I get so tired of reading this nonsense.
Bush was successful before the Supreme Court because he had a valid due process argument.
Let’s re-visit the saga: Initially, Gore asked that the recount of Florida votes be limited to certain counties that heavily favored him. Recounting increased the vote totals for both candidates, and decreased Bush’s lead, but Bush still remained ahead after that recount. Then, Gore wanted a manual recount for the counties that favored him, on the ground that hand counting is more accurate. That, of course, is a load of shite.
Florida Secretary of State Harris petitioned the Florida Supreme Court to stop the hand counts because she feared that if countywide manual recounts continued, the results would be broadcast to the nation, which would neither advance the process nor serve the interests of public policy. There was no consistent standards for conducting the recount and thus the integrity of the ballots themselves was in danger.
Hand-counting increases the number of votes counted, because humans will accept more ballots than machines accept. The chard in the punch card may not have been completely punched out, but the human eye can see that and count it. A hand count should increase the total for both candidates, but in a way that is statistically proportional to the machine votes already cast, if the human eye is nonpartisan.
But humans are partisan (as should be evident). On election night, Bush had a 1,784 vote lead over Gore; after several recounts, that margin dropped to 300 votes. If I recall what I read then correctly, the statistical chance that Gore would increase his Florida vote total as much as he did was approximately 43 million to one. How the hell did he beat those odds? (If he’s that lucky, why didn’t he win Florida by a huge percentage of votes in the first place?)
Unfortunately, the fact is, the people who handled the ballots treated them inconsistently. Machines (unlike people counting manually) belong to no political party. It is known that the differing standards the counters used in evaluating the results changed from precinct to precinct and from hour to hour. Palm Beach’s Election Commission changed its standards twice. That kind of arbitrary, capricious, and ex post facto decision-making made for a significant due process problem. The most elemental meaning of due process is “fair procedure.”
In Pinellas County (a Gore stronghold), when humans reinserted the ballots into the machine for a recount, the very partisan election officials decided to help things along. Before resubmission, they removed the chad (the little piece of paper the voter is supposed to push through the computer ballot) by hand thus giving Gore an extra 417 votes. If they were permitted to do that when limited by the machine, think of the opportunities if they didn’t need to bother with the machine at all!
One Florida judge ruled that the election officials could treat a ballot as cast for a particular candidate even if there was no punch in the card, as long as the “dimple” in the card was such that the hand counter thought that he knew the true intention of the voter. Do you really think that such guesses would be consistently applied over thousands of ballots? Or do you think that such guesses could have been divorced from the politics of the official?
Hand counting – as it was done in Florida – violated basic procedural due process. It didn’t provide better information regarding the voters’ intent. The only thing we could know from the nonsense going on was that the recounting would only stop when the vote came out the way Gore’s supporters wanted.
The manual hand count in Florida was not counting votes, it was manufacturing votes.
That is why Bush went to the US Supreme Court… to prevent an arbitrary, standardless hand count. He claimed that the recount methods were a violation of due process, both because they were standardless and because they changed the rules after the election. The Supreme Court granted cert. on the due process claim, as well as on several statutory claims.
Bush’s Reply Brief stated that Bush sought injunctive relief not only to stop the selective and standardless recounts, but also to prohibit certification of returns that included the results procured through flawed recounts.
And the US Supreme Court ruled correctly, IMO. If you disagree, I’d like to know why… rather than hearing the same pathetic and tired complaint that “Bush wasn’t elected”.