an institution that now
enrages many partisan Dems. (If only someone had
warned them about the Constitution before the
We know Bush won again because eight major
news organizations pooled their resources to find
out what would have happened if the Supreme
Court had not intervened and stopped an
ill-conceived statewide recount of presidential votes
in Florida last December. I say ill-conceived
because the Florida Supreme Court ordered the
recount, while inviting abuse and discord by refusing
to set counting criteria -- even after Palm Beach
County election officials had changed their definition
of a valid vote three times.
That's why the Big Bench -- all bow -- voted
7-to-2 against the Florida court ruling, and 5-to-4
on the separate issue of stopping the recount.
Still, it was only a matter of time before some
enterprising group sued to get the ballots in order to
answer one of history's great "what if" questions.
What if the recount had happened? Bush would
That's what an investigation conducted by the
National Opinion Research Center found.
To the news moguls' discredit, they also funded an
investigation to see who would have won if they
ignored the election laws. Call it a fantasy
investigation, in which researchers counted votes
that had been thrown out for good reason.
Start with "over-votes" -- the term used for when
voters check off more than one candidate. GOP
Secretary of State Bill Jones said that California
throws them out. California's former Acting
Secretary of State Tony Miller, a Democrat, said of
over-votes, "They're not counted in California. I'm
not aware that they're counted anywhere."
As Washington election lawyer Cleta Mitchell
explained, "You cannot have a system that allows
people to mark multiple candidates for the same
office, and then suggest that anything should happen
to that ballot other than it not be counted at all.
Otherwise, you have a system where you invest a
system of commissars with the ability to interpret
It's so typical of the left. Take something as
unambiguous as voting -- where you check one
box, and that's it -- and turn it into something open
to interpretation. You'd think that voters would
bristle at this -- as it makes their vote subject to
someone else's approval -- but Palm Beach County
loved the idea.
In that spirit, the news biggies feel comfortable
calling a national election's outcome based on
175,010 bad Florida votes. No need for a recount
in close states such as Iowa, Wisconsin and New
Mexico -- where Gore had narrow victories.
Instead, settle the Big Question based on the ballots
of Floridians who couldn't vote straight.
Quipped election lawyer Jan Baran, "It shows that
the press conducting a recount can be as or more
imperfect than the original recount."
By the way, I believe it's very possible that more
Florida voters meant to vote for Gore. Let's just say
that their incompetent voting is the universe's riposte
to all those jokes about Bush being stupid.
Besides, as Bill Sammon chronicles in "At Any
Cost," Republicans got the shaft as well. After the
networks erroneously handed Gore victory in
Florida, many Central Time zone Bush fans left long
waiting lines at the polls in disgust. Conservative
estimates place their number at
Comment JWR contributor Debra J. Saunders's column by clicking here.
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© 2000, Creators Syndicate