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Al Gore and
Constitution

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2000 WorldNetDaily.com


Ever since I saw Al Gore give that uncharacteristically statesman-like speech defending the integrity of the Electoral College system under the Constitution of the United States, I've been scratching my head trying to figure it out.

Who was this guy? Was this the same Al Gore who has demonstrated -- time and time again -- so little respect for the Constitution during the last eight years? Why was he giving up on the idea of a challenge to the Electoral College, when it seemed many in his camp were banking on that as their last line of defense?

Well, I think I have figured it out. Actually, there are two possibilities.

The first thought that came to me was that this was Al Gore's "Don't-watch-the-man-behind-the-curtain speech." While he was extolling the virtues of the Constitution, his minions in Florida -- from Bill Daley to Jesse Jackson -- were busy subverting it by any means necessary. It was Al Gore's way of establishing public plausible deniability. He stood above the fray, while his cohorts did the dirty work.

But, more recently, another thought has occurred to me -- a darker, more sinister thought. I hope I am wrong. I pray that, this time, I am overestimating the deviousness of Al Gore. But that, of course, is always a difficult task.

Think, for a moment, why Al Gore would suddenly be reading and citing the Constitution.

The answer is that, in this instance, it gives him all the power. What do I mean?

Who is it, under the Constitution, that is specifically charged with certifying the Electoral College votes of each state? You guessed it. The president of the U.S. Senate, which also happens to be the vice president of the United States. That's right. The day those Electoral College votes go to the Senate to be counted and certified to choose the next president of these United States, Al Gore will be holding all the cards.

"Oh, Farah," you say, "you don't think Al Gore would tamper with the results in any way with the whole world watching, do you?"

Well, let's think about what has been happening in Florida for the last several days. Al Gore's campaign managers have been whipping up hysteria stating that the will of the people in that state is being subverted.

They are filing lawsuits. They are organizing marches. They are all but accusing the Bush campaign of voter fraud.

Listen to what Bill Daley has to say: "More than 100 million Americans voted on Tuesday and more voted for Al Gore than George Bush. Here in Florida it also seems very likely that more voters went to the polls believing that they were voting for Al Gore than for George Bush. If the will of the people is to prevail Al Gore should be awarded a victory in Florida, and be our next president of the United States."

They've decided that no matter what the actual vote count shows, Gore wins.

Now, all Gore has to do on that fateful day in the U.S. Senate is reject for certification the Electoral College votes of Florida, and he wins the majority and becomes president. Sorry, Bush fans. I don't think there's a thing you can do about it other than protest, complain and stomp your feet. Better start planning your legal strategy now. I'll bet Al Gore's transition team is already hard at work. Barbra Streisand is probably making plans to sing at the Inauguration. Alec Baldwin is unpacking his bags. This could be a fait accompli. I guarantee you a counter to this bold move is not in the Bush campaign's playbook.

The Gore campaign, still working overtime, has laid the groundwork for the challenge. The Florida vote is tainted, they say. It's too close to call. Too many irregularities. The vote can simply be dismissed by the constitutional authority -- Vice President Al Gore.

Would you put it past him? I sure wouldn't.




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Joseph Farah is editor and chief executive officer of WorldNetDaily.com and writes a daily column.


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ELECTION 2000
Panhandle Bushies
want second shot
Pensacola officials say early, wrong
call by networks affected turnout

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By Paul Sperry
2000 WorldNetDaily.com


WASHINGTON -- Officials in the Pensacola, Fla., elections office say they've been flooded with calls from irate voters who claim they were discouraged from voting for George W. Bush Tuesday when the New York-based TV networks called Florida for Al Gore before polls closed in the state's western panhandle, which is in a later time zone.

Also, a Republican state lawmaker from Pensacola is rounding up voters who apparently "walked away" from poll lines when they heard the premature news, which turned out to be wrong. Some voters have told the lawmaker they are willing to sue for another chance to cast their vote for Bush, WorldNetDaily has learned.

Meanwhile, the chairman of the Republican Party in Escambia County, Fla., has asked his precinct leaders to identify potential Bush voters who reportedly left poll lines because of the erroneous network announcement. Pensacola, home to a Navy base and the Blue Angels, is the county seat.

Hosts of two talk-radio shows broadcast on local WEBY and WCOA planned Thursday night to help round up discouraged Bush voters by exhorting them to call into their conservative programs.

Escambia County Republican Party chairman Tom Gilliam says he's investigating whether the early network call dampened Republican turnout there.

