How the Miami Herald lied about their own Recount
American Politics Journal

Paul Lukasiak

April 4th, 2001

The widely anticipated release of the results of the Miami Herald recount of Florida undervotes finally happened on April 3rd. The results of the recount demonstrate that under most rational scenarios, Al Gore would have won the Presidency. The results demonstrate that far more people cast a vote for Al Gore than for George W. Bush. And the results strongly suggest that Gore would have won any statewide recount done under the auspices of the Florida Supreme Court.

But the headlines from the Herald tell an entirely different story. Those headlines say that George W. Bush would have won the election.

The Herald went to enormous lengths to distort the results, misrepresent the Florida Court decision, and bury the information that demonstrated that Gore won in Florida. And an examination of the Herald's reporting during the period it was conducting the recount make it is appallingly obvious that the Herald deliberately embargoed highly relevant information favorable to Al Gore, while going to extraordinary lengths in an attempt to legitimize the Bush coup.

According to the Herald's own numbers, Al Gore won their recount by hundreds of votes. But this information was thoroughly buried in their analyses and articles, among a plethora of various and sundry numbers and scenarios. Instead, the Herald created a bizarre standards that Florida Courts had ALREADY ruled were not permissible, and created scenarios that under no circumstances are likely to have occurred under the ruling of the Florida Supreme Court. Only by doing so could the Herald announce a Bush victory.


The Herald used four different standards in their articles.

?the "loose" standard, where all dimples and marks were counted on ballots. Under this standard, Al Gore received 393 more votes than George Bush statewide.

?The "other dimples" standard, a standard by which dimples were included as votes if there were dimples elsewhere on the ballot. Under this standard, Al Gore received 299 more votes than Bush statewide. To get some idea of the bizarre bias of the Herald, consider this. The Herald called this "the Palm Beach Standard". But under this standard, Gore would have picked up hundreds of more votes in Palm Beach County than he actually did. The misrepresentation of the "other dimple" standard as the "Palm Beach standard" is a key element in the Herald's distortion of the facts.

?The "two corner" standard, a standard by which only ballots with chads with at least two corners detached are counted as votes. Under this standard, George Bush would have won by 352 votes statewide. There is just one rather critical problem with this standard. The Florida courts had ALREADY ruled that such a standard was completely arbitrary, and could not be used by canvassing boards when counting votes by hand. The inclusion of this standard, and the prominent role it was given by the Herald, is an indication of the Herald's significant bias.

?The "clear punch" standard, or the votes which should have been counted by machine, but were never counted. Under this standard, Al Gore won statewide by three votes. As with the three corner standard, however, this standard could not be used in manually counting votes.


The Herald went out of its way to create a statewide scenario in which Bush would be shown to win in Florida, and to denigrate one of the standards by which Al Gore would have won in Florida. As noted above, the two-corner standard had previously been ruled illegal as a methodof hand counting ballots by at least two Florida State Courts, and these rulings were never overturned. Nevertheless, this standard was one of the ones chosen by the Herald as a "statewide" standard, and treatedas if it were possible for it to have become the statewide standard.

At the same time the Herald was ignoring the court decisions for the "two corner standard" it was agressively denigrating, based on their presumptions on how the court would rule, another scenario under which Gore would win -- a statewide "clear punch" standard. What is significant about the Herald's treatment of this scenario is that the Herald created an entirely separate category for it. The Herald's justification for this was that the court was unlikely to impose a different standard on Dade County when it counted the undervoted ballots under the Supreme Court order than was used during the abortive manual recount done under the statutory provisions.

Although the Herald is quite correct in this assumption, it never bothers to raise the question of the imposition of the 'clear punch' standard on those countieswhich had not created a standard during the manual recount process. Under such a scenario, Gore would have again emerged victorious.

But what is perhaps most indicative of the bias of the Herald is thatin its discussion of the 'clear punch' scenario, virtually no mention is made of the fact that these were votes that SHOULD HAVE BEEN COUNTEDBY MACHINE, and were not. Indeed, the Herald takes a mocking tone toward this scenario, describing as "ironic" that Gore would have won if this standard had been used statewide.

