Of Bush's 930 Votes, 418 Were Gained by Hand Counts

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Saturday, November 18 -- Since Election Day, George W. Bush has kept the goal posts moving continually back and forth to prevent Florida's southern, mostly Democratic, counties from hand counting their ballots until they were too late to be added to the certified total. But lost among the Bush camp's legal and rhetorical objections to hand counting is this small fact: since the Fateful Day, Bush has benefitted from hand counts in other counties, hand counts that have secured his lead by margins that began at 1784 and reportedly went as low as 225 votes before rising again in recent days with the arrival of more absentee ballots.

On the basis of those slim and changing margins, the nation's pundits called upon Al Gore to concede, even in the face of widely reported voting irregularities that involve tens of thousands of ballots. For example, the Orlando Sentinel reported that over 180,000 ballots had been kicked out of Florida's computerized counting machines, indicating they had some sort of problem and went uncounted toward the final result.

Adding to questions about the vote total of Florida's sixty-seven counties certified by the Secretary of State Katherine Harris on Tuesday, November 14, the Washington Post reported intriguing news, without explanation, that eleven counties did not do the machine recount last week that is mandated by law in close elections.

Harris's November 14 tally officially gave George W.Bush a 300-vote lead. The next day, Harris, a co-chair of the Bush-Cheney campaign in Florida, said that, exercising her legally sanctioned "discretion," she would not allow hand-counted votes from the southern counties to be added to the certified total, and would add to the tally only those absentee ballots received after Election Day. She also issued her opinion, further confusing local election officials, that absentee ballots did not have to be post-marked on or before Election Day, November 7.

Bush spokeswoman Karen Hughes last Tuesday accused the Democratic counties of "no longer counting ballots. They are 'reinventing' them," she said, a comment seemingly aimed to again raise doubts about Gore's character and alleged exaggerations, a story that got legs earlier in the election thanks to shoddy media reporting and misquotes.

For days, George W. Bush's consigliere, James Baker III, has said that hand-counted votes present "tremendous opportunities for human error and ... mischief." Baker accused the hand counters of "subjective" attempts to "divine the intent of the voter," thereby denigrating the whole hand-counting process -- the time-honored gold standard for deciding close elections. Democrats have called Baker's statements hypocritical, pointing out that six mostly Republican counties have partially hand counted their ballots and found 418 additional votes for Bush. (Those counties are: Franklin, Hamilton, Seminole, Washington, Taylor, and Lafayette.)

So where in all this flurry is there any media discussion of hand-counted ballots for Bush versus hand-counted ballots for Gore? If hand-counted votes are so suspect, Democrats say, why not remove them from Bush's count? The answer, of course, is that doing so would have put Gore ahead.

Baker's Democratic counterpart, former Secretary of State Warren Christopher, said in a news conference Thursday that the fact that "Republicans have hand counted in many of the counties themselves" belies Republican charges that "we have picked out a certain few counties" thought to hold promise for a Gore victory.

When a reporter asked Bush spokeswoman Karen Hughes if Bush would accept his hand-counted votes, she did not respond, and ended the press conference. Likewise, on Wednesday Baker avoided a reporter's question about the Bush hand-count tally saying, "Some hand-counting was done from which we benefited," whereupon he also ended his press conference.

In fact, Bush has accepted those 418 hand-counted votes as part of his total, as well as 143 hand-counted votes from Volusia County, and probably many others tallied before Secretary of State Harris's deadline.

But despite much hand wringing from the punditocracy over the hand recounts in strongly Democratic counties, there have been few reports in the major media about the manual recounts in Republican-dominated counties and how they were conducted.

Meanwhile, Bush is blaming Gore for delaying the final vote count, and hoping the American people will, too. But Bush lawsuits and challenges to hand counting are responsible for most of the delays.

In Gadsden County, where Gore's hand-counted total exceeded Bush's, Republicans complained loudly about the result. On Thursday, Bush lawyers in Tallahassee argued that since Broward, Palm Beach, and Miami-Dade counties had not submitted their manual recounts by 5 p.m. on November 14, as ordered by Harris, they no longer had the right to do so. Bush also went to federal court to stop hand counting. Failing there he appealed to the conservative 11th Federal District Court of Appeals in Atlanta, which, on Friday, rejected the appeal. On Tuesday the 14th, Secretary Harris issued an edict ordering the hand-counters to cease, which was quickly overruled by Florida Attorney General Bob Butterworth, a Democrat. Broward went ahead with its count, but Palm Beach and Miami-Dade waited for the Florida State Supreme Court's decision on Thursday which gave them the go ahead. Harris had also petitioned the state Supreme Court to stop the hand-counting, saying it was being done without "coherent standards" and threatened "the integrity of the ballots." She didn't say whether that also applied to Bush's hand counted ballots. Her petition was rejected by the Court without comment. And on Friday, in a major victory for Gore, the Florida Supreme Court enjoined Harris from certifying the election totals "until further order from this Court."

That's just a sample of the wrangling that has delayed a final vote tally. As those events unfolded over the last two weeks, the Bush camp was also maligning the local election officers ("canvassers") in Palm Beach County, alleging that they are committing fraud. Harris, under heavy fire herself, has said that the outspoken Democratic canvasser, Carol Roberts, should recuse herself, and Roberts has been accused of corruptly manipulating and over-handling the ballots in an affidavit signed by a Republican count watcher. Roberts refused to recuse herself, and denies the charge of corruption, as did a lawyer who is a Palm Beach Democratic count observer. That lawyer said on CNN that any charge of corruption against Roberts is "a lie."