"There could have been people in line around 7 p.m. central time waiting to vote when the call went out by the networks that it was over in Florida," Gilliam told WorldNetDaily. "They may possibly have gone home because of the incorrect call made by the networks."

Some local Republican voters were so confused by the announcement that they thought election officials had "closed the polls early," said Brenda O'Gwynn, an aide to the Escambia County elections supervisor in Pensacola. Her nonpartisan public office handles balloting for the county.

"They thought the media discouraged them from casting their ballots," she said, adding that she's been flooded with angry calls.

"We have nine lines coming into our main number and then six other lines that other people answer," O'Gwynn said. "They are getting complaints about that as well."

"It's been crazy," said a phone operator in the elections office.

At 7:49 p.m. Eastern time, MSNBC led the network pack in declaring Gore the winner in Florida. ABC, CBS, Fox and Atlanta-based CNN quickly followed.

News first reached voters in Florida's panhandle at 6:49 central time -- with 11 minutes left before polls closed. The news could also have affected those waiting in line after 7 p.m, Gilliam says.

Most of the Florida peninsula is in the Eastern time zone. But 10 counties, including Escambia, are in the central time zone. They are located west of the Apalachicola River in the state's panhandle. See county breakout in Florida map.

Escambia County, which voted about 2-to-1 in favor of Bush, has 69,724 registered Republicans, O'Gwynn says. She's says it won't be known for another week or so how many of them did not vote.

Bush leads Gore by 1,784 votes in the overall Florida tally. The state, which is now in the process of recounting all votes, will decide the outcome of the national election for president, since its 25 electoral votes will put either candidate over the 270 total they need to win.

While discontent grows among voters in the GOP-heavy Florida panhandle, the networks have focused on the more vocal elderly voters in the Democratic stronghold of Palm Beach County. They insist they were cheated out of voting for Gore by a confusing ballot.

The Gore campaign has seized on their complaints, threatening to sue the state to prevent it from certifying any winning tally for Bush until voters in Palm Beach can recast their votes. Gore has sent a team of nearly 50 lawyers to Florida.

Though there are no signs the Bush campaign is cultivating Republican voters around Pensacola as possible litigants, voters there are willing to sue, says Suzie West, a legislative aide for state Rep. Jerry Maygarden, R-Pensacola.

"Some have called and said, 'If there's going to be lawsuits, then we want to be named, because this is ridiculous,' " West said. "We've got people calling left and right who are so upset."

She says some suggest suing the TV networks for voter fraud, which they hope might force the state to give any discouraged Bush voters in Florida's central time zone another chance to vote.

West says an unidentified voter who stood in line at a Pensacola polling place around 7 p.m. Tuesday left a phone message claiming he witnessed people "walking away" from the same line after they heard the network announcements.

"People walked," West said.

Gilliam says he's suspicious of not only the timing of the networks' early call for Gore but also their belated retraction -- which came two hours later and after the last polls had closed in California.

"The announcement was made at 6:49 p.m. local time, which means it was 4:49 (p.m.) in California, where they still had two hours and 11 minutes to vote," he said. "If I'm going to the polls in California and I hear it's already over and that the big battleground states have already gone for Gore, then why would I want to go and vote for Bush?"

The networks' correction came far too late for Gilliam.

"It was suspicious," he said. "People I was with on election night here looked at each other with a knowing smile because it was just after 9 o'clock our time, 7 o'clock California time when they corrected it.

"It was almost as if after the California polls closed, there was no need to continue the charade that Gore had won, if they were attempting to affect voters," Gilliam added. "And only then did they go back to the true story that it was too close to call."

Conservative media critics noticed that the tote boards displayed that night by the networks showed a 51 percent-to-46 percent Florida lead for Bush not long after they had checked off Gore's name as the winner. Yet none of the anchors or analysts drew attention to the discrepancy.

Watchdogs also have complained that while the networks were quick to declare Florida for Gore, they were slow to call other states in the Eastern time zone for Bush. After polls closed in Georgia and Virginia, for instance, MSNBC and CNN claimed the winner was "too close to call" in those states. Yet both went big for Bush.

In projecting the Florida winner early, Gilliam suspects that the networks "didn't forget" that the state has two time zones.

"It seems like every election the network news want to say it's over based on voting in almost completely liberal, completely Democratic Eastern Florida, which is in the Eastern time zone, when our polls haven't even closed here," he said.

"They've done this before," he added, citing the 1988 coverage of Republican Connie Mack's Senate race.