In point of fact, because of the number of unaccounted for undervotes (ballots that the certified counts indicated were undervotes, but were not found when the undervotes were separated) renders any evaluationof these clear punched ballots rather irrelevant. One has to assume that the reason these "clear punch" ballots were included in the undervote count is that, at some point, either these ballots had "hanging chad"or more significantly, a "floating chad", a detached chad from another ballot that had blocked the presidential hole during the sorting process.

Almost no mention is ever made by the Herald of the fact that these ballots (over 2000 of them) give the lie to the Bush strategy that there was no "machine error", and thus no reason to count votes by hand at all. The "floating chad" problem is inherent in any machine count of ballots, and is caused solely by the tabulating equipment.

The Gore legal team, however, must be faulted here as well, for failing to emphasize the existence of the "floating chad" problem as a justification for the manual recounts. Harris and Bush were able touse the "no machine error" excuse to delay the manual recounts for weeks.


Part of the key to understanding the Herald's "Big Lie" in presenting Bush as the winner under Florida Supreme Court order is its complete misrepresentation of the "Palm Beach Standard". What the Herald refers to as the "Palm Beach Standard" is actually an "other dimple" standard -- if there is a dimple in another race, its counted as a vote. Thatis NOT the standard that was used in Palm Beach County.

The actual Palm Beach Standard was not the presence of another dimple, but a pattern of dimples throughout the ballot in the other races.

Under the "other dimple" standard, Al Gore would have received a net gain in Palm Beach County of 414 votes. In other words, Gore's net gain of 174 votes represented only 42% of the votes that the Herald says can be counted using the "Palm Beach Standard". The Bush "win" under the "Palm Beach standard" and its assumptions regarding the Florida Supreme Court decision appears to be based solely on the inclusion of votes that would never have been included by the Palm Beach Canvassing Board.

It is essential to note that Herald's phony "Palm Beach standard" isthe "middle" standard. Its not the one that includes all the votes/dimples, and is not the "strict" two-corner chad standard. It represents the "compromise" standard, and as such is presumed to be the most reasonable. The fact that the "strict" standard is completely illegal is, of course, disregarded.

To put it bluntly, the Herald is LYING about its own study. Its own data demonstrates conclusively that calling the "other dimple" standard the "Palm Beach Standard" cannot be justified under ANY circumstances, because under the real Palm Beach standard, fewer than half the votes found using the Herald's "Palm Beach Standard" were counted.

But without this BIG LIE, the Herald would not have been able to justify its desired (and bizarrely presumptuous, on other grounds) conclusions -- that Bush would have won had the recount been finished under the order of the Florida Supreme Court.

On the subject of nomenclature, it should be noted that, although the Herald now acknowledges that dimples are legal votes, it buries that acknowledgement deep in its lead article, and only fully explains why dimples are votes in a separate, and decidedly non-prominent article. This acknowledgment comes about because somebody at the Herald finally read the Beckstrom decision of the Florida Supreme Court from 1998. But itstead of labelling the "dimples are votes" standard as "legal votes" or "Beckstrom votes", this standard is labelled "loose", with all the negative connotations that word has.


One of the most egregious omissions of the entire Herald study is its complete failure to recognize the fact that there already exist standards for hand-counting votes in a Presidential election. These are standards that have the full furce of law and precedent behind them.

Both Broward County, and Volusia County conducted full manual recounts. These votes were certified by the state, and were completely and absolutely uncontested by either Gore or Bush. They represent a clear, and de facto, minimal standard by which any statewide recount of votes would have to be conducted if a consistent standard is used.

It should be noted that the Volusia standard is, in fact, the "dimple" standard. If any statewide standard were to be approved, it would have to include those votes that had been certified by the state, and were uncontested. Volusia County counted incompletely filled out holes on its optically scanned ballots as votes. The equivalent of such an incomplete mark for a punch card ballot would include a dimple.

