Most Americans have been watching the fuss over the current results of the 2000 Presidential election. Early results from the state of Florida indicated that Al Gore was going to win that state's votes in the Electoral College. Then the rest of the state, the part that was in an later time zone, turned its results in and the winner looked to be George W. Bush. Then it turned out to be too close to call, and Florida state law demanded a recount.

Meanwhile, the results came in from the rest of the country, and it turns out that Florida's twenty-five electoral votes -- sunny, carefree Florida, home of Disneyworld and Miami Beach and more senior citizens than you can shake a Medicare bill at -- are going to decide who will be the next leader of the free world.

As of this writing, the recount has yet to be completed, but preliminary results have Bush leading by less than a thousand votes. This, however, doesn't even take into account the military and absentee ballots which are still coming in, since those only had to be postmarked by Election Day. Weeks may pass before we have a conclusive winner.

So the rush to find every last Democratic and Republican vote in the state is on. This has led to a number of unexpected consequences across the nation. First, a partial list of what is happening right now:

Now, this is a chaotic mess. But let's look at some of the things that aren't happening:

And none of these things have ever happened, no matter how close an election, in American history. We the People have so much faith in the importance of democracy, the integrity of our Constitution, and the importance of free elections and "one man, one vote" that it doesn't even occur to anyone -- anyone -- to try and usurp the law in order to win the election. Whoever wins, there's little doubt that it will be won according to the strictest observation of the rules already in place.

It's nice to be able to take something like that for granted.

While the American democratic process is certainly a viable system with well-documented pros and cons, I think an interesting point is that this may be the first time an election could be decided by litigation.

Both candidates have immediately brought out their lawyers to do battle as to how the Florida situation should be tackled. Gore's lawyers have already demanded that the Presidency should be handed over to Al regardless of a recount. I expect that Bush's team have announced something similar (or more likely, worse).

It was only a matter of time I guess, as it's well known that the legal system in America lets anyone walk free provided they are sufficiently wealthy. Becoming President just lets you get away with murder on a larger scale.

umm... thing is... it would go to the House, not the Senate... and all those representatives and senators-elect are just that: representatives-elect. they have not taken office yet.

So, in this case, it seems Bush would win.

Also: There is no way that the Gore camp would push to invalidate the election, knowing that it would throw the race to Bush. My guess is that once the votes are all counted, whoever won will take office, and whoever lost will take it like a man... at lease, I sure hope so. We do not need a Constitutional crisis right now. Besides which, 19000 ballots were invalidated due to double-punching. That means that 19000 people either did not read the instructions, or deliberately threw their vote away. Either way, they deserve what they got.

This is what will happen:
  • First, the recount will be completed. It is likely to have George W. Bush winning by a margin of a few hundred votes.
  • Then, several thousand absentee ballots from overseas will have to be counted. Historically, these votes are very Republican, but I wouldn't assume anything with this election.
  • Finally, the Gore campaign is likely to pursue some kind of legal avenue to attain victory. I don't think the Palm Beach County ballot issue will get anywhere, though. Massive voter fraud would have to be discovered. There were unsubstantiated reports of voter fraud favoring both Republicans and Democrats in Florida on Tuesday. I suspect most, if not all, of these will be shown to be false or minor.

But that's not all. There will be numerous appeals, and if Gore's case continues to fail in the courts, the media will start making unfavorable comparisons of Mr. Gore to Richard Nixon in 1960. Nixon lost by a slim margin, and most likely would have been able to find enough evidence of fraud to at least challenge the election's results. Instead, Nixon conceded defeat to JFK, more or less saying that it was important that the country had a president beyond the shadow of a doubt. (History books say Nixon should have shaved before the televised debate, but I think that's an oversimplification.)

Another possiblity is that Gore will win in the courts, and Bush will appeal. This particular case would cause a huge constitutional crisis, as Bush would contend that the media's projection of Gore's win in Florida suppressed Republican turnout in the Florida panhandle, where polls were still open. Also, Bush is likely to contend the results of other states, such as Wisconsin, Oregon, and New Mexico. Bush might even blame low Republican turnout in California on the media's projections. In some respects, Bush's panhandle dispute is more significant than Gore's ballot dispute, and the election results would be totally thrown into doubt by those on both sides. It would be Hell.

Also of note is that a new election in a county, several counties, statewide, or nationwide would most likely be illegal at this point. Don't expect electors to turn on their states' popular winner either; such a move could lead to the destruction of America's entire democratic-republic system. Whatever the results, this would be the most dangerous thing that could possibly occur, as it could literally tear down our form of government (I realize it's happened before, but it never mattered before).

