Politics & Policy

They Didn’t Count On This

A hand recount could have favored Bush.

Before the U.S. Supremes stopped the latest Florida recount late Saturday afternoon, all the usual pundocracy suspects kept chanting that since Al Gore would win this recount — just as soon as the early tallies were posted — the public tide would shift back to Gore. In other words, W. was destined to lose, either in the court of public opinion or in the court of the final recount.

But wait just one minute.

A couple of news articles posted on the web last Saturday morning suggested that the pundits might well be wrong, and Bush might well win the recount. Now, don’t get me wrong on this. For all the good conservative constitutional reasons — including equal protection, due process, and separation of powers — I’m hoping that the U.S. Supremes shut down Al Gore’s recount water completely. But there is a part of me that would like to see a totally clear-cut vote-count victory for Bush — even if it would be his fifth recount victory.

And that brings me back to these unnoticed weekend news stories. According to Harvard University government professor Jasjeep Sekhon, “Gore may not be clearly advantaged by the statewide recount of the undercounted ballots.” Sekhon is one of a group of statistical experts from Harvard, U. Cal Berkeley, Cornell, and Northwestern who have carefully analyzed the data in Florida’s 67 counties. Their latest conclusion: “It’s anybody’s ballgame, although the pattern suggests Bush may gain more votes than Gore.”

The academics note that data from Palm Beach and Broward counties show that when ballots were examined by hand, Bush gained more than Gore. In addition to the professors, the left-leaning Miami Herald also reported on Saturday that its own precinct-by-precinct statistical analysis suggests that the votes are not there for Gore. In fact, the Herald believes the recount could boost Bush’s lead by about 40 votes. There’s a new twist: if disputed dimpled ballots were counted as votes, Bush could actually win the state by 278 votes.

So as I watched various cable talking head shows, I kept thinking about these studies as various pundits hammered away that Gore would win were it not for the intrusion of the U.S. Supremes. In particular, I’d like to award Time magazine’s Evan Thomas and Margaret Carlson as the worst offenders.

Two more points on the statistics of vote counting. First, this afternoon, the Atlanta appeals court agreed with a federal judge who refused to throw out 2,400 of Florida’s overseas ballots — mostly from military personnel. So, at least there is some sanity in the legal process. Meanwhile, an AP story filed this afternoon reports that election officials in Okaloosa and DeSoto counties added 26 overseas votes for Bush. That of course still leaves roughly 1,500 military ballots uncounted. But in the AP news article describing the 11th Circuit’s decision, it was noted that “the appeals court rejected the claims of lawyers representing 13 individual Democratic voters whose lawsuits were combined before federal judges.” Let me repeat that: Democratic lawsuits.

As I have written earlier, this Democratic party assault on the voting rights of U.S. servicemen and women really burns me up. Though Democratic party officials from the top all the way down still deny it, a good chunk of Al Gore’s recount strategy always included attempts to throw out the military ballots. This process was started by Tallahassee Democratic lawyer Mark Herron, with his infamous memo to thousands of Democratic poll watchers and ballot counters. And the party of Jefferson and Jackson is still lying about this.

At least a couple of House Democrats, namely Rep. Gene Taylor of Mississippi, and Neal Abercrombie of Hawaii, are willing to hold congressional hearings on the subject. But Gephardt et. al. in the leadership have been shadowboxing and backpedaling on the issue all along. Ditto for the Gore-Lieberman high command. This distasteful and unpatriotic performance gets little discussion from the army of TV talking heads.

Last point, there are still 5,000 felon votes counted in Al Gore’s total. How it is they can be counted is beyond me. The kangaroo court Florida Supremes never talk about this, just as they never discuss the travesty of the disqualified military ballots. But virtually all of the felon votes are registered Democrats. What a surprise.


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