A Highway Robbery
and Supreme Injustice
At the outset let me make this clear; I'm partisan, a Liberal Democrat
who abhors most things Republican. Yet, if the results of the Election
2000 hadn't been sullied and disgraced in so many salient ways,
I was begrudgingly prepared to accept them, did in fact go on MSNBC
and congratulate the Republicans there right after first results
were in. But as that night, and the experience of the recount in
the next month wore on, it became an article of faith not only to
disagree with the legitimacy of the Supreme Court philanderings,
but never to reconcile with them. Bush lost! The Court obstructed
the recount and this administration doesn't deserve to be there.
That changes everything!
But long before that process, and even before I was an Official
Observer for the recount, it became a fiercely personal thing with
me. Physical in fact!
A little history. Jesse Jackson was in West Palm Beach to give
a rallying speech to the shocked, furious and in many cases, disenfranchised
voters. It was being held in two environs, someplace I never found
out about, and the street outside the County Courthouse.
But I knew nothing of this and was on my way across the bridge
on my bike with a manuscript for the copier. The crowd was still
meager so far at this, the second rallying point; Jesse was still
speaking at the other location. But it was large enough to slow
me down, make me dismount and push ahead on foot. I got interested
enough to chain the bike to a pole and mingle with the crowd, mostly
older people, Jewish for the most part, some carrying Gore/Lieberman
There was a large podium set up in the middle of the street for
the speakers with a dozen or so microphones. The usual contingent
of media trucks and dishes, and floating interviewers filled the
street.. An elderly Jewish woman gave me her huge Gore/Lieberman
poster, and I took her place, moved up right in front of the stage.
Suddenly a group of very large young black guys took up a noisy
position right behind me, some giving out Black KKK leaflets. Black
KKK??? I thought it was a put-on at first. Until a tall, grim-faced,
buttoned-down white man started giving out bullhorns to them, and
At first they ignored me, busy with consolidating position directly
in front, pushing the older group either back or totally out of
the frame all together, and settling in. I discovered that they
were from black Judo studios in Miami and that they'd been paid
$75 each for the demonstration against Jesse Jackson by thugs out
of the Tom DeLay office, notably a jerk named Tom Pyle.
Now they were focused, and there I was the only white dude between
them and the stage, holding a Gore/Lieberman poster.....talk about
raw meat. They pushed, insulted, jostled surged, dissed some more,
then threatened my life in no uncertain terms. The cops watched
from a fight-or-flight position on the sidelines. No help there.
I realized it would look to them from their standpoint as though
I were a Republican instigator messing with black democrats.
At first they were confused. I was wearing a bright red Marine Corps
field cap, holding my position, and telling them I'd been part of
the cause way back when with Reverend King, Abernathy etc. But that
only slowed them down a few beats; in moments the leader of the
fifty or sixty strong unit started getting physical with deadly
intent. What the hell I was thinking I can't for the life of me
explain, but I felt invulnerable. Held my place and glared back,
feathering his probing thrusts with karate blocks....gently yet
firm and quick. No question it was temporary. I was dog meat.
At that moment, 8,000 Jesse supporters arrived Deus ex machina
around the corner, marching to the dais. By this time, I was crushed
right up against the stage, but I'd picked the placard back up.
In reflection, truly nuts. At least the focus had shifted to Jesse
Jackson and his entourage, who were trying to speak now. The bullhorns
started an overwhelming chant, drowning out even the loud-speaker.
"Jesse go home! Jesse Go home!!!" Several different black
speakers tried to calm them, ignore them, over-talk them, even resorting
at one point to leading the audience in prayer. No use. The bullhorns
were just too much. After a half hour of dithering, it was decided
to move the entire scene to an open amphitheater down near the Intra-coastal
Waterway. Once down there, pushed to the rear of the by-now huge
gathering, the hired thugs were irrelevant and the demonstration
went on successfully, ending up with a moving, rousing speech by
Jackson as the center piece.
And now to me, it was very personal!
The next installment relates the fiasco in the recount at the Hurricane
facility. And the stealing of the election.
A Highway Robbery
and Supreme Injustice
"What is past is prologue"
"A manual recount shall be conducted in preference
to an electronic recount." GW Bush-signed into Texas Election
Code sec. 127.130--- 1997
The ballot is valid if:
(1) at least two corners of the chad are detached:
(2) light is visible through the hole
(3) an indentation on the chad from the stylus or other object
is present and indicates a clearly ascertainable intent of the
(4) the chad reflects by other means a clearly ascertainable intent
of the voter to vote.