If Florida is somehow thrown out (highly unlikely), hodgepodge is correct in saying that Bush would probably win the presidency in the newly elected House. However, the new Senate then votes for Vice President. To be eligible, I believe Joe Lieberman would have to give up his Senate seat. If it is somehow still 50-50, I have no idea what would happen. I think Lieberman would keep his Senate seat, and the Democrats in the Senate would attempt to elect Gore as Vice President. They might have to get a Republican vote however, in order to do it.

If we have no President on January 20, 2001, Speaker of the House J. Dennis Hastert will become our temporary president.

The winner will not be able to claim a "mandate to govern"; that's a loaded phrase that basically means nothing anyway. However, it should be pointed out that both candidates received a much higher percentage of the vote than Bill Clinton did in either of his two presidential elections.

Another note on those 19,000 tossed-out votes. It's not an oddity. More than 14,000 votes were thrown out in Palm Beach County in 1996 for the same reasons. These were not contested.

In the end, we just have to wait, and hope no one does anything really stupid to put our way of governing in danger. If we have a president on January 20, and tempers have settled, we'll be just fine, no matter who it is.

The U.S. presidential election that took place on Tuesday, November 7th, 2000 will be remembered both as a somewhat puzzling piece of History and as the most intense/dramatic/pathetic (pick your choice) live TV show ever. Everythingians were prompt to express their views on that memorable event and on its implications. Here is a list of nodes which were written on that occasion :

One point that I find myself returning to constantly is that a large number of people, on both sides of this election and in other countries, seem to have a flawed notion of what's going on. The Republicans calling for Al Gore to concede the presidency 'for the good of the nation' top my list. Why? Because...

The System is working.

Really. It is. At least as of 11/10/2000, approx. 945pm EST (when I write this). How can this be? I can hear already rising from the roaring crowd. Does this boy have any clue? What?

Okay. Here's my un-humble, not-so-inflated, real-dollar $0.02 on the whole matter. The system is working because the means by which we (the national we) are attempting to both determine and, yes, sway (in most cases, anyway) the outcome of the election are within the law. Where there exists a possibility that the law has been broken, there are judicial bodies investigating the matter. Private citizens and campaigns, upset and afraid that their side has been wronged, are taking to litigation.

Guess what? They're supposed to. Why? Because the alternative is to stat thinking about picking up shovels and rakes and guns and other implements of destruction and to begin trying to force the issue that way. Yet, for the most part (nearly all of it, in fact) there appears to as yet be very little violence or advocation of such. This, my friends, is what our system is designed to do - allow us to change our governing officials (and in fact, if we choose, even change the governmental system) without violence unless it is absolutely necessary. If violence becomes necessary, then the system has failed, and the Declaration of Independence's points about When in the course of human events... become quite immediately relevant. Note, however, that this document doesn't define or create a system; it advocates tearing one down. The Constitution builds ours, and so far, seems to be doing okay.

What happens if your side loses? Your side loses. But the system is still in place; we will still vote for our leaders, we will still retain a representative democracy (with the caveats of the existence of the Electoral College) and life will go on.

Ah, but what about that dashed anachronistic Electoral College? I hear the cry. What about it? If anything, this very election will force us to re-examine whether its consitutional raison d'être jibes with our present notion of 'right.' It may even lead us to decide that in this case, the Constitution is wrong and should be changed! And then, in the next election (which will happen) we will have improved or at least adapted the system to its present time.

But it'll still be there, and it'll still be working.

If Al Gore were to concede the Presidency at this point, when there are still unreleased official vote counts and recounts being pushed for (by both sides of the coin, mind you) then he would be failing us. Because with this much uncertainty, the system deserves the patience of the people while it works. It deserves the patience of the candidates. And both candidates deserve that system's complete, proper function and process - even if it means they can't declare themselves winners for a few weeks.

Of course Dubya is setting up a transition committee. I have no problem with that; if anything, Gore had better be doing the same just in case! Clinton showed us how easy it is to get so behind in one's appointments that the functioning of the government (not the system, the government its manifestation) can be threatened. Better to be ready in case you're declared winner.

But to those Republicans shouting for Gore to concede - shame on you. For him to concede now would be the very wrench in the function of our system that they claim he is tossing by staying in. Besides, at last count, Bush was gaining in the national popular vote as recounts and absentee ballots trickled in - what are they afraid of, a mandate?

The ranter above is a fairly staunch Democrat who is disgusted that he is left with little choice but Gore, but would rather have Gore (or even Bush) than have the system crumble.

