Election 2000 Inspires Party Switching
Officials Say They're Seeing Increase In Voter Registration
JACKSONVILLE, Posted 4:45 p.m. EST December 1, 2000 -- The Duval County Supervisor of Elections office says that it's seeing an unheard of number of requests to switch parties, but they also say that the battle for the White House has brought a stream of new voter sign ups.
Election 2000 has been wearing on voters like John Carswell.
"Vice President Gore wants to get votes where it will best benefit him and I think it's appalling," Carswell said.
What's significant about Carswell's complaint is that he's switching parties. The life-long Democrat is ending his 34-year affiliation with the party.
"It has been how the party itself has reacted in the state of Florida," Carswell said.
Carswell's isn't the only case, either.
"I conferred with the clerks and office manager and they confirmed there's been a definite surge in party affiliation changes, and it's been from Democrat to Republican," assistant Supervisor of Elections spokesman Dick Carlsberg said.
Election officials say that campaign 2000 has electrified voters. Offices are also seeing a steady stream of people registering to vote for the first time.
Elaine Puzie felt strong enough to drag her brother to the elections office.
"I tracked him down to let him know how important it was for him to vote, and this election was something I had never ever seen before," Puzie said.
So whatever the presidential outcome, whatever your politics, it's clear that election 2000 could have implications in 2004 and beyond.
There are a few rules about changing parties: you can't do it between a first primary and second primary contest, and you aren't allowed to change parties within 29 days of an election.
Copyright 2000 by News4Jax.com. All rights reserved.
ELECTION 2000, Day 26
L.A. Times plans
to exhume ballots
Following Gephardt's advice,
newspaper seeking Gore votes
among 13,000 blanks
By Paul Sperry
© 2000 WorldNetDaily.com
Fulfilling a widely broadcast prediction by a leading Democrat, at least one major newspaper has requested that officials in Palm Beach and Miami-Dade counties provide its reporters access to thousands of presidential ballots that Vice President Al Gore claims hold "uncounted" votes for him, WorldNetDaily has learned.
House Minority Leader Dick Gephardt, D-Mo., earlier this week hinted that "somebody" could apply under Florida public-records law to review the disputed ballots if the courts don't allow a manual recount of them. The Los Angeles Times has done just that, confirms an editor in its Washington bureau.
The move by the paper, which historically has a pro-Democrat editorial-page voice, threatens to reopen the debate even after President-elect George W. Bush is inaugurated Jan. 20.
"Wouldn't it be a terrible thing for the country to find out a month or two months from now that you got the most votes?" Gephardt said to Gore Monday in a televised teleconference designed to drum up public support for a manual recount. "You already had the national popular vote by 300,000 votes. How terrible would it be to find out you also had the most votes in Florida and should have won this election?"
Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, D-S.D., also on the phone, agreed, adding: "How tragic it would be to know that, in January or February, that you actually won by several hundred votes and we just didn't have an accurate count until then."
Daschle claims that 9,000 ballots in Miami-Dade County and another 4,000 ballots in Palm Beach County haven't been counted. Like Gore and Lieberman, he is sure they hold enough votes for Gore to give him the lead in the state and the margin of electoral votes to win the White House.
In fact, the 13,000 ballots have twice been counted by machines in those counties and have registered votes for candidates in down-ballot races, but none for president. Voters skipped the top race. State elections officials tell WorldNetDaily that the number of no-votes for president is normal for counties that size, and are known as "protest votes."
Gore's running-mate Sen. Joseph Lieberman implied that a "cloud of doubt" would hang over Bush's presidency if those ballots aren't recounted by hand.
He said he and Gore just want to "make sure that whoever takes office on January 20th as our next president does so without clouds of doubt or anger hanging over his head."
Vicki Kemper, a Los Angeles Times news editor in Washington, says the newspaper has made requests to inspect the ballots in Palm Beach and Miami-Dade counties, as well as others that use punch-card ballots. Some 25 counties use that voting method in the state.
