270,000 vote for Gore in Palm Beach County

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Nearly 270,000 citizens had little trouble voting for Gore in Palm Beach County. That puts the 3,400 who claim the ballot was too confusing into perspective.

-- Buster Collins (Hiway441@aol.com), November 09, 2000


Yeah, but those 3,400 votes are enough for Gore to win, so if those morons meant to vote for Gore, then he WINS!

-- hee hee haa haa (welcome@home.al), November 10, 2000.

"IF" would be the key word in that sentence.

-- capnfun (capnfun1@excite.com), November 10, 2000.

IF they punched them twice, which they did, it is reasonable to conclude that they made a mistake. IF one of the holes they punched was for Gore, and they claim that was who they intended to vote for, it is reasonable to allow the vote for Gore to stand. Even IF only half of the ones with 2 holes punched got Gore, he still WINS!

-- (IF.al.wins@shrub.loses), November 10, 2000.

The most complete account I've seen on the Palm Beach vote controversy is this article in the Miami Herald....

Palm Beach ballot glitch may be decisive factor

http://www.herald.com/thispage.htm?content/archive/news/yahoo/digdocs/ 098224.htm

-- Will Palm Beach get (to@vote.again?), November 10, 2000.

Published Thursday, November 9, 2000, in the Miami Herald

Palm Beach ballot glitch may be decisive factor


A confusing ballot layout in Palm Beach County that some claim led hundreds of Democratic partisans to mistakenly vote for Reform Party candidate Patrick Buchanan has assumed critical importance in the agonizingly close presidential election.

With a recount of Florida's nearly six million votes underway, numerous but unconfirmed allegations of voting irregularities began surfacing across the state, ranging from the intriguing to routine glitches. Some, including reports of ``missing'' or forgotten ballot boxes in Broward, Palm Beach and Miami-Dade counties, were quickly debunked by elections officials.

But lawyers, journalists and party activists for both major candidates were honing in on what appeared to be a disproportionate vote total for Buchanan in Palm Beach County, a Democratic strong- hold where the conservative candidate garnered 3,407 votes -- far more than he did in any other Florida county.

A Herald statistical analysis shows Buchanan's Palm Beach total to be a clear anomaly. If the county had followed the same voting patterns as the rest of the state, Buchanan would have pulled in only 1,000 votes.

Assuming the balance of the votes was intended for Gore, the Democrat would have picked up 2,400 more votes, enough to surmount Republican George W. Bush's slender 1,700-vote advantage in the initial state tally -- and win the White House. An ongoing recount has further reduced Bush's lead to 941 votes.

Complaints from voters saying they were confused by the ballot's design began pouring into the elections office even before the polls closed on Tuesday, and continued Wednesday.

``I came out of the ballot box totally confused,'' said Lillian Gaines, 67, of West Palm Beach, who dropped in at the elections office to complain. ``I don't know whether I have thrown away my vote and voted for Buchanan. I would drop dead immediately.''

Citing the alleged irregularities, a Boca Raton law firm with Democratic ties filed a lawsuit Wednesday on behalf of three Palm Beach residents asking for a new county vote.

Democratic leaders said the design of the disputed ballot, which was unique to the county, was illegal and that they, too, might ask for a new vote.

``Hundreds of people spoke to me yesterday before the polls closed about their extraordinary confusion. I myself when I went to the polls was confused,'' said U.S. Rep. Robert Wexler.

``I saw the people who came out of the polling places. They were crying. They were in tears. In hysterics.''

Republican officials scoffed at the claims.

``In the end there will be 46,000 people claiming they voted for Pat Buchanan by mistake,'' said U.S. Rep. Mark Foley, a Palm Beach Republican.

At issue is a punch-style ballot page that Democratic leaders likened to a ``maze.'' Bush was listed first, at the top left. Gore was listed second, under Bush at the left. Buchanan's name was at the top right.

Arrows beside each name pointed to the proper holes to punch. The punch-hole for Bush was first in a vertical column in the middle of the ballot page, with the punch-hole for Buchanan second, and Gore's third. Some voters feared they had punched the second hole -- Buchanan's -- under the erroneous assumption that it corresponded to Gore's second position on the ballot.

