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  • In Case of Terrorist Attack: Electoral College

    Posted by TM Lutas on July 12th, 2004 (All posts by )

    For anybody politically active, there is a little nagging worry about what would happen in case Al Queda and Co. strike in order to disrupt the election of our next president. Outside The Beltway has a nice round up of issues facing November but what about the December elections? Elections for president and vice president are indirect after all and it’s the Electoral College that has the final say.

    In Illinois, that’s 21 people trudging down to Springfield one fine December day to meet, conduct their vote, make sure the paperwork is in order, and go home. But what if on arrival, their meeting place were bombed and all 21 were killed? What then? Even if it weren’t some nefarious plot but just blocked arteries or the proverbial bus coming out from nowhere, surely there is some law setting the procedure for handling a tragedy and ensuring that come January 21 votes from Illinois are counted for President.

    The federal law is clear. Electoral College member selection is a matter for each individual state legislature. So what procedure has Illinois set up? I ended up talking to Steve Sandvoss, a very helpful fellow down at the state board of elections. After consultation with a colleague, the answer came back that the legislature hasn’t acted at all in the area but that presumably the party that nominated them would meet, appoint any needed replacements, and the votes would be cast the way that the people wanted them to be cast.

    This isn’t a bad guess at where the political process would eventually force the Governor (who has to certify the electors to the federal archivist) and the legislature (who, according to federal law, has the right to select them however they please) to end up at but flying by the seat of your pants is not something you want to do. Clear rules are very much preferable as we all found out on 9/11. There’s plenty of time to think this sort of thing through and push through a bipartisan procedure that will fill this void in state law. Let’s hope it doesn’t take a tragedy to fill this legislative void.

    One temptation, of course, would be for the legislature dominated by one party to replace the electors of another party to a slate that would vote differently. Another temptation would be for the Governor to not certify the new name(s). A third temptation would be for a Senator and a Representative to try to get the new elector(s) votes nullified on the grounds that they were improperly selected. In a very close election, who knows who will yield to temptation when the law itself is mute?

     

    35 Responses to “In Case of Terrorist Attack: Electoral College”

    1. Brett Bellmore Says:

      As I read it, the Constitution doesn’t give state governors any say in the matter at all. (Or state courts, which the federal Supreme court had little success beating into the heads of Florida Justices.) Unless the state legislature, not the federal, makes him part of the process, his certification is, constitutionally, irrelevant. Kind of like the President signing treaties; A pretty ceremony, but all for show.

      Of course, the courts do ignore the Constitution in favor or irrelevancies all the time, so I wouldn’t bet that such a refusal would be without consequence. It SHOULD be without consequence, however.

    2. Abe Lincoln Says:

      question: What did the nation do during the Civil War? Which was one hundred times worse than whats happening now.

    3. A Florida Geezer Says:

      Hopefully, this year, someone will actually get elected instead of selected.

    4. TM Lutas Says:

      Brett Bellmore – The governor’s role in each state to submit a certificate of ascertainment is prescribed in federal law in Title 3 Chapter 1 of the USC. He’s also the guy that gives the electors their ballot papers and instructions on how to vote. In cases of dual delegations submitting votes (it’s happened) the vote paper with the state seal (affixed by the governor or agent) have more weight given them. There’s a nice book out by AEI on the subject which I reviewed here. They go through all the details. Did you know the votes are done, not in duplicate, not in triplicate, but in six examples? God, I’m an election geek!

      ptui!

      Abe Lincoln – I don’t believe any of the rebellious states sent any certificates of election to Washington, DC. Furthermore, I believe that they were suspended from the Union and had to be readmitted afterwards.

      A Florida Geezer – Give it a rest, calling the Florida election while the Florida polls were still open in Republican leaning panhandle districts was at best an incredible piece of incompetence and at worst, a blow against democracy by our national media. And even with such a huge foul up, Bush still won every official recount and all the realistic scenarios for recount in the unofficial media sponsored examination.

      While the USSC voted 5-4 on remedy to stop the recount, it voted 7-2 that the Florida Supreme Court was making a travesty of free elections with how it was proceeding. And even if the USSC hadn’t stepped in, the Florida Legislature was prepared to do close the books by certifying the Republican slate. The best Gore could have done was to throw the election to the House where the Republicans had a majority in enough states that Bush still would have been President.

