GORE WON !
(posted December 21, 2000; addendum at bottom
posted December 12, 2001)
A. His popular vote lead over Bush in the 2000 presidential election
That's five times the lead Kennedy had over Nixon in 1960.
B. The analysis commissioned by the Miami Herald indicates
that Gore would have won Florida by 23,000 votes if all the state's
contested ballots had been completely counted.
C. With Florida's 25 electoral votes Gore goes over the top to
win the electoral vote, 292-246, rather than the "official"
December 18 count of 271-267 for President-appointee Bush.
So how did they manage to hijack the election?
1. Florida Secretary of State Katharine Harris scrubbed the voter
list of thousands of supposed ex-felons, people who were entitled
to vote and who were disproportionately African-American. (African-Americans
in Florida voted 93 percent for Al Gore.)
2. Election officials in two counties allowed Republican campaign
workers to come to election offices and illegally insert missing
ID numbers on thousands of absentee ballots that would otherwise
have been disqualified. This "privilege" was not extended
for absentee ballots from Democrats.
3. On Election Day thousands of people in minority districts were
prevented from voting. Some were told their names weren't on the
list, polling places were moved without notice or had an insufficient
number of ballots. Some Florida Highway Patrol officers set up a
road block on the main road to a black precinct outside Tallahassee.
In Palm Beach County Jewish senior citizens complained that the
confusing misalignment of names on the "butterfly ballot"
caused them to vote for Pat Buchanan rather than Al Gore.
4. On Election Night the exit polls conducted by the Voter News
Service indicated that Gore had carried Florida by 100,000 votes.
So an early call for Gore was made 50 minutes after the polls had
closed in most of the state, but 10 minutes before they closed in
the Panhandle. The Bush family immediately decamped from the campaign
hotel to the governor's mansion where they made the unprecedented
step of calling a press conference to tell the networks that George
W. "knew" that a mistake had been made and that he had
carried Florida, not Gore. He and brother Jeb were in telephone
communication all that evening with first cousin John Ellis, the
news director for the Fox News channel. As the evening progressed,
it became clear that whoever won Florida's 25 electoral votes would
win the election. There were unexplained shifts in the vote data
coming from Florida and at one time there was a large surge for
Bush. At 2:16 AM John Ellis unilaterally, with no input from VNS,
called Florida for Cousin George at a time when the vote count for
Bush was dropping precipitously. The other networks followed suit,
Gore called Bush to congratulate him, and was on his way to make
a concession speech when he was informed that Bush's supposed lead
was rapidly dwindling.
5. By daybreak Bush's lead was 1725 votes out of 6 million. This
triggered an automatic machine recount which garnered enough votes
for Gore to narrow Bush's lead to 327. 45,000 ballots
had been rejected for undervoting. Most of these were in urban areas
and poor districts where the old Vote-O-Matics with their higher
rejection rate were still in use. The richer, Republican counties
were using optical scanners.
6. In the "protest phase" (before certification) the
Democrats asked for hand recounts in four counties. The Republicans
not only did not ask for recounts in counties where they might have
gained some votes, but also pulled every conceivable maneuver to
prevent the undervotes from being counted anywhere. It was clear
to all from the preliminary hand counts that if all the votes had
been counted, Gore would have won handily.
7. During the campaign Bush had emphasized that he had faith in
the people, not the government. However, when he was about to lose
the people's vote, he went to the courts to seek an injunction against
8. When the Florida Supreme Court ruled in favor of hand recounts
but gave a November 26 deadline, Bush spokesman James Baker suggested
that the Republican-controlled legislature would convene a special
session to select electors for Bush regardless of the outcome of
9. Republican Congressional Whip Tom DeLay quickly assembled a
contingent of congressional staffers who used mob tactics to intimidate
and shut down the vote count in Miami-Dade. These election officials
were further intimidated by the word that a larger mob of Cuban-Americans
incited by Radio Mambi was on the way. The Miami recount alone would
have yielded enough to put Gore ahead.
10. On November 26 Harris held an elaborate televised ceremony
to certify the final results, putting Bush in the lead by 537 votes.
