Sometimes in order to accurately predict the future, it is necessary to delve into the past. This is especially true in regards to the upcoming
2008 Presidential Election. It is with this in mind that we will review key events that shaped the outcome of both the 2000 and 2004 presidential
elections. In this post we will focus upon Florida’s role in the 2000 election.
The Sunshine State
…the review of 171,908 ballots also reveals that voting mistakes by thousands of Democratic voters — errors that legally disqualified
their ballots — probably cost former vice president Al Gore 15,000 to 25,000 votes.
Source : Florida Voter Errors Cost Gore the Election
Let’s take a trip down memory lane, and revisit the chaotic events that surrounded the 2000 Presidential Election. The state of Florida played a
pivotal role in determining the final outcome of the election with 25 electoral votes hanging in the balance.
In a strange turn of events that seem more apt for a Hollywood movie script then actual events, Democratic candidate Al Gore conceded the election to
George W. Bush after the news media had predicted that Bush had captured Florida before all the votes had been counted.
As the votes continued
to be tallied, it was determined that the race was too close to call and the news networks retracted their prediction that Bush had won the state
after all. Upon realizing this, Gore quickly recanted his concession, demanded a recount and all Hell broke loose.
Needless to say, there was quite a bit of drama. Between the recount (which had narrowed down to a 500+ vote margin favoring Bush at one
floating chads and several lawsuits, the U.S. Supreme Court declared Florida’s recount unconstitutional ¬-- thus, halting the recount
process and allowing Florida to certify Bush the winner.
Source : United States Presidential Election, 2000
ButterflyGate: Election Loss by Design, Part One
There were a myriad of factors that played heavily into Gore losing Florida to Bush. Of these, the most glaring one was the infamous butterfly ballot
of Palm Beach County.
The butterfly ballot was specifically designed by Democratic election officials
in large type to aid elderly voters with less than
optimal vision read with ease. As you can see in the above image, the butterfly ballot consisted of a two-page layout with the names of the
presidential candidates spread across both pages with a shared punch strip area running vertically down the center.
Helping elderly voters exercise their right to vote, no doubt seemed like a good idea at the time. Unfortunately, the design of the butterfly ballot
caused a great deal of confusion as to which presidential candidate they were actually voting for. You see, Bush was listed first on the ballot, so
naturally to vote for Bush all one had to do was punch the first hole. No big deal, as this was fairly straight forward.
However, those wishing to vote for Gore, who was listed second on the ballot directly
underneath Bush, had to punch the THIRD hole.
is that, you may ask? Simply put, since the names of all ten presidential candidates were spread across a two-page layout and shared a common punch
strip area that ran down the length of the page, the punch holes were alternated between both sides of the ballot.
In other words, Bush was
listed first in the left –hand column, thus he had the first hole. Pat Buchanan was listed first on the right-hand column, thus he was designated
the SECOND hole.
Therein lies the problem.
Many Democratic voters intent on voting for Gore inadvertently voted for Buchanan.
It has been estimated that of the 18,748 overvote ballots
( in which more than one candidate was selected)
cast in Palm Beach County, Gore was punched 80% of the time.
The Two-Sided Ballot: Election Loss by Design, Part Two
That confused voters because Gore was the second candidate listed but the third hole to punch. Reform Party candidate Pat Buchanan, on the
opposite page, was assigned the second hole. This confusion alone cost Gore the presidency…
Speaking of poorly designed ballots, let us now review the less infamous two-sided ballot of Duval County. This particular ballot design featured the
first five candidates on the first side of the page, and the next five candidates on the second side. Seems straight forward enough, if it weren’t
for the instruction printed on the first side that stated “turn page to continue voting.” Furthermore, sample ballots distributed contained an
instruction that stated “vote every page.”
Well, guess what happened when voters in this particular county followed directions to a tee? That’s right, overvotes.
In other words, voters
selected a presidential candidate from both sides
of the ballot to a tune of 21,188 votes. Yikes!
This particular ballot design slip-up affected both respective parties. However, since Duval County tends to lean Democratic, Gore suffered a larger
blow to the vote count than Bush.
Gore had 7,162 of these two-candidate/two-page overvotes vs. 4,555 for Bush — in other words, probably costing Gore about 2,600 votes.
Once again, the number of votes disqualified by this misunderstanding alone was enough to cost Gore the election. Remember, Bush won with barely
The Black Sheep Candidate and The Green Party
As if the whole ballot fiascos in Palm Beach and Duval counties didn’t cause enough chaos in Florida, consider Green Party candidate, Ralph
Nader is one heck of an interesting guy, who made his name as a tireless advocate for consumer rights, environmental protections and generally
all-things-that-are-good. He became a highly respected person among liberal and independent circles for his tenacity and activism, as well as being
held in high regard among the general public.
In fact, he struck such a positive chord with the American people that a “Draft Nader” movement was started in 1972. It wasn’t until 20 years
later that Nader officially authorized his name to appear on any ballot in 1992.
In 1996, Nader was embraced by various green parties throughout the nation and officially nominated by the Green Party for the 2000 Presidential
Election. His candidacy caused an immediate surge in the grass-roots movement for government reform, and proved to be a troublesome thorn for the
In the 2006 documentary An Unreasonable Man, Nader describes how, during the second Clinton Administration, he found that he was unable to get
the views of his public interest groups heard in Washington, even by then President Clinton's administration. Nader cites this as one of the primary
reasons that he decided again to actively run in the 2000 election as candidate of the Green Party, which had been formed in the wake of his 1996
Source : Ralph Nader
Nader’s decision to run in the 2000 election soon turned controversial, as it is widely believed that his candidacy siphoned votes from Democrats
and Independents who would have normally supported Gore, hence causing Gore the election. Overall, Nader received 2,883,105 votes nationwide.
Nader's actual influence on the 2000 election is the subject of considerable discussion, and there is no consensus on Nader's impact on the
However, Nader was able to capture 97,421 votes or 1.633% in Florida. Considering Bush won this state by less than 600 votes makes one wonder about
the validity of this claim.
Source : Florida Results
Now, About those Voting Machines…
My opponent contends that there is a vast right wing conspiracy that has stolen both the 2000 and 2004 Presidential Elections through the use of
rigged voting machines that have been manufactured and maintained by active supporters of the Republican Party.
The truth of the matter is that the majority of the people respond to their own particular political beliefs, be it conservative, liberal or
independent. The fact that the owners and operators of the companies that manufacture voting machines happen to be conservative is not proof of
election rigging. If anything, I would not be surprised if the same allegations of voting machine manipulation were made if these same owners and
operators happened to be liberal.
That said, there hasn’t been substantial proof that voting machines were in any way manipulated to affect the outcome of the 2000 or 2004
In a Nutshell…
There were a variety of factors in Florida that resulted in Gore losing the state, and ultimately the election to Bush. It therefore stands to reason
that ballot mishaps and a maverick candidate were more than enough for the Democratic Party to withstand.
Question 1: Do you agree that the use of the butterfly ballot in Palm Beach County, Florida played a vital role in Gore losing the election?
Question 2: Do you agree that the use of the two-sided ballot in Duval County, Florida played a vital role in Gore losing the election?
Question 3: Do you agree that Ralph Nader’s garnering of 97,421 votes in Florida played a vital role in Gore losing the election?
[edit on 7-9-2008 by MemoryShock]