However, it is possible that separate standards would be used for different voting methods, in which case the Broward standard would have to be the minimum standard by which legal votes were counted for punch card ballots. The Broward standard included dimples when the dimple occurred on a ballot when there was a clear preference in other races for the party of the presidential candidate whose chad was dimpled. (In other words, if dimpled the Gore chad, then punched out the chads fora bunch of other Democratic candidates, that would be a vote for Gore. If you dimpled the Gore chad, then voted for mostly Republican candidates in other races, that dimple would be ignored.)

Both standards, of course would have worked to Gore's advantage. The Volusia County standard would have required that the undervotes from Palm Beach, Broward, and Dade be re-examined (see below), and Gore would have won the dimple count, according to the Herald's numbers. The Broward standard would have also required re-examining the Palm Beach ballots gaining Gore a considerable number of votes. More importantly, perhaps, is that by using the Broward standard, Gore would do much better than Bush based on the totals from the Senate race. The Democratic Senate candidate received about 23,000 fewer votes than Gore; the Republican candidate for Senate got over 200,000 fewer votes than Bush. Additionally, because of the higher undervote rate in African American communities, and the strong tendency of African Americans to vote straight Democratic tickets, Gore's advantage under the Broward standard would have been significant indeed.

The Herald also completely ignored its own reporting that, in Dade County alone, over 1700 hundred ballots were cast but not counted because of holes punched in the chads directly below the chad for the presidential candidates. These chads should have been impossible to create unless the ballot had been misaligned in the equipment used for voting. No review of undervoted ballots can be complete without mentioning these ballots, and the fact that they indicate that Gore would have received an additional 314 votes had the equipment been easier to use. Because of the way in which the Duval County ballotwas laid out, it is also highly likely that a considerable number of undervoted ballots there had the same problem, but no mention of them was made.

Finally, the Herald makes no mention of the fact that legally prescribed votes were never counted in Florida. Although these LEGAL votes were part of the "overvoted" ballots, the fact that they are specifically prescribed under Florida law demands their inclusion in any canvass of ballots under any circumstances. According to the Orlando Sentinel, Gore received a net gain of at least 194 fully prescribed legal votes from nine optically scanned counties that violated the law in the wayin which they counted their votes -- and Bush won each of these counties. There are undoubtably more of these legal votes in other counties, but until the "media consortium" releases its examination of the overvoted ballots, we will not know how many.


The Herald's projections of Bush victories under the "recount done under the Florida Supreme Court order" scenarios is based on a number of completely false premises

1. That the Palm Beach Standard is actually the standard used in Palm Beach County. As noted above, this is demonstrably false

2. That a it would be possible for counties to use the "two corner" standard. As noted above, the Florida Courts already ruled such a standard illegal.

3. That a dimple standard would be used statewide, but that it wouldbe applied ONLY to those counties that were being counted under the original court order. This is patently absurd. The decision of the Supreme Court not to re-examine the Palm Beach ballots was not basedon a ruling that the PBC canvassing board had included all the legal votes. The ruling was based solely on the fact that the standard used by PBC did not represent an ABUSE of the powers vested in it by the statutes. Any imposition of a statewide standard would have to be done, by definition, statewide.

Inasmuch as it could be easily demonstrated in court that dimpled ballots were NOT counted in both Palm Beach and Broward Counties, there is little question that the disputed ballots from these counties would have been re-examined under an imposed "dimple standard". Indeed, any imposition of ANY statewide standard would require the re-examination of undervotes from Palm Beach County and Broward County (except if the Broward standard were imposed).

In other words, none of the Bush "Supreme Court" based victories holdup to any sort of scrutiny whatsoever. They are based on completely false definitions, the disregarding of previous court decisions, and an apparently willful misinterpretation of the grounds on which the Palm Beach ballots had been excluded from the statewide recount. The Herald engaged in nothing but pure, completely baseless, and utterly dishonest spin.

There is a final assumption in the "Supreme Court" scenarios, however, that is so outrageous, and which was so determinative of the spin the Herald used, that calling it a "lie" is putting it mildly. That assumption is this:

That there would be consistent counting of votes across county lines without the imposition of statewide standards.

The Herald created three scenarios under the "Florida Supreme Court" order that are virtually impossible , and used them to declare GeorgeW. Bush the winner. Only by positing these impossible scenarios could the Herald declare Bush the winner. And the political realities at the time that the Court order came down make it highly unlikely, if not impossible, that Bush would have won under any realistic scenario that included differing standards between counties.

