Election notes posted on TheGreenPapers.com 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):
Popular vote (national margin 262,991 for
Uncontested States with close races:
Close SENATE Races
Close HOUSE Races
Constitutional provisions for the election of the President and Vice-President
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 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:
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.