Election notes posted on TheGreenPapers.com home page
Monday, November 20, 2000
PRESIDENTStates with close races (all figures below are unofficial and/or incomplete):
Popular vote (national margin 262,991 for
Uncontested States with close races:
Close SENATE Races
Close HOUSE Races
Florida ballot recount status. The numbers below are unofficial. There are ongoing disputes regarding punched but not perforated ballots, ballots where tape was applied to the holes, ballots that were dropped, ballots that were stepped on, and ballots with Post-ItŪ notes applied to them.
Sunday 19 November Miami-Dade - A state court rejected a Republican request to halt the recount process in Miami-Dade County. Miami-Dade election officials can proceed with their recount. More court hearings Monday.
Saturday 18 November Palm Beach - Democratic attorney Dennis Newman (and others) have protested a decision by the Palm Beach County Canvassing Board to exclude 150 ballots with dimpled chads from precinct 162E. Last week, the 3 member (all are Democrats) Palm Beach canvassing board decided to exclude dimpled and punched but not perforated ballots.
Saturday 18 November - Florida overseas absentee ballots - The deadline has now passed for overseas absentee ballots to be accepted. Reports indicate that 39% (1,420 out of 3,626) of these ballots have been rejected because they lacked signatures, postmarks, or envelopes. Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John Warner (Republican Virginia) has written a letter to Defense Secretary William Cohen expressing concern that military ballots may not be counted because they lacked postmarks. Florida Attorney General Bob Butterworth asked election officials to count unpostmarked ballots that were signed and dated by 7 November. The Federal Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act states that ballots from qualified military and overseas voters "shall be carried expeditiously and free of postage". Hence such ballots would have no postmark.
Monday 20 November - Circuit Court Judge Debra Nelson in Seminole County court heard a suit, filed by Democrats, that seeks to invalidate 4,700 (out of 15,000) absentee ballots cast in that county. After rejecting a bid by Republicans to throw out the suit, she set a hearing date of 27 November. The suit claims that Republican activists were allowed to write registration numbers on ballots from Registered Republicans which were mailed without those numbers.
Friday 17 November 6:30 PM EST (2330 UTC) - The 11th US Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta denied a request by the Bush campaign for an injunction against manual recounts in Broward, Dade and Palm Beach Counties. In regards to an appeal on behalf of citizens of Brevard County (who feel their rights as citizens and voters have been violated by allowing manual recounts in primarily Democrat counties), the court said that the Florida state courts "will address and resolve" those Constitutional issues.
Friday 17 November 4:15 PM EST (2115 UTC) - The Florida Supreme Court ordered Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris NOT to certify vote tallies until it rules on the Gore campaign's motion to allow recounted votes to be counted. The hearing is planned for Monday 20 November 2 PM EST (1900 UTC). The ruling:
"In order to maintain the status quo, the Court, on its own motion, enjoins the Respondent, Secretary of State and Respondent, the Elections Canvassing Commission, from certifying the results of the November 7, 2000 presidential election, until further notice of this Court. It is NOT the intent of this Order to stop the counting and conveying to the Secretary of State the results of absentee ballots or any other ballots."
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. Palm Beach, Broward, and Miami-Dade Counties are now recounting their ballots.
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:
Links to partisan websites (in alphabetical order)...
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.