(She refused to accept the Palm Beach recount as that board submitted
its results two hours late, thanks to the harassment and delay tactics
of the Republican monitors.) The Democratic team announced that
they would contest the results in the courts. Bush announces that
he is the president-elect and demands that Clinton give him the
presidential transition team perks.
11. Circuit Court Judge N. Sanders Sauls rejected Gore's contest
of the certified election results despite testimony from Bush's
own expert witness who conceded that manual recounts were required
in close elections where Vote-O-Matic machines had been used. Sauls
said that manual recounts in selected counties were not warranted
and that local canvassing boards had "discretion" to reject
lawfully cast votes!
12. A few hours later the Florida Supreme Court overruled Sauls'
decision and ordered an immediate manual recount of 43,000 undervotes
13. The next day, December 9, the US Supreme Court in a 5-4 decision
ordered a temporary halt to the Florida recount and set a hearing
date for the Monday, the 11th.
14. Black Tuesday, December 12: The same Gang of Five (Rehnquist,
Scalia, Thomas, Kennedy and O'Connor) permanently halted the recount
and essentially handed the presidency to George W. Bush. In Scalia's
specious reasoning: "There is no right of suffrage" in
a presidential election. To continue to count the votes would "threaten
irreparable damage to petitioner [George W. Bush], and to the country,
by casting a cloud upon what he claims to be the legitimacy of his
election.... The individual has no federal constitutional right
to vote for electors for the President of the United States unless
and until the state legislature chooses a statewide election as
the means to implement its power to appoint members of the Electoral
College." Additionally they ruled that the state legislature
could, at any time, revoke the popular vote for president and "if
it so chooses, select the electors itself." (This same day
the Florida legislature selected electors who would vote
Associate Justice John Paul Stevens stated in the dissenting opinion:
"The majority effectively orders the disenfranchisement of
an unknown number of voters whose ballots reveal their intent--
and are therefore legal votes under state law-- but were for some
reason rejected by ballot-counting machines.... Although we may
never know with complete 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."
(Several members of the Gang of Five had conflicts of interest
with a Bush victory, but failed to recuse themselves.)
This decision may well go down in history as second only to the
unconscionable Dred Scott decision of 1857 which ruined the reputation
of the Supreme Court for several decades.
If you find the decision hard to understand (!),
check out this interview with attorney Mark Levine:
Addendum from December 12, 2001:
A consortium of newspapers, including
the New York Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Wall Street
Journal, and Palm Beach Post, early this year commissioned
the National Opinion Research Center (NORC) to undertake a study
of the Florida ballots. The results were due to be released on September
24th. Those who followed the bulletins on the NORC web pages
during the summer realized that Gore was going to emerge as the
winner. The first indication that the results would not be
published came when the NORC eliminated its Florida ballot survey
pages. Many of the media involved wiith NORC chose not to comment
on the non-release. Those who did attributed the joint decision
to a "matter of resources," meaning a need to concentrate
on reporting the aftermath of the 9-11 disaster.
Richard Berke in the September 23
New York Times was a bit more disingenuous: "Until September
11th, the capital was riding a historically partisan period, with
leading Democrats still portraying their president as 'appointed'
by the Supreme Court. In a move that might jave stoked the partisan
tensions, but now seems utterly irrelevant, a consortium of news
organizations, including The New York Times, had been scheduled
this week to release the results of its ambitious undertaking to
recount the Florida presidential ballots..."
On November 12 those newspapers printed
"stories" about the NORC results that completely distorted
the findings. "Florida Recounts Would Have Favored Bush,"
headlined the Washington Post. "Justices Did Not Cast the Deciding
Vote." said the New York Times. For a long article on how they
manipulated the figures to arrive at these outrageous statements,
I'll refer you to Robert
Parry's article, "Dissing Democracy" in his consortiumnews.com.
The bottom line is: Gore
would have won if all the legally cast votes had been counted.
includes the overvotes--- those ballots on which the voter voted
for a candidate and additionally wrote in the candidate's name on
that confusingly designed Florida ballot. Judge Terry Lewis, who
had been named by the Florida Supreme Court to oversee the statewide
recount, wrote a memo instructing the boards to include these overvotesshortly
before the Supreme Court intervened to rescue Bush.