Throughout the entire process, the Bush team had been arguing against the inclusion of any dimpled ballots. Without those dimpled ballots, given the 300+ vote advantage that Gore would have received from the optically scanned counties, Gore's actual three vote lead in the "clear vote" category, the at least 194 legal votes that were never included in the certified totals, and the 344 votes awarded to Gore by the Florida Court from Dade and Palm Beach Counties, it becomes virtually impossible to come up with the necessary votes for Bush to have won the recounts.

Bush did best in the dimple counts in those counties that were controlled by the GOP; places like Duval County, Collier County, and Marion County. Those counties would likely have used the most restrictive counting methods allowable under the law, while those counties controlled by pro-Gore Democrats would have used a more liberal standard. The net result would have been that Bush would probably not have received the most votes.

However, there is no way to know exactly how that kind of count would have turned out. Bush might have won. But had Bush switched course, and started to demand the use of any standard more liberal than the real Palm Beach Standard, not only would it have been politically disasterous, it would have created the conditions under which Gore could have sucessfully demanded a re-examination of the Palm Beach County ballots.

The important point however, is that it is impossible to predict with any certainty, given the results of the Herald undervote examination, what would have happened under the recount ordered by the Florida Supreme Court. "Uncertainty" is the only legitimate conclusion thatcan be drawn from the data. And despite the fact that the only real conclusion to be drawn was that the data was inconclusive, the Herald created bogus and ridiculous scenarios in order to declare Bush the winner.


By itself, the data from the Herald manages to prove absolutely nothing. But taken in conjuction with the media recounts that have been done of the overvoted ballots, the Herald data does prove one thing decisively---more people VOTED for Al Gore than for George W. Bush in Florida.

Then why did the Herald declare Bush the winner? Although there is more than sufficient evidence to say that the Herald did so because of its clear, consistent and unmistakable political bias, the real reason is probably money. The Herald went to considerable expense to do this recount, and the only way it is every going to get a return on this investment is by selling the book it is doing on the recounts. The best way to do that is to create controversy about the results. Controversy sells books.

The Herald recount represents a distinct low point in journalistic integrity and credibility. After promising a completed recount in three week, it took three months. After declaring, without equivocation, that it would not release any partial results, the Herald released the results from one Dade County, and then completely misrepresented what those results actually meant. And now they give us the Big Lie.

It should not go unnoticed that during the post-November 7th period,the Herald has completely avoided looking into the wholesale irregularities perpetrated by Republican election officials in Florida.

Instead of investigating the flons's list scandal, the Herald investigated people who voted, and consistently highlighted the number of felons it supposedly found who voted. The Herald never bothered to emphasize in those articles that the reason most of those felons were able to vote is that the Republican controlled Division of Electionswas supposed to provide the counties with an accurate list of ineligible voters who were registered to vote. Rather than disenfranchise voters who were eligible to vote, many county supervisors recognized that, under the laws of Florida, they had no right to remove someone from the rolls based on information that could not be depended upon. The emphasis of the Herald was not the deliberate attempt to disenfranchise voters, but on the fact that people actually voted.

Instead of investigating the circumstances under which election documents were altered by Republican Party operatives with the blessing of Republican elected officials, the Herald went in search of dead people voting協ound one in Palm Beach County, and did an entire story around that one dead voter.

And despite numerous articles about illegal votes being cast, not once did the Herald mention the tens of thousands of fraudulently cast absentee ballots that provided George W. Bush with his margin of victory. These votes were cast after the Republican Party urged voters to cast absentee ballots fraudulently, in a solicitation that was designed to look like voting for convenience was an act endorsed by the Governor, acting as the Governor.

Nor should it go unnoticed that the Herald withheld the information regarding the legal status of undervoted ballots (per the Beckstrom decision) until it could bury as part of its undervote coverage. And the Herald has yet to mention the even more relevant part of the Beckstrom decision---the part that says that election officials MUSTdo their jobs the way the laws of Florida says they have to do them, and that they do NOT have the discretion to ignore the laws of Florida as they see fit. Such an admission would require the Herald to do whatit clearly has no interest in doing---looking at how the failure of state and local Republican officials to obey the law was responsible for the election being stolen.

