Election notes posted on TheGreenPapers.com home page
Thursday, November 16, 2000
Popular vote (national margin 204,789 for Gore)
IOWA, OREGON and WISCONSIN, been suggested- in media reports- as possible "recount targets" for the Republicans should Gore manage to eke out a victory in FLORIDA. A recount in NEW HAMPSHIRE on behalf of the Democrats should Gore lose in FLORIDA is now impossible as the deadline for requesting a recount has passed.
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].
Wednesday 15 November 9 PM EST (0200 UCT 16 November) The Florida Secretary of State has denied requests from ALL counties (Broward, Collier, Palm Beach, and Miami-Dade) that have requested extensions to the Tuesday 14 November 5 PM EST certification deadline. According to the Secretary of State, the vote, as submitted yesterday, stands.
As of 5 P.M. EST (2200 UTC), Wednesday 15 November: the Florida Supreme Court has denied the entirety of the Florida Secretary of State's petition without prejudice.
The Florida Secretary of State, Katherine Harris, has filed- as of this morning EST, 15 November- an emergency petition with the Florida Supreme Court asking that that court place an emergency injunction against all manual recounts which are or, in future, may be ongoing until the Florida Secretary of State has had a chance to review the written justifications by the counties as to why they feel a manual recount in their counties is warranted; she has also asked that the Florida Supreme Court rule that jurisdiction in all legal matters, which the state judiciary would be competent to hear (including the matter currently before the Palm Beach County Circuit Court in which the County is trying to determine which of two conflicting directives is controlling), be transferred to the Leon County Circuit Court (Leon County being the county of which the state capital, Tallahassee, is also the county seat... also, the Leon County Circuit Court- through its ruling denying a request for an injunction against the now passed 5 P.M. EST [2200 UTC], 14 November deadline for counties to file certified returns with the Florida Secretary of State- has taken jurisdiction over the validity of any future rejection by the Florida Secretary of State of amended returns from the state's counties).
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 was able to- at the last minute- certify its returns to the Florida Secretary of State in time to meet the 5 PM EST (2200 UTC), 14 November deadline because the Palm Beach County Circuit Court lifted its injunction (re: the lawsuit brought by 8 Florida citizens claiming their right to vote was violated by them being faced with an allegedly confusing ballot in that county) preventing that county from certifying its returns less than an hour before that deadline... this is why Palm Beach County's returns were included in the certified returns announced by Florida Secretary of State Harris.
The Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris also announced that she will require the three counties already doing, planning or contemplating manual recounts at the request of the Gore campaign (these would be BROWARD, DADE and PALM BEACH) that they provide her, in writing, their justification for so carrying out these manual recounts by 2 P.M. EST (1900 UTC), 15 November... she will use these written justifications to guide her discretion as to whether or not to accept further returns generated by manual recounts from these three counties.
Status of the counties in which the Gore campaign asked for manual recounts late last week re: the 5 PM EST (2200 UTC), 14 November deadline for certifying vote returns and sending them to the Florida Secretary of State:
BROWARD- The Broward County Circuit Court, in a ruling on 14 November, refused to order the Broward County canvassing board to hold a countywide manual recount (as had been the request of the Gore campaign in that court) but has strongly suggested it do so... the Broward County canvassing board decided- as of the morning of 15 November EST- to start a countywide manual recount at 2 P.M. EST (1900 UTC), 15 November. The board has stated that "machine error" discovered during the sampling of 3 precincts earlier (which produced a +4 net gain for Al Gore over the mechanical recount certified by the county and submitted to the Florida Secretary of State on 14 November) will be the official justification of such manual recount as will be sent in writing to the Florida Secretary of State, as per her requirement, by 2 P.M. EST (1900 UTC), 15 November.
COLIER COUNTY- 25 uncounted ballots have been found in Collier County, Florida and that county presented a written statement- as to why these should be included in amended returns from that county- to the Florida Secretary of State by her deadline of 2 P.M. EST (1900 UTC), 15 November.
DADE- As of 10:15 P.M. EST, 14 November (0315 UTC, 15 Nov), the Dade County canvassing board has decided against a countywide manual recount of the county's vote, declaring its results final and bringing to a close the election process in one of three Florida counties currently in various stages of a manual recount. The county canvassing board voted 2-1 against a full manual recount after a sample hand count in three precincts produced a net gain of only six votes for Democrat Al Gore.
