Dwight Watt Internet Article #59

#59 - Have the votes been counted? 11/27/2000

#59 - Have the votes been counted?

Tonight we heard Al Gore tell us that he is going to challenge and continue to challenge the election outcome because all the votes in Florida have not been counted. He also said that once all the votes are counted he will accept the results.

Vice President Gore has presented wrong information to the American people on what has happened in Florida. He is probably correct that not all the ballots have been counted but he is wrong where. Based on the information we have today in states other than Florida not all the ballots were counted, because they would make no difference in the final outcome. We know they are still counting in Oregon. In California, they said the number of absentee is too many and makes no difference so they quit.

In Florida all the machine ballots have been counted. Not once, but at least twice. The question is not whether the votes were counted, but whether they were counted accurately. All of the ballots were run thru the machines two times. Many have in turn been handcounted a third time. When they went thru the machine a number of ballots did not show a vote for any of the presidential tickets.

The fact the machine did not pick up a vote for a presidential ticket does not mean the machine made a mistake. In some cases people made have decided not to vote for a presidential ticket. Remember the quote "that all politics is local"? That may be the problem on some of these. People may have gone to vote only for someone in the other issues on the ballot that day. If the fact a ballot was cast means it had to be for one of the teams, why can our members of Congress cast their votes by abstaining, i.e. not voting on that issue, but being present. We don't then try to look and see which button their finger went closer to, to discern their intent. Have you ever participated in an election where you chose not to vote? I suspect so, someplace that you said either way was fine with you, or both were horrible, and you chose to not raise your hand or voice or pen either for or against.

You must read a ballot as it was voted. You cannot look at a ballot and discern intent by their other votes or if they made mark on a hole punch ballot or if slightly pressed. However if a ballot did have what they call a hanging chad, then yes it could be miscounted. If we are going to start looking at intent then we have to also look at intent of all of those who chose not to vote. Those that marked no candidate, or all the candidates, or did not even bother to go to polls are voting also. The vote they cast either was "I don't care" or "none of the above".

Gore's concern should be that there was an accurate count of the ballots, not that all the ballots were counted. There are no machine ballots that that have not been counted. There are absentee ballots that have not been counted because they were throw out before counting because of paperwork filed wrong. However theses are not the ballots Gore is concerned with.

I agree with Al Gore it is important to the American people and to me that all the ballots be counted. I further think they have been counted in Florida. I suspect there are a few that did count wrong, but I will also comment that these ballots are designed to be counted by machine and not by hand. If we want a hand count then lets go universally to paper ballots that are marked on. Cards that have perforated holes will lead to wrong counts at times and the more times they are handled the more errors will occur.

This is an opportunity for Gore and Bush to show true leadership. Lets start working together to determine a way that ballots can be cast easily, fairly and counted accurately, and efficiently in a way that fits the upcoming 21st century rather than ways from the 19th century. This issue really resonates back to a battle we had earlier in the year and that was could the census include estimations. In my opinion neither the census nor the election can use estimation. This is to be a real count at a point in time and there is no margin of error.

If Gore truly believes that the ballots were not counted accurately, and that is why he is appealing the outcome, then he should be honest with us. Gore has a position of trust as vice president and the American people want to believe him. However, not presenting his reasons factually now, will not help the next administration, whoever is president be it Gore or Bush. The American people need to know their vote was counted, and that attempts have been made to do this as accurately as possible. Neither Gore or Bush are the saints that some have painted either of them as, and neither of them are the devil incarnate that some have painted each of them as. Truth be, all Americans agree with Bush or Gore on some opinions and disagree on others. The question is which candidate best represents your own opinions.


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