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The information on Groklaw is not intended to constitute legal advice. While Mark is a lawyer and he has asked other lawyers and law students to contribute articles, all of these articles are offered to help educate, not to provide specific legal advice. They are not your lawyers.

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Unfortunately
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, August 22 2012 @ 07:22 PM EDT
An interim president might have been preferable.
But seriously in any other country they would have ordered an reelection in the
districts where the counting was messed up.
It is not really rocket science to organize an election where the results can be
relied on. There are procedures to follow. Don't Florida have any?

[ Reply to This | Parent | # ]

Unfortunately
Authored by: PJ on Thursday, August 23 2012 @ 06:39 AM EDT
The problem is, we'll never know, because the court cut off the recount, on the grounds that Florida's set up to do the recount wasn't reliable and would take too long to do, because the law was votes had to be certified by a certain date. At that point, Gore was ahead on votes counted, as there were some that hadn't been counted that had been found. So Florida had ordered a recount. The court stopped it.

Here's the decision, so you can read it for yourself and not rely on what I or anyone just asserts.

I don't think it's overstating it that most lawyers were shocked that the court made what many viewed as a politically based decision. Here's a site dedicated to expressing some of that shock. Note that one Florida Judge issued a statement that Dec. 12 was not a drop-dead date under Fl's law so it was not just partisans who felt it was all just an excuse to put a Republican in office:

[I]n my opinion, December 12 was not a 'drop-dead' date under Florida law. In fact, I question whether any date prior to January 6 is a drop-dead date under the Florida election scheme. December 12 was simply a permissive 'safe-harbor' date to which the states could aspire. It certainly was not a mandatory contest deadline under the plain language of the Florida Election Code (i.e., it is not mentioned there) or this Court's prior rulings. Gore v. Harris, 773 So. 2d 524 (December 22, 2000) (Shaw, J. concurring; emphasis in original).
There were prior examples of states not certifying until January, due to a recount. And the Sup. Ct. opinion itself said that it was “limited to the present circumstances” and could not be cited as precedent, which some lawyers question as to whether the court had the authority to say that and make it binding, and there is another issue, relevant still and maybe this year more than ever, as the linked article from the NYTimes explained:
The heart of Bush v. Gore’s analysis was its holding that the recount was unacceptable because the standards for vote counting varied from county to county. “Having once granted the right to vote on equal terms,” the court declared, “the state may not, by later arbitrary and disparate treatment, value one person’s vote over that of another.” If this equal protection principle is taken seriously, if it was not just a pretext to put a preferred candidate in the White House, it should mean that states cannot provide some voters better voting machines, shorter lines, or more lenient standards for when their provisional ballots get counted — precisely the system that exists across the country right now.
And the current battle is whether Republican swing states can set up different rules for counties are mainly Republican (longer hours for voting) than for counties that are mainly Democratic, and whether new voting ID laws are targeting voters most liketly to vote Democratic. Jon Stewart did a piece on it last night.

Skulduggery in tilting the votes is hardly new. It's not the voters who do it, however. It's those running the show, and it's always been a little that way. These days, it's the worst I've ever seen, and I view it that one side is sure it can't win in a fair election and would rather avoid the majority wins concept as a result. I personally have read enough about voting machines to know they are not reliable and can be gamed, and I'm sure I'm not alone, so it's rather bleak at the moment. I also note that the folks who make the machines tend to be Republicans, so that worries me as to fairness. I don't think it would be hard to throw an election using computerized voting machines, and in many cases, there's no paper trail that can be checked later. So the problems the court listed in Florida with the paper ballot machines are no better and in fact voting machines I think today are worse. SO if the court was right to say that the system that year violated the Constitution, it surely still does, yet no one seems to want to fix it this time.

To say that no final outcome was possible in the Bush v. Gore election is to say that no outcome can now be determined with finality, because nobody allowed the recount to continue, and that would not have needed to go on for years and years. The recount, for whatever reason, the one stated or what most believe it really was, was halted. And the saddest part is that after that decision, many Americans simply lost faith in the court and in the fairness of elections, and most Americans now don't even vote.

Keep in mind that I'm not political, so this is just a restating of the facts as I find them. And if you wish to argue about it, you must do what I did and find some evidence for your statements. Bald assertions that it was like this or like that will be removed from this point onward in this thread, as will politcal remarks. You can discuss the facts if you want to, although I expect you won't want to on these terms.

[ Reply to This | Parent | # ]

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