As noted above, one cannot simply say that the reason the Herald lied about the results of its examination of the overvotes was political. But given the nature of its coverage of the Florida election when taken as a whole, no reasonable person could be questioned about assuming that is precisely what happened.

A   reason   to   ignore   the   Miami Herald   recount

Jacob Weisberg

April 6th, 2001

To sort out the data now coming in from the various media recounts of the presidential vote in Florida, you have to take care in framing your inquiry. The question "Who really won Florida" is much too vague.

By manipulating the data and indulging various contrary-to-fact scenarios, it's possible to get to any answer you want. But there are some more specific questions that help to hone in on the big issue, namely George W. Bush's legitimacy as president. In ascending order of importance, my questions are :

1) Who did more people in Florida attempt to vote for?
2) Who would have won if the U.S. Supreme Court had not stopped the recount?
3) Who would have won if every legally valid vote had been counted?

We've known the answer to question No. 1 for some time. More people went to the polls intending to vote for Al Gore. Stephen Doig, a specialist in computer-assisted research, demonstrated this in a Miami Herald story published in early December (and unfortunately no longer archived on the paper's Web site). Based on a precinct-by-precinct analysis of 185,000 uncounted Florida votes, Al Gore would have won the state by 23,468 votes if every voter had succeeded in voting the way he or she intended to vote.

Put another way, there is solid statistical evidence that more people in Florida left the voting booth thinking they had voted for Gore than left thinking they voted for Bush. But to my mind, that interesting conclusion has only a minor impact on Bush's legitimacy--no more than does the fact that Gore won the popular vote nationally. If a larger number of Floridians didn't cast legally valid votes for Gore, Bush still won the election under the rules of the game.

The Miami Herald's big recount story published yesterday answers question No. 2. If the Supreme Court hadn't ended the recount, George W. Bush probably would have won. To understand why the Herald story successfully answers this question, we must venture back briefly into voting-counting arcana. My colleague Mickey Kaus has faulted the Herald for examining only "undervotes"--those ballots registering no apparent choice for president--while ignoring the larger category of "overvotes"--those registering two or more apparent choices. As we'll see, the overvotes are highly relevant in answering question No. 3. But the undervotes were the only ballots being recounted when the U.S. Supreme Court intervened. At that point, the whole issue was clouded by a widespread, erroneous assumption that the overvotes didn't matter. They weren't going to be included in the final tally in any case. So the Herald tells us everything we need to know to answer question No. 2.

What it tells us is that under every plausible alternative recount scenario, Bush would have won the election anyhow. Say the U.S. Supreme Court held, on equal protection grounds, that there had to be a common statewide standard for the recount. Under almost any standard chosen, the result would have been the same. Under a "liberal" standard (dimples OK), Bush would have won by 1,665 votes. Under a "conservative" standard (penetration necessary), he would have won by 363 votes. Had the U.S. Supreme Court not insisted on a universal standard, Bush would probably have won by some figure between those two. Only under a super strict "clear punch" standard would Gore have won by a negligible factor of three votes. But the clear punch standard doesn't accord with the "voter intent" requirement of Florida law. In short, by attempting to stop the counting of valid votes, Bush was trying to steal what it turns out he would have won anyway. So shame, but no diminished legitimacy on him.

Forgive me if I digress for a short victory lap. I arrived at a similar conclusion--that any real-world recount was likely to make Bush the winner--four months sooner and $500,000 cheaper, using only highly amateurish statistical extrapolations. I pointed out at the time that the liberal, dimpled chad standard that Gore's lawyers were demanding would actually help Bush. That turns out to have been correct.

Back to business. It's question No. 3--who would have won if every valid vote had been counted--that I rate as the most important. It's a less realistic hypothetical than No. 2 since given the role of Katherine Harris, the composition of the U.S. Supreme Court, and the fact that no one except Mickey Kaus understood the importance of the overvotes, there was never much chance of a fair and complete recount in Florida. Neither Gore nor Bush wanted one. Furthermore, according to the Herald, election judges in Palm Beach and Broward counties miscounted according to their own standards--mistakes unlikely to be corrected in any real-world recount.

