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Everything the New York Times Thinks About the Florida Recount Is Wrong!
Slate ^ | Mickey Kaus

Posted on 11/13/2001 5:18:39 PM PST by Sir Gawain

Everything the New York Times Thinks About the Florida Recount Is Wrong!
It turns out the U.S. Supreme Court really did cast the deciding vote ...
By Mickey Kaus
Posted Tuesday, November 13, 2001, at 1:18 AM PT

Just when you thought the Florida recount story was settling down into a familiar bitter partisan dispute, the Orlando Sentinel has changed the story line again. The Sentinel, remember, was the paper that first uncovered the hidden cache  of valid, uncounted "overvotes"—seemingly double-voted ballots that, as the massive media recount of Florida has now confirmed, were the key to a potential Gore victory, if only he had known it.

Gore instead focused on "undervotes," ballots that initially registered no vote at all. It has been widely assumed that the real-life, statewide recount of Florida votes that was ordered by the Florida Supreme Court a year ago—and then abruptly stopped by the U.S. Supreme Court—was also limited to undervotes. Certainly the Florida court's opinion focuses on undervotes.

But the Sentinel had the wit to call up Leon County Circuit Court Judge Terry Lewis, who was actually supervising the real-life recount on Saturday, Dec. 9, 2000, when the U.S. Supreme Court stopped it. Lewis told the Sentinel that "he would not have ignored the overvote ballots."

Though he stopped short of saying he definitely would have expanded the recount to include overvotes, Lewis emphasized 'I'd be open to that.'

"If that had happened," the Sentinel notes, "it would have amounted to a statewide hand recount. And it could have given the election to Gore," since salvaging the valid overvotes turns out to have been "Gore's only path to victory." Lewis had apparently planned a hearing for later that Saturday, at which the overvote issue was going to be discussed.

Why is this significant? Because the comforting, widely publicized, Bush-ratifying spin given to the recent media recount by the New York Times(and the Wall Street Journal, and the Washington Post) has been that—as the Times' lede confidently put it—"George W. Bush would have won even if the United States Supreme Court had allowed the statewide manual recount of the votes that the Florida Supreme Court had ordered to go forward." [Emphasis added.] (The Times' front-page headline was "Study of Disputed Florida Ballots Finds Justices Did Not Cast the Deciding Vote.")

We now know, thanks to the Sentinel, that this Times take (and the somewhat more hedged ledes in the Journal and Post) is thoroughly bogus—unfounded and inaccurate. If the recount had gone forward Judge Lewis might well have counted the overvotes in which case Gore might well have won. Certainly the Times doesn't know otherwise.

That Judge Lewis would probably have counted the overvotes at the perverse (in hindsight) urging of the Bush camp (which either wanted to delay the proceedings or erroneously thought the overvotes would boost Bush's total) doesn't alter this conclusion.

It looks as if the justices of the U.S. Supreme Court who stopped the Florida count cast the deciding vote after all. …

P.S.: Does this mean Gore's undervote-obsessed recount strategy wasn't foolish, as previously charged  in this space? Not necessarily. By the time the issue of the overvotes was raised before Judge Lewis, on Dec. 9, it was almost too late to count them before Dec. 12, the date accepted (foolishly!) by Gore's lawyers as the deadline for selecting Florida's electors. Any recount, even if it put Gore ahead, would have been chaotic and disputed, as this Sentinel companion story  suggests. Had Gore instead asked for a full statewide recount immediately after the Nov. 7 election, as some of his aides urged, there would have been plenty of time to count both undervotes and overvotes before Dec. 12.

P.P.S.: If any paper gets a Pulitzer out of this Florida mess, shouldn't it be the Sentinel?


TOPICS: Editorial; Government
KEYWORDS: floridarecount; kaus

1 posted on 11/13/2001 5:18:40 PM PST by Sir Gawain
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To: Victoria Delsoul; dead; TomServo; Texaggie79
I can't tell if this is satire. Still, it's pretty funny.
2 posted on 11/13/2001 5:19:39 PM PST by Sir Gawain
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To: sirgawain
Good grief, if they're serious, they need professional help. And a new editor.
3 posted on 11/13/2001 5:21:10 PM PST by JenB
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To: JenB
Wowyou'reafastreader!
4 posted on 11/13/2001 5:22:05 PM PST by Sir Gawain
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To: sirgawain
Take "About The Florida Recount" out of the subject line of this post and it's still true. Amazing no?
5 posted on 11/13/2001 5:22:44 PM PST by Arkinsaw
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To: sirgawain
Wow, so even the NY Times is now part of the vast right-wing conspiracy?
6 posted on 11/13/2001 5:23:00 PM PST by Diddle E. Squat
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To: sirgawain
Undervote = spoiled ballot.
Overvote = spoiled ballot.