The voting-software vendor serving the Florida counties using punch-card ballots told WorldNetDaily his clients have told him that Times reporters have submitted requests.
"My impression in talking to the L.A. Times was they were doing all punch-card counties," said Paul Nolte, president of Election Resources Corp. in Little Rock, Ark. "And I have talked to several of our customers down there, and they had heard from the reporter and did have the requests."
Asked when the requests were made, Kemper says she isn't sure and referred further questions to Times political editor Millie Quan in Los Angeles.
Quan did not return phone calls, but an assistant said reporters assigned to cover the election crisis in Florida made the requests with the canvassing boards.
Asked if the Times will hire independent auditors to inspect the ballots, the assistant said: "I don't know what the plan is once we get them."
According to chapter 119.07 of the Florida statute, ballots produced for the public can't be handled by anyone but the county supervisor of elections or the supervisor's aides. And campaign officials from both sides can be present to watch.
"When ballots are produced under this section for inspection and examination, no persons other than the supervisor of elections or the supervisor's employees shall touch the ballots," the law says. Also, "all such candidates, or the representatives, shall be allowed to be present during the inspection or examination."
The Times also will have to reimburse the counties for all costs, including labor, tied to the inspection.
The county can charge only the cost "that is actually incurred by the agency or attributable to the agency for the clerical and supervisory assistance required, or both," the law states.
Palm Beach County charged public-interest law firm Judicial Watch $1,152 an hour to inspect disputed ballots there, before they were shipped up to a Tallahassee judge. Judicial Watch chairman Larry Klayman, who has filed a number of corruption-related lawsuits against the Clinton administration, says he will protest what he calls the "unreasonable" charge.
The Times may not be the only media organization that has applied to see the ballots once the courts get through with them.
"There have been a couple of papers that have filed public-records requests to get to all those ballots down there," Nolte told WorldNetDaily. "The L.A. Times has, and the Florida Today, or Gannett, has."
Calls to Gannett were not returned by deadline.
ELECTION 2000, Day 26
'intimidated' in Florida
Pastor reports pro-Bush
beaten with baseball bat
By Julie Foster
© 2000 WorldNetDaily.com
A black Dominican-American carrying pro-Bush signs was beaten with a baseball bat near a polling place in Miami by voters opposed to the Republican presidential candidate, says a well-known Haitian-American pastor.
The beaten man came to Rev. Phipps St. Hilaire of Christian Churches United in Miami-Dade County, showing the pastor his bruises. He was struck on the head with the bat, noted Phipps, who related the victim's experience.
The victim, a Republican voter, was holding a picture of Gov. George W. Bush when an angry bystander approached, telling the Republican to get the picture out of sight. When the Republican refused, the agitated bystander went to his car, took out a baseball bat and began hitting the Bush supporter in the head, according to St. Hilaire.
"It's really unbelievable," St. Hilaire reflected. "To me, it's still a dream, but it's a reality too, because some people have suffered."
The pastor said he received dozens of complaints from Haitian- and Dominican-Americans who claim they were blocked from the polls. Of those who complained, two or three were physically beaten, he said.
Tony Welch, spokesman for the Florida Democratic Party, said he has heard no complaints of physical intimidation in the state. However, he said if incidents like the baseball bat beating occurred, "I hope there are some arrests made."
Fox News reported complaints that Democratic campaign workers for Vice President Al Gore and state Representative Philip Brutus unfairly and illegally violated the 50-foot rule around some precincts in Miami's Little Haiti. The rule prohibits campaign workers from interfering with voters' access to the polls or trying to pressure them.
Some campaign volunteers actually entered the precincts, St. Hilaire told Fox, telling voters what holes to punch and forcing sheets of paper into their hands with the numbers to punch listed on them.
Pauline Charles, a campaign worker for Brutus's opponent, Republican Reggie Thompson, said she saw volunteers helping voters fill out their ballots.
"I heard him tell him, 'Say no to all of this, punch this number and make sure you vote for Gore. Punch number 85, I mean 86 for Brutus.' And you know, giving them exact numbers to the point where he had it written down on a piece of paper just in case they got confused, and they'd take the piece of paper and punch in the numbers," Charles told Fox.