Even so, question No. 3 seems to me to have the greatest impact on Bush's legitimacy as president. If we find out that Al Gore got more legally valid votes, it's going to be hard to look at the Republican in the White House the same way, even if we know that some of those votes stood no chance of getting counted.

So did Gore get more? The Herald's conclusion is that Gore would have won by either 393 or 299 votes if every county in Florida had recounted accurately using a common standard. But that conclusion is based only on an examination undervotes. It's going to be a few more weeks until the newspaper consortium that includes the New York Times and Washington Post finishes its work of examining the 110,000 overvotes as well. Any posthumous moral victories are going to have to wait until then.

We   still   don't   know   who   won

Eric Alterman

April 4th, 2001

Latest media recount effort only clouds the real issues in Florida balloting

The Miami Heraldˇ犴鸹s less-than-comprehensive recount of uncounted Florida ¨undervotes〃 tells us a great deal about the never-ending avalanche of confusion that was the 2000 election. But it does not tell us what we most need to know : Who would have won a fairly counted election?

THE HEADLINES on the recount story are, as usual, wrong.

A careful reading of the data compiled by the Herald and its parent company Knight-Ridder (in a partnership with USA Today) reveals that the newspaper answered only one question conclusively: ¨What would have happened if the Supreme Court had not intervened to end the counting?〃 The answer to that question, as best as the Herald and its accounting firm, BDO Seidman, LLP, could determine, is that Bushˇ犴鸹s initial margin of 537 votes would have increased to 1,665 votes, had the counters employed the charitable chad-counting standard desired by the Gore camp.


This piece of news leads us to two immediate conclusions. First, the conservative Republican majority on the Supreme Court sullied the good name of that institution prematurely and unnecessarily. Second, Team Goreˇ犴鸹s inept response to the post-election debacle also greased the skids for Bushˇ犴鸹s backdoor entry to the White House.

Bush hero Justice Antonin Scalia should have kept his partisan comments to himself when he explained that the count needed to be shut down to insure public ignorance of the genuine result. His exact words were  ¨Count first, and rule upon legality afterwards. That is not a recipe for producing election results that have the public acceptance democratic stability requires.〃 The courtˇ犴鸹s dishonorable participation in cutting short a ballot count for reasons it could not even coherently explain and hence, refused to allow to serve as a legal precedent, proved entirely superfluous.


The reason the court neednˇ犴鸹t have bothered is almost entirely due to the incompetence  and considerable bad political faith  of the Gore camp. Its protestations to the contrary, the Gore team was never interested in a full and fair count of all of the Florida votes. It wanted only the votes recounted that it believed were most likely to yield more Gore votes. Stupidly, it ignored those Republican counties where most of the irregularities existed and it ignored the potential treasure trove of ¨overvotes,〃 in which confused voters accidentally marked their ballots for both a presidential and a vice-presidential candidate, or both marked a candidate on the main ballot and then wrote his name in a second time to make certain that everybody understood their choice. In a true travesty of the spirit of democratic equality, these over-enthusiastic voters had their votes disqualified in exactly the same fashion as those who marked the two candidates because nobody could be bothered to count them.

Beyond these rather narrow conclusions, however, the Herald recount serves only to generate more confusion. It calculates that using the strictest possible vote count standard  the one, you will recall, advocated by all those tough-minded Republicans taking their talking points from Jim Baker-Gore would have actually won by a landslide of exactly three votes or 0.00005 percent of the nearly 6 million votes counted.