    5. Jay Manifold Says:

      An interesting topic, to say the least. I have commented further over on eTalkinghead. Enjoy!

    6. Brett Bellmore Says:

      Yes, I understand there’s all sorts of federal law. That the governors play a part according to it. And then there’s the Constitution, highest law of the land, which simply says that the electors are chosen in whatever fashion the state legislatures chose.

      The Constitution trumps federal law. Too bad the courts have decided they trump the Constitution.

      By the way, the Florida Secretary of State sent registered letters to the networks, pointing out to them in advance that the panhandle was in a different time zone, and would be closing it’s polls later. The early call might not have quite qualified as deliberate, but it fell well short of being an “accident”.

    7. chris Says:

      “…Hopefully, this year, someone will actually get elected instead of selected…”

      Another fine example of intellectual dishonesty. If the Supreme Court had decided 5/4 the OTHER way, I’m sure you wouldn’t and Gore had won the election I’m sure you wouldn’t still posting about how unfair the election was based on principle….and you know it…survey says…intellectual dishonesty.

      No…you are outraged over the 5 conservative judges who voted in what you may see as a political way meanwhile just fine with the 4 judges who voted politially in YOUR favor…survey says…..intellectual dishonesty….face it..you are not upset that the supreme court did something like this based upon your “principles” you are upset that there were more judges for the other guy….intellectual dishonesty abounds…

      Florida Geezer…Bush won….do you suggest as many Gore supporters did/do that the ONLY “correct” outcome would have been for the recount to continue ad nauseum and the vast majority of questionable votes be ALL cast for Gore? Because that’s what woule have to happen in order for Gore supporters to consider the election “fair”. Gore lost…follow the advice of one of your talking point factories and “Move On”….

    8. Florida Geezer Says:

      FYI: I voted Repub previous years. Gore won popular vote nationwide, Florida certification by a floozy who illegally disenfranchised voters. This year jeb and co. were stopped by courts from doing the same thing. It is not intellectual dishonesty to state the truth: W was selected by the court. I can deal with that. But I don’t pretend that W somehow “won” the election. THAT would be intellectual dishonesty. I can handle the truth. I might not agree with it, but I can deal with it. It’s old news anyway.The idea that the election date needs to be changed (why wasn’t this discussed long before in a non-partisan setting; it’s only four months to voting) Wake up and smell the fascism. I’m old enough to have seen the likes of W and GFY Cheney reincarnated in other corrupt leaders. The issue today is what will W and co. run on? Gay marriage ban? National security, which clearly is not their forte according to the 9/11 report. What about voter turnout? Less than 50% of eligible voters participate. ” I live in the sunshine state and closely observed the situation during 2000. The locals know what went on here. The truth will set you free.

    9. Jonathan Says:

      FL Geezer, couple of points and a question:

      -We don’t decide presidential elections on popular vote, so Gore’s percentage of the popular vote is irrelevant to the election outcome.

      -Calling an elected official a “floozy” is not exactly a strong argument; neither is repeating a discredited assertion about disenfranchised voters; neither is casually throwing around the word “fascism.” As someone else already said, give it a rest.

      -Was there any conceivable outcome to the 2000 election that you could have accepted if it left George Bush president?

    10. chris Says:

      ‘..It’s old news anyway..”

      HAHA…uh…who brought it up with their simple minded parroting of the “selected” statement almost 4 years later? (Hint: you) More like it becomes old news when your arguments are shot full of logic holes….

      Poor form, Geezer…poor form…

    11. TM Lutas Says:

      Florida Geezer – For someone with emphatic opinions on Fl 2000, you sure don’t seem to understand how elections are run in this country. The setup in an election district is controlled by a county board of elections. In Democrat heavy areas, the Democrats run the show. In Dade, Miami, and whatever that third one was that Gore wanted recounts, Democrats ran those boards and they did it ideologically, shading things in Gore’s favor when a particular vote was a maybe. The state only gets involved when the county screws things up royally, which these Democrat controlled boards did.