PALM BEACH- A hearing held the morning of 15 November EST in Palm Beach Circuit Court to determine the definition of "voter's intent" has ended with that court ruling that, under Florida Statutes 102.166(7), the county canvassing board alone is given the power to determine this issue. Meanwhile, Palm Beach County- along with Volusia County- is in Florida Supreme Court in an attempt to determine which of the conflicting directives (one from the Florida Division of Elections, the other from the Florida Attorney-General) as to what constitutes "error" justifying a manual recount should prevail and be applied in any further manual recounts.
The Palm Beach County canvassing board voted the morning EST, 15 November, to continue the suspension of the countywide manual recount pending a decision by the Palm Beach County Circuit Court; this was done on the advice of the County Attorney.
As of 10 A.M. EST (1500 UTC), 15 November, the Florida Republican Party asked that one of the members of the Palm Beach County canvassing board- Carol Roberts- recuse herself from participating in any manual recounts because of charges she had unfairly manipulated ballots being counted during the preliminary hand count over the weekend. Ms. Roberts denied the charges and refused to recuse herself. The Florida Republican Party then asked that the remaining members of the Palm Beach County canvassing board remove Ms. Roberts forthwith; the Palm Beach County Attorney advised the board they had no authority to do so, as the make-up of the board is set by Florida Statutes 102.141(1): on this advice of the County Attorney, the board took no action and Ms. Roberts remains on the Palm Beach County canvassing board.
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)
[Reference note from Tuesday 14 November PM - Palm Beach will be re-starting their suspended countywide manual recount at 7 A.M. EST (1200 UTC), 15 November: submitted- by 5 PM EST (2200 UTC), 14 November- their second mechanical recount (the one that produced an additional +39 variance in Gore's favor above the variance produced by the first preliminary recount of 8-9 November)... however, this not appear to have been "certified" because there is still an injunction against so certifying ANY returns out of Palm Beach County handed down by the Palm Beach County Circuit Court late last week (this is related to the court case brought in that court by 8 Florida citizens who claim their rights were violated when they were confronted by a confusing ballot on 7 November) VOLUSIA- completed the basic countywide manual recount (there were issues re: some questionable recounts left over which were put aside): certified and submitted- by 5 PM EST (2200 UTC), 14 November- that manual recount (the only county in the State to certify a complete countywide manual recount by the deadline imposed by Florida Statutes 102.112)]
Broward, Palm Beach and Volusia Counties are currently asking the Florida Supreme Court to clarify the conflicting directives (one from the State Elections Division- a branch of the office of the Florida Secretary of State [Katherine Harris, a Republican] and the other from the Florida Attorney-General [Bob Butterworth, a Democrat]) re: the legality of manual recounts in those counties... since Volusia County certified its manual recount as its vote returns just before 5 P.M. EST (2200 UTC), it will be interesting to see what effect the Florida Secretary of State's acceptance of them will have on the determination of which of these conflicting directives would be controlling.
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".
Volusia County is making an emergency appeal of this ruling directly to the Florida Supreme Court in Tallahassee.
As of 3:00 P.M. EST (2000 UTC), 15 November: the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit- sitting in Atlanta, Georgia- has agreed to hear two appeals- one by the Bush campaign asking for an injunction against manual recounts in Broward, Dade and Palm Beach Counties, an injunction that was denied by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida in Miami on 13 November; the other brought on behalf of citizens of Brevard County, Florida (who feel their rights as citizens and voters have been violated by allowing manual recounts in primarily Democrat counties) asking for an injunction against any manual recounts out of Volusia County, an injunction that was denied, early in the evening of 14 November EST, by the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida in Orlando (NOTE: the Volusia County manual recount had already been certified by the county and sent to the Florida Secretary of State per Florida Statutes 102.112(1) and has already been factored into the numbers announced by the Florida Secretary of State the evening of 14 November EST which currently gives Governor Bush a 300 vote margin in Florida)"
Principal attorneys in the Federal lawsuit originally brought by the Bush camp in the US Dist. Ct., S.D. Fla.:
for the Bush camp: THEODORE OLSON
Monday 13 November 2000 1:15 P.M. EST (1815 UTC) - Donald M. Middlebrooks- judge of the U.S. District Court, Southern District of Florida- has denied the request for an injunction against the manual recounts in the Counties of Broward, Dade and Palm Beach.
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.