What would happen if we counted all the votes? Who really won the election?
Updated Feb 26, 2001
I'm familiar with a number of methods of determining the true will of the people in Florida.
Every single one of these methods give the same result. No matter how you look at it, you always come to the same conclusion: Gore won Florida by about 20,000 votes.
If you are not interested in the true will of the people, and just want to focus on undervotes, then it's a toss-up election: too close to call because it is within the margin of error of the machines. The statistical analysis done by Jas Sekhon (Harvard) and Henry Brady (Berkeley) back in December showed this; this is the same results that the Miami Herald just released on Feb 26, 2001 based on actual counts. So the statistics worked.
If you focus on counting over votes and undervotes, you find that Gore won.
Apparently the American public believes Gore won too. A December 17 CBS poll revealed that 46% of respondents said that, regardless of the election results, they believe more Florida voters intended to vote for Al Gore than for Bush. Only 34% said they believe a majority of Florida voters intended to vote for Bush. 65% percent of those surveyed believed politics or partisanship played a role in the U.S. Supreme Court justices' decision.
Here is the one key question for me that nobody has been able to answer:
Why did I support other legal battles that Gore is in? Take this simple test first:
Which method do YOU think we should use to pick (the electors for) our next President? (pick one)
If you chose random chance, then you are in the minority. However, it would make elections much cheaper, simpler and easier to administrate! We'd just flip a coin.
If the "will of the people" is what matters, then Gore should be President because he won Florida by a huge margin in terms of what people actually wanted if we could eliminate fraud and voting problems (which is completely different from what was measured). The full details are below and are backed up by the most comprehensive non-partisan study of the election results available.
If we should use the actual vote count, then Florida is a statistical tie. The "margin of error" in the Florida numbers is less than the margin of error for the vote counting machines (I talked to the CFO of the company that makes all the machines). In other words, "it's a tie." In that case, Florida's electoral votes should logically be split between the two candidates (since it's impossible to declare a winner with any certainty) and Gore would win a majority of the electors as well as the popular vote.
The Florida Supreme Court says elections should be determined by the will of the people.
Every credible study I've seen of the true will of the people shows that Gore won the popular vote (if you know of a statistical study that shows the opposite, please let me know). That's why Florida exit polls showed Gore won by a convincing margin so early in the election. It's because he did! A huge number of voting technicalities got in the way though:
All of the above, plus black voter intimidation, voter misdirection, etc. caused the popular vote to "appear" to be so close (a "statistical tie").
Here are the details.
These are not spoiled ballots. These are legally cast ballots that have not been counted even once. We can determine the voter intent in these legal ballots that voters marked. The law doesn't say "you MUST remove all the chads for your vote to count."
So you must ask yourself the following question: if the voter tried to complied with the instructions, and if a machine can't read your intent (because it was only designed to accept ballots meeting a certain technical specification) but a human can either by direct means or by 99%+ confidence statistical analysis (that gives a higher confidence than machine counts), should we count it or throw it away?
Gore offered Bush to recount the entire state. Bush refused. Why?
Gore should have also offered to Bush a statistical recount where every registered voter is enfranchised based on statistics to estimate the tally where no vote (undervote or overvote) was found. The Miami Herald commissioned a study to do exactly that. The result? Gore won by 23,000 votes.
And a very easy calculation to do yourself (see Appendix 2D in my re-allocation analysis), we can see if we "enfranchise" the confused voters in Palm Beach County alone, Gore should have received over 10,000 votes relative to Bush that he did not receive in that one county alone.
Note: There is NO credible statistical study that has appeared in ANY newspaper in the country that reaches the opposite conclusion to this study below. Want to know why? It's because if you look at what the people would have told us if we could "enfranchise" them all (including enfranchising them to not vote for any candidate), they said they preferred Gore.
Subject: Miami Herald Shows That Under Fair, Full and Accurate Count, Gore Won FL by 23,000 Votes
MIAMI HERALD ANALYSIS SHOWS THAT UNDER A FAIR, FULL & ACCURATE COUNT GORE WON FLORIDA BY 23,000
Today's Miami Herald reports that an analysis of "voting patterns in each of the state's 5,885 precincts suggests that Florida likely would have gone to Al Gore" - by a comfortable lead of 23,000 votes - "rather than George W. Bush, the officially certified victor by the wispy margin of 537."