      The overriding goal was to be able to sort things without having the election thrown to the House. Whenever that happens, it’s never good for the country.

      And Bush would still have been president.

      Chris – I think that you’re being unfair to the minority justices. The vote was 7-2 that the Fl Supremes were judicially stealing an election. There aren’t 7 conservative votes on that court and haven’t been in my lifetime. The fact that two of the seven thought that the FlSC should get a chance to do it right is not evidence of political bias in my book.

      to all – Trying to steer this back to the original topic…

      Let’s say that this election is as close as the pundits think it will be. Now let’s say that Al Queda takes out 3 or 4 EC meeting places on vote day where the legislature is dominated by the party Al Queda wants to win but the state voted the other way.

      You can bet that there would be a lot of pressure, especially where there is no prior law, to overturn the election. So what would happen?

    12. chris Says:

      “..Chris – I think that you’re being unfair to the minority justices. The vote was 7-2 that the Fl Supremes were judicially stealing an election. There aren’t 7 conservative votes on that court and haven’t been in my lifetime. The fact that two of the seven thought that the FlSC should get a chance to do it right is not evidence of political bias in my book..”

      I agree..I am in no way saying that the 5-4 argument holds any water..I was simply pointing out the idealogical hypocrisy that many of the “selected not elected” crowd use based on the 5-4 numbers. THEY are the ones who claim a “conservatvie bias” on the court..I am simply following their logic to its error filled conclusion…The 7-2 vote is much more telling, hence much less covered in the popular media….

      As for the issue about this election…

      Personally, I don’t think that there will be any terrorist attacks before the election in this country….at least none to speak of…so I think this issue is very hypothetical… I base this on the fact that the remaining cells out there that are capable of such things have been absolutely seething to do so for the past 2 years and haven’t accomplished anything to date on american sovereign soil or even military targets outside of Iraq that I can remember…

      I am not in any way saying it can’t happen and that I don’t worry about it…but I am more afraid of a poor election outcome at a crucial time than I am of a terrorism attach prior to that…

    13. Anonymous Says:

      Gentlemen, have you not read the independent scholarly research of the 2000 Florida prez. election? In fact start with theses recent article to catch up with the disenfranchised voters in Florida (primarily African American):Washington Times and this one Naple Daily News
      You are right that my use of the word “fascist” was incorrect. It belied my disrespect and dislike for W and GFY Cheney. At my age anger often supplants reason, I guess much like GFY Chaney. And using the word “floozy” was an unfounded noun that also shows disrepsect. Mea culpa. Also, in Florida, the head of the board of elections in each county is an elected position that is suppossedly non-partisian. And once again, there is nothing wrong with accepting the FACT that W was selected by the court. The Florida court desired the electoral process to continue and count the votes (No. SC00-2431). The supreme court said no, we declare W the winner. I can deal with that. It just sounds like some of you have a hard time dealing with reality (i.e. truth).

    14. Florida Geezer Says:

      TM Lutas, you are correct about not wanting the House to determine the presidency. Ask Burr and Jefferson what they thought of it in 1800. So we were given the 12th Amendment in 1804 and the evolution of the electoral college began.We do decide presidential elections based on the popular vote, not percentages. Gore garned more votes than Bush nationwide (i.e.the majority of Americans who voted chose Gore). But he lost the electoral votes in Florida by 537 popular votes.

      “…voters are actually casting their votes for the Electors for the presidential and vice presidential candidates of their choice rather than for the candidates themselves.

      Whichever party slate wins the most popular votes in the State becomes that State’s Electors — so that, in effect, whichever presidential ticket gets the most popular votes in a State wins all the Electors of that State. [The two exceptions to this are Maine and Nebraska where two Electors are chosen by statewide popular vote and the remainder by the popular vote within each Congressional district]”.

    15. Florida Geezer Says:

      Sorry to be a pill, but just one final non-partisan web site to answer questions re: electoral college. It is from the Committee on House Administration .

    16. Sylvain Galineau Says:

      Geezer dear,

      Maybe you should read what you link to. Or did you fall asleep at the part that says “Meeting of Electors to Cast Votes for President and Vice President” ? What part of that is unclear exactly ?