Thanks to Gorgonzola for pointing out that the EC is, up until now at least, constitutional in that the Constitution stipulates its existence!

UPDATE 11/11: The Republican party, through shill James Baker, is now calling for an injunction to PREVENT a hand recount in Florida and other states. Excuse me?!?!? In other words, they don't *want* to be sure, they want their candidate to win 'for the good of the country.' I'm sorry, but seeking an injunction against recounting votes already cast, when there has been demonstrated error, is one of the most dangerous precedents I've yet heard come out of this whole mess, and the GOP should be ashamed of itself.

Don't be so quick to tear down the Electoral College

The Electoral College is actually much more important to the assurances of freedom and the Rule of Law in our country than is readily apparent. The Electoral College is a means by which smaller, less populous States in the Union can defend themselves politically from larger, richer, more populous and industrialized States. Without it, Presidential candidates would need only campaign on the issues that affect the majority of citizens in this country that live in large urban areas, and the needs of the minority living in rural areas would be abandoned.

The fact that a candidate can win the popular vote in the country and still lose the election is actually one of the positive benefits of the system. It provides an avenue for political minorities to have their voices heard. It prevents the majority from tyrannizing the rest. It gives the underdog a chance. It ensures our ability to dissent.

Along with the freedom of speech and press, the Electoral College is one of the greatest stabilizing agents in the Federal Government.

It also makes your vote count MORE.

Your vote holds more clout against the other voters of your State than it is against the rest of the country. That's immediately obvious due to the sheer difference in numbers. Likewise, your state's vote(s) are worth more in the National election than your individual vote would be worth. Your state votes, determining the candidate who's platform represents the greatest appeal based on the issues which are most important to your state. Then, you consolidate your votes into an Electorate and submit them against the other States.

But wait, you say. I didn't vote for the person who won my state. Isn't my vote wasted? NO! Remember that the people around you are voting in their collective interests. It is natural to assume that the winner of your state will produce the greatest collective benefit for your entire state (yourself included). Arguably, you are voting for the candidate who will settle the issues that are important to you in your own favor. If you think that the same issues that affect a rural farmer in Nebraska are important to an inner-city mom in New York, or a dot-com tycoon in California, you're a fool...this is why it is important to diffuse the immense power that statewide voting blocs (which would naturally form anyway if the Electoral College was removed) can have.

Think of a presidential election as kind of the World Series of American Politics. Politicians campaign in their various parties for a nomination to the Election in much the same way that baseball teams compete in their leagues. When the big event comes, each state is an individual game and each vote is a run. It is not enough for a candidate to simply score the most runs. The candidate must strategically score the most runs in the most games.

Backing back out of the metaphor, this means the Candidate who adopts the platform which represents the greatest interest of the most diverse groups of people will almost always get sifted to the top.

Even if he is the less popular one.
The American people, in the main, seemed to be calling for finality and closure, rather than democracy. Well, you got it.

Was it not Zimbabwe's Mugabe who pointed out that if his opponent had polled more votes, yet he had won the election, the US would have sanctioned him for undemocratic practise?

The fact is, the vast majority of US elections, since they began, have been won by the taller candidate. The American people have been voting for inches rather than policies. This sets a poor example.

In the last Presidential Election, a group of 100K+ (as opposed to 60K+ undervoted) ballots that have so far not been counted. Well, at least in the Democrat's sense of counted. One might ask, why the hell should we manually count the overvote? If some moron managed to punch votes for both Gore and Bucanan why should we go back and try to divine the will of the voter? Well, we shouldn't. I'm pretty sure there is no reason to hand count overvotes in a county with a punch card ballot. BUT, there is a perfectly good reason to manually count overvotes in counties with Optical Ballots. Anyone who's been in school for the last, I don't know, 20 years, will be familiar with these. They are basically scantron cards. It's quite possible that John Q. Bush supporter could nicely bubble in his vote, but by accident make a mark in the Gore bubble. It's possible that this will register as a vote for both candidates and not get counted. Now, it's completely obvious who the person really voted for if someone were to look at the ballot. In fact, it's much more obvious than a dimpled chad.

So, don't believe the Democrats when they try to claim that counting all of the undervotes across Florida will yield a complete count. It simply isn't true. If the news media would grasp this concept and take a look at where these Optical Ballots are they would most likely find they are in Republican counties.

The only fair and complete count would be a hand count of all the ballots in all the counties in Florida.