While the Bush campaign, not surprisingly, immediately decried the analysis as "statistical voodoo," independent and impartial statisticians - including a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and a professor of statistics at the University of Florida - validated the report's conclusion, with many agreeing that "the formula probably was conservative, awarding Bush too large a share of the pie."
INDEPENDENT ANALYSIS SHOWS THAT UNDER A FULL, FAIR AND ACCURATE COUNT, AL GORE WON FLORIDA BY 23,000 VOTES
Impartial Academic Analysis Commissioned by Miami Herald Shows Al Gore Won Florida with a "Comfortable Lead" of 23,000 Votes Over George W. Bush. An analysis commissioned by The Herald of voting patterns in each of the state's 5,885 precincts suggests that Florida likely would have gone to Al Gore. According to Stephen Doig, a professor at Arizona State University who crunched the numbers for The Herald, Bush would have gotten about 78,000 (42 percent) of the uncounted votes and Gore would have gotten more than 103,000 (56 percent). The remaining 4,000 or so would have gone to the minor candidates. The result: Gore ahead by 23,000 votes, a comfortable lead in comparison with the official statistical toss-up. [Miami Herald, 12/2/00]
NERVOUS BUSH CAMPAIGN IMMEDIATELY TRIES TO SMEAR REPORT, RAISES TWO FEEBLE POINTS OF OBJECTION
Bush Campaign Tries Labeling Analysis as Nothing But "Statistical Voodoo" and "Hocus Pocus."
[Tucker] Eskew, the spokesman for the Texas governor, flatly rejected [the analysis] as "hocus pocus" and "an utterly unfounded scientific process* That is a deeply flawed model that suggests statistical voodoo," he said. [Miami Herald, 12/2/00]
Bush Campaign Protests Report's Findings on Two Grounds: q Voters didn't want to participate q Those who did want to participate intentionally cast protest votes
One fundamental flaw, Republicans argued, was an assumption that every voter actually intended to cast a vote in the presidential race. A large majority of ballots in the disputed counties of Palm Beach and Duval didn't even have a dimple on them, said Bush spokesman Tucker Eskew. In addition to mistakenly assuming that voters handing in undervotes intended to vote, he said, the analysis also ignores the notion that many of the double-punched ballots may have been ``protest votes,'' intentionally spoiled. [Miami Herald, 12/2/00]
BUT EVEN WITH BUSH OBJECTIONS FACTORED IN - AND EVEN EXAGGERATED BEYOND NORMAL ASSUMPTIONS -- GORE WOULD STILL WIN!
Even With Far Above Normal Protest Votes and Non-Participation Factored In, Gore Would Still Win. There are ways of analyzing the data that attempt to account for the possibility of protest votes and deliberate non-participation in the presidential balloting. Even so, Gore hypothetically still would have collected enough votes to change the outcome of the election. [Miami Herald, 12/2/00]
Typically, 2% of Votes in President Races Are Not Counted - Either Because of Non-Participation or Protest Votes. But Even With a 90 Percent Discard Rate, Gore Wins Historically, about 2 percent of votes in presidential races don't count -- most often because voters either skipped the race or their marks weren't recorded by counting machines. Florida's rejection rate this year, however, was higher -- about 2.9 percent. The analysis tested even higher percentages of non-votes, ranging from 10 to 90 percent of the 185,000 discarded ballots. In each instance, Gore still earned more votes. [Miami Herald, 12/2/00]
Even If ALL of the Undervotes - Ballots with Chads, Dimples, Pimples, etc. - Were Excluded, Analysis Still Shows Gore Would Win by a 13,000 Vote Margin The analysis also attempted to discard all undervotes as intentional non-votes, counting only overvotes. That analysis was hampered by the fact that 37 counties did not differentiate in their reports between ballots discarded as undervotes and those discarded as overvotes. But based on results from the 30 counties that did, 43 percent of the uncounted votes were undervotes. If that pattern held statewide and every undervote was tossed, ignoring the entire chad issue, Gore still would have a 13,000-vote margin. [Miami Herald, 12/2/00]
INDEPENDENT EXPERTS NOT ONLY VALIDATE REPORT'S FINDINGS BUT SAY CONSERVATIVE FORMULA GIVE BUSH "TOO LARGE A SHARE OF THE PIE."