1.  If you are too stupid, clumsy,
     or sloppy to prepare and submit
     an unspoiled vote, your opinion
     as to the outcome is unwanted,
     anyway.

2.  Most people mispronounce
    Pulitzer.  It is not Pyew-litser.
    It is Pull-itser.

7 posted on 11/13/2001 5:23:20 PM PST by gcruse
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To: sirgawain
As a Florida Reublican, I'm waiting for an apology, Dems., for invalidating our African American ballots in Dem. counties for starters - you lost, lying, mean little weasels. Sorry, forgot to count to ten after reading a Dem. article. Lie down with dogs...and all that.
8 posted on 11/13/2001 5:27:58 PM PST by Ragtime Cowgirl
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To: sirgawain
How does one count an overvote?
9 posted on 11/13/2001 5:29:02 PM PST by Rodney King
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To: sirgawain
Though he stopped short of saying he definitely would have expanded the recount to include overvotes, Lewis emphasized 'I'd be open to that.' [In other words, 'Maybe, maybe not.]

"If that had happened... it could have given the election to Gore." If the recount had gone forward Judge Lewis might well have counted the overvotes in which case Gore might well have won.

THAT's the best they can do? Maybe, coulda, shoulda, if only........

10 posted on 11/13/2001 5:35:00 PM PST by 11th Earl of Mar
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To: sirgawain
This whole "recount" crap is bogus. It assumes that the "recounts" done by the DemocRAT Election Supervisors in some of the four counties where Gore asked for a recount, were honest. That's an erroneous assumption.

Bottom line, the "syndicate" of news agencies have wasted close to a million dollars - for nothing.

11 posted on 11/13/2001 5:42:15 PM PST by jackbill
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To: Rodney King; sirgawain
How does one count an overvote?

Simple. Anyone knows that any ballot marked twice is obviously a vote for Gore. Comm'on man, THINK!

12 posted on 11/13/2001 5:44:44 PM PST by Texaggie79
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To: sirgawain
DUH!!
13 posted on 11/13/2001 5:51:05 PM PST by Nitro
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To: gcruse
Most people mispronounce Pulitzer. It is not Pyew-litser. It is Pull-itser.

I did not know that. I'm glad I learned something reading this thread since I certainly didn't reading the article.

14 posted on 11/13/2001 5:54:52 PM PST by PianoMan
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To: sirgawain
Dear, I'll go get the bottle and make the baby stop crying this time, you stay in bed and get some sleep.
15 posted on 11/13/2001 6:02:02 PM PST by KellyAdmirer
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To: gcruse
Most people mispronounce Pulitzer. It is not Pyew-litser. It is Pull-itser.

The Charlotte Observer, several years ago, won a Pulitzer Prize. Can't even remember what is was for, but I'm sure it was anti-capitalist in tone. What I do remember was a restaurant, which specialized in chicken, opening across the street from the paper after the award was announced. The restaurant's name: Pullet Surprise.

16 posted on 11/13/2001 6:14:01 PM PST by southernnorthcarolina
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To: Rodney King
How does one count an overvote?

Simple, in demo language, you count both votes for Gore!

17 posted on 11/13/2001 6:19:35 PM PST by ladyinred
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To: southernnorthcarolina
Heh. Thanks for that. Dang...I'm hungry.
18 posted on 11/13/2001 6:20:17 PM PST by gcruse
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To: gcruse
Woulda, shoulda, coulda...This is the same way I feel every Wednesday and Saturday nights at 8pm, when I hear the California lotto numbers...
19 posted on 11/13/2001 6:26:33 PM PST by pooh fan
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To: Rodney King
Is an "overvote" what I think it is? Two or more candidates "punched" for the same office? What else could it mean? The source of my confusion: how could anyone consider "counting" such a ballot?
20 posted on 11/13/2001 6:36:47 PM PST by samtheman
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To: sirgawain
"George W. Bush would have won even if the United States Supreme Court had allowed the statewide manual recount of the votes that the Florida Supreme Court had ordered to go forward."

Got that right!

21 posted on 11/13/2001 6:52:18 PM PST by Victoria Delsoul
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To: sirgawain
Dear Slate,

Franco is still Dead

and

Bush is still President.

