It can no longer be denied. By the stated standards of the Supreme Court that selected George W. Bush to be the next President, Al Gore won the Florida election. The Presidency of George W. Bush is therefore illegitimate.
A brief justification of this point follows.
The Standard: "Valid Votes."
In its opinion selecting George W. Bush as President, the Supreme Court of the United States recognized very clearly what kind of vote is a valid vote: "one in which there is a clear indication of the intent of the voter" (Per Curiam opinion of the majority). This standard is also codified in Florida state law.
Let's be clear about what this means. When a voter didn't completely punch through a ballot, or wrote "Gore" on the ballot instead of punching the Gore option, it still counts as a valid vote because the intent of the voter is clear.
Let's be even clearer. Much has been made of the "dimpled chad" standard. An objection is that counting a dimpled chad as having clear intent is unfair, since such a dimpling might have happened by chance. The problem is that if dimples happened by chance, then no one candidate should benefit, since random dimples would be as likely to appear favoring Bush as favoring Gore. Only non-random dimples will favor one candidate over another. The designers of the punch-card balloting machine have admitted in court that poorly-maintained machines can accumulate chads that block punches, resulting in dimples when people make their selection. For this reason, the counting of dimples is a reasonable, unbiased and valid way to count votes.
The Results: Gore Received More Votes in Florida
Reporters from the Palm Beach Post obtained ballots from the Palm Beach County canvassing board, and using the dimpled chad standard, counted 4,513 ballots that were never included in official counts. They found that only 195 actually had no indication of choice. Of the 4,318 remaining ballots, 2,500 met the Supreme Court's "valid vote" standard for Gore, and 1,818 met the "valid vote" standard for Bush. The result is a net gain of 682 votes for Gore.
Secretary of State and Bush Campaign Co-Chair Katherine Harris' certified a 537-vote victory for Bush. If we take into account the 682 vote gain (from ballots the Supreme Court majority labeled valid) and the 174 vote gain (again from ballots the Supremes labeled valid) rejected by Campaign Co-Chair Katherine Harris because they were 1 1/2 hours late, Gore moves into the lead with a 319 vote lead.
Sleight of Hand Distraction: Three Counties Ain't All the Counties
You may, at this point, be a bit confused. After all, wasn't an Associated Press article splashed across front pages of papers across the country a few weeks ago with the headline "In Recount, Gore Would Have Lost Florida"? Yes, but if you read a bit closer you'll notice that recount was only for three counties. There are more than three counties in Florida, and the Florida Supreme Court called for recounts in all counties. Keep this in mind when your friendly neighborhood Republican partisan trots out the AP argument.
In the light of the standard set by Florida state law and the U.S. Supreme Court and the counting of previously uncounted but agreedly valid votes, three conclusions may be drawn:
We, the majority of Americans who did not vote for George W. Bush and the plurality of Americans who voted for Al Gore, will not tear down in anger the nation built so carefully and judiciously with democratic direction. But we will seize our democracy back in righteous action come 2002 and 2004. We will vote the Pretender out of office.
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