Eventually, Thompson volunteers called the police, and election officials removed the political partisans from the voting area. But critics say countless Haitian voters at several precincts were unfairly influenced to vote for a straight Democratic ticket.
"It went beyond intimidation," St. Hilaire told WorldNetDaily. Some minority voters had bottles of water thrown at them, he added. "That is communism, taking over our freedom," he continued. "Some [of the victims] say they didn't believe what they [saw], like they were in Russia or Haiti."
The pastor and political activist said he will begin concentrating on educating minority voters after the current election fiasco dies down.
"Since we had a good deal of violence in our own country, [I will] educate them so they do not get taken advantage of," St. Hilaire said.
African-American voters make up 15 percent of the electorate in Florida, 93 percent of which supported Gore on Nov. 7. Bill Clinton received 86 percent in 1996. More than 100,000 Haitians live in Miami-Dade County, many of them in Little Haiti. Most are new to America and unfamiliar with the U.S. election process.
St. Hilaire said he believes only a small number of people are "causing problems," yet they have captured the attention of the world and caused people to question America's system of government.
"I believe in God. I believe in the American system of justice. I believe that justice shall prevail no matter what other people try to do to the system," St. Hilaire remarked. "It cannot be lost. Our forefathers shed their blood for it."
"I still believe this nation is a leader," he said, even though "some people are trying to degrade our nation."
In the meantime, the Florida pastor, who came to the United States 30 years ago, is encouraging media to report on voter intimidation in his state.
"The media here really has to write the truth. You cannot let it go," he urged. "Let us keep telling the truth. Let's keep writing the truth so those who read it can be set free."
Julie Foster is a staff reporter for WorldNetDaily.
ELECTION 2000, Day 26
Contrary to cybermyth, state's
absentee ballots being counted
By Julie Foster
© 2000 WorldNetDaily.com
SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- A rumor swiftly making its way through cyberspace that California will not count its absentee votes is "absolutely untrue," according to the secretary of state's office.
Shad Balch, spokesman for Republican Secretary of State Bill Jones, denied there was any truth to the rumor, which was heard on talk radio stations.
Concerned citizens quickly generated outraged e-mails in response to the rumor. One person wrote, "It was reported on a local radio station that the state will not count them because 'they can have no effect on the state's Electoral College.' These uncounted votes should go 2 to 1 for President-elect Bush. This would put him ahead in the popular vote."
However, according to Balch, the absentee ballots are being counted. In fact, the secretary of state maintains a page on his website detailing the status of vote counts in each of California's 58 counties.
As of 2 p.m. Thursday, Jones reported that 33 counties had completed their counts, and 25 were still tallying votes. However, WorldNetDaily was able to verify at least four additional counties had certified their elections and two more had finished counting absentees -- though they were not yet certified. Humboldt County, one of 13 listed as not yet reporting vote totals to the secretary of state, said it expects to be finished counting by Monday.
Though most counties did not break down their absentee votes by candidate, Santa Barbara County recorded Bush receiving 23,923 votes to Gore's 22,917.
All counties must report their vote totals in time for the statewide certification on Dec. 5.
Friday December 1 6:54 PM ET
Democrats Seek To Toss Out Ballots
By JEFFREY McMURRAY, Associated Press Writer
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - Democrats sought to toss out 24,000 absentee ballots in two Republican-leaning counties Friday, making a second claim Republicans broke the law to complete ballot applications.
The lawsuit seeks to have 9,773 absentee ballots excluded from the final vote count in Martin County, home to some 120,000 people and located directly above Palm Beach County.
It followed the Nov. 17 filing of a similar lawsuit claiming Republicans in Seminole County were permitted to correct ballot applications the party had mailed out to add missing voter-identification numbers. That lawsuit sought to exclude all 15,000 absentee ballots cast in Seminole, where GOP candidate George W. Bush (news - web sites) received 4,797 more absentee ballots than Vice President Al Gore (news - web sites).
