Election notes posted on TheGreenPapers.com home page
Monday, November 13, 2000
States with close races (all figures below are unofficial):
Monday 13 November 2000 9:30 A.M EST (1430 UTC) - The Florida Secretary of State (Republican Katherine Harris) has announced that she will certify the election results precisely at 5 o'clock P.M. Tuesday 14 November and that any counties which have NOT certified their results by then will not be counted, NO exceptions! Any recounts done after that time will not be valid. (She has Florida Statutes 102.112 on her side... but how many different ways can one even SPELL "lawsuit".)
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.
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 manual count per Florida Statutes 102.166(4) and this COUNTYWIDE hand count could now be- like those planned for Broward and Dade- also adversely affected by an injunction requested in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida by the Bush camp.
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].
All 8 lawsuits filed by Florida Dems contesting- as opposed to protesting- the election have been filed in Circuit Court in Palm Beach County. Palm Beach County has been ordered by the Circuit court NOT to certify its preliminary recount until Tuesday 14 November (which is why it was left out of the official announcement of the preliminary recount which currently gives Bush +961).
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 (the deadline for counties to have completed their final tallying of the returns and sending the certified results on to the Florida Secretary of State, as required by Florida Statutes 102.112); however, Volusia County is suing the State to try to get the deadline extended, if possible- fearing it might not have it completed as planned.
Apparently, a judge in Volusia County ordered that county's hand count to go forward despite objections from the Bush camp.
How is the recount going? We are not certain and we may not have solid information until Tuesday November 14 at 5PM EST. Until then, here are some tidbits: It is reported that Polk County did a mechanical re-recount and came up with 104 more votes for Bush (but I don't know if that is a net +104 for Bush or only 25 more over the +79 Bush had in the preliminary recount on Thursday). Volusia County re-counted write-ins as the first part of its manual recount and found 6 more votes for Gore and 1 more for Bush (+5 net for Gore)
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.
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)