Update: Now that two news organizations have performed recounts of the undervotes we now know that Gore wouldn't have gained near enough votes to win even if they were counted. Given that, and the likelihood of Bush gaining votes from the overvote, if a full count were ever done Bush would come out way ahead.

This node was originally at overvote but moved at the request of an editor.

Dude, Where’s my Candidate?”

The 2000 Election was, painfully, not much different from elections of the past. The Florida debauchle was the only memorable event from the entire campaign and election, Ralph Nader “controversy” aside. Any issues were plainly not discussed at length, nor did they have much importance. Hence the slide into an even more wearisome and mind-dumbing round of mudslinging, where the great George W. Bush is trashed upon when his children get caught drinking, among other revelations about cocaine. This, my friend, is boring. With no issues except for a minor third-party threat, and the very ancient, deep-rooted tradition of fixing elections, we can only hope that this is not a sign of a beginning trend in elections to come.

Seemingly, the most talked about issue of the entire campaign was the threat of Green Party candidate Ralph Nader. The main accusation by many Al Gore supporters (or Bush-haters) was that Ralph Nader would suck election votes from Al Gore to a practical non-vote in the third party candidate. This does have some relevance, I do admit. The democrats are known for being more liberal than republicans, and it is plausible that they would have voted for Gore and won him the election had Ralph Nader not run or had he endorsed Gore. But this is an entirely hypothetical situation. In fact, polls showed (note that polls are statistics, and therefore not very reliable) Nader voters which may not have even voted for Gore. In fact, some (about 16%) of the Nader voters would have voted for Bush, not helping Gore in the least. Others (about 19%) would not have voted at all, so why not vote for Nader. His quest for 5% of the voting public and federal funds is a valiant one, giving future candidates a bit to think about on both sides of the political spectrum. But the exit polls showed that, had the election been a two-way race (if you couldn’t call it that already), Bush would have also won the popular vote. So, in the hypothetical scenario that Nader voters did not have the Nader option, they may not have helped elect Gore. But, as all “What if’s…” go, there is no way to really tell.

Unless you were living in a vacuum, it was obvious that the most prevalent issue in the 2000 election was not even known before election night: the Florida Controversy. What many people may not realize, is that elections have been fixed, or at least tweaked since the very beginning of our great country. How easy would it be for “vote-counters” all over the country to happily slip a few “invalid” ballots onto the floor. Not to mention the black voters which were barred from voting in Florida, the miscounting of ballots actually cast, and the counting of votes for Bush hich were actually invalid. Out of the entire population of the U.S., and such a close race for the presidency, this could make a huge difference. More unlikely, but plausible, would be the use of the major media outlets to mask the manipulation of numbers, when the winner is actually decided before ballots are counted. But, conspiracy theories aside, our election process is flawed, and will continue to be so no matter how much we try to reform it, until actual reform is instated. Already, the fuss has quieted and everyone has forgotten that the president they elected is not in office.

Of course, it remains to be seen if Al Gore would have made a better president. He may have more smarts, but he is still conservative as all get out, and actually has been heard to agree with George W. Bush on most issues at one time or another. They have both stated that they support the death penalty, increased Pentagon spending, NAFTA, the WTO, the Cuban embargo, poorly run HMOs, the cold-blooded bombing of Iraq, deadly firearms, all with the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer in a good round of trickle-down economics. These striking similarities illustrate how little voters had to choose from in the 2000 election. These figureheads for corporate interests were patently uninteresting. Hence, the huge Florida Controversy. We needed something to remember it by, even if it was a type of election fixing that has been going on since the beginning of our grand country. This was not anything new, it just so happened to be the most newsworthy event of the entire election. In follow-up investigations, election frauds such as these were found to have been going on in many past elections. But hey, who’s counting?

On Ralph Nader

I must say, I agree with Ralph Nader with many, if not all of his issues. Nader’s stances on all the issues are much more appealing than either Bush’s or Gore’s. But, the plaguing dilemma was always throwing the election to Bush. As stated above, I view this as a non-factor, where both Bush and Gore are essentially the same candidate. Post-election, though, it may be apparent that Nader might fare better by trying to reform the Democrats from the inside. I wonder if this is plausible. They may be too far gone, and the only hope is a third party. The Democrats sure seem to have sold out entirely. In the 2000 Election, a very good idea was hatched for Nader supporters: The Nader Trader. This gave Nader supporters a chance to vote for their candidate in hopes of gaining him the five percent of votes needed for federal funding, in exchange for Gore getting another vote in the all-important swing states. For example, a Nader voter in Washington could agree to vote for Gore, hoping to win him Washington, in exchange for his friend in Texas (a definite Bush win) voting for Nader. It helps both people's voting interests involved. Now, this may have been instituted too late into the election for it to work effectively, and it remains to be seen if it is actually legal (there was some talk of legal proceedings, but not much progress was made). Nader Trader was not a bad idea in theory, and if instituted early enough, could have made some waves.

