On 2000 presidential election controversy

by Wm. Robert Johnston
December 2000

Observant readers will have noticed the factual omissions in Michael David Castillo's Dec. 7 editorial in The Brownsville Herald, but here they are for everyone else:

Our nation is governed not by Webster's dictionary, but by the U.S. Constitution and the state constitutions. These in turn allow the limited creation of laws by federal, state, and local governments representing the people. One provision of the U.S. Constitution is that the president is not elected by popular vote but by electoral vote. The founding fathers set up this provision in part to prevent the voice of less populous states from being drowned out by more populous states. Were it not for the electoral college, this election would have been decided by New York City.

Al Gore has no business claiming a mandate from a popular vote lead of 0.3%. California declined to count their absentee ballots; Florida Democrats rejected thousands of votes by U.S. service men and women; and Democrats nationwide garnered illegal votes from non-citizens and felons. If these situations had not occurred, Al Gore might not have the popular vote either.

All votes in Florida were counted twice; some were counted three or four times. Castillo refers to as "uncounted" those votes which did not register a legal vote for any presidential candidate. Actions by Gore supporters in Florida vindicate the state laws and precedents which determined that these ballots did not have a valid vote for any candidate. Most Americans can correctly judge the motives of a candidate who declares "let every vote count", then pursues a selective process to add or fabricate votes in supportive Florida counties and disqualify legal votes in opposing counties.

The protest by Republicans in Dade County was not a protest of the recount, it was a protest of a violation of the law: the Democratic canvassing board had moved the recount to a location closed to outside observers, a violation of state law. This law was created by democratically elected representatives to prevent a single party from acting improperly during a vote count.

The ongoing actions by the candidate who lost the 2000 presidential election, Al Gore, are an assault on the democratic institutions that are the basis of this republic. The prevalence of attitudes expressed by some supporters of Gore represent a lack of civic understanding which threatens democracy.

© 2000, 2003 by Wm. Robert Johnston.
Last modified 24 April 2003.
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