Experts Agree with Reports Findings, Say Formula Was Probably Too "Conservative, Awarding Bush Too Large a Share of the Pie."
q [Experts] agreed that the formula probably was conservative, awarding Bush too large a share of the pie. The biggest problems with rejected ballots were in low-income, mostly minority neighborhoods statewide -- areas that voted heavily Democratic. [Miami Herald, 12/2/00]
q Jim Kane, an independent pollster based in Fort Lauderdale, said "I'm not shocked that Gore would have won. All of the evidence points to that, if every single ballot would have been cast correctly, Gore would have won the state* I don't think anyone with any reasonableness would dispute that." [Miami Herald, 12/2/00]
q Alan Agresti, a professor of statistics at the University of Florida, reviewed the methodology and called it "overall reasonable." [Miami Herald, 12/2/00]
q Stephen Hess, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, a Washington, D.C., think tank, also found the numbers persuasive. [Miami Herald, 12/2/00]
OTHER KEY FINDINGS BY MIAMI HERALD REPORT:
ü Voters in Democratic Precincts Had A Far Greater Chance of Having Their Ballots Rejected The analysis also confirmed that the voters in Democratic precincts had a far greater chance of having their ballots rejected. Only 1 in every 40 ballots were rejected in precincts Bush won, while 1 of every 27 ballots were rejected in precincts Gore won. [Miami Herald, 12/2/00]
ü Voting Machinery Played a Large Role in Rejections Of the 51 precincts in which more than 20 percent of ballots were rejected, 45 of them used punch cards -- 88 percent. Of the 336 precincts in which more than 10 percent were tossed, 277 used punch cards -- 78 percent. The overall rejection rate for the 43 optical counties was 1.4 percent. The overall rejection rate for the 24 punch-card counties was 3.9 percent. That means that voters in punch-card counties, which included urban Democratic strongholds such as Broward and Palm Beach counties, were nearly three times as likely to have their ballots rejected as those in optical counties. [Miami Herald, 12/2/00]
ü Palm Beach County Key Precinct in Florida Nearly half of Gore's margin, more than 11,000 extra votes, would come from Palm Beach alone. The other counties that would give him more than 1,000 new votes are Broward, Miami-Dade, Duval and Pinellas. Of those, Bush carried only Duval in the official tabulation. [Miami Herald, 12/2/00] Palm Beach, home of the infamous butterfly ballot, and Duval, where candidate's names were spread across two pages, had 31 percent of the uncounted ballots, but only 12 percent of the total votes cast. [Miami Herald, 12/2/00]
ü Analysis Shows One County Would Have Switched From Bush to Gore Attesting to how close things were, the analysis shows only one county that would actually switch preferences for president -- tiny Madison, which officially went to Bush, but would go to Gore under The Herald's projections. More than 10 percent of Madison's 4,000-plus ballots were rejected. [Miami Herald, 12/2/00]
WILL YOU TAKE MY CHALLENGE? If you want to object or challenge this study, please point me to the website of a major metropolitan newspaper or national magazine that published a peer-reviewed study done by a credible researcher that reaches the opposite conclusion. I'd love to see it! (so far, no takers to my challenge).
I'm funding both the Seminole and Martin lawyers. Why?
I'm very well informed on the legal issues in Florida. I've read the applicable Florida law, I've hired my own Florida counsel, I've read the cases that were filed, and I've read the related cases mentioned by these cases (Boardman v. Esteva, etc). I've spent a solid week getting up to speed on the specifics. I've also talked with the counsel on both Seminole and Martin.
