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Stop the Madness
US Supreme Court last bastion of impartiality
By the Cynic
cynic@politicalusa.com

12/11/2000

We all knew we would be here. This Energizer Bunny of an election could only be thwarted by the top court in the land, and I'm holding out hope that the Supreme Court will put an end to what has degraded to a level of just plain silliness.

I honestly thought that Al Gore would have conceded the election after the first recount. Well, I'm an idiot.  I had underestimated, once again, the drive in Al Gore to win at all costs. Al Gore should have conceded after the first recount. Al Gore should have conceded after partial recounts and certification. Al Gore should have conceded after the first Supreme Court ruling. Al Gore has had several opportunities to bow out gracefully, he failed to do so each and every time. His grasp of the inevitable seems to be absent.

He now continues the fight with the idea that dimpled ballots should be counted as votes. This is beyond absurdity. If a voter cannot complete the ballot properly it is an invalid vote. Instructions are posted at every polling place and assistance was readily available. Failure to execute the vote properly means failure to vote. I don't think there is much room for debate here.

Al Gore's claims that he was the winner in the "voter intent" department is a losing argument. When a candidate decides to enter an election that is decided by machine counted ballots, the error rate of those machines leaves you open to the risk of voter error costing you an election. In other words, when the election is over, regardless of the closeness of the race, the ending count should be respected. If the dimples are to be counted in Florida, they should be counted everywhere else also. This would be the only way to preserve any electoral integrity. By no means should a dimpled ballot be counted in Florida, when it would not be counted in other places. This would be an example of voter disenfranchisement, as the ballots in New Mexico, or any other state, would not be judged by the same standards as those in Florida.

As the TV land debate goes forward, you can hear only one unified call by Gore supporters: "Let every vote count." The Democrats, as usual, have mastered the sound byte-able catch phrase that allows them to carry on the fight in the public arena. This is where they usually leave the GOP in the dust. The Republicans have been on television and they have been spreading their message, but somehow the phrase "Yes the votes have been counted, but the onus is on the voter to properly cast their ballots and we cannot divine the will of the voter when they didn't complete the ballot," doesn't have quite the same appealing ring to it. The GOP, as usual, seems reluctant to form a cohesive message to deliver to the public.

Adding an emotional element to the ballot mess are those who suggest that it is somehow not fair to Al Gore because many of his votes came from poor and elderly districts and they have either bad eyesight or are poorly educated and therefore were less likely to execute the ballot correctly. Was this not known going in? I believe it to be common knowledge that the underclass and elderly vote for a Democrat more likely than not, so Al Gore assumed the risk going in.

Although the merits of the argument may have been lost on the public (and the media for that matter), it has not been lost on at least 5 of our US Supreme Court justices. They understand that every county, every precinct and every state has overvotes, undervotes and no votes. To use any of these as a reason to contest an election means ignoring the implied risk of an election that uses machine counted ballots. The ridiculous ruling by Florida's Supreme Court gave them no choice but to halt the hand counting of the ballot, before the process was irreparably damaged.

Although some will tell you it is unfair to label the Florida Supreme Court justices as partisans, it's impossible not to. When six out of seven identify with one party, and have to seek reelection with funding from that party, and when they consistently rule in the favor of the candidate from that party, then they are partisan, plain and simple. As elected officials, they are married to their party. They have to be if they want to have the funding to win reelection.

There have been many references to a possible "partisan split" in any US Supreme Court ruling. Luckily, the Supreme Court cannot be partisan. While each Justice may be married to their own respective ideologies, the fact that they are confirmed for life means that their marriage to their political party ends upon their confirmation. Upon taking office, they essentially sever all bonds to the political world, as they no longer need to be politicians and will no longer require any funds or favors to keep their seat.

As always, the Supreme Court has its work cut out for it. Every time the Court speaks it sets a precedent. History awaits their judgments. The integrity of the Institution stands before them waiting for them to act on their convictions. I may not be happy with the outcome of this ruling, but I will accept it. I hope that the parties involved feel the same way.  It's time to end this madness.

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 Join the conversation about the election...

The Cynic, 2000

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