      We do not decide Presidential elections based on the popular vote. Electors are chosen by popular vote. The President and Vice-President are chosen by the Electors.

      But if we did elect the President directly, Gore’s election would hardly have been illegitimate since his margin of victory was inferior to the number of uncounted absentee ballots nationwide. Which is a rather major difference between the U.S. and those countries that do elect their President directly, since all votes are counted in those cases.

      In fact, I still think all votes should be counted in the U.S.; the 2000 election was simply absurd in that respect…how can someone be said to “win” the popular vote with half a million votes when 1+ million ballots were not counted ? But of course, if the winner is a Democrat, it’s OK for someone to win the Presidency with more uncounted votes than his margin of “victory”…

    17. Florida Geezer Says:

      Sylvain, I think we are saying the same thing but different :). Here is a blurb from the linked site:

      The United States Constitution provides that each state “shall appoint” electors for President and Vice President in the manner directed by its state legislature (Art. II, Sec 1, cl. 2), on the day which may be determined by Congress (Article II, Sec. 1, cl. 3). 

      The “appointed electors” are determined by the popular vote in each state.The slate of electoral college “voters” is predetermined by the political parties and submitted to the governor’s office before the election. (At least in the sunshine state). I guess we could say that we elect the president directly in an indirect way!I don’t remember the issue of the uncounted absentee ballots. Where can I read about it? What I find interesting is that no one has touched the so-called bogus disenfranchised voters (see newspaper articles in previous post). The truth aint always pretty. I am curious…what’s your take on electronic voting vs. the way its been done in the past (paper ballots, lever voting machines etc.) What this discussion has brought to my attention is not Repubs. vs. Dems. vs liberals vs. neocons etc…but how do we make sure that the process will be legitimate in all situations.

    18. Sylvain Galineau Says:

      Geezer,

      Like it or not, it’s not an election by popular vote. The Electors can in fact choose who they want. Nothing prevents them from voting for the other side. Which is why, if the Electoral College cannot form a majority, the US House of Representatives selects the President. If you’re interested in all the details and what-ifs, I recommend this book. As the title clearly indicates, the President is chosen after the people vote, not by popular vote.

      Regarding absentee ballots, you will have to go to the Federal Election Commission web site and/or that of your state’s election commission. Here is how a quick summary of this particular issue.

      Those ballots that were cast are counted. If the margin of victory is larger than the number of absentee votes, states are not required to count the latter. Some states do. Most don’t, as far as I know.

      The odd consequence of this is that at the national level, the number of uncounted votes could be much larger than the new President’s margin of victory. And this is what could have happened in 2000. Straightforward national tallies are hard to come by but the numbers reported at the time were at least twice as large as Gore’s margin of victory.

      In other words, one could win a Presidential election by a margin of 500,000 votes despite one or two million uncounted votes.

      Claiming to have won the popular vote in such conditions is simply a lie. Gore won the majority of those votes that were counted.

      Why can it work this way ? Precisely because the election is indirect. We do not care about nationwide popular vote. We care about the Electors chosen by each state. Big difference. And quite honestly, you seem to be missing it.

      My position on electronic/computerized voting is that of Bruce Schneier. A paper trail must exist. You pick your candidate on the screen and get a paper receipt. You verify it, seal it and drop it in a ballot box. So you get both instant results and recount accountability.

    19. Florida Geezer Says:

      Sylvain, thanks for the book and web site recommendations. I agree that a paper trail needs to used in any electronic voting.DYK that Florida is one of 27states that is bound by law or by pledges to cast their votes for a specific candidate? So more than half of the good ol USA does believe in participatory democracy through the ballot box:) I did read that 138,216 miscellaneous write-in, blank and void votes were compiled and not included in the talley. That’s as specific as the FEC gets. It is not a lie to say that Gore won the popular vote, at least according to the FEC web site. Let’s hope that this year there will be no problems like the 2k event.

    20. Brett Bellmore Says:

      Quoth Anon,
      “Also, in Florida, the head of the board of elections in each county is an elected position that is suppossedly non-partisian.”

      The key word being “supposedly”.