Jeff Liggio, a lawyer for Palm Beach County Democrats, called the ballot illegal. Florida law specifies that voters mark an X in the blank space to the right of the name of the candidate they want to vote for.

``Right means right, doesn't it? The state law says right, it doesn't mean left,'' he said.

Wexler produced a memorandum issued by Elections Supervisor Theresa LePore around 5 p.m. on Election Day that hinted at the confusion among voters.

The memo told poll workers to remind all voters ``that they are to vote only for one presidential candidate and that they are to punch the hole next to the arrow next to the number next to the candidate they wish to vote for.''

LePore declined to comment. A staffer said her office would finish its recount before considering any other complaints from the public.

GOP leaders offered little sympathy. They said the ballot had been reviewed and approved by both major political parties and by state election regulators.

Palm Beach County aside, Buchanan's top vote count was 1,012 in Pinellas County. He got 561 votes in Miami-Dade and 789 in Broward.

According to The Herald analysis, Gore outpolled Buchanan 167-1 across Florida.

However, in Palm Beach that difference was a less-pronounced 79-1, with some precincts showing margins as low as 5-1.

Most Florida counties where Buchanan made inroads went solidly to Bush, but the Palm Beach county vote favored Gore.

That Buchanan would do so well in Palm Beach, considering its pro- Gore results, is a statistical improbability, The Herald analysis concluded.

Susan MacManus, an elections expert at the University of South Florida, said the analysis points to problems in Palm Beach County. ``A combination of design and a type of ballot that is problematic to seniors probably caused some of this,'' she said.

Many complaints aired Wednesday across South Florida came from would- be voters who thought they had registered, but were turned away from polls because their names did not appear on the rolls.

In such instances, poll clerks are required to place a call to the supervisor's office to verify the voter's status.

But poll workers said the phone lines were jammed.

Because many of those complaints came from black voters, the NAACP and other national organizations sent representatives to Florida to investigate.

Broward's supervisor of elections, Jane Carroll, said her offices have dedicated lines for the precincts, but the system cannot always handle the glut.

In Miami-Dade, attorney Joe Geller, chairman of the Dade Democratic Party, said he plans to ask for a manual recount of the county's results. He said Dade had an unusually high number of ballots invalidated because people voted for more than one candidate in a race -- about 17,000. The number of such ``overvotes'' for president in Palm Beach was 19,120. No one knows who those voters favored.

In Miami-Dade and Broward, several reports that poll workers lost boxes containing ballots, or left them uncounted in precincts, were unfounded, officials said.

In a half-dozen instances, workers at schools and churches that served as polling places in Miami-Dade placed worried calls to elections officials after finding locked ballot boxes left behind by workers.

But the boxes just hold supplies, says Gisela Salas, assistant supervisor of the Miami-Dade Elections Department.

All the transfer cases used to transport ballots to the elections department were accounted for, she said.

Herald staff writers Ana Acle, Lisa Arthur, Andrea Elliott, Don Finefrock, Steve Harrison, Sonji Jacobs, Judy Odierna, Sara Olkon, Charles Rabin and Herald wire services contributed to this report.

-- (in@greater.detail), November 10, 2000.

Bush Leads Gore By 229 in Florida


-- Still too (close@to.call), November 10, 2000.

No. No revote. Gore carried Palm Beach County with 63% of the vote. That's 270,000 that successfully figured out the ballot. That's more than 98% of "supposed" Gore vote. That's a valid count.

There's a term called the "will of the articulate vote." Because laws requiring education levels in order to vote were thrown out because they were deemed prejudical, election boards had to presume baseline of intelligence for all voters.

Therefore it becomes to responsibility of the voter to take the initiative when voting. Everyone recognizes that you can't vote for two presidential candidates, so those 19,000 invalidated double punched ballots were justified because the voter did not take the proper initiative to determine the correct procedure.

As for the 3,400 who supposedly thought they were voting for Al Gore, again the voting process requires a careful examination of the ballot. If it appears confusing, the time the address it is prior to putting it in the ballot box, not after.

Again, the ballot was not a problem for 270,000 Gore supporters. The others did not execute the will of an articulate vote. The resultant "disenfranchisement" is of thier own creation.

-- Buster Collins (HIway441@aol.com), November 10, 2000.

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