Bush fought in court to prevent the recount in Florida. Hypocrisy?
This won't be dealing with hanging chads or flaming dimples; everyone
is well-aware of them after the national circus, the childish jokes
of Leno and Letterman, and pictures of fat-heads peering through
magnifying glasses at them. Some background on the Players is important
though, because it includes a dynamic that swings the entire operation,
and creates the opportunity for 'Clarence Thomas and the Supremes'
to put Dim Son in office.
Theresa LePore is the dizzy elections supervisor for Palm Beach
County who designed the notorious butterfly ballot that caused 3,407
Jewish voters to wake up one morning deciding to vote for a fascist.
"Honey, Buchanan?" "Sure, Morris, why not, nice day
Palm Beach Country's infamous butterfly ballot
(Click on picture for larger image.)
In early life Theresa LePore was registered as a Republican, but
re-registered as an independent in 1979. Most recently, she's yet
The Presidential candidates had ALWAYS been on the first page!
But this year there were ten Presidential and ten vice-presidential
candidates and she thought the print would be too small for older
voters. When the former supervisor, Jackie Winchester, saw LePore's
handiwork with the butterfly ballot, candidates on both sides, staggered,
but with the holes right under each other, she said, "Oh my
God, now THAT'S confusing!"
It was apparent it was a debacle early on elections afternoon,
and only got worse, and LePore's phone was ringing off the hook...when
the enormity of what had happened finally sank in, suddenly sick
to her stomach she flopped onto her chair and said, "Oh, shit!"
And the nightmare had only just begun.
The second of the three elections commissioners was Carol Roberts.
I told her she was my hero, and I still maintain that. Roberts was
a County Commissioner, a Democrat on the Board of Elections. She's
bright and tough, assertive and proud of her Jewish 'Maccabee' status
as champion for Gore, but very aware of the need for legality and
fairness in the mix. Without her there wouldn't have BEEN a recount
as such in Palm Beach County. More on that later.
Charles Burton, third member and Chairman of the Palm Beach County
Canvassing Board is the Trojan Horse, the Judas, the snake in the
grass etc in the drama, as far as I'm concerned. He was a Democrat
(though he's switching parties recently) but appointed to his judgeship
by Jeb Bush, so to me he was suspect right from the first moment.
He may be the most obvious reason Bush is in the White House now.
At a meeting/interview out in front of the County Court House which
turned into a sweaty face-off between Burton and Roberts, using
LePore as a hockey puck,
"I move that his board conduct a manual recount of all the
ballots for the presidential election," Roberts says to the
cameras and crowd. Burton strenuously disagrees, saying they needed
authority from the Secretary of State Harris for an advisory opinion!...he
made that strongly as the chair of the board.
Bullshit! Roberts is having none of it!! "I'm asking for
a vote, I don't believe we need an opinion on what we should do
because we are HERE in Palm Beach County. I move that this board
conduct a manual recount of all the ballots for the presidential
election for the year 2000!"
People were screaming, it was like a battle cry. Burton whispered,
"You fucking sandbagged me!" He moves to take the whole
thing inside privately to discuss. No way, Roberts tells him.
"I'm asking for a vote right here and now!" They go
ahead with it, Burton voting against a recount without approval
from Harris, Roberts voting for, and poor LePore bouncing back and
forth changing her vote twice with her attorney whispering in her
ear. But she goes on to second Burton's move to wait. Her attorney
ignores her and says, "She didn't mean to do that." LOL
LePore says to Burton, "I second your motion."
"NO!" shouts her attorney Bob Montgomery, "no no
no no no, you don't mean to second HIS motion!"
"No!" LePore says out into space.
Roberts shouts for a vote! Now...."All in favor? I say aye."
Theresa says a wispy, 'aye'. All opposed?"
Burton is opposed. Democratic bigwig Friedkin yells at Burton,
"You'll never get elected in this county again!"
Well, not as a Democrat.
The battle was on.
I got a couple of phone calls from friends in the Democratic Party,
one from Boston and the other from Tallahassee, asking me to help
as an official observer. Once I agreed---with hot breath and bared
fang, I have to admit-I reported to the Electrical Union headquarters
in West Palm Beach for some crash training on the recount process.