      Again,
      ” The supreme court said no, we declare W the winner. “

      Perhaps you ought to cool down, take some time, and actually read the Supreme court decision? The votes had already been counted, two, some of them three, times. All the Supreme court said was, enough recounting already, the existing count stands. But it was the count that made Bush President. Not the Supreme court.

    21. Sylvain Galineau Says:

      Florida Geezer, it is a lie. The uncounted absentee ballots are not part of the 138,216 void votes. It is a far larger number.

      It is accurate to say Gore won those votes that were counted. But since those that were not are larger than his margin of victory, it is indeed a lie to claim he won the popular vote. With all due respect to yourself and the FEC.

    22. Florida Geezer Says:

      Sylvain, there is no logic to the statement, It is accurate to say Gore won those votes that were counted. But since those that were not are larger than his margin of victory, it is indeed a lie to claim he won the popular vote. Apples and oranges. And where are these mystical absentee ballots? Please site a reference.

      Also, the court decision was 5-4, not 7-2 as someone previously wrote.

      Brett, the court ruling was not as simplistic as stated in your entry. It involved three major issues, two of which involved the US Constitution and one involving Fla. constitution. It was not a simple “stop counting”.

    23. Small Pink Mouse Says:

      “So more than half of the good ol USA does believe in participatory democracy through the ballot box:)”

      It is evident that Illinois Democrats are not among that half or else they would not exclude President Bush from the ballot this year. I think it interesting that the Democrats would disdain democracy.

    24. chris Says:

      “..Also, the court decision was 5-4, not 7-2 as someone previously wrote…”

      No..you are confused…there were 2 votes on 2 seperate but related issues with the election….the 7-2 vote referred to that vote that was….you guessed it….7-2….

    25. Sylvain Galineau Says:

      FloridaGeezer, it is perfectly logical, however resistant to the facts you choose to be. This is going to be my last attempt at clarifying this. I hope it’s not too long, but I’ll try to be detailed and clear.

      The popular vote is composed of all the ballots that were cast by all the registered voters who voted in a given election, absentee or not. What apples and oranges are there to see ? They’re all votes.

      But since a) not all ballots were counted and b) the number of those that were not counted is larger than Gore’s margin of victory then c) we cannot conclude that Gore won the popular vote.

      Let me give you a simple example. Let’s say you and I are running for mayor in a small town with 1,000 voters. Let’s assume a 100% turnout. As we count the 920th vote, I am 25 votes ahead of you. Can we stop the count here and claim that I won ? Hell no, there are 80 votes left to count and I’m only 25 ahead ! How fair or logical would that be ? Yet, that is precisely what you and many others do when they claim Gore won.

      How can someone be said to have won the popular vote with a half a million votes when 1+ million votes remain uncounted throughout the country ? It makes no sense whatsoever.

      Moreover, in order to be truly honest and to assess whether Gore has indeed won the popular vote, one should ask how many ballots were cast, how many were counted, do the difference and ensure that this difference is smaller than Gore’s margin of victory. If people were at all interested in the truth, that is.

      It is a perfectly rational conclusion. Unpopular and uncommon maybe. But certainly not illogical.

      Now, you ask for links and data. Unfortunately, federal agencies like the FEC or the Census Bureau do not, to my knowledge, tally absentee ballots at the national level. States are not required to break them down either. But the GAO did issue a report titled ‘Statistical Analysis of Factors That Affected Uncounted Votes in the 2000 Presidential Election’. It is interesting in that it attempts to measure the total number of uncounted votes throughout the country, absentee and all the rest.

      And what is rather interesting to our discussion here is on top of page 9 : “In the November 2000 presidential election, there were over 85 million votes cast in the 2,455 counties in our analysis and, of those, 1.6 million votes for President were not counted”.

      Note that we’re not talking only about absentee ballots here; in other words, those are a subset of those 1.6 million. But also note that blank or null votes are not part of that number; these, by definition, were counted in order to invalidate them.

      Now, given a number as large as this, how can anyone claim that Gore won the popular vote when his margin of victory is at best a third of those votes that were cast but not counted ? These 1.6 million uncounted votes are part of the popular vote too. Remember, we can’t stop counting at vote #920 because I’m 25 votes ahead. Dismissing those 1.6 million votes is like dumping the 80 leftover votes in our little imaginary town in the trash bin, as if they didn’t exist.