Appearing on CNN the night of the election, Bush's chief strategist Karl Rove complained, "You all called Florida before the polls were closed." He contends that the early projection had harmed turnout in the more conservative Florida panhandle.

CNN anchor Bernie Shaw explained that races aren't called in a state until "75 percent of the precincts are closed." Rove replied, "That's one criteria you might think about changing."

Bush aide Mark McKinnon went on ABC News and scolded the networks for "an unfortunate rush to judgment." He pointed out that polls were still open in the panhandle when the call was made.

After McKinnon's appearance, ABC News commentator George Stephanopoulos quickly dismissed his complaint by noting that all the polls in Florida close at the same time. They do, but not all in the same time zone. Apparently, Stephanopoulos, a former aide to President Clinton, wasn't aware of that fact.




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Paul Sperry is Washington bureau chief for WorldNetDaily.

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ELECTION 2000
Congressman calls for
military-ballot probe
Florida's Scarborough asks 'if something
was done to inhibit their ability to vote'

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By Jon E. Dougherty
2000 WorldNetDaily.com


A Florida congressman has written to the House Armed Services Committee to request an investigation into why numerous military personnel -- many who are self-proclaimed Republican supporters of George W. Bush -- are complaining that they did not receive requested absentee ballots in time to vote in this year's presidential election.


Rep. Joe Scarborough, R-Fla.

Rep. Joe Scarborough, R-Fla., in a letter to Rep. Floyd Spence, R-S.C., said an investigation was warranted due to "numerous reports that our military men and women were unable to vote in Tuesday's election due to delays in receiving absentee ballots."

"As you know, Pentagon spokesman Kenneth Bacon discussed the matter at length during a briefing yesterday," Scarborough said. Though Bacon denied Pentagon culpability, the Florida Republican said he had "received several e-mails from military servicemen and women and their dependents this morning complaining that they did not receive absentee ballots they had requested."

On Tuesday, Bacon told reporters that the Pentagon was not responsible for sending out military absentee ballots. And in subsequent conversations with a Pentagon spokesman, WorldNetDaily has been told that military personnel stationed overseas or away from their state of residence must themselves request absentee ballots from those states.

However, Scarborough said personnel he spoke with claimed to have followed standard procedure -- but still failed to receive ballots.


Rep. Floyd Spence, R-S.C., chairman of the House Armed Services Committee

"I have personally spoken to several of these individuals who claim they followed normal procedures but never received their ballots," the congressman said.

To bolster his request, Scarborough also said "several published reports over the past several days" have cited "reports of problems with military absentee voting." The first of those stories was broken Saturday by WorldNetDaily.

"While I understand the individual servicemen and women must request absentee ballots through their respective election offices, I believe these widespread reports of delivery problems merit an investigation by the committee," the letter said.

"Men and women in the military have every right to vote on who their next commander-in-chief will be; if something was done to inhibit their ability to vote, the public has a right to know," wrote Scarborough.

A spokesman at the House Armed Services Committee had no comment on the letter.

At issue are a number of complaints made by active-duty military personnel who said they had asked for -- but never received -- absentee ballots and hence were unable to vote last Tuesday. The problem has been exacerbated by the presidential election as GOP nominee George Bush and Democratic rival Al Gore await completion of a legally mandated recount of votes in Scarborough's state of Florida, where 25 electoral votes -- and the presidency -- are at stake.

Analysts have said that in a close race -- or a Gore win after a recount -- the military absentee ballots would be crucial to the Bush campaign because a large majority of military personnel historically vote Republican.

WorldNetDaily tried a number of times yesterday to contact the Election Board offices at the Florida Secretary of State's office to inquire about the number of absentee ballots the state had received thus far, but the telephone was busy most of the day and messages that were left went unanswered because election officials are busy with the state's recount.

A Pentagon spokesman who asked not to be identified told WorldNetDaily yesterday that 176,492 military personnel list Florida as their home state, and that currently 24,241 were stationed overseas. However, the spokesman did not know how many overseas personnel from Florida requested or were sent absentee ballots.

Kenneth Bacon, assistant secretary of defense for public relations, confirmed for reporters during a briefing yesterday that states, including Florida, would not know how many absentee ballots to expect from the number of ballots requested.

Regarding complaints about service personnel not receiving requested ballots, the anonymous Pentagon spokesman said there were "scattered complaints every election," but that the Defense Department was not aware of "widespread reports" of missed ballots. The spokesman also said Defense did not keep records or statistics of numbers of complaints or which states complaining personnel lived in.