For the future, Ralph Nader has a lot of thinking to do, especially after alienating some of his supporters and possibly giving Bush the most powerful seat in the world. He hasn’t decided whether or not to run next election. Frankly, I don’t think it will make much difference. Of the 347 or so people that ran for president, only the 2 or 3 will get any coverage. Why so few? Because those two will own all the airwaves, and therefore most Americans' minds as well. You call this a democracy?

the rest of the story

November 7, 2000. George W. Bush and Al Gore are neck and neck. TV networks anticipate that Gore will win the state of Florida, and with Florida the Presidency.

November 8, 2000. Whoops. Now Bush is going to win Florida. Actually, wait, we take that back. Florida is too close to call. Sorry about that confusion. By midmorning, a machine recount is underway, and a furor is erupting over "butterfly ballots." Which brings us to the meat of this election:

It's called a campaign, because it is a war. These are the battles:

That day, Gore's lawyers file Fladell v. Palm Beach County Canvassing Board to dispute the legality of the butterfly ballot. Judge Jorge Labarga rules that he can't order a revote, and the Florida Supreme Court upholds this claim.


In Florida Democratic Party v. Palm Beach County Canvassing Board, Gore's lawyers contest Palm Beach's refusal to count dimpled chads as votes. Labarga rules that the intent of the voter has to be considered in the count.


Then, in Siegel v. LePore and Touchson v. McDermott, Bush's lawyers assert that the "selective" recounts violate the equal protection clause of Amendment XIV. In district court, Bush gets smacked down by Judge Donald Middlebrooks: the circuit court upholds the decision, saying that Bush's rights have not been violated.


Then comes McDermott v. Harris. Gore's lawyers say that Katherine Harris, the secretary of state, cannot certify returns from disputed counties. Judge Terry Lewis rules that Harris can do whatever she damn well pleases. Ouch!


So Gore goes back to Tallahassee, Florida in Palm Beach County Canvassing Board v. Harris, which contests Harris's authority once more. The Florida Supreme Court overrules Lewis's earlier decision, saying that Harris needs to wait until the disputed counties are recounted. Dick Cheney has a heart attack.


Getting back into the game, Bush's lawyers do a decidedly liberal thing and ask for federal intervention. In Bush v. Palm Beach County Canvassing Board, the United States Supreme Court rules, 9-0, that the Florida Supreme Court was wrong, wrong, wrong! They send the case back to Florida and tell them to do it right this time. Republicans stand and applaud.

December 4, 2000: GORE 3 BUSH 3

Sensing that their current line of attack is failing, Gore's lawyers make their own comeback by filing Gore v. Miami-Dade County Canvassing Board, accusing Miami-Dade County of illegally halting its recount. The Florida Supreme Court tells Gore to take a hike.

December 8, 2000: GORE 3 BUSH 4

Two in a row! Gore's lawyers file suits in Taylor v. Martin County Canvassing Board and Jacobs v. Seminole County Canvassing Board, alleging that absentee ballots are being filled in by Republican lackeys. Terry Lewis and Nikki Clark, respectively, rule against Gore in both cases.

Then, in Harris v. Florida Elections Canvassing Commission, district court and circuit court judges rule that absentee ballots can be accepted after Election Day, despite possible language to the contrary within the Florida Statutes. This is a good thing for Bush.

Gore makes his last assault in Gore v. Harris, saying that "illegal votes" are threatening to tip the vote in Florida. Judge Sanders Sauls rules against him in a major judicial smackdown, but the Florida Supreme Court smacks down Sauls and says that all potential undervotes still have to be manually recounted. Gore sighs in temporary relief.

December 9, 2000: GORE 4 BUSH 8

Bush's lawyers appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court again, in the ultimate suit: Bush v. Gore. On December 12, 2000, the Supreme Court rules, 5-4, that recounting with voter intent in mind violates the candidates' equal protection, and is therefore unconstitutional. Gore is screwed. He concedes the next day.

By a margin of 271 to 266, Bush wins the Electoral College. On January 6, 2001, Gore, fulfilling his duty as Vice President, counts the votes in a joint session of Congress and declares Bush the winner.

Bush takes over the world on January 20, 2001.

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.