Dwight Watt Internet Article #56

#56 - Conceding or not, and does action or intent count in voting? 11/11/2000

#56 - Conceding or not, and does action or intent count in voting?

The election results returns continue to drone on. We hear two major items out of this election so far. One is that Al Gore can not be depended upon for his word, and secondly complaints that people voted wrong and are entitled to another election.

Al Gore showed George W. Bush and the American people early on November 8, that his word is not binding. He called George W. Bush and congratulated him and conceded the election. At that point the issue should have been mute. His operatives knew what was happening in Florida and rest assured they knew approximately what the vote count would be. If they did not, then they stole Al's money. Al Gore can decide to handle this situation as Richard Nixon did in 1960, and his day may come as it did for Nixon. If Al Gore becomes President, how will Congressional leaders and world leaders know when to believe him?

When a person concedes they have told the other person "I give up, you win". If they are adults this is final. If you and I decide to arm wrestle, and I say I give up, then I am not allowed to suddenly pin your arm and decide that I won. Likewise in football, once the receiver of a kick signals fair catch, he is not allowed to run the ball. In 1980 the press stayed after Mack Mattingly wanting a concession speech from him on election night because their exit polls showed he had lost. He refused, and then later when the real results came in, he had won the election in a major upset to become a Republican senator from Georgia.

Al Gore has put himself in the position that the honorable and decent thing for him to do is to concede the election. Al should have waited to originally call George. Not even accounting for recounts, the election is still up in the air on Saturday because of the absentee ballots not counted yet. Al and his operatives should not be complaining either that George was not pleasant when Al called back. They are lucky that George even allowed him to retract his concession. Al has been under the capitol dome to long where they regularly rewrite speeches from what they said to what they meant when the speech is printed.

It is now becoming clear that the press needs to improve their election reporting in the future and wait for the absentee ballots. It is beginning to appear that in the past if you voted absentee your vote did not count. (I know that it did and does, as I have counted votes before several times). Also the election officials of many places need to learn to count the absentees when they count the non-absentee ballots. When I counted votes in Emanuel County Georgia in the past we could not leave until the non-absentee and the absentee ballots were all counted. Why have places still not counted the absentee ballots today?

A second item coming out of this election are major complaints out of Florida by voters claiming it is unfair that their votes did not count because they voted for two people, or after they walked out they decided they voted for the wrong person.

I have no sympathy for the ones who punched two holes. The rules in federal elections in the United States of America have always been you can only vote for ONE candidate. (I realize there are some local elections you can choose several candidates). If they voted for more than one candidate then that was stupid, and they lost the right for that ballot to count. This is the way it always has been. If they voted wrong on a paper ballot they should have requested and would have received a new blank ballot. I am personally for machine voting which would prevent this problem, as when I vote on a machine it prevents more than one vote for an office.

The second problem is a problem that will always exist. You need to read the ballot carefully to determine what and whom you are voting for. If you are not sure where to place a mark, a poll worker can explain the ballot, and process, to you (they can't mark it), and then you can vote. Even going to a voting machine will not solve people voting wrong. I am convinced I probably did not vote for the person I meant to for Congress as I had gotten in a hurry flipping levers on the non-contested races and I do not remember seeing the Congressional race. There is no way to prove whether I or those in Palm Beach, Florida voted for wrong person as it is a secret ballot.

If a new election is called there, it would have to be for the whole nation, as people may vote differently now with what they know about the behaviors of the candidates, or the additional knowledge we have gained about the candidates. If we go with a revote, what date do we decide on? Gore would have loved to have had the election in early October. Bush would have liked it right after the Republican convention. In 1976 Ford would have liked the election delayed a few days, as the polls showed he would have beat Carter a few days later.

To the protesters who are carrying signs that their vote did not count, lets get real. Your vote did, and does count, if you voted, just it may not be the candidate you intended to vote for, but the candidate you voted for. If you run a red light and get pulled, the fact you did not intend to run the red light does not get you out of the ticket.

The votes were cast on November 7. That is the Constitutional date. To now have another vote on another day would put us in a Constitutional crisis, as we would no longer follow the Constitution. Let's get as accurate count as possible and call an end to this.


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