Bacon reiterated that records were not kept "contemporaneously" on how many personnel wanted to vote but could not. He said the Federal Voting Assistance Program, which assists military members with voting, generates a post-election report that surveys 20,000 military personnel and asks how many had problems voting.

"[The FVAP] (will) ask them if they had any problems voting and what those problems were," Bacon said. The online version of the FVAP's 15th report, taken between 1992 and 1996, did not list the number of absentee-ballot complaints.

A new survey was sent out Nov. 6.

On Wednesday, Secretary of Defense William Cohen also said he was not aware of any widespread problems regarding troops who could not get ballots, but instead said there may have been "more routine problems."

Because of sudden changes in assignments or other circumstances, service members "might not get your ballot," Bacon said. "So there will be people who fall between the cracks. It's unfortunate."

However, many of the complaints received by WorldNetDaily and Scarborough were from service members who were not in unique circumstances or otherwise unreachable by mail.

Also, many who complained said 2000 was the first election year in which they had not been able to get a ballot, even though they had followed standard procedure:


"I'm a frustrated Coast Guard officer who has been trying to secure an absentee ballot from the state of Michigan. I initially requested my absentee ballots for the primary and general election back in February. I received the ballot for the primary, and voted. I never received my ballot for the general election. I began to get concerned and sent a second letter 3-4 weeks ago requesting the absentee ballot to no avail. I am a registered Republican.
"My neighbor, an officer in the USN, never received his absentee ballot from Florida -- he's even more upset than me. This seems too widespread to be a coincidence."


"My son-in-law who is an Air Force officer in Iceland did not receive his absentee ballot until November 7, 2000 -- too late too get it postmarked and mailed!! It was ordered well in advance of the election!"

"Failure to receive an absentee ballot didn't just happen to military people overseas. I have a young Air Force staff sergeant who lives next door to us in Montgomery, Ala., who has been complaining about not getting her absentee ballot. And she hasn't gotten a satisfactory answer as to why she didn't get a ballot after requesting one."

"I am a retired U.S. Navy chief. I can tell you flat out 'some' absentee ballots do not get to service members."

"While my husband was registered for South Dakota ... his military absentee ballot never arrived where he was deployed. My husband, an Air Force pilot stationed in Indian Springs, Nev., was deployed 82 days in Bosnia. He was able to receive a magazine sent by me through the postal system (it took one week), and he received two cards from his former boss in South Carolina. The mail sent was at the beginning and end of his deployment to an APO address. Yet, he never did receive his absentee ballot. My husband knows he did give plenty of time to send out for his. I am outraged at how this election has been run."

"I am an instructor at a small community college in eastern North Carolina. Several of my students are the wives and girlfriends of military personnel stationed out of Cherry Point, N.C. Before the election, I reminded every class of students to vote and encouraged them to encourage their friends and family to vote. After the election, I praised the students who took the time to vote. You would not believe how many of those military wives and girlfriends came to me after the election and told me that their husbands and boyfriends had not been allowed to vote because of delays in getting their ballots."

"I live in Southern Oregon, and my younger brother is stationed in San Diego. He just returned from service in Korea, and he did not get his absentee ballot."


Jon E. Dougherty is a staff reporter for WorldNetDaily.

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ELECTION 2000
Military missing
absentee ballots
Some Navy personnel unable to
vote for new commander in chief

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By Jon E. Dougherty
2000 WorldNetDaily.com


Members of the military who are currently stationed overseas have complained that the Pentagon has not yet sent out absentee ballots this year, meaning they will not get to vote for a new commander in chief on Tuesday.

Specifically, members of U.S. Navy aboard ships supporting the USS Cole -- the destroyer recently attacked by terrorists while it was undergoing refueling in the port of Aden, Yemen -- have either not received ballots or won't get them in time because of current deployment circumstances, Pentagon officials said yesterday.

"I've heard about this within the past week," said Lt. Dave Gai, a Defense Department spokesman. "We are trying to get more information. We don't know if they were delayed through the mail."

He added that due to current deployment considerations, some military members overseas likely would not get their ballots in time.

"The support team for the USS Cole may not get their ballots due to intermittent mail," Gai said. "Some ballots could very well be delayed for a number of reasons."

A Maine resident -- who asked not to be identified -- said her Navy daughter who is stationed in Tokyo has received her absentee ballot for every election except this one.

"No one at the base will be voting because all the absentee ballots are missing," she told WorldNetDaily.

Navy officials were also contacted but did not return phone calls.