While I've been registered as a Republican for over 10 years, I could have just as easily have registered as a Democrat because I always vote for candidates on their merit, never on their party. I evaluate candidates for political office on 8 factors:
The bottom line in Seminole and Martin: The voters were NOT blameless. If you try to vote after the polls close, your vote will not count. Similarly, the VOTERS themselves did NOT comply with the law and were NOT entitled to receive ballots. The law says all 9 required items (including the voter ID number) MUST be supplied by the person submitting the form (and it specifically limits who can submit that application on behalf of the voter) on the application or the application is VOID (101.62(1)(b)). This strong language mandating that this information be supplied that the Republican legislature explicitly added in 1998 after the ballot fraud in the Miami Mayoral race. Those statutes were written, enacted, and signed into law by Republicans. If you take the time to read all the election laws, you'll find that the word MUST is rarely used (hence it is reserved for being a strict requirement) and the word "essential to the process" (as mentioned in the Florida court judgment saying that the legislature had to use "essential" when they mean must) is NEVER used. And election workers are instructed not to process any application that doesn't have the 9 required pieces of information. And we have other wrongs (third-degree felonies under 104.047(2)) done by others as detailed below. So with all these wrongs, should we allow the ballots anyway? And if we do, where do we draw the line? And why were Democratic applications tossed, while Republican applications processed without the required information?
The reason I decided to financially support the Seminole and Martin cases is because, no matter who we believe should be president, we must preserve the sanctity and integrity of the voting process. Illegally issued ballots should NOT be counted. We need a fair count and we should count every LEGAL vote. Everyone must play by the same rules, and those rules must be fair to everyone. We cannot and must not tolerate fraud in our voting system. Without financial assistance, the legal teams would not be able to afford to present a credible case and justice would not be served.
I also find it odd that George W. Bush said he "trusts the people," yet he doesn't want to count all the votes. I find it odd that George W. Bush says he trusts the state governments, yet he hasn't even been elected yet and he's challenging the laws and courts of Florida.
Voting at the polls is a right. But voting by absentee is not a right. It is a privilege. State laws (including Florida) make this very clear and distinguishes them and accords different status to a right than a privilege (see the ruling in Suarez case).
If you arrive 5 minutes after the polls close, your vote will not be counted. Should it be counted if you are only 5 seconds late? Only 1 second late? Similarly, if you do not complete all the mandatory information on an absentee ballot request, it is illegal to issue you an absentee ballot (but you may still vote at the polls).
In Seminole and Martin, the facts are undeniable (even by the defendants who nevertheless tried to misconstrue the facts by claiming that the application directive was advisory which it clearly was not as 101.62 uses the word MUST; if it were advisory, as the Bush lawyers contend, the Republican operatives wouldn't have bothered to fill in the missing data!):
So, if we permitted these illegally issued ballots to count in an election it would be like writing 8 "new" Florida statutes. Can you imagine a statute like this added to section 104's list of penalties:
Do you think such a new statute makes sense? I don't! That's why I'm funding the lawsuit. To prevent that from being the law! More info on Seminole.
Note that the voting rights statute (42 U.S.C Sec. 1971):
This was applied against the Florida law and NONE of the absentee application provisions were overturned. because the legislature in 101.62(1)(b) specified that these 9 things were material.
What should be done? That's the real question here. Here's the remedy that the judge should order in this case.
Who is to blame for what happened in Seminole and Martin? The Republican party sent out the forms with bad data filled in. And the voters themselves didn't correct it. So the disenfranchised voter can blame themselves for not reading the instructions but mostly blame the Republican party for committing a third-degree felony by illegally modifying the forms (and in most cases, not filling them in accurately) and fooling the voters (who still did not comply with the law anyway in their initial application) into believing that their vote counted. Note that Fla. Stat. § 104.047(2) makes it a third-degree felony to request an absentee ballot other than in compliance with chapter 101.
Here's what the courts effectively did by not choosing a remedy: Courts create eight new laws
Update on Seminole and Martin
I've spent time contemplating bringing this up to the Supreme Court.
With 99% certainty, what would happen is that the Supreme Court would say "this is a matter for the state court to decide" and that they already have.
The Florida Supreme Court should have reversed the decisions of Judges Lewis and Clark to interpret the word "MUST" as being directory instead of mandatory.
The voting statutes NEVER say "essential" anywhere. The word MUST is infrequently used.
The law says the polls SHALL close at 7pm, but that absentee voters MUST complete 9 items. Go figure.
