The Green Papers: News

Election notes posted on home page
Tuesday, November 21, 2000


It remains the considered opinion of "The Green Papers" (taking into account the trend of the recount) that, when all the votes still in play are fully tabulated (that is, when any and all manual recounts are completed) and the returns 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 267 and, thus, make George W. Bush, Republican, the 43d President of the United States of America. Therefore, "The Green Papers" has retained its having posted FLORIDA as being in the Bush column but with the caveat that this is pending the outcome of any potential significant changes in the vote for President in that State in favor of the presidential candidacy of Vice President Gore.

Given the order and opinion of the Florida Supreme Court issued the evening (EST) of Tuesday 21 November, there are TWO things which MUST occur and ONE thing which MUST NOT take place in order for Vice President Gore to win the Presidential Election in FLORIDA and, thus, that State's 25 Electoral Votes and, with them, the Presidency:

1. Dimpled (or "pregnant chad") ballots MUST be included in the manual recounts in both Broward and Palm Beach Counties (they are already being considered- as a matter of course- in the manual recount underway in Dade County) and, of course, allow Gore to overtake Governor Bush's current unofficial lead.

2. The Florida Secretary of State MUST be compelled- whether by public political pressure or outright court order- to include such manual recounts in the final certified vote returns from that State. (NOTE: my own reading of the Florida Supreme Court's order of 21 November is that she- along with the other members of the State Elections Canvassing Board [Governor Jeb Bush and the head of the Florida Elections Division]- MUST, in fact, do so. REB-A)

What MUST NOT happen (assuming the above two things DO happen) in order for Vice President Gore to be elected President of the United States is the following:

3. the majority Republican Florida State Legislature- utilizing authority many see it having under U.S. Code Title 3, section 2- MUST NOT choose the Presidential Electors from that State itself.

IF 1 OR 2 do NOT take place OR if 3 DOES take place, Texas Governor Bush wins FLORIDA, its Electoral Votes and the Presidency!

[it's simple, really: WORST CASE SCENARIO- a.) let's say the manual recounts in the 3 counties still outstanding (including "dimpled" ballots) give Gore the lead but either the Florida Secretary of State refuses to certify such manual recounts (keeping Bush's lead intact) OR the Florida Legislature chooses Bush electors and b.) let's say Gore's supporters in the State, as a result, hold a "rump" Electors meeting in Florida on 18 December while the Bush electors hold the regular Electors meeting that day in Tallahassee- thereby sending TWO sets of Electoral Votes (one 25 for Bush, the other 25 for Gore) to Congress for tabulation before a Joint Session of the NEW 107th Congress come 5 or 6 January 2001... Gore CANNOT win in such a case: assume that Ms. Cantwell wins the Senate seat in WASHINGTON: the Senate would split 50-50 (by Party lines) over which set of electors to accept from Florida: who would break the tie? the sitting Vice President, AL GORE (so the Senate would vote that the Gore electors from Florida be counted), the Republican House would obviously vote (also by Party lines) that the Bush electors from Florida be counted... what happens when the two houses of Congress, thus, FAIL to concur? per Title 3, section 15 of the U.S. Code, the electors certified by "the executive authority of the State" are to be counted (one would have to assume that Governor Jeb Bush of Florida would accept Secretary of State's refusal to certify [per 2 above] OR the choice of the Legislature [per 3 above] and, thus, his brother's electors would- by default- become the legal Presidential Electors from the State of Florida)... again, a battle over the Electoral Vote in Congress is one that Vice President Gore CANNOT win: thus, "The Green Papers" holds to its having called Florida for Governor Bush unless and until events 1 AND 2 happening AND 3 not happening, as outlined above, would significantly change this "call"]

States with close races (all figures below are unofficial and/or incomplete):
  • FLORIDA (25 electoral votes): Counting the recounts: Bush leads by 652 votes. Not counting the recounts: Bush leads by 930 votes. The 14 November certified returns from all 67 Florida counties show that Bush leads by a 300 vote margin.
  • NEW MEXICO (5 electoral votes): Gore leads by 481 votes out of some 571,000 cast [0.07% of votes cast]. The results will be finalized on 28 November after which the parties have 6 days to request a recount. Current tally is Gore: 286,558; Bush: 286,077.
  • OREGON (7 electoral votes) is reporting a 4,765 vote lead for Gore out of some 1.4 million cast [0.3% of votes cast]. No information on a recount.
  • WISCONSIN (11 electoral votes) is reporting a 6,099 lead for Gore out of some 2.5 million cast [0.2% of votes cast]. The vote in Wisconsin will be certified Friday 17 November. The parties then have 3 business days to contest the results.

