Every Vote Should Not Count

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I know I've discussed this before, and so has the entire known world, over and again. But there is just one thing that is killing me about this right now, so I gotta get it out.

Al Gore got on TV tonight, a bit over 24 hours after the Florida votes were certified, giving George Bush more than the 270 electors needed for the Presidency, and announced his reason for contesting the results in Florida. They can be, I think fairly, summed up as "every vote should count." This is something no one believes, not even Gore himself. Yet it is the basis for his claims, and a statement he made repeatedly.

What about votes cast before the polling booths opened, or after they closed? What about votes cast absentee, that didn't follow rules? What about multiple votes from single individuals? What about votes for multiple candidates where only one was allowed? What about votes by dead people and other non-citizens?

The answer to all of these is that we have laws that govern our elections, and the only votes that count are those that conform to those laws.

So here we are. By every legal authority governing these elections, all votes that conform to the laws have counted. That's it. It is over. There is not one vote, that we are aware of, that conforms to the law that has been excluded. Unfortunately, this is not good enough for Gore. His attempt to circumvent all three branches of the Florida government by extending deadlines even further is not dissimilar from trying to keep polling places open past the legal closing time. He does not care about legal votes. He cares about votes for himself, whether legal or not.

His contest cites four areas. Two of them have to do with the deadlines, which sets him in diametric opposition to the three branches of government, which have all supported passed deadlines. Another has to do with the standards for intent of the voter on unclear ballots, which further sets him in opposition to all state authorities -- legislative, executive, and judicial -- which have looked at the issue, saying the local officials have discretion to set reasonable standards. The other is not a really major issue, and only puts a 50-vote difference in play. Even if this one has merit, the rest have already been addressed. He has already lost.

I won't defend any particular rule set by Florida as being better than any other. What I will defend is the right of the Florida legislature to set the rules, and the responsibility of the Florida executive branch to uphold them. Yes, the rules are in many cases mostly arbitrary, but they are set, and they should be upheld. And while I don't think the Florida Supreme Court has any right to specify a deadline other than the statutory one, when that deadline, too, has come and gone, what next?

Al Gore is not fighting against George Bush, he is fighting against all three branches of the Florida government, who have already said that his claims have no basis. The legislature legislated, the executive executed, and the judicial judged. He is saying the deadlines set and enforced by these three branches is unfair, despite the fact that they were set and enacted by people all of whom were elected by the very citizens Al Gore is trying to represent. He says every vote should count, but for some reason is trying to go against the will of the people who elected these officials into office. It is hyopcrisy of the highest order.

I'm not really too worried. I cannot even conceive that the Florida Supreme Court that set a deadline would then say that this deadline is unfair. If it does, however, I hope the Florida legislature adheres to the legislation they were elected to create, and appoint the electors pledged to George Bush, as is their duty.

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<pudge/*> (pronounced "PudgeGlob") is thousands of posts over many years by Pudge.

"It is the common fate of the indolent to see their rights become a prey to the active. The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt."

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This page contains a single entry by pudge published on November 27, 2000 12:00 PM.

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