Critics have suggested that the Clinton administration may have purposely delayed sending absentee ballots to military personnel overseas because most, according to recent surveys, will vote Republican. The White House has denied those charges.

According to Gai, officials with the Federal Voting Assistance Program -- which helps manage balloting for overseas service members -- "was not aware of any group non-delivery."

Gai said depending on the home state of the member, ballots can be sent via Standard Form 136, which is a write-in ballot. States have different deadlines for such ballots, he added.

Each ballot "is unit specific and handled individually," he said.

Gai noted that "the military has a much higher participation [of overall voters] in the voting process" than does the general voting public. In the 1996 election, he said 64 percent of service members participated; 40 percent of those were absentee ballots. Twelve percent could not vote for various reasons, including because ballots were either sent late or otherwise not received on time.




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Jon E. Dougherty is a staff reporter for WorldNetDaily.

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Counting the
dummy vote

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2000 WorldNetDaily.com


Is anyone out there as completely flabbergasted as I am by the charge out of Palm Beach County, Fla., that the presidential ballot was too confusing to figure out?

That claim is, without exaggeration, the biggest load of boneheaded, dimwitted tripe I've been asked to swallow since my 6th grade teacher tried to convince me the U.S. didn't really lose the Vietnam War.

Reportedly, the so-called butterfly ballot -- a two-page affair with arrows pointing directly to the checkbox for each candidate -- flummoxed some voters who supposedly miscast their vote for Buchanan instead of Gore. Some people, flexing their conspiracy muscles, even called the ballot "deceptive," as if it were calculated to skew the vote Bushward.

Never mind that the Democratic Party, given review copies of the Palm Beach ballot, never lodged any complaints about the design before the election. Never mind that the ballot was prepublished for general review in newspapers before the election. Never mind that the elections supervisor in Palm Beach County who designed the ballot is a Democrat and laid out it the way she did for greater readability for the elderly.

Forget all of that. Gore lost, so the ballot's flawed. Simple.


The Palm Beach County, Fla., ballot that supposedly threw a shoe in the spokes of the Gore campaign. Notice right where those arrows point? This isn't exactly a jigsaw puzzle.


Normally, of course, an arrow is supposed to designate direction -- like, for instance, if you want to vote for Al Gore, follow the arrow to the his checkbox, not Pat Buchanan's. This is something most of us learned well before preschool. If voters can't figure that out, they shouldn't be allowed to drive to the polls, let alone vote. After all, what do they do with all those "One Way Street" signs, just turn the opposite direction?

Besides, when you're voting for the president of the United States, don't you double check what you're doing? Just to make sure. It's only prudent, after all. Wouldn't want to boost the bad guy, right?

As a District Court of Appeals ruled in a similar 1974 case of voter confusion, the Constitution presupposes a person not only has the "ability to read" but also enough "intelligence to indicate his choice with the degree of care commensurate with the solemnity of the occasion." Maybe the foundering fathers were hoping for too much, but you'd think people would put more care into picking a president than picking a cantaloupe.

Thankfully, unless inebriated, most voters do not randomly wander into the polls and rattle off their picks like great surf sites at the end of a Beach Boys tune. They exercise the proper care and deliberation. So, unless Tuesday's voters were either completely careless, absentminded or stupid, this ballot should have been cake. I certainly wouldn't confess to being confused by it; it'd be like admitting to flunking junior high. (Not to say that Gore was not counting on the dummy vote; some strategy is better than none, right?)

What's even funnier, however, is that both Gore campaign manager William Daley and Al groupie Jesse Jackson -- high-decibel dudes in the anti-Bush screech department -- successfully voted on similar butterfly ballots in Cook County, Ill. If these ballots are so difficult and terrible, why aren't Daley and Jackson whining about their own counties?

Simple. The presidency doesn't hang on Cook County. It hangs on Palm Beach County, and the Democrats will play any wildcard in the deck to win this pot -- even a completely disingenuous one.

When Bush kept bantering about it being time for change in Washington, this is exactly why. Gore is just a poor sport looking for anything at all -- however ridiculous -- to claim victory. Sure it's a close call, but Bush did win the Sunshine State. And where the sun don't shine is precisely where the Dems should put their bogus ballot claims and other iffy legal challenges.

But, then again, no one ever claimed that Al Gore was inordinately well mannered or gracious. It's a safe bet he'll stretch this thing till it snaps.




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Joel Miller is WorldNetDaily commentary editor.

See the Ballot

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Electoral College
Electoral College

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