Popular vote (national margin 262,991 for Gore)
Gore: 49,921,267
Bush: 49,658,276

Uncontested States with close races:

  • IOWA (7 electoral votes) is reporting a 4,047 vote lead for Gore out of some 1.3 million cast [0.3 % of votes cast]. Bush will NOT ask for a recount.
  • NEW HAMPSHIRE (4 electoral votes) is reporting a 7,211 vote lead for Bush out of some 578,000 cast [1.2% of votes cast]. The deadline for requesting a recount has passed.

Close SENATE Races

  • Washington - Republican Senator Slade Gorton holds and unofficial lead of 1,765 votes over Democrat Maria Cantwell.

Close HOUSE Races

  • Florida CD 22 - Friday 17 November - Democrat Elaine Bloom conceded to Republican Congressman Clay Shaw. Shaw leads by 596 votes.
  • Minnesota CD 2 - Friday 17 November - Republican Mark Kennedy leads Democratic Congressman David Minge by 150 votes. Reports state Minge will seek a recount.
  • New Jersey CD 12 - Friday 17 November - Democrat Rush Holt holds and unofficial lead of 553 votes over Republican Dick Zimmer. Reports indicate Zimmer will request a recount.


Constitutional provisions for the election of the President and Vice-President
Federal Law governing the election of a President and Vice-President
Florida General Election Statutes

Next steps:

  • Links to Legal Sites
    Supreme Court of Florida - Presidential Election Cases
    Eleventh Circuit Published Opinions
    Florida Election Law (Chapter 102)
    Leon County Clerk of Courts
  • Monday 20 November - Oral arguments were heard before the Florida Supreme Court. The Florida Supreme Court has- as of 9:45 P.M. EST, 21 November [0245 UTC, 22 November]- reversed the orders of the trial courts below and has mandated that amended certifications from the counties still outstanding (meaning the manual recounts in progress) MUST be accepted by the Florida Department of State if received from the counties by 5 PM EST [2200 UTC], Sunday 26 November OR 9 AM EST [1400 UTC], Monday 27 November- whichever time is most convenient for the State offices to be open to receive same... further details to follow!
    Text of the Florida Supreme Court Ruling (Requires Adobe® Acrobat® Reader™)
    • The Gore campaign argues that Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris used a narrow interpretation of state election law (102.112) to exclude the manual recounts. Democrats want the court to force the Secretary to include the the manual recounts in the certified tally. In addition, the Democrats request that the court provide standards for counting partially punched ("dimpled" and "one-corner" chad) ballots.
    • The Bush campaign argues that Florida law clearly sets 14 November as the deadline for election returns and Secretary Harris was correct in holding to that deadline. Harris has also filed a brief stating her actions were correct.
  • Monday 20 November - Palm Beach County Circuit Court Judge Jorge LaBarga said he lacked the Constitutional authority to order a new presidential election in that County (on grounds that the U.S. Constitution requires that the choice of Presidential Electors be on the same day "throughout the United States" [Art II, sec.1, cl.3] and that this day was Tuesday 7 November 2000- therefore, no revote is permissible). This suit was filed by Democrats who claim Palm Beach County's so-called "butterfly ballot" unfairly confused voters. This case is now under appeal to the 4th District Court of Appeal (the intermediate appellate court in Florida) but the Democrats are arguing there should be direct appeal (bypassing the District Court of Appeal) to- you guessed it!- the Florida Supreme Court on grounds that a constitutional question is involved. (Please keep in mind that- should the Florida Supreme Court get to decide this case on FEDERAL constitutional grounds- further appeal may be had from the State's highest court [its "court of last resort"] to the Supreme Court of the United States [the Nation's court of last resort])

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.

  • Broward: Gore +118 (690 out of 609 precincts recounted) Broward County has completed their recount. On Sunday 19 November the canvassing board, consisting of 2 Democrats and 1 Republican, voted unanimously to change the standard used to determine voter intent. The recount will now include ballots with "dimpled" and "one-corner" chad. The affected ballots will be segregated to so the tally can be recalculated should the Florida Supreme Court order them to return to the "two-corner" standard which was used in previous recounts. Republicans do not want "dimpled" chad to be counted.
  • Miami-Dade: Gore +157 (137 out of 614 precincts recounted). "Dimpled" ballots are being dealt with as the manual recount goes along.
  • Palm Beach: Gore +3 (104 out of 531 precincts recounted) Estimated completion date is 25 November. Palm Beach is holding 499 Gore and 225 Bush "dimpled" ballots. Including these dimpled ballots would give Gore 274 additional votes. However, Palm Beach County has stopped releasing updated numbers re: any net gain for either Governor Bush or Vice President Gore.

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 has 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:

Bush: 2,910,492
Gore: 2,910,192
Bush: margin: 300

Links to partisan websites (in alphabetical order)...
Rev. Jerry Falwell -
People for the American Way -
Judicial Watch - -
Sierra Club -


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.


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.

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