Update on Justice in the United States (views from the Supreme Court)
Denouncing the majority for stopping the manual recounts, Justice John Paul Stevens said the Bush campaign had no legal basis for its claims, other than an "unstated lack of confidence in the impartiality and capacity of the state judges."
"Otherwise, their position is wholly without merit," he wrote. "The endorsement of that position by the majority of this Court can only lend credence to the most cynical appraisal of the work of judges throughout the land," he said.
"Although we may never know with complete certainty the identity of the winner of this year's presidential election, the identity of the loser is perfectly clear. It is the nation's confidence in the judge as an impartial guardian of the rule of the law," he added.
On Sunday night, after a month of election-related litigation, The Washington Post and ABC News polled people about their faith in the court system generally to deal with political cases.
Sixty-three precent said they had less confidence than before the election, while 20 percent said they had more confidence.
For an amazingly clear, lucid explanation of the ruling, see POLITICAL AMAZON US Supreme Court Rules YOUR VOTES ARE WORTHLESS!
What you need to know about counting undervotes
There are two main types of optical systems are used in florida: accuvote (.83% spoilage) and ES&S systems (3.76% spoilage). The spoilage rate of the latter is comparable to punchcard (3.92%).
What is critical is that precincts with accuvote should show virtually no undervotes.
That means virtually all undervotes in punchcard precincts ARE REAL VOTES that have never been counted!! So the Broward dimple chad standard isn't sufficient to recover the intent of the voter! This recovers only 25% of the undervote. We need something at least 3 times more sensitive!
What you need to know about the US Supreme Court
Clarence Thomas never asks questions during hearings (not just in this case, but never) and always sides with Scalia.
Scalia has one kid who practices with Barry Richard and another kid who practices with Ted Olson. He didn't recuse himself.
Still have faith in our highest court?
What's after Seminole, Martin? Another fraud?
Check this out:
Steve, thank you for your support in this critical matter. Am forwarding email from a friend of mine who, lives in Tallahassee, is Professor of Architecture at Florida A&M University. If this happened to him, one can only imagine, most likely correctly, that is happened to tens of thousands of Blacks/Minorities. Any added publicity on this subject would be helpful in actions being presented to Atty. General/Justice Dept. Thank you, Charles I. Cross Michigan Rkdarch@aol.com wrote:
Hey hey.. As they it ain't over til its over and of course the fat lady sings. But we are in some or on the brink of some dangerous times if Bush gets in. As Bush has delayed and delayed time is about to expire and they are calling the special session--just in case someone wants to do the Right thing--count folks vote!!! Did I tell you that my name was not on the role at our second primary -- I have voted in over sixteen elections here and the last 7 years from this address at one precinct. When I went to vote in the Presidential, 3 weeks after the run off election I was not only not on the role but not on the master list of that precinct was told I was not there but in another. It was early in the morning and they were not crowed so I was able to go through all of this and get to the new voting location and vote BUT if I had gone after work I doubt that I would have made it. AND I live in a white area--but I am a registered Democrat a! nd certainly anyone who had the voters list could cross check and determine I was Black.. Anyway my point is now I find this happened all across the state plus these other ballots in question and given the vote being so close--Why are we not going to get a statewide recount? Anyway was there for Jessie Jack yesterday got some good photos from the side will send some on the Web tonight. Quite a rally that is where I heard more about all of these infractions at polling places first hand... Didn't stay too long situation too explosive about 4,000 African Americans and a bunch of good 'ol American Republicans counter demonstrating... Not that young and revolutionary anymore ... anyway have a good day...
The Seminole and Martin decisions: Courts create five new laws
MSNBC Opinion piece on the election: Seminole, the count, etc.
Seminole Relief and what is fair
How many votes Gore should have gotten in Palm Beach (what the overvoted ballots tell us)
Precedent under Florida law: Florida's 3rd District Court of Appeals overturned the 1997 election of Miami Mayor Xavier Suarez for absentee ballot fraud; all 5,000 absentee ballots were disqualified based upon 400 identified fraudulent ballots21 (see ruling which explains Florida law extremely well)
Why Gore? (which has a great link about his Gore's REAL role in creating the Internet)