Of course, almost all of these numbers are statistically meaningless, since the built-in margin of error exceeds the margin of victory. What was important in Florida, ultimately, was not who voted for whom but who was doing the counting. The Heraldˇ犴鸹s review discovered that canvassing boards in the key counties of Broward and Palm Beach counties discarded hundreds of ballots that bore marks no different from those on scores of ballots that were accepted as valid presidential votes. ¨Had those ballots instead been counted as valid votes,〃 the report concludes, ¨allowing dimples, pinpricks and hanging chads, Gore would be in the White House today.〃

Now take a look at the count in light of Florida law. The Florida Supreme Court ruled in 1998 that canvassing boards must examine ¨damaged or defective〃 ballots for voter intent and further defined the term ¨defective ballot〃 as ¨a ballot which is marked in a manner such that it cannot be read by a scanner.〃

According to the Herald, ¨though some canvassing boards in optical-scan counties conducted such reviews on Election Night, most boards around the state did not.〃 Had they done so, thousands of votes would have been salvaged long before the election dispute landed in court.

Under those circumstances ... the ones, recall, that the law mandates  Gore would have won Florida and the White House by 393 votes. If the only dimples that counted were the ones where other races were also dimpled, then President Goreˇ犴鸹s margin shrinks to a mere 299 votes. (Goreˇ犴鸹s lawyers never even bothered to make this argument, so incompetent and narrowly focused were their efforts.)

Any number of fair counts, counts mandated by Florida law, and/or counting methods mandated by common sense would also have put Gore ahead of Bush. Not even Jim Baker ever tried to argue that it was not the ¨intent〃 of Florida voters to chose Gore by probably many tens of thousands of votes. The ¨butterfly ballot,〃 the confusion sewn by incompetent and nefarious local election boards, all conspired to make certain that these votes would be disqualified, by hook or by proverbial crook.

But the fact is, almost any counting method that would have yielded a Gore victory would never have landed Al Gore in the White House; not with Jeb Bush and Katherine Harris controlling the stateˇ犴鸹s political machinery; with the Republican legislature willing to intervene if that failed; with the Republican Congress ready to intervene if that somehow failed; and (we now know) the Republican U.S. Supreme Court willing to intervene in just about any circumstances imaginable.

Wednesdayˇ犴鸹s Herald story is only the beginning, of course. The Herald and its corporate parent, Knight-Ridder, several other Florida newspapers and USA Today also are conducting a full review of at least 110,000 overvotes and promise a conclusion within about a month. More significantly, a group of national news organizations and Florida newspapers is conducting a broader recount under the auspices of the University of Chicago, and this effort should dwarf the Heraldˇ犴鸹s incomplete ¨undervote only〃 effort that so far, has served to obscure as much as it has illuminated. Only then will we know just how far the current resident of the White House had to go to ensure his victory in an election in which, by all fair measures of democratic intent, he was the clear loser.

McAuliffe   challenges   partial   recount   study   headline

Terry McAuliffe, Chairman,    DNC

Friday, April 4th, 2001

"If all the ballots were counted Gore would have won Florida"

DNC Chairman Terry McAuliffe took exception today to the Miami Herald/USA Today study of ballots from the Florida partial recount. McAuliffe noted that the conclusion that Bush received the most votes in Florida is flawed in several ways. Most importantly, they did not include a full, accurate tally of the votes in seven entire counties and even used different vote-counting standards within the same county. Additionally, unlike the canvassing boards conducting the counts, the Miami Herald/USA Today count did not include overvotes -- ballots that upon examination by the local canvassing board could determine a clear Gore or Bush vote.

"The same study that Republicans tout as proving that Bush really won Florida, also shows that if all the ballots were counted on election night, Al Gore would have won," McAuliffe said."And if all the people who intended to vote for Gore actually got to vote, without being confused or intimidated, the results would have been overwhelmingly in favor of Gore. Any way you spin this data, you still come to the same conclusion, more must be done to protect our sacred right to vote and have our votes counted."

McAuliffe also pointed to the results of the study to raise questions about George Bush's hard turn to the right and away from the center of American politics.

"The only mandate that George Bush should have after a careful examination of the 2000 election results is a mandate for electoral reform," McAuliffe said. "But the silence coming out of the Bush White House, his brother's Governor's mansion in Florida, and the halls of the Republican-controlled Congress couldn't be more deafening. The Bush brothers are not only walking away from fixing the system that lead to such confusion and error, but now George Bush is cutting funding for electoral reform from the Federal Election Commission in his budget."


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