Both lawsuits on the process in which absentee ballot applications are mailed out statewide by Florida's political parties.
Lawyers for Gore have stayed out of the lawsuits because they are arguing in other legal challenges that every vote should count.
But lawyers for Bush are aggressively challenging the lawsuits because either could lead to the disqualification of enough votes to overturn the certified results that handed Bush a 537-vote edge over Gore for Florida's 25 electoral votes.
A judge could rule to disqualify all of Martin County's absentee ballots, costing Bush 6,294 votes and Gore 3,479. The merits of the lawsuit, brought in Leon County Circuit Court, will be heard Wednesday by Judge Terry Lewis.
Just as they had in Seminole County, Democratic voters alleged in the new lawsuit that the supervisor of elections allowed Republicans to have special access and to change signed Republican absentee ballot request forms by inserting voter identification numbers.
``Such conduct, besides constituting felonies under Florida law, changed the outcome of the presidential election,'' the lawsuit alleges.
Lawyers for Bush filed papers to throw out the suit, saying there were no claims the absentee ballots themselves were ``flawed in any way.''
Supervisor of Elections Peggy Robbins, a Republican, said she does not believe her staff violated any law or acted improperly. She said the only applications the Republicans were allowed to complete were ones the party had provided its members.
But Gary Farmer, one of the lawyers who filed the lawsuit, said the Martin County situation was even more serious than in Seminole County because elections officials allowed the GOP to actually remove the request forms from the office. The action allowed Republicans ``unfettered and unsupervised access to these official public records,'' the lawsuit said.
Farmer said he would withdraw the lawsuit, however, if it appeared that its filing could somehow slow consideration of the Seminole case. That seemed less likely after Lewis ordered attorneys in the Martin County case to be ready to present their case next week.
Gerald Richman, an attorney for Democrats in the Seminole case, said the courts will have to be speedy to bring the Democrats relief.
``The Republicans will probably do everything possible to slow this case down,'' Richman said. ``We want this case tried on the merits and don't want any side shows or distractions.''
The Myth of Democracy
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By David K. Shipler
Sunday, December 3, 2000; Page B07
Since the election I've been remembering a Soviet legal scholar who once told me of a trip he made to observe jury trials in the United States. He was struck by how ordinary laymen unschooled in the law could rise above their humble predilections to fill the awesome role of rendering judgment. This so impressed him that he became the author of a new law, now on the books in Russia, permitting jury trials in serious cases.
He had seen one of our national myths at work. Jurors don't always perform admirably, but the myth of a jury's ultimate fairness usually inspires its members to act accordingly. In other words, a myth is useful, and the politicians who are now tampering with ours had better be careful.
Think how different the aftermath of this election would have been if Katherine Harris, Florida's Republican secretary of state, had risen to her larger responsibilities as simple jurors generally do. The outcome would have been settled with less rancor and litigation had she played to the American myth of popular democracy rather than the American lust for partisan victory. Nobody could have faulted her for making sure there was time for a full and careful count.
The myths of our democracy are not delusions. They may be just part of the truth, or embellishments of an inner reality in our culture's creed. But coupled with our freedom to expose our flaws, the myths have power, because they celebrate the powerful ideas that government belongs to the people, that voting is a universal right, that all citizens are equal, that we are governed by the rule of law, that minority views are protected no matter how abhorrent to the majority. The myths have been highly effective in setting ideals and standards.
Consequently, we need our myths in the same way a reader of poetry needs to adopt a "willing suspension of disbelief," in Coleridge's phrase. Our system of self-government cannot run on skepticism and contest alone; we also need to believe in it. And belief is what ambitious partisans may put at risk as they try to win instead of trying to learn who won.
