Bytes -- February, 2002
"Bush Wins Florida" NOT
"The Online Gadfly"
As nightfall does not come at once, neither does oppression.
In both instances, there's a twilight where everything remains
seemingly unchanged, and it is in such twilight that we must be
aware of change in the air, however slight, lest we become
unwitting victims of the darkness.
William O. Douglas
Make no mistake, Al Gore won in Florida. Under any consistent
legal standard of counting the ballots, Gore won. The fact that
the media consortium is lying about the results is ... an
indication of just how debased our democracy has become.
On November 11, 2001, the "Media consortium" finally released its
report of the Florida recount project. While the media accounts of
that study told us very little that we did not know about that
election, they it revealed a great deal about the state of political
reporting in the United States today.
Consider some of the headlines that announced the consortium study:
"Bush Still Had Votes to Win in a Recount, Study Finds." (Los
"Study of Disputed Florida Ballots Finds Justices Did not Cast
the Deciding Vote." (New York Times).
"Study: Recounts Would have Favored Bush." (Washington Post)
"Florida Recount Study: Bush Still Wins." (CNN.com)
"Recount: Bush" (St. Petersburg Times).
And so on.
Those who troubled themselves to read below the headlines and lead
paragraphs would generally have found a different story: on virtually
all recount scenarios, Gore would have won Florida and the
Presidential election. For example, after the third paragraph, the New
York Times proceeds to dismantle the confident assertion in its
headline, and late in the article concedes, "If all the ballots had
been reviewed under any of seven single standards, and combined with
the results of an examination of overvotes, Mr. Gore would have won."
( See Gore Vidal's priceless "Times
Cries Eke! Buries Al Gore,").
Even the scenario that appeared to favor Bush, as trumpeted in the
above headlines, is suspect as I will explain below. ("The Losing'
Lost in this journalistic smoke-screen is the stark fact, conceded by
virtually all observers, that when the Floridians went to the polls
(or attempted to do so) on November 7, 2000, tens of thousands more
voters intended to vote for Gore than for Bush. Why they failed to do
so is by far the most significant aspect of this debacle and
coincidentally, the aspect least discussed in the national media.
The 2000 Florida election, and the Consortium report thereof, might be
compared to a poker game between, let us say, Sneaky George and Honest
The game is rigged in George's favor, from top to bottom. He
"owns" the dealer, who deals him high cards, which are marked. A
spectator behind Al's back signals the poor chump's hand to Sneaky
George. Poor Al appears to be in a hopeless match. And yet, somehow,
he draws a strong hand which, despite all of George's cheating, just
Fully aware of this threat, the dealer halts the play and awards the
game to George. When the hands are shown, it turns out that George
had a slightly stronger hand after all. And so, the house announces
(to paraphrase the New York Times), "A study of the disputed poker
hands finds the dealer did not decide the game." From this, we are
asked to conclude that Sneaky George won "fair and square."
Yeah, sure! So long as we ignore how the hands were dealt.
And that is exactly what the Bush supporters and the national media
would have us do ignore the preceding conditions and events that led
to a tally sufficiently close to allow the Supreme Court to appoint
the President of the United States.
There were dozens of irregularities in the Florida vote, virtually all
of them deliberately designed to favor George Bush. Most of these
irregularities were, by themselves, sufficiently damaging to Al Gore
to cost him the election. The following is a partial list of the most
conspicuous and notorious manipulations of the Florida election.
A private firm with GOP connections, Database Technologies, was
hired by Gov. Jeb Bush and Katherine Harris to "purge" the voter
rolls of the names of "felons" (many of whom were, in fact,
convicted of misdemeanors and thus eligible). Thousands of eligible
voters with identical names were denied access to the polls in
some cases, these were county election officials. (Cf. Gregory
'Disappeared Voters': Disfranchised by the GOP,"
The Nation, 2/5/01).
In heavily Democratic precincts, polling places were moved
without prior notification, voters standing in line at poll closing
were not allowed to vote (contrary to law), and there were reports
of sealed ballot boxes that were not collected.
The Florida election laws, reaffirmed by the Florida Supreme
Court, explicitly state that ballots indicating "the clear intention
of the voter" are to be counted. (Identical to a Texas law which was
signed by Governor George Bush). "Overvotes" which show a "punch" by
a candidate's name and in addition that same candidate's name in the
write-in line, unquestionably indicates "the intention of the
voter." Contrary to Florida law, these were not counted. Had they
been tallied, Gore would have won.