It was pretty much a virgin science to them, too. But we learned
how to interact with the Republican observers who were going to
intimidate, stall, object to ballots, disagree with our findings,
and try to fake us out at every turn to eat up the clock, of that
there was no doubt.
Bush's outfit was sending in some heavy-hitters into Palm Beach
County, high-powered lawyers from across the Nation, but mainly
from the Federalists in Atlanta, the Southeast Legal Foundation.
They were the same folks who were pushing the disbarment proceedings
against Clinton in Arkansas. That plays an amusing turn later in
Inside the Palm Beach Emergency Operations Center, the proscenium
for the recount drama looked like an amphitheater/classroom, five
tiers down to the front, seating about 150. About 25 teams consisting
of two counters, one Democrat, one Republican, and two observers
hanging over their shoulders, one from each party. You saw the setting
on CNN ad nauseam, but it's been almost three years. (Hard to believe).
LePore was a basket-case, red-eyed, frantic and nursing a sinus
infection. At one point during the sometimes literally riotous counting,
I put my arm around Theresa and consoled her that it would all be
OK. Right, Samurai!
The Republican observers were three-piece, buttoned down, smug,
smooth intimidators, some of them, Atlanta sharks from the Southeast
Legal Foundation, the group pushing for the dis-barment of Clinton
in Arkansas. I decided to do some intimidating of my own right from
the gun, right from the first team, to be repeated each new Republican
observer I encountered; I put my USMC field cap down between us
and asked, with not a trace of sarcasm in my voice, "Too bad
what happened to Matt Glabin" Glabin was head of Southeastern
Legal Foundation; he'd just been arrested in an Atlanta park for
exposing himself to children. That REALLY gave the Federalist Society
a black eye. "Are you with that group?" I asked the shocked
face each time. "Oh, no, I'm with blah blah blah..." And
I'd made my point. I wasn't going to back off squat for the duration!
A Highway Robbery
and Supreme Injustice
Former Senator Bob Kerrey, "Judge Burton is throwing out Gore
ballots by the hundreds!"
The Democrats were in a little white trash trailer that was so
cramped, only eight people could fit in there comfortably at a time.
The Republicans, on the other hand, had the Rolls Royce of trailers,
a Windsor Monaco RV parked about a hundred yards from us, and it
looked for all the world like a Clandestine Operation for CIA with
all the hard-faced three-piece-suiters going in and out.
At first I'd allied myself with the staff from John Kerry's office,
but I found them arrogant and rude, and jumped to Ted Kennedy's
people, who worked just as hard, but had a sense of humor, a feeling
for the absurd about the surreal steeple-chase of events.
Bob Kerrey was an authentic good-guy; tough but honest, and like
most folks of the liberal persuasion, a little bit TOO even-handed
as opposed the Republicans' "all's fair in love and war and
money." Kerrey had been watching the proceedings on TV and
couldn't believe the lies the Republicans were getting away with,
especially Mark Racicot (pronounced roscoe). And George W. Bush's
draft-dodging pissed him off more than Clinton's pettifogging on
the issue. Not to mention the free-ride the media was giving Bush
on it. He told me he was stunned when he read in the Boston Globe
how Bush jumped 500 other guys to get in the guard, and couldn't
BELIEVE how Dubya had a year unaccounted for, having not shown up
for duty in Alabama during wartime.
Kerrey was no fan of Gore's. He'd worked to get Bradley nominated,
but Gore went to Nam as an enlistee...could have had a commission
out of Harvard, but enlisted! And volunteered for combat. Now here
was this evader making an issue of Gore's character. On top of that,
Lieberman's mush-mouthed mixed-message on television goaded him
to get down to Florida fast! He'd figure prominently later in the
overseas ballot rubbish.
Despite what the Republicans were clamoring, Gore hadn't demanded
the recount, Under Florida of law where a margin of victory is less
than one half of one percent and where the losing candidate does
not in any way waive their right to seek a recount there is a mandatory
And the margin between the two was way the hell below that!!!!
The Republicans were lead at the Hurricane Center by a blown-dry
yuppie named Mark Wallace, a 32 year old hot-snot lawyer on the
make up from Miami. His job is to run out the clock on the counting
and render it moot. Gore beat Bush by 2-1 in Palm Beach County,
so he figures stalling and quibbling is the best tactic. I hear
them in little clusters, discussing just that. I look waspy and
I'm well-dressed so they don't pay attention to me. "Slow things
down, object, voice your objections as often as possible."