      You may repeat Gore won because everybody else does. You can call things you don’t know about “mystical” so as to dismiss them. But you’re repeating a false statement nonetheless. Gore did not win the popular vote.

      And since Presidents are not elected by popular vote anyway, the issue is not so relevant as to justify the huge brouhaha made around it; the level of noise around this mostly reflects the general ignorance of the US electoral system at home and especially abroad.

      I strongly suggest you read this book. It’s somewhat obvious that like most of us, your knowledge and understanding of this complex event is somewhat limited to the somewhat hysterical and superficial posturing echoed and amplified by the media. It’s much more fascinating and interesting than that. Warning : you shouldn’t read this if you want to be comforted in your beliefs on this question.

    26. Sylvain Galineau Says:

      Geezer, one quick clarification on the above to be entirely clear and honest : while it is indeed a lie to claim Gore won the popular vote, it does not follow that Bush did. We can’t claim Gore won the popular vote, given the data. But we can’t say he didn’t either. And the truly frustrating bit is that we will never know. Have fun.

    27. Florida Geezer Says:

      Chris, once again, effectively communicating is the toughest thing to communicate; we’re both correct in that the cases of Bush v. Gore, “Due to the narrow margin of the original vote count, Florida law mandated a statewide recount. In addition, the Gore campaign requested that the votes in 3 counties be recounted by hand, which is within their rights under Florida election law. The Bush campaign then sued in Federal court to stop the hand recounts. This case eventually reached the United States Supreme Court, which ruled 5-4 to stop the vote count, effectively declaring Bush the winner. The Supreme Court also found that the additional recounts requested by Gore to be unconstitutional, in a 7-2 vote. If the discussion is about you’re right and I am wrong so blow it out your arse, then we are both losers. I’m trying to learn to understand another’s point of view even if I initially don’t agree with it. Now, as far as Sylvain’s argument about the uncounted votes, that’s going to take some research time. But in sunny south Florida, I’ve got plenty of sunshine and time to do that. :)

    28. Sylvain Galineau Says:

      Geezer, I’ll bite one last time because I’m at least as stubborn as you are. The fundamental reasoning take no research time at all.

      1. In most states, absentee ballots are not required to be counted if the winner’s margin of victory is larger than the number of absentee ballots in this state;

      2. Which means it is perfectly possible for the total number of uncounted absentee ballots nationwide to exceed the number of counted votes won by a given candidate above and beyond his opponent’s.

      3. Since the popular vote includes all vote that were cast, counted and uncounted, a candidate needs, in order to credibly claim a popular vote victory, a margin of victory larger than the number of uncounted votes.

      Forget Bush and Gore. There is nothing to research here. It’s Math 101.

      What you are missing is very simple and fundamental : the total number of votes cast across the nation – a.k.a the popular vote – is not the same as the number of votes that are in fact counted for the purpose of choosing the Electors. The latter – the counted votes – can be smaller than the former – the popular vote – by a significant margin. And if a candidate’s margin of victory is smaller than this difference, he cannot claim he won the popular vote. No one can claim he didn’t either. It’s effectively an unknown, but it’s not relevant because the popular vote does not choose the President. The Electors do.

      Yet another way to put it is that Gore won the popular vote by half a million votes with a margin of error of at least 1.6 million votes.

      Some victory…

    29. Florida Geezer Says:

      Sylvain, now let me see if I understand your logic: at least 1.6 million votes for President were not counted. Therefore, it is a lie that Gore won the popular vote. Even though Gore won the popular vote of the votes counted.What about the twelve states that did not report the number of ballots cast in the 2000 general election, making any check of undervoting impossible. They were Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Indiana, Maine, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin. What about the thirty-six counties that reported more votes for president than actual ballots cast?Okay, what if it said, ‘Gore won the popular vote of just the ballots that were counted (like every other presidential election since, 1824“This was at least the fourth time that a candidate who did not receive a plurality of the popular vote received a majority of the electoral college vote, the first time probably being in the 1824 elections although popular vote records do not exist for earlier elections.” Is that a lie? Relax, Gore isn’t president regardless of winning the popular vote of ballots that were counted. How about a Roger Maris asterisk next to his name? From what I read, thanks to you, this problem has been with us for many presidential elections. What’s the over / under on this year’s undervote? I’ve enjoyed the discussion.