The American myths have been difficult to explain in other countries where I've lived, because their vitality depends on something intangible--not just on free speech or the separation of powers, but also on our sense of our system as a moral enterprise. In the Middle East, I used to tell people that the closest thing the United States had to a state religion was constitutional democracy. In the Soviet Union, I explained it as our ideology--a word that good Communists could understand. It is no accident that we sometimes use religious vocabulary to describe our sacred right to vote and our evangelical efforts to convert other peoples according to the gospel of political pluralism.
The post-election turbulence will surely be a Rorschach test in which foreigners will see what they want to see: a democracy messy enough to invite anarchy or a democracy stable enough to ensure order, a system susceptible to manipulation or one that guarantees fairness. But the more important outcome will be how we Americans see the process.
Countries whose myths are false tend to lose them, sooner or later. That's what happened to Russia, whose Communist myths were gradually eroded until hardly anybody believed them. They were then swept away easily by the spate of truth-telling that began under Mikhail Gorbachev. Left behind now is a terrible vacuum of faith that nurtures new forms of exploitation and authoritarianism.
Russian and American cultures are profoundly different, of course. Our strength lies in our disputes, which prevent one or another interest from dominating. We can be scrappy and contentious without trying to destroy those who disagree with us. But we also remain bound together by the overarching myths. If large numbers of us stop believing in them, watch out.
Our political leaders have a larger task than to win. They need to think of self-government not only as a gritty nonfiction work of grubby facts, but also as a piece of poetry.
The writer was a New York Times correspondent in Saigon, Moscow and Jerusalem. His latest book is "A Country of Strangers: Blacks and Whites in America."
© 2000 The Washington Post Company
Friday. Dec. 1, 2000, 4:40 p.m. ET
Gore Helped in Florida by Thousands of Illegal Votes
Thousands of Florida felons who likely voted for Vice President Al Gore on Nov. 7 may be responsible for the photo-finish presidential race in that state - and the election crisis that now holds the country in its grip.
In just 12 of Florida's 67 counties, "at least 445 felons voted," the Miami Herald reported on Friday. Since 1868 it has been illegal for felons to cast ballots in the Sunshine State.
"The Herald review included counties where voter lists could be obtained - about 8 percent of the 5.9 million votes cast on Nov. 7," the paper said. "If the pattern found in the study is the same statewide, more than 5,000 felons likely cast illegal ballots."
Florida's significant felon vote was first reported by the Herald on Nov. 18, when it discovered 39 felons listed on Broward County voting rolls as having cast ballots. At the time, the paper estimated that statewide the number of felons who voted could be as high as 2,000.
Broward County's 39 voting criminals had rap sheets that include convictions for murder, rape, drunk driving and passing bad checks.
Of that number, 32 were registered Democrats - or a total of 82 percent. Only four of Broward's voting felons - just over 10 percent - were registered Republicans.
If those percentages are representative of statewide totals, the number of felons who voted as registered Democrats may as be as high as 4,100, boosting the vice president's final vote count in Florida significantly.
Posted Friday, Dec. 1, 2000 10:40 p.m. EST
Is Al Gore Mentally Ill?
Al Gore's increasingly desperate refusal to admit he lost the presidential election has some observers wondering if he is mentally ill. In fact, he fits the criteria for narcissistic personality disorder to an eerie tee.
A popular Internet message being spread around the globe notes that the description of this disorder sums up Gore's entire being.
According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition (DSM-IV), the bible of psychological problems, narcissistic personality disorder is marked by:
"A pervasive pattern of grandiosity (in fantasy or behavior), need for admiration, and lack of empathy, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by five (or more) of the following:
"(1) has a grandiose sense of self-importance (e.g., exaggerates achievements and talents, expects to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements)
"(2) is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love
"(3) believes that he or she is 'special' and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people (or institutions)
"(4) requires excessive admiration
"(5) has a sense of entitlement, i.e., unreasonable expectations of especially favorable treatment or automatic compliance with his or her expectations
"(6) is interpersonally exploitative, i.e., takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends
"(7) lacks empathy: is unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others
"(8) is often envious of others or believes that others are envious of him or her
"(9) shows arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes."
Al, the fat lady is singing, and the men in the white coats are coming