And all the Republican observers are doing just that, pouring sand
in the gears of the count. And it's going on in every county being
retabulated. I know for a fact the Republicans are flat out lying
to CNN etc, about the recount being chaotic. Death by a thousand
cuts? Oh yes, that's for bloody sure!
It got so bad that even some of the Republican counters couldn't
stomach it. One woman jumped up from table nine, "I've HAD
it! I'm not coming back, these guys are playing games!" she
screams after being harassed by the snotty, smug republican observer,
who's been objecting every fifth of sixth vote for nothing. CNN
reported that it had been a Democrat counter.
Next day, same thing. A young punk out of Atlanta is putting the
game on an older black lady counter. She argues with him for a couple
of minutes and he raises his hand for a formal objection, stopping
the count! One of the Republican wranglers, some guy named Bolton
comes over and remonstrates with the poor woman. I shouted from
my team, "Who the hell are YOU?" Now it's Burton, the
sheriffs, lawyers, the whole posse comes swarming....meanwhile,
all the counting stops to watch. Plan A)! They leave the punk there
and send the woman away! I'm steaming!
Nevertheless, it's going pretty well for Gore. Counting dimpled
chads etc, we're finding lots of Gore votes. Until disaster strikes.
Wallace tells Burton none too subtly, "Your actions are going
to be judged for a long time!" The meaning, a threat almost,
Halfway through the count, Burton, LePore and for a reason I still
haven't determined yet, (my phone calls aren't getting answered,
but I'll track her down) Carol Roberts, my heroine. They've decided
to revert to a 1990 standard that is so strict, nearly all dimples
are thrown out, even though they show 'clear intent'!! Up to there,
we'd been using a version of the Texas Law Bush had signed. Burton
says, "If the dimple is only for President, don't count it!"
At one point, Judge Burton finally admits that there should be
dimples counted because the old punch card machines have a problem
with the tray underneath filling up with chads and doesn't punch
through. He also had to admit that Precinct 29-E that originally
came in with 0 votes, actually had 368 for Gore, 23 for Bush. But
this kind of equal treatment doesn't last long, and he reverts.
This was horrible!
In the meantime, Bush's lawyers have gone to court to try to stop
the recount altogether. It's so funny....Ted Olson is down in Miami
District Court arguing that "Palm Beach has even changed its
counting rules in the middle of the count"....even though it
was done at the nefarious insistence of their boy, Wallace. It's
Catch 22. What a hoot! Judge Middlebrook throws their case out.
But the damage is done for us. Palm Beach Democratic Headquarters
is discussing whether or not to take Roberts and Burton and LePore
to court to force them to adopt the more liberal ballot standard
we'd been using up to there. After all, it is being used in Broward
It ends up in Judge Jorge LaBarga's court. The count is suspended
while we wait for the ruling. LaBarga tells Burton, his per se exclusion
of the votes is patently wrong. But he doesn't give any specific
on what's right, no clearly delineated standard. It's useless. The
votes are in the toilet.
The Republicans are relentless. Racicot is still lying to the press,
telling them that there are chads all over the floor. I never saw
one chad on the floor the entire count, and what's more ironic,
they couldn't fall out of a solid ballot, they'd have to've been
partially punched anyway, but logic never stopped a republican yet.
I'm very upset....and when I get mad, my vocabulary shrinks to
the basic anglo-saxon. I got up in Racicot's face and told him,
"Why the fuck don't you quit your lying and go back to Montana,
this is my state!!!? Several, more stable voices intervened and
got between us, doing the dance of diplomacy, and pushing me away.
He's a Governor, for Christ sake!
The election was lost for all intents and purposes, right there
that day. There were more chances, sure, but we'd snatched defeat
from the jaws of a certain victory then. In the trailer, The decision
is made to sue Burton. They want a re-examination of 3,000 ballots
Burton ruled unfairly against, after they started the recount all
over again....461,988 ballots. Mind-numbing! By hand, under four
pairs of eyes, then the protest ballots by the three canvassers
and the carping Republican lawyers assessing them, objecting over
and over to nothing, usually discarding only about four out of every
four hundred, but slowing it down, slowing it down...