The Democrats haven't gotten much traction from citing the "Texas Election Code." Under "Manual Counting, Chapter 127, section 127.130," it says: "Standards by which to judge votes: At least two corners of chad are detached, light is visible through hole, an indentation on the chad from the stylus or other object is present and indicates a clearly ascertainable intent of the voter to vote, or the chad reflects by other means a clearly ascertainable intent of the voter to vote."

Burning the village in order to save it.

The news media have been slow to grasp the game that Bush and his operatives are playing -- one of stopping hand counts by Democratic counties, then saying it's too late for those votes to be counted, and all the while tearing down the process and maligning the intent of local (Democratic) officials.

In the last few days the Bush partisans have resorted to an extreme tactic: forcefully asserting that the Gore camp is trying to "steal" the election. The charge was replayed all over the media this weekend, and especially on the more sensational and hyperventalating cable news networks that must stoke the fires continuously (if only because they burn twenty-four hours a day). This amounts to the Bush camp jumping ahead of the process and sowing land mines, and thus ensures that whatever the outcome, voters around the nation will never be able to have confidence in the process that yielded the final result.

No matter who prevails in the closest presidential election in American history, this last tactic may be the one we all remember. It elicits a memory from the Vietnam era: "We had to burn the village in order to save it."

-- 6 Counties Gave Bush 418 Votes (is@bush.hypocritial?), November 20, 2000


Yep, Bush has taken what should have been a dignified and effective display of our democratic process in action, and turned it into a disgusting, disgraceful circus of slander, finger-pointing, lies, and hypocritical behavior.

What a shame that half our country has become so blind that they would vote for this man-child to be our president.

-- (new low @ for. america), November 21, 2000.

Just curious, but has there been a recount of third party candidates? Or are they only counting Bush/Gore votes?

It may not be important now, but it may be usefull for 2004.

Anybody know?

-- Spindoc' (spindoc@nolynchings.please), November 21, 2000.

6 Counties, if what you say is true, the Vice President has been wronged but it a way, he brought it on himself with his own statements and exeragerations which made him somewhat of a laughingstock. His own campaign workers warned him during the 1996 election that this could hurt him but he ignored his own people. Things like I went to Texas with the FEMA Director when he did not hurt his credibility and then when every vote is critical, these past actions come home to roost. Let this be a lesson to all politicians. Lie not as you know not the future effects.

-- The Philisopher (Phil@suprised.wow), November 21, 2000.


The incident when Gore got his dates mixed up about a trip to Texas was not significant enough to change his chances for the presidency. Although the unscrupulous strategy by Bush of running commercials calling Gore a liar may have swayed a few blind fools to his side, the real issue in this election was not how Gore got enough votes, but how Dubya got as many as HE did.

Survey questions asked of those who voted for Bush revealed that the majority voted for him because they were still angry about the Clinton/Monica affair. What does this have to do with Gore? Absolutely nothing. But it has a lot to do with the twisted and repressive psychology of the Conservatives.

Conservatives are they type of people that have sex about once every 5 years on average, and that is only after they get drunk because they are so ashamed of their bodies. Even though they want it as much as anybody, they were raised with all kinds of hangups, so they like to preach about how "sinful" it is.

They were fuming mad with jealousy because Clinton is the kind of guy who can be casual and laidback about getting laid. LOL, they're STILL fuming mad that they can't have it that good! They hate Democrats because Democrats are the kind of people who can have fun in ways that the uptight Conservo-weirdos can never imagine.

That is how Bush got as many votes as he did, and that's the only way that a low-life, crooked, lying, addict like Bush could even come this close to Gore. If Bush wins, conservatives won't be electing a president, they'll be electing a hypocritical fraud to cover up for their own insecurities.

-- cyber freud (lets@be.real), November 21, 2000.

Recounts for third-party candidates? Sure. Look here.

Recount Reveals Nader Defeated

TALLAHASSEE, FL -- A third recount by Florida election officials has "definitively determined" that Green Party candidate Ralph Nader was defeated in the state. "There was a very significant 25,603-vote discrepancy between the first two counts, with Nader losing by respective margins of 2,812,339 and 2,837,942, so we decided to conduct a hand recount," Florida Attorney General Jim Smith said. "We now know that Nader lost by precisely 2,821,278 votes." It is not yet known whether Nader lost to Gore or Bush.

-- I'm Here, I'm There (I'm Everywhere@so.beware), November 21, 2000.

You are missing the point in your article. The Democrats could have conducted the hand counts earlier. They waited and stalled. It is their fault they missed the deadline.

-- think (a@little.bit), November 21, 2000.

"6 Counties...", do you have a source for this article please?

-- Patricia (PatriciaS@lasvegas.com), November 21, 2000.

Cyber Freud, you're an idiot.

-- Someone (smarter@than.you), November 21, 2000.

Obviously NOT the same story, Patricia, but the public has certainly been misled about recounts and hand recounts occurring/not occurring.

Some counties never even recounted at all, and some did hand recounts

-- Anita (Anita_S3@hotmail.com), November 21, 2000.

Source -- tompaine.com

-- for patricia (1@b.c.), November 21, 2000.

Thanks, Anita; I had read that one before. Thanks "(1@b.c.)" for the tompaine.com link. That seems like a good site. Have to check it out more in-depth.

-- Patricia (PatriciaS@lasvegas.com), November 21, 2000.

"As for the numbers, whether Governor Bush or Al Gore benefits is beside the point," said Bush campaign spokesman Tucker Eskew. "The process is flawed, regardless of who benefits."

-- Unless it's Bush who benefits (canyouspell@hypocrisy.com), November 21, 2000.

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