    30. Sylvain Galineau Says:

      Man, you are slow, aren’t you ? :) You keep making the same basic mistake. The “votes counted” are not the popular vote. There is no such thing as “the popular votes of the votes counted”.

      Popular vote = (all votes cast) = (counted votes) + (uncounted votes).

      (counted votes) includes invalidated (blank/void) votes.

      Clear enough for you ? So you may win the counted votes by, say, 100,000 but if the uncounted votes number 1 million, how can you claim you won the popular vote ? The margin of error is 10 times larger than your alleged margin of victory !!

      It is a lie to claim that Gore won the popular vote. It is also a lie to claim he didn’t. What is true is that we don’t know. And never will.

      Your question about under or overvoting is irrelevant to this particular issue. And in the absence of evidence – since, according to you, some results were not reported – how do you know these particular instances favored Bush ? Why ? Where ? Are you naive enough to believe or simply assume that all or most electoral fraud is Republican ?

      “like every other presidential election since, 1824”Where is the evidence that in every election since 1824, the winner’s margin of victory is superior to the number of uncounted ballots ? Maybe it is a common outcome, maybe it isn’t. Maybe most Presidents do win the popular vote by a wide-enough margin to be certain, maybe most don’t. I honestly don’t know but that’s not relevant here either since a) we are talking about the 2000 election and b) the President has never been elected by direct popular vote anyway.

      But if one does consider the popular vote as the most important yardstick in judging the fairness of an election’s outcome, that judgment must be made on the basis of all the votes that were cast, not just the subset that conveniently favors your bias. Sometimes, we know a candidate did win the popular vote. Sometimes we don’t. For 2000, we don’t. I honestly don’t care whether you like it or not. It’s a fact.

      Let me ask you a rhetorical question to nail this one down : if 1 million votes out of 100 million that were cast had been counted and Gore had won these by 50,000 votes, would you claim he “won the popular vote” ? Hey, after all, he won a majority of the counted votes so that would be OK right ?

      What’s the over / under on this year’s undervote? uh ? Over/Undervoting has nothing to do with this issue. You are confusing topics.

    31. Anonymous Says:

      Sylvain, the over / under comment was an attempt at humor. Hey, at my age I think I am preeeettttyyyyyy quick. :)

      See below:Over – is a sports bet in which the bettor guesses that the combined point total of two teams will be above a specified total.
      Under – is a wager in which the bettor guesses that the total points scored by two teams will be under a certain figure.

      In the case of the ballots, it would be a bet that compared the last presidential election undervote ballots (the 1.6 mil) with this years, basically stating that it will be “over” the 1.6 or “under” the 1.6 Hey, it’s nap time, got to go.

    32. Sylvain Galineau Says:

      doh! Never mind.

      Seriously and honestly, no idea. I don’t know what the pattern of this is, or where to find the data.

    33. Lex Says:

      This Florida geezer is some kind of enemy mole, making our team needlessly expend its precious bodily fluids in a conflict which is no longer operative.

      Dudes, do not charge the red flag, ignore the man behind the curtain. Repeat after me “the … 2000 … election … is … over … and … the … 2000 … election … is … boring.”

      Delete comments by these provacateurs! Do not be drawn in!

    34. Florida Geezer Says:

      Sylvain, went to the Public Library tonight and got Richard A. Posner’s Breaking the Deadlock, which is a book that you recommended. Finished the Intro this evening. My limited understanding of cybertalk jargon is that the correct word is troll not mole. I am not trolling. I discovered this site via a blog and have found it a good read. Not that I agree with all that I read, obviously, but I am trying to understand a different POV. Is that Lex, as in Lex Luther, arch fiend of Superman? So far from what I’ve read, I haven’t found any thoughts of mass kryptonite. (Again, a poor attempt at humor).

    35. Sylvain Galineau Says:

      Lex is our Evil Empire’s Pope and Attorney General (he wanted both titles on his business card). Tremble, minion !

      Glad you found the book. Good library. Enjoy.