The Green Papers: News

Election notes posted on home page
Saturday, November 25, 2000

Friday, November 24, 2000
The innate propriety of the Florida Supreme Court ruling of 21 November 2000

Wednesday, November 22, 2000
The Election 2000 battle in Florida escalates


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 (as well as in Dade County where the manual recount has now stopped) and, of course, allow Gore to overtake Governor Bush's current unofficial lead; in addition, the Bush campaign must NOT be successful in getting previously rejected so-called "military" ballots also counted and included in a final Florida certification.

2. The Florida Elections Canvassing Board 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: despite the Florida Supreme Court's order of 21 November that the Florida Elections Canvassing Board MUST do so, the Dade County canvassing board has decided not to go ahead with a manual recount; having failed- as of 23 November- to get a court order to complete Dade County to continue its manual recount, the Gore campaign is now intending to contest [per Florida Statutes 102.168] the Dade County vote results certified after the new returns certification deadline of 5 PM EST (2200 UTC), 26 November... this appears to be the ONLY way the Gore campaign can have '2' take place and, thus, is now part of the only way Vice President Gore can win the Presidency)

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): Recounts: Bush leads by 472 votes. Prior the recount, Bush led by 930 votes. The 14 November certified returns from all 67 Florida counties showed a Bush lead of 300 votes.
  • 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.

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

Close SENATE Race

  • Washington - Republican Senator Democrat Maria Cantwell 48.7% to Republican Senator Slade Gorton 48.6%. Advantage Cantwell by 1,953 votes. Recount begins Monday 27 November. We are listing Cantwell as the winner.

Close HOUSE Races

  • 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
  • Saturday 25 November- The Bush camp has dropped its lawsuit in Leon County Circuit Court against 14 Florida counties attempting to get these counties to count the previously rejected "military" overseas ballots; instead, new lawsuits have been filed in the separate Circuit Courts of Hillsborough, Okaloosa, Pasco and Polk Counties against said counties on the same issue as the original 14-county suit. It is also reported that the Bush camp will file a similar lawsuit in Circuit Court in Orange County on Sunday 26 November against that county on the same grounds.
  • 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... see the downloadable complete text of the Court's opinion: Text of the Florida Supreme Court Ruling (Requires Adobe® Acrobat® Reader™)

    24 November, the United States Supreme Court has agreed to hear the Bush campaign's appeal of the Florida Supreme Court's ruling of 21 November. Oral arguments begin Friday 1 December. The appeal is based on the Bush camp's contention that the Florida Supreme Court ruling [dated 21 November, remember!] violates 3 U.S.C. 5 which requires that any controversy on the state level prior to the date Electors must be certified [12 December this year] must be settled "by laws enacted prior to the day fixed for the appointment of the electors" [i.e., 7 November]; the Gore counterargument- besides one arguing that this issue should be determined solely by the Florida courts [as the 21 November ruling solely involves Florida state election law]- would be that 3 U.S.C. 5 also states- immediately after that statute requires the controversy to be determined at the state level "at least six days before the time fixed for the meeting of the electors" [12 December this year]- that "such determination" be "made pursuant to such law so existing on said day" [12 December, not the law as it was on 7 November as the Bush camp alleges].

    The United States Supreme Court- on 24 November- also rejected an appeal from the 11th Circuit in Atlanta re: the original Bush campaign suit- based on 14th Amendment to the Federal Constitution "equal protection" grounds- originally heard in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida back on 13 November seeking an injunction against the manual recounts on the same 14th Amendment "equal protection" grounds.

  • 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])

Unofficial Florida ballot recount status:

  • Seven other counties: Bush +91
  • Nassau plans to discard the results of the first recount and submit the original count. This action, which would increase Bush's count by 52 votes, is being challenged by the Gore campaign.
  • Broward: Gore +559: 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 a order them to return to the "two-corner" standard which was used in previous recounts. Republicans do not want "dimpled" chad to be counted. There are about 2000 contested ballots in the county.
  • Palm Beach: Bush +10. 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. Judge Jorge LaBarga ruled- as of 4:30 P.M. EST (2130 UTC), 22 November- that any policy used by the Palm Beach County canvassing board which would automatically disqualify "dimpled" ballots would not be permitted; however, he also ruled that each such ballot must be viewed in its totality (meaning that- for example- if a voter punched his choices for other offices correctly but left a "pregnant chad" for President, it might be proper NOT to count that "dimple" as a vote for President). There are 6,000 to 8,000 contested ballots in the county.
  • Miami-Dade: as of 9:15 A.M. EST (1415 UTC), 22 November: Dade County has suspended a full countywide manual recount, claiming it cannot be completed by Sunday 26 November at 5 PM EST (2200 UTC), the deadline set by the Florida Supreme Court on 21 November; later on 22 November, the county canvassing board also, by unanimous vote, suspended counting even of the "dimpled" ballots and may now not even file an amended certification to the Florida Department of State... the 4th District Court of Appeal and the Florida Supreme Court have rejected an appeal by the Gore campaign in an attempt to force Dade County to continue the manual recount in that county; the Gore campaign now plans to contest the Miami-Dade results once they are certified. Prior to the decision to suspend the recount, with 137 out of 614 precincts recounted, Gore's total was up by +157 votes. There are about 10,750 contested ballots in the county.

Saturday 18 November - Florida overseas absentee ballots - 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.

Hearing 27 November - On 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 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."

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

Additional Notes...

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