Burton gives us Thanksgiving Day off!!!!! Even with a reasonable
standard, that would have been a killer---the clock was running..............
I'm confining this to what I actually experienced and that means
Palm Beach County only, but I saw Tom Pyle on C-Span, ( DeLay's
aide who paid $75 each to the Miami thugs up in West Palm Beach
---cheap bastard) standing right behind Bob Dole in Broward, and
beside him, the KKK agent provacateur who was in charge of bullhorns,
LOL You have to love it. That and the carnival outside theCenter
protesting with hordes on each side hurling epithets and brandishing
placards, and wearing imaginative T-shirts. My personal favorite
T-shirt was, "JUST KEEP BILL"
Later the beat-the-clock race with Harris on the ballots.
And speak of the devil, Katherine Harris is a trip. Harris quit
her job in real estate and was working in a night club in a Vanna
White look-alike act before inheriting $6.5 million. Since then
she's inherited another $250 million, so don't cry for her, Argentina.
Not only but also, she just won a seat in Congress from the Sarasota
Oddly enough, in politics, she started out as a Democrat interning
for Laughton Chiles. Bet he's tossing and turning in HIS grave!!
A Highway Robbery
and Supreme Injustice
"And fire-eyed-fury be my conduct now!"
I hope that I've established that the Bush faction was out to
win the election not through politics and law, but through subverting
the democratic process with a concatenation of Alice Through-the-looking-glass
kind of logic. Bush's singular goal? To keep legally cast ballots-whatever
the hell: punched, partially punched, fully-punched, dimpled, whatever,
from being counted!
Added to this, Katherine Harris...Secretary of State and in charge
of the election despite the fact she's on the Bush Election Campaign
staff (would a Martian believe this?), is tinkering with the rules
and sandbagging the Democrats at every turn. On this she's being
helped considerably by Judge Charles Burton in my County of Palm
Beach, who as one Kerry aide put it, "Could fuck up a steel
ball!" He's either intentionally throwing the election to Bush,
or he's just inept with feet of clay, or all three, but except for
the Pyrrhic stand on the 215 late ballots, which I'll talk about
in a minute, he killed us with his decision on the standard! Three
thousand plus votes!!!! He, along with Theresa LePore and the 3,408
lost votes from Precinct 194D caused by the butterfly ballot:( "I'd
like to string her up!" "She should be shot!" She
should drop dead!" among the printable quotes on poor Theresa.),
accounted for well over 6,000 Gore votes right there. Bush's margin
of victory???? was 537.
Circuit Judge Sanders N. Sauls, the right-wing dingbat who refused
to even look at the ballots after ordering their transport to his
courtroom, (remember the caravan of lawyers riding shotgun on two
white vans from Miami and a yellow Ryder truck from West Palm Beach,
driven by none other than Tony Enos, the actual designer of the
effing butterfly ballot for poetic irony, laden with votes from
Miami to Tallahassee?) called Burton, "A great American!"
Sauls was under impeachment proceedings by the Florida Supreme Court
at the time for something else.. Un-beLIEVable he didn't recuse
himself! He'd already been forced to step down as Chief Judge of
the Second District Circuit Court for 'autocratic and divisive practices.'
Let's just leave it that his relationship with the Supreme Court
Votomatic expert Kimball Brace questioned by
Sauls: "I want to inquire if I may," Sauls asks, "Do
the voter instructions say to make a dimple?" Answer: "Well,
they're not instructed to create dimples, they DO create dimples!"
Brace goes on to explain how dimples are formed. "If the
machines are not cleaned out on a regular basis and there's chad
buildup, and therefore, the voter may not be able to push down
as firmly. Or the stylus goes in the hole at an angle instead
of straight in. Or if the rubber strips on the device aren't 'properly
maintained' and they become old and brittle, and keep a voter..."
( I, myself, personally officially observed a precinct from the
Island of Palm Beach that went 412 to Bush, 9 for Gore, that had
eight dimples... for BUSH, even in those better kept machines.....)
-In this exchange with Sauls, Judge Burton comes
as perilously close to admission about his role in the stone-walling
in Palm Beach County as possible. Burton; "I wanted to go
about this in a more reasoned approach and analysis, and I wasn't
given that opportunity. (Stopping the count in order to get Harris's
input from Tallahassee) And I guess I've been the one accused
(from the bottom of pg 1) " of trying to block this recount,
which is not the case." Bullshit! Sauls tells him, "Absolutely
not! I'll have to salute you as a great American, as a matter
Now, keep in mind, these numbers pale in comparison with the votes
lost in places like Duval County, 27,000, mostly black precincts.
