Posted on October 4, 2004

Dispelling Urban Legends about Florida

Michael P. Tremoglie,, Oct. 4

During a speech, September 11th, John Kerry implied that Republicans will keep blacks from voting in November. “We are not going to stand by and allow another million African American votes to go uncounted in this election,” Kerry proclaimed to the Congressional Black Caucus. “We are not going to stand by and allow acts of voter suppression, and we’re hearing those things again in this election.”

Kerry said that the Democrats prepared to monitor the polls on election day. “What they did in Florida in 2000, some say they may be planning to do this year,” Kerry said. Kerry always references these elusive “some” when he makes an outrageous claim; at least he is consistent on that account.

The flaw in Kerry’s and the Democratic Party argument is that there was no policy to prevent blacks from voting. There was no such policy by the Republican Party or the Florida government.

The preliminary report by the USSC stated, “However, it appears at this phase of the investigation that the evidence may ultimately support findings of prohibited discrimination.”[1] This report is often cited by the other side. However, the final report by the USCCR stated the Commission “does not find that the highest officials of the state conspired to disenfranchise voters. Moreover, even if it was foreseeable that certain actions by officials led to voter disenfranchisement, this alone does not mean that intentional discrimination occurred.”[2]

The USCCR did say was some nebulous claim that the state did not fulfill all its responsibilities to ensure “efficiency” and “uniformity.” The report pronounced, “Disenfranchised voters are individuals who are entitled to vote, want to vote, or attempt to vote, but who are deprived from either voting or having their votes counted.” Using this standard then, military personnel and Republican voters in the Florida panhandle were the voters who were disenfranchised. However, the USCCR made no mention of them in their report.[3]

In 2000, Al Gore wanted to discount military ballots that were not postmarked. Ergo, they were disenfranchised — or would have been by Gore according to the USCCR’s definition — if the Florida Attorney General did not insist that they be counted. Also, using the USCCR definition, because the TV networks proclaimed Al Gore the winner of the election before the Florida’s polls closed, it has been estimated that many voters in the Florida panhandle, which is in different time zone, did not vote.

The truth is that if one were to use the USCCR standards, millions of people across the United States — black, white, yellow, red, poor, rich, ethnic, and those whose ancestors sailed with the Mayflower — are “disenfranchised” each election.

After the 2000 election, a number of newspaper consortiums wanted to determine if Gore would have won the election, if the United States Supreme Court had not ruled that the Florida Supreme Court could not countermand Florida election law, by ordering that the vote recounts continue.

The two independent audits by the newspaper consortiums, most of which were antipathetic to Bush being president, revealed that he would have won the election if the recount continued. One consortium was USA Today and the Miami Herald. The other consortium was composed of The Associated Press, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, CNN, the St. Petersburg Times, The Palm Beach Post, The Washington Post and the Tribune Co., which includes the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, the Orlando Sentinel and Baltimore Sun.

According to a CNN report filed on April 4, 2001, the Herald/USA Today audit determined, “If a recount of Florida’s disputed votes in last year’s close presidential election had been allowed to proceed by the U.S. Supreme Court, Republican George W. Bush still would have won the White House, two newspapers reported Wednesday.”[4]

The Wall Street Journal, et. al., audit determined the same thing, “On December 12, 2000, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a Florida Supreme Court ruling ordering a full statewide hand recount of all undervotes not yet tallied. The U.S. Supreme Court action effectively ratified Florida election officials’ determination that Bush won by a few hundred votes out of more than 6 million cast…Using the NORC data, the media consortium examined what might have happened if the U.S. Supreme Court had not intervened. The Florida high court had ordered a recount of all undervotes that had not been counted by hand to that point. If that recount had proceeded under the standard that most local election officials said they would have used, the study found that Bush would have emerged with 493 more votes than Gore.”[5]

Kerry and the Democrats should be presenting the American people reasons to vote for him. Instead, the political Left has recycled debunked conspiracy theories.



[2] 7-11-04

[3] 9-21-04

[4] ret fm w/s 9-21-04

[5] ret fm w/s 9-21-04