Election notes posted on TheGreenPapers.com home page
Friday, November 17, 2000
Popular vote (national margin 204,789 for Gore)
An interesting tidbit out of NM (not that it means anything... it's merely intriguing): Gore won the fair majority of the overseas absentee ballots (largely military) in NM (they finished counting them last night) [in '96, Dole won the majority of these in NM].
Florida absentee ballots must be received by Friday 17 November 5 PM EST (2200 UCT) and executed no later than 7 November. Ballots yet to be counted:
Florida Election officials have until Saturday 18 November 12 Noon EST (1700 UTC) to report their totals for certification.
Leon County Circuit Judge Terry Lewis has scheduled a Friday 17 November 10 AM EST (1500 UTC) hearing regarding Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris' decision not to accept vote counts submitted after last Tuesday's 5 PM dead ine. The Democrats claim the decision by the Secretary was "arbitrary" and did not take into account the due facts and circumstances as required by the court's 14 November ruling. If the judge does NOT order her to accept the recounts, then, the Secretary will announce the certified election results on Saturday.
Thursday 16 November 5 PM EST (2200 UTC)- The Florida Supreme court unanimously ruled that the counties can continue conducting their manual recounts. The Gore campaign has urged counties to complete their recounts as soon a possible. However, this ruling did not order the Secretary of State to certify these latest recounts. The issue of certifying the recounts remains pending before another court. Palm Beach, Broward, Miami-Dade, and Collier Counties have requested that their recounts be considered in the final certified tally.
The Democrats have filed a lawsuit which seeks to throw out a Republican lawsuit which sought to block the Broward County recount. The hearing is scheduled for Friday 17 November 9:30 AM EST (1430 UTC) in Broward County.
Thursday morning, 16 November 12 PM EST (1700 UTC) - The 11th US Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta gave Florida election officials and the Bush campaign until Friday 17 November 7 AM EST (1200 UTC) to submit summaries regarding the Bush campaign's attempt to halt the manual recounts. Bush supporters have argued that recounting ballots by hand in Democratic areas gives Gore an unfair advantage and violates the 14th Amendment's equal protection provisions.
Wednesday evening Al Gore proposed that the entire state of Florida undergo a recount. George Bush rejected this proposal.
Tuesday 14 November, 7:30 PM EST (0030 UTC, 15 November) - The Florida Secretary of State, Katherine Harris, announced the following vote totals re: the certified returns from all 67 counties:
PALM BEACH COUNTY Canvassing Board- as per Fla. Stat. 102.141(1):
(all of the above are elected officials, having been elected to their respective positions)
As of 1 P.M. EST (1800 UTC), 14 November, the Leon County Circuit Court has denied the request by Volusia County (joined by Palm Beach County) to extend the 5 PM EST (2200 UTC) deadline for vote return certification with the Florida Secretary of State... however, it is a mixed decision:
1. ALL counties MUST certify whatever vote returns they have at 5 PM EST (2200 UTC) 14 November to the Florida Secretary of State.
2. The counties may file supplementary or corrective returns after the deadline, including any based on manual recounts.
3. The Secretary of State MAY ignore such returns... however, she cannot due so "arbitrarily" and only by using "proper exercise of discretion after due consideration of all appropriate facts and circumstances".
THE JUDICIAL SYSTEM
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 that heard this case Monday 13 November was 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) is 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 8 Florida 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 Circuit) 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.
LAME DUCK 106th CONGRESS
The lame duck session of the dying 106th Congress- which was to start on Monday 20 November- will now be pushed back to Tuesday 5 December... why is this important to Election 2000? Because many political observers were speculating as to whether or not this session might, in some way, alter- by a "one time only" statute- the date the Presidential Electors are supposed to meet in their respective States (currently Monday 18 December), which would also affect the last date an uncontestable (that is, not reviewable by Congress because the State has already made a determination) slate of Presidential Electors can be certified as "appointed" by the Governor of a State (6 days prior to the Electors' meeting- currently Tuesday 12 December), if the Presidential Election had not yet been decided by the end of November going into early December.
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.