Or 16,000 in Hillsborough. I'll just touch on those. Harris was
supposed to use $100,000 passed by the Legislature for voter-education
for all the newly registered. It's a he said/she said situation,
because she told the Civil Rights Commission she sent the invoice
to Jeb Bush for his signature; he says he never saw it.
But the up-shot was thousands of black votes were trashed. Not
like it hasn't happened to them before. The 1889 Florida Poll Tax
springs to mind; or the 1920 Ococee County murders and arson when
blacks tried to vote; or the 1951 murder of NAACP Harry Moore on
Christmas Day for trying to register blacks in Brevard. This time
it was a phony sample ballot insert in Jacksonville's Florida Times-Union
stating: "Step Four-vote ALL pages! Ten Presidential candidates
were spread over two pages. Twenty-thousand plus follow instructions
and ruin their ballots. Does that stink to the heavens? Bush wins
by a bogus 537? Vomit-inducing!
Understand. The Bush people always know they have at least one
ace-in-the-hole; the Republican legislature, who if push comes to
shove, will just render their own slate of electors. But what if
Florida's electoral votes are invalidated altogether? Happened four
times before. Gore becomes President because he has more electoral
votes if Florida is out of the mix. But the USSC would never let
that happen this time, not those right-wingnuts! The fifth ace in
I mentioned Burton and the late votes. Here's what happened. On
Sunday November 26th at 1:00PM Burton requests an extension of the
deadline from 5PM to 9AM Monday. Harris has that discretion. All
she has to do is not open her office on Sunday. Burton says, "Our
people have been busting their asses 24/7 to finish. At 4:30 in
the afternoon, we still have 1,000 ballots to complete, and only
a half-hour. Out of 461,988. Give us a break."
Harris gave us a break, all right....all our arms and legs. She
turns us down, and LePore starts to hurry up and tabulate what we've
done so far. The name of the joint, The Palm Beach Emergency Operations
Center was appropriate. Every operation was an emergency. Burton
decides to quit counting and shut us down....to our howls of disapproval!
Some Republicans start to pull out, but they realize how bad that
looks and hang around. After the protest, Burton and the board send
what we finished, and decide to continue the count for what it's
worth. It took us two and a half hours. In the end we had 215 more
for Gore, but it was all in vain.
We folded up our tents and with rocks in our guts and lead-heavy
hearts, broke up,( some literally) and left the Center.
There's a heavy buzz going through the Bush camp, both in Florida
and Crawford, that a huge push has been made in Tel Aviv to get
out the absentee vote for Lieberman. Estimated at 4,000 votes. Bush
figured to have the overseas ballots from the military, but who
knew. Even between a war hero, Dole, and Clinton, it was very, very
close. Shut down the whole thing seemed to be the way to go. A call
went out to Jim Smith, former secretary of state of Florida. This
is one of those ironic situations that becomes a crime for which
the American Media is the main felon. Smith proclaims the law for
the counties and precincts about the absentee ballots:
"The Florida Law is simple, straightforward, and reason-based."
says Smith, "Let me go over some of the controlling rules.
First, overseas ballots MUST be either postmarked by November seventh,
signed and dated no later than November seventh. With respect to
this election, the time to complete an absentee ballot ended on
the day of the election. Any overseas ballot completed after November
seventh is invalid, inVALID...and cannot be counted! Next! For voters
mailing overseas absentee ballots, only those ballots mailed with
an APO (army post office) FPO (fleet post office) or foreign postmarks
shall be considered valid. Ballots that area not mailed with these
postmarks are invalid and cannot be counted."
Smith then goes on to add fear to the quotient. "It is a
felony to perpetrate, attempt, or aid in any fraud of any vote cast
or attempted, such as backdating an absentee ballot!"
Here comes the sadistic rub. Mark Herron will thank you if his
name isn't at the tip of your tongue, but for a while there, he
was 'the satan' in Republican ads, and tirades, and even among a
few Democrats who were silly and stupid. Herron had already lost
his job with a republican law firm for working for the Democrats
so this was the unkindest cut. Gore's people had asked him to work
on the overseas/absentee ballot thing. Joe Scarborough (the walking
sneer) then R.Fla, has an attorney working for him named Ed Fleming.
