WON ! (This
is the blow-by-blow version.)
the shorter version---
His popular vote lead over Bush in the 2000 presidential election
That's five times the lead Kennedy had over Nixon in 1960.
The analysis commissioned by the Miami Herald indicates that Gore
would have won Florida by 23,000 votes if all the state's contested
ballots had been completely counted.
With Florida's 25 electoral votes Gore goes over the top to win
the electoral vote, 292-246, rather than the "official"
December 18 count of 271-267 for President-appointee Bush.
So how did they manage to hijack the election? In more or less chronological
Florida Secretary of State Katharine Harris (co-chair of the Florida
for Bush campaign committee) scrubbed the voter registry of thousands
of purported "felons" based on a flawed
list from ChoicePoint, a private company with deep Republican ties.
(Gregory Palast in salon.com, December 4th.) Many of those listed
had committed misdemeanors, not felonies. Many had committed felonies
in other states, served their time, and had their voting rights
restored. Those thousands illegally denied the right to vote were
disproportionately African-American; Florida African-Americans voted
93 percent for Gore. "Hey, Al. take a look at this,"
Greg Palast wrote in the UK
Observer on December 10th. "Every time I cut open an alligator,
I find the bones of more Gore voters."
In violation of the law Republican officials in Seminole and Martin
counties were allowed to add missing ID numbers to absentee ballots
that would otherwise have been disqualified. A similar "privilege"
was not offered for Democratic ballots.
vote cases provide evidence of Republican vote-rigging
On Election Day thousands of people in minority precincts were turned
away from the polls, polling locations were moved without previous
notice, and polling places "ran out" of ballots. There
was a road block set up by Florida Highway Patrol officers near
a black voting precinct in Tallahassee.
A&M students describe Republican attack on voting rights.
In Palm Beach
County Jewish senior citizens complained about the new "butterfly
ballot" in which candidates were, contrary to state law, arranged
in two columns. They feared they may have mistakenly voted for anti-semitic
There were some most unusual events on Election Night. First, the
exit polls conducted by the Voter News Service indicated that Gore
had carried Florida by 100,000 votes. So an early award was given
to Gore fifty minutes after the polls had closed in the majority
of the state, but ten minutes before their closing in the western
part of the panhandle which is on Central Time. We were then treated
to CNN interviewing George W. en famille with George Sr. and Barbara
with George declaring that there had been a mistake, that he "knew"
he had carried Florida. (This was without precedent. Heretofore,
the public had not heard from either candidate until one conceded
and then the other announced victory.) Shortly thereafter, the networks
put Florida into the "undecided" category. Soon it was
clear from the other returns that Florida and its 25 electoral votes
would decide the election. Then at 2:16 AM Fox News Channel declared
Bush the winner and the other networks quickly followed suit. The
call was made by John Ellis without any input from the Voter News
Service, the consortium which is supposed to make the projections
for the TV news outlets. Ellis is George and Jeb Bush's first cousin
and, as he later told The New Yorker, was in telephone communication
with George W. and Florida Governor Jeb Bush all evening.
US election: The conspiracy begins to unravel
Bush's Man at Fox News worked to shape the outcome
Gore, who had
telephoned a concession to Bush, was literally on his way to make
a televised concession speech when he was advised that Bush's supposed
lead in Florida was dwindling rapidly.
By daybreak Bush's "lead" was around 1725 out of 6 million
cast, thus triggering an automatic machine recount of the vote which
reduces Bush's lead to 327. A staggering number of ballots had been
rejected by the machines for over-voting or under-voting, especially
in the urban districts still serviced by obsolete Votomatics, With
these 1960s punch-card machines the
rejection rate was 3.9 percent as compared with the rejection rate
of 1.4 percent in the 43 counties (typically Republican) that
had spent the money to upgrade to optical scanners.
ballot" caused 19,000 voters in Palm Beach County to vote for
two candidates, Gore and Buchanan. There were reports that the ballots
in heavily Jewish districts had been misprinted, so that the names
did not line up in the manner demonstrated on television by right-wing
commentators who seemed to deride the mental capabilities of these
mostly elderly voters. Buchanan received 3407 votes in Palm Beach
as compared to 561 in Miami-Dade County. "I don't think we
have 3000 Nazis in Palm Beach County," said a county commissioner.
"If me and Pat Buchanan are winning precincts in my district,
there is something wrong," said Democratic Congressman Robert
Something rotten in the state
of Florida [9 November]
conspiracy against democratic rights continues [10 November]
of attorney for both Bush and Gore converged on Florida. The Gore
team wanted a manual recount to determine "voter intent".
