Election notes as posted on TheGreenPapers.com home page
Sunday, November 12, 2000
States with close races (all figures below are unofficial):
The logistical meeting of election officials re: the manual recount in Palm Beach County is scheduled for 10 A.M. EST (1500 UTC), Monday 13 November [note that the hearing in Federal court in Miami re: an injunction against the manual recount begins at 9:30 AM EST (1430 UTC) that same day]
Charles Burton, chairman of the Palm Beach County's canvassing board, announced earlier in the morning of 12 November that- in a second full MACHINE recount of all the ballots in the county- Gore had gained 36 more votes and Bush had lost 3 (a +39 gain for Gore in the county as a whole without a hand count in all but the four hand-counted precincts); meanwhile, the hand count in those four precincts produced a Gore gain of 33 and a Bush gain of 14- which produced that +19 gain for Gore in those four precincts only. It was BOTH of these events that produced the county canvassing board's decision to hand count the entire county.
The board is to meet Monday 13 November to plan logistics for a county-wide manual count per Florida Statutes 102.166(4) and this COUNTYWIDE hand count could be- like those planned for Broward and Dade- adversely affected by an injunction requested in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida by the Bush camp.
U.S. District Court judge Donald M. Middlebrooks of the Southern District of Florida has announced a hearing in U.S. District Court in Miami, Florida to commence before him at 9:30 A.M. EST (1430 UTC), Monday 13 November, on the Bush campaign's request that an injunction be issued to halt the manual recount requested by the Gore campaign under the authority of Florida Statutes 102.166(4) in 3 counties which are within that U.S. Court District (namely: Broward, Dade and Palm Beach)
The manual recount in Broward County was expected to begin on Monday 13 November while the manual recount in Dade County was expected to begin on Tuesday 14 November- the manual recounts in these two counties would, thus, be more likely to be directly affected by the injunction sought by the Bush campaign.
In addition, there is a fourth county in which the Gore campaign has requested a manual recount under Florida Statutes 102.166(4)- Volusia County, much further up the Florida Atlantic coast... Volusia County is in a different U.S. Court District (the Middle District of Florida) from that in which the Bush campaign has filed their request for an injunction... Volusia will begin its hand count on Sunday 12 November and hopes to have it completed by Tuesday 14 November. Apparently, a judge ordered this hand count to go forward despite objections from the Bush camp.
All 8 lawsuits filed by Florida Dems HAVE been filed in Circuit Court in Palm Beach County. Palm Beach County has been ordered by the STATE court not to certify its preliminary recount (which is why it was left out of the official count which currently gives Bush +961).
For those of you reading this- within the United States and especially outside of the USofA- who might not understand our judicial system, let me make this very clear:
this injunction sought by the Bush campaign is being brought in a FEDERAL Court (even though the legal argument involves a Florida STATE statute- the Bush campaign is arguing that the Florida statute allowing manual recounts violates the Constitution of the UNITED STATES [and, therefore, it is a FEDERAL- not a STATE- question]): the Federal Court hearing this case next Monday is the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida in Miami, Florida. Any appeal from the judge's ruling (whatever it might be- granting the injunction or no) would be to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit, which covers the States of Alabama, Florida and Georgia. Any further appeals beyond the 11th Circuit can only go to one place- the Supreme Court of the United States in Washington, D.C. (the Nation's highest court of last resort) beyond which there IS no appeal!
meanwhile, those lawsuits being brought by those 3 voters- whose actions are, of course, being supported by the Gore campaign- who are claiming they were, in effect, denied their right to vote by being confused by the controversial ballot used in Palm Beach County this past 7 November are bringing these cases in STATE court (NOT the Federal courts cited above: each of the 50 States of the American Union has its own court system- separate and independent from that of the Federal Government): the court that would hear these cases would be the Florida Circuit Court for Palm Beach County (Florida's 15th Judicial District) sitting in West Palm Beach, Fla.- the county seat. Any appeals (by the losing party or parties) would be taken to the Florida District Court of Appeal for the 4th (Appellate) District which not only includes Palm Beach County but, by complete coincidence, that particular District Court of Appeal also sits in West Palm Beach, Fla. Any appeals from that court would go to the Florida Supreme Court (which is different from the U.S. Supreme Court) sitting in Tallahassee, the state capital.
If a ruling by the judge in the Palm Beach County Circuit Court should involve a question re: Florida's own State Constitution, a direct appeal could be taken to the Florida Supreme Court (bypassing the 4th District Court of Appeal). The Florida Supreme Court would be the end of the road for a STATE case (that is, no further appeal could be taken) UNLESS a state law is held to be constitutional under requirements of the Constitution of the UNITED STATES, in which case the legal matter COULD be taken up by- you guessed it!- the Supreme Court of the United States in Washington, D.C.
As of 7 PM EST, 9 November (0000 UTC, 10 Nov), the office of the FLORIDA Secretary of State has announced that several counties would like to recount the recount; under State law, the counties have until Tuesday 14 November to do so... then, since valid overseas absentee ballots can be received through Friday 17 November (and keep in mind that there is no way of really knowing how many overseas absentee ballots will be returned in toto), it will not be until after that latter date that the FLORIDA vote for President can be officially certified and the 25 Presidential Electors from that State officially declared "appointed" as per the Constitution of the United States.
The office of FLORIDA Secretary of State has issued official numbers re: the FLORIDA recount which differ from those issued by the Voter News Service and other media (which had a margin for Bush of 327 votes after all 67 counties had been recounted)
This official tally (with 66 of the 67 Counties counted) is:
margin for Bush: 961
The unofficial tally (which includes Palm Beach County) shows (as of Sunday 12 November) the margin for Bush at 288
1. The Bush campaign has now entered the "lawsuit game", seeking an injunction against the hand counts requested by the Gore campaign in a handful of the State's Counties. Most legal observers say this attempt will not succeed, as Florida law leaves it to County election officials to approve or disapprove a candidate's request for a hand count.
2. Preliminary hearings on the lawsuit brought by 3 Palm Beach County voters who claim they meant to vote for Gore but accidentally voted for Buchanan are scheduled for Tuesday 14 November (ironically, the very day Florida's Counties are supposed to have the results of any recounts in to the Florida Secretary of State's office)
3. It is reported that there are still nearly 10,000 absentee ballots yet to be counted in Florida; these apparently are in-state absentee ballots having nothing whatever to do re: the so-called "overseas ballots".
4. And, of course, those very "overseas ballots" can still come trickling in until Friday 17 November.
It is the considered opinion of "The Green Papers" (taking into account the trend of the recount) that, when the subsequent recount(s)- are completed and finally certified and announced, the final vote in FLORIDA will end up determining that Governor George W, Bush of Texas has, indeed, won the State of FLORIDA, will thereby gain 25 more Electoral Votes which will, in turn, give him 271 to Vice President Gore's 262 and, thus, make George W. Bush, Republican, the 43d President of the United States of America. Therefore, "The Green Papers" has once again posted FLORIDA as being in the Bush column but with the caveat that this is pending the outcome of any potential legal challenges to Governor Bush's victory in the State on behalf of the presidential candidacy of Vice President Gore.
Popular vote (national margin 222,880 for Gore)