22 posted on 11/13/2001 6:54:10 PM PST by Chesterbelloc
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To: sirgawain
Shoot, I am still hearing dem's tell me that if Florida State election law had been followed, there would have been a state-wide recount, and Gore would have won. They conveniently forget that Sec State Harris was following election laws, until the flotus overturned the law, and replaced it with nothing. After that, there were no election laws left. Remember, they even ignored the orders of scotus to explain their original ruling. I still think that is why all of their rulings were overturned by scotus, who also stopped the circus that flotus created.
23 posted on 11/13/2001 6:55:37 PM PST by jimtorr
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To: samtheman
That is exactly what it means. The message of these Gore people was, "genuine democracy" requires the vote counters to discern the "true intent" of the voter, even though he screwed up his ballot to a point that made that totally impossible. If you watched some of these people at the time, that is exactly what they were saying, totally irrational.
24 posted on 11/13/2001 6:57:58 PM PST by Aurelius
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To: sirgawain
I'm going to hit this subject one more time, and then I am through posting anything on the subject of Gore's loss in Florida after seven recounts.

There is no jurisdiction ANYWHERE IN THE NATION where a so-called "overvote" is counted as a legal vote. These are ballots on which the voter makes two or more (some have all twelve presidential candidates marked) when the instructions for that office say == on the ballot and on the wall of the polling place, "VOTE FOR ONE."

All of us who graduated third grade know exactly why these are not legitimate votes. In third grade we took our first standardized tests, using answer sheets where little ovals had to be blackened in so they could be "read by a computer." Every one of use who made it through the third grade were instructed to make "one answer mark per question." And, we were told that "two marks counted as a wrong answer, even if one of the two marked was the correct answer."

I repeat one more time, an overvote is ALWAYS an illegal vote, because it violates the instructions in a way that every competent nine-year-old in the nation well understands. That is why not even the left=leaning, Democratic Flroida Supreme Court itself ever considered for a nanosecond requiring a recount of "overvotes," because under Florida law -- and the law of every other jurisdiction -- these are illegal votes by definition. No ifs. ands. or buts about it.

There is good evidence to suggest that Lott and Glassman are correct, that some of the "overvotes" were created by black Democratic election officials, in order to invalidate the few (but significant in an election this close) black Republican votes for Bush.

But that doesn't have to be taken into consideration. Without "overvotes," meaning facially illegal votes, Gore lost. So says every research story on the subject including amazingly, CNN an the New York Times. The article posted at the top therefore is a waste of ink and electrons. It can be summarized thusly -- if illegal votes had been somehow counted, Gore would have won.

To the editors and writers of such nonsense, I say, "And your point is...?

Congressman Billybob

25 posted on 11/13/2001 7:12:24 PM PST by Congressman Billybob
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To: gcruse
I should add, sadly, that the Pullet Surprise restaurant no longer exists, but that the Pulitzer Prize winning Charlotte Observer, also known as Pravda West, or as the Red Rag of Tryon Street, does.
26 posted on 11/13/2001 7:13:58 PM PST by southernnorthcarolina
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To: southernnorthcarolina
I should add, sadly, that the Pullet Surprise restaurant no longer exists, but that the Pulitzer Prize winning Charlotte Observer, also known as Pravda West, or as the Red Rag of Tryon Street, does.

Remember the Pickwick (?) restaurant in Atlanta whose proprietor went
on to become one of the weirdest governors Georgia ever had, Lester
Maddox?  Rather than a painting of hisself hanging under the Rotunda,
he ordered a lifesize color enlargement from the photo lab I worked at.
It hung in the state capitol until he left office, then was hidden away
forevermore.

27 posted on 11/13/2001 7:25:08 PM PST by gcruse
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To: Congressman Billybob
"It can be summarized thusly -- if illegal votes had been somehow counted, Gore would have won."

So, what you're saying is that, if Gore wants to, he can rightly refer to himself as "The Felon's President"? ;-)

28 posted on 11/13/2001 7:40:05 PM PST by Still Thinking
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To: sirgawain
Had Gore instead asked for a full statewide recount immediately after the Nov. 7 election, as some of his aides urged, there would have been plenty of time to count both undervotes and overvotes before Dec. 12.

DUH - he did get a statewide recount - it just wasn't manual.

29 posted on 11/13/2001 7:49:48 PM PST by DSHambone
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To: sirgawain
Overvotes have never been counted in any jurisdiction in any country in history.
30 posted on 11/13/2001 8:46:13 PM PST by Kermit
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