Fleming finds out that Herron is circulating the exact...EXACT memo
Jim Smith has been ballyhooing, and feels he's hit the jackpot.
Nobody remembers hearing Smith on the subject, and the pack of wild
beasts in the media run with it like fresh kill. "Count every
vote? Yeah, except for American servicemen!"
Katherine Harris rings in Norman Schwarzkopf to storm and blow
hot air about it being, "A very sad day in our country when
the men and women of the armed forces are serving abroad and facing
danger on a daily basis (this was peace-time, remember) yet because
of some technicality out of their control, they are denied the right
to vote for the President of the United States who will be their
Commander-in-Chief." And some more blustery bullshit like that
wherever he could show his big, blowhard face.
Not one media outlet mentions Jim Smith's press conference. And
the Republicans like Racicot go on the warpath, lying, subverting,
exaggerating, making lurid insinuations, challenging the patriotism
of Democrats....and a typhoon of bullshit on into the night! Senator
Bob Graham is missing in action; Butterworth is worthless, mush-mouth
Lieberman crumbles in front of the Nation and Tim Russert, Sells
out Herron, who has only stated Florida law....again, exactly as
the Republicans have. Herron is not only out of a job, he's pilloried
by his own party, and used as a bludgeon by Bushites....
Only Senator Bob Kerrey rides in on one leg as the one hero for
sanity and reason. Kerrey figures, "...a one-legged Vietnam
vet with the Medal of Honor can make the case that ballots received
from the military...two weeks late SHOULD be disqualified!"
Looking into the actual ballots, Kerrey finds some with no signatures,
no voter ID, no addresses, no witnesses, no postmarks, or postmarks
from American port cities....
Here's the final tabulation on it. 23,246 absentee ballots went
out.14,415 came in by election day. A week later, 446 more military
overseas ballots came in...three days later it was 2,575, and the
day after that, it was 3,733. Where the hell are all these ballots
coming from was the suspicious question, almost naive in it's sweetness.
Remember, the Military mail is more efficient than regular post
office mail. The suspicions were on firm ground. Political operatives
abroad, (republicans) had been encouraging specific troops to vote.
And in the process the voter registration ID made it easy to figure
out who was black and who was white, and who among the whites was
more apt to vote Republican. And these were targeted expeditiously,
to say the least!
This is of course, a crime. A serious crime! But with Ashcroft
at Justice, forget about an investigation in his professional lifetime.
Last installment: The Supreme Injustices of it all.
Great reportage, Samarui_Liberal. It's fascinating
to hear from someone who was there. I agree about Burton. I couldn't
understand the media's kidglove treatment, their identifying him
as a Democrat and as someone who was for the Democrat's interest
when it seemed to me he was just the opposite. I've read that public
officials in Florida are subject to having their phone records examined.
I always wondered why some citizen didn't sue to have La Pore and
Burton's phone records checked. I think their flagrant partisanship
(which was Republican despite their Registered-Democrat-To-Get-Elected
designation) should have led to more questions being asked
were they in contact with any members of the Republican Party or
the Bush team. Sadly no one asked that question.
Second, Ronnie Duggers definitive article, The
Annals of Democracy: Counting Votes (1988), describes how the
design and printing of ballots used with the Votomatic (used in
much of Florida) can accidentally or deliberately lead to misvoting:
In 1970, the election commissioners
in St. Louis, who were considering buying the Votomatic system,
asked the accounting firm Price Waterhouse to evaluate it, with
devastating results. Security controls on the Votomatic would
be "more easily subject to abuse" than those on the
mechanical machines in place, the firm said. Candidates'
names could be misaligned with the rectangles on the ballot "by
manipulation of the ballot book pages' printing or positioning,
by manipulating the positioning of the punched card used to record
the vote, or by manipulation of the program used to tabulate the
vote," the report continued.
So it has been known for 30 years that the deliberate mis-design
of the ballot book can result in the voter punching votes for different
candidates than that the voter intended. At first I believed that
Lapore was an innocent official who had made a bad decision but
her actions during the recount and reading Dugger's article convinced
me that the design of the ballot was deliberate and served exactly
the purpose it was intended: To help George Bush steal the election.