Military absentee ballots, either without postmarks or
postmarked after election day (thus invalid) were counted in
In at least two heavily Republican counties, GOP campaign
workers were give free access to the voting rolls, whereupon they
selected and mailed absentee ballots exclusively to Republican
A mob (later identified as GOP Congressional staffers) shut down
the recounting in heavily Democratic Miami-Dade County.
Consider this last, for a moment. Suppose a Mafia Don were on
trial, and a gang of thugs broke into the courtroom and attempted to
disrupt and end the trial. Or suppose a Congressional vote were
interrupted by a mob of lobbyists entering the floor of the House of
Representatives. One can not doubt the outcome: the culprits would be
arrested forthwith, tried and convicted, and the official business
would continue as before.
The recounting of those Miami-Dade ballots was official business,
disrupted by a pack of hooligans imported from Washington GOP
congressional offices, intent upon putting an end to that business.
They succeeded fully. No arrests, no charges, no convictions. Why
The "Losing" Gore Scenario. Those triumphant headlines "Bush
Wins" rest upon two scenarios: (a) Gore's original request that the
43,000 "undervote" ballots of four counties, Palm Beach, Miami-Dade,
Broward and Volusia, be examined. Had those votes been scrutinized,
the Consortium reports, Bush's margin would have been reduced from 537
to 225. (2) Had all 67 counties been tallied by that standard, Bush
would have won by 493 votes.
Trouble is, that had the Supremes allowed the recount to continue, the
overvotes would have been counted, as required by the Florida Supreme
Court. (The Judge supervising that recount, one Terry Lewis, has so
indicated). Advantage, Gore.
And keep in mind, these virtual ties are all predicated upon the
dastardly and illegal shenanigans, partially listed above, that
preceded and attended that election. In an honest and fair election,
Gore would have won hands down.
Even so, there is something fishy about those "Gore Scenario" tallies
of the four counties. The stench increases as we ponder this line from
the LA Times report of the Consortium Study: "Florida's counties could
not locate every uncounted ballot."
Soon after the Consortium Study was announced (November 11, 2001), I
took the trouble to download the
Report of the National Opinion Research Center (NORC)
on which the Consortium Study is based and the Official Florida
Election Returns of November 7, 2000. There I found that the
distribution of the legal ballots in those four counties was Gore
--59.6%, Bush 38.6, and "others" 1.8%. Yet we are asked to believe
that an examination of 43,000 ballots (presuming they showed the same
60/40 distribution) gains Gore a mere 312 votes?
Then consider this: statewide, the percentage of "spoiled ballots" was
2.93%. In the four counties of the Gore scenario, the percentage was
2.36%. But now, consider further: 90% of the "Gore scenario" votes
(Volusia county excluded) were by punch cards, which yield 3% errors.
Most Florida counties use the more accurate (.07% errors) optical scan
ballots. (NORC reports that most statewide votes are cast by punch
cards, but these voting machines are disproportionately in the poorer,
i.e., Democratic, precincts). Therefore, the percentage of spoiled
ballots in the four Gore counties should be significantly higher than
in the state as a whole.
What happened to those other "spoiled ballots?!"
How many lost ballots? Perhaps we can offer a conjecture. The four
counties in the Gore scenario accounted for 30.4% of the entire
tallied Florida vote (about six million). But the same four counties
yielded 24.5% of all the statewide "spoiled ballots." Had the
percentage of spoiled ballots in the four Gore counties been
consistent with percentage of valid statewide votes (30.4%), then the
NORC "coders" would have had, not 43,000, but 53,355 undervote ballots
to examine from Palm Beach, Miami-Dade, Broward and Volusia counties.
What became of those (apparently) missing 10,000 ballots from the
Is it just possible that those ballots (in the custody of the Jeb Bush
administration) were "cherry-picked" and several hundred Gore ballots
"de-selected" before the NORC investigators got to them? NORC never
posed the question, nor did the media Consortium. In fact, I have
nowhere encountered this question. No testimony or material evidence
of such tampering has been brought forward, and further investigation
falls outside the reach of my sheet of Florida election returns, the
NORC Report before me, and my desk calculator. The answer might only
be found through the use of subpoenas, sworn testimony, and an army of
investigators and lawyers such as those unleashed on the Clintons. Not
likely during the current Administration.