(If the Votomatic tray that receives the chads has not been cleaned
out, even the most vigorous punch will not dislodge the chad completely,
resulting in a "hanging chad" or a "pregnant chad"
which the machine will ignore, but which is quite obvious on manual
inspection.) The Bush team was determined that there not be a recount,
knowing that the results would not favor Bush.
The Bush team
maintained that hand recounts are inaccurate. Yet Bush supported
and signed a Texas law that decrees that a hand recount is the "preferred
procedure" in the event of a contested election. The Bush team
asked for a hand recount in New Mexico and brother Governor Jeb
Bush has had hand recounts in previous elections in Florida. So
much for consistency.
The Gore team
asked for hand recounts in Palm Beach, Broward, Volusia and Miami-Dade
Counties. After a partial recount in Palm Beach County produced
a significant number of votes for Gore, the Bush campaign filed
suit in federal court on November 11, seeking an injunction against
these recounts. The county election officials voted 2-1 to continue
with a full county recount..
seeks to block counting of Florida votes [13 November]
14:- Secretary of State Harris, ignoring the hand recounts in progress
in three counties, certified that the vote for the 67 counties put
Bush in the lead by 306 votes. She said she will not accept the
results of hand recounts and will certify the final count after
the deadline for absentee ballots is passed on November 18.
15:- Gore made a public address in which he suggested that he and
Bush agree to abide by the total of the votes so far certified plus
the overseas votes plus any change that would occur as the result
of the hand recounts then in progress. He indicated that he was
also willing to accept the results of hand recounts in all 67 counties,
if Bush would prefer that. If Bush would agree to this, he would
agree to have no legal actions no matter how the vote came out.
This proposed "deal", as Bush handlers quickly named it,
was similar to proposals advanced by several leading newspapers
to end the conflict and the escalating acrimony.
17:- In the morning a county judge ruled that Harris had the right
to refuse the recounted ballots. In the afternoon the Florida Supreme
Court ruled that Harris may not proceed with her planned final certification
the next day until the court rules on the admissibility of recounts.
Miami-Dade County, reversing an earlier decision, voted for a full
recount. And, to cap the Bush reversals, the 11th Circuit Court
of Appeals denied the Republican lawsuit which sought to suppress
the hand recount throughout the state.
slows Bush grab for power [18 November]
November 21:- The Florida Supreme Court ruled in favor of hand recounts
and gave the counties until November 26 to file results. It validated
the votes gained so far for Gore, reducing Bush's lead to 154 votes.
It was clear to all that a manual recount of the 45,000 undervotes
in the four counties would cause Bush's razor-thin margin to vanish.
The Bush campaign retaliated by describing the decision as "an
outrageous act of judicial overreaching" and appealed to the
US Supreme Court for an emergency review on the grounds that a recount
in these counties constituted a denial of equal protection because
similar recounts were not conducted in the other counties. Of course
Bush had strenuously opposed recounts in the other counties and
had allowed the deadline to pass for asking for such recounts. Bush
representative James Baker hints that the Florida legislature may
convene and select electors based on the numbers certified by Harris.
to vote upheld in Florida S C decision on recounts [23 November]
operatives and the anti-Castro Radio Mambi put out the call for
protestors to converge on the Miami Canvassing Board the next day.
22:- The Miami-Dade Canvassing Board began the manual recount of
10,000 undervotes in that county. A mob of about 150 at a signal
from Rep. John Sweeney ("Shut it down!") began pounding
on the doors of the elections department, chanting, "Stop the
count, stop the fraud!" Several people were trampled and manhandled
as the mob attempted to rush the doors. The crowd chased the county
democratic chairman, screaming that he was stealing a ballot. He
had to be rescued by the police. When officials were told that a
mob of 1000 Cuban-Americans were on the way, they caved in and canceled
the recount, claiming that there was not enough time to complete
it. According to the Wall Street Journal of November 27 the office
of Republican Congressional Whip Tom DeLay was in charge of the
operation, making "an offer that many staffers couldn't refuse:
free air fare, accommodations and food in the Sunshine State-all
paid for by the Bush campaign." Mission accomplished in Miami,
the group moved on to harass election workers in Broward and West
Palm Beach. Thanksgiving evening Bush and Cheney called the leaders
of the mob team, staff members of Republican congressmen, to congratulate
them on their accomplishment.
of a right-wing riot-- the Republican mob attack in Miami-Dade
campaign organized Republican riot to halt Miami-Dade recount
26:- Secretary of State Katharine Harris certified the final election
results in an elaborate ceremony that was televised nationally.
Bush's lead was cut in half by the Broward recount to 537 votes.