Even so, the statistical evidence remains troubling, to say the least
And keep in mind, that comment from the LA Times: "Florida's counties
could not locate every uncounted ballot."
For still more about this very troubling election, see the References
and "Ammunition" list at the close of this article.
In the meantime, "The Gadfly" steadfastly refuses to "get over it."
And so, my written comments and complaints about the 2000 Election and
Bush v. Gore will remain on this site "for the duration" perhaps
even longer than Dubya's open-ended "war on Terra." (See
"On Politics," this site)
Copyright 2002 by Ernest Partridge
Mark Crispin Miller on being willing "to do
anything to get elected."
Or, "Consistency, thy name ain't GOP."
"The whole rightist propaganda mill that ran the country ragged
following election day [November, 2000]... was so blatant, and the
propaganda so pervasive, that you couldn't not notice the hypocrisy
unless you were a part of it, in which case you believed that the
hypocrisy was wholly on the other side. Thus it is, of course, with
all hermetic propaganda systems, be they democratic or authoritarian.
Indeed, that big, loud network of Republicans shifting ground from
one hour to the next, bitterly attacking principles that they had just
now bitterly defended, and screaming at the Democrats for doing things
that they themselves had done or were about to do behaved exactly
like their erstwhile enemies in Moscow (and New York), executing
endless swift volte-faces to toe the party line.
"Thus we had the GOP the long-term bastion of states' rights now
demanding, then defending, the use of Federal power to overturn a
ruling by the high court of the state of Florida. The party that had
long decried and was even now decrying "judicial activism" was also
gratefully applauding the Supreme Court's highly activist decision to
itself elect the nation's president. The party that was even now
decrying judicial interference with the legislative3 branch was also
now applauding the Supreme Court for having halted a state recount on
the grounds that there was "no clear standard" for the process when
the standard had been written by the Florida legislature. The party
that was vehemently arguing that hand recounts are wholly unreliable
and absolutely not to be allowed was at the same time calling for hand
recounts in New Mexico, and was supporting as its leader, the very man
who had approved the passage of a Texas law permitting hand recounts
in close elections. The party that had just pulled off a massive
keep-out-the-vote campaign I Florida's most heavily Democratic
precincts, disenfranchising tens of thousands of black, poor white,
and Hispanic voters, now hailed the Supreme Court's decision to abort
the recount under the equal protection clause in the Constitution. And
even as they frantically demanded, then defended, all those shifts and
gimmicks, the Republicans assailed Al Gore as one who would do
anything to get elected...'"
The Bush Dislexicon, pp. 56-7.
At this site ("The Online Gadfly"):
(Collected Comments on Bush v. Gore).
Day of Infamy: Bush v. Gore
The Hijacked Election
The Myth of "The Liberal Media"
"The Press vs. Al Gore: How Lazy Reporting Cost Him the Election," Rolling Stone, November 28, 2001.
Dare Call it Treason," The Nation.
"A Year Later, It's Still a Sham," New York Observer, Nov. 23, 2001.
Floridagate, "[Documents] nearly sixty crimes committed by the Bush campaign, Jeb Bush, Katherine Harris, the U.S. Supreme Court, and the TV networks."
"Recount Spin: First they Stole the Election, Now They are Stealing the Truth,"
For Fessenden and John M. Broder,
"Study of Disputed Florida Ballots Finds Justices Did Not Cast the Deciding Vote," The New York Times, November 12, 2001.
"Everything the New York Times Thinks about the Florida Recount is Wrong."
"Update: Hot Recount Docs!"
"Florida Recount Media Critique: Gore Wins, Media Lies (Yet Again)."
Robert McChesney and John Nichols,
Making of a Movement" The Nation, January 7/14, 2002.
Doyle McManus, Bob Drugin and Richard O'Reilly,
"Bush Still Had Votes to Win in a Recount, Study Finds," Los Angeles Times, November 12, 2001.
Mark Crispin Miller, The Bush Dislexicon, Norton, 2001.
Mark Crispin Miller,
Wrong With This Picture?," , The Nation, January
Ten," January 7/14, 2002.
'Disappeared Voters': Disfranchised by the GOP," The
Nation, February 5, 2001.
"So, Bush Did Steal the White House," Consortium News.
Democracy," Consortium News.
"After the Recount, Who Will Apologize to the People?"
Jeffrey Toobin, Too Close to Call
Cries Eke! Buries Al Gore," The Nation, December