It would have been reduced by another 200 votes had Harris been
willing to accept the Palm Beach partial recount which came in two
hours past her arbitrary deadline of 5 PM. The election officials
had worked straight through the Thanksgiving holiday, but the disruptions
and disputes of the Republican monitors had prevented the timely
completion of the task.
the Democratic vice-presidential candidate, announced that he and
Gore would contest the official tally in the Florida courts. (The
contest phase can not happen until the after the official certification
and the "protest phase" is over.) Later that evening Bush,
quite ignoring Lieberman and the constitutional issues, proclaimed
himself to be the president-elect and demanded that Clinton make
the presidential transition team benefits available to him immediately.
November 30:- The Republican-controlled legislature voted to convene
a special session to choose a slate of pro-Bush electors. This was
a fail-safe measure in the event that the recounts ordered by the
courts would give the state to Gore. Governor Jeb Bush endorsed
legislature moves to override vote and name pro-Bush electors
December 4:- The US Supreme Court vacated the Florida Supreme Court
decision of November 21. The Court unanimously remanded the case
back to the Florida Supreme Court with the instruction to clarify
the grounds on which they had overruled the election authorities
and extended the deadline for certification. The implication was
that the Florida's constitutional guarantee of the right of the
people to vote for the US president was in conflict with the federal
constitution's provision that the state legislatures have the power
to appoint presidential electors.
rulings in US election crisis attack democratic rights [5 December]
Supreme Court hearing highlights state conspiracy against democratic
rights [2 December]
December 8:- The Florida Supreme Court ordered the immediate manual
recount of 43,000 undervotes statewide. This ruling overturned the
previous decision by Circuit Court Judge N. Sanders Sauls in which
he rejected Gore's contest of the certified election results, saying
that hand recounts in selected counties were not warranted and that
local canvassing boards had "discretion" to reject lawfully
cast votes. During the trial Bush's own expert witness conceded
that manual recounts are needed to tabulate votes in close elections
where Vote-O-Matic machines are used.
attack on voting rights continues in arguments before Florida Supreme
9:- The US Supreme Court ordered a halt to the hand recount in Florida.
Justices Stevens, Breyer, Ginsburg and Souter dissented, stating:
"On questions of state law, we [the Court] have consistently
respected the opinions of the highest courts of the States.... As
a more fundamental matter, the Florida court's ruling reflects the
basic principle, inherent in our Constitution and our democracy,
that every legal vote should be counted." Justice Scalia, the
only one of the Gang of Five to issue an opinion, took the position
that "there is no right of suffrage" in a presidential
election. To count the votes would "threaten irreparable harm
to petitioner [George W. Bush], and to the country, by casting a
cloud upon what he claims to be the legitimacy of his election."
They scheduled a hearing for Monday, December 11.
Court halts Florida vote count: A black day for American democracy
December 12:- The US Supreme Court, in a decision as partisan as
the unconscionable Dred Scott decision of 1857, permanently halted
the Florida recount, thus handing the presidency to George W. Bush.
The Gang of Five baldly stated: "The individual citizen has
no federal constitutional right to vote for electors for the President
of the United States unless and until the state legislature chooses
a statewide election as the means to implement its power to appoint
members of the Electoral College." They added further that
the state legislature could, at any time, revoke the popular vote
for president and "if it so chooses, select the electors itself."
John Paul Stevens stated in his dissenting opinion: "In the
interest of finality, however, the majority effectively orders the
disenfranchisement of an unknown number of voters whose ballots
reveal their intent-- and are therefore legal votes under state
law-- but were for some reason rejected by the ballot-counting machines....
Although we may never know with complete certainty the identity
of the winner of this year's Presidential election, the identity
of the loser is perfectly clear. It is the Nation's confidence in
the judge as an impartial guardian of the rule of law."
Two members of the Gang of Five have conflicts of interest with
a Bush victory sufficient to cause more ethical judges to recuse
themselves. Thomas' wife Virginia is employed by the Heritage Foundation,
a right-wing think tank, where she is processing resumés
for appointments in a Bush administration. Scalia's son Eugene is
a partner in the Washington law office of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher.
One of the senior partners there is Theodore Olson, who argued Bush's
case before the Supreme Court and is supposed to be on Bush's short
list for a Supreme Court nomination. Additionally, Justice O'Connor,
aged 70, has been postponing retirement until a Republican president
takes office. It could also be argued that Rehnquist and Scalia
would favor the succession of Bush as a president more likely to
appoint new justices that would be their clones and cement their
judicial philosophy for the next three decades.
Democrats prostrate before Supreme
Court assault on democratic rights [12 December]
ties, political bias linked US Supreme Court justices to Bush camp
in case you didn't understand how the Supremes could have reasoned
their way to their final decision, this interview with attorney
Mark Levine should make it perfectly clear!
A Layman's Guide To The Supreme Court Decision
in Bush v. Gore, by Mark Levine, Esq.