Votes count

As Commonweal goes to press (Tuesday, December 5) the number of variables still in play in determining the Florida presidential vote would make a calculus instructor dizzy, although by the time this issue gets to subscribers the Florida Supreme Court may well have decided who the winner is. Yesterday the U.S. Supreme Court instructed Florida’s Supreme Court to clarify its reasons for permitting recounts in certain counties and extending the deadline for final certification of the Florida vote. It is unclear what impact, if any, this will have on the final vote count. At the same time, the Gore campaign continues to contest the vote already certified by Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris, trying to show that undercounted or never-counted ballots in Palm Beach, Nassau, and Miami-Dade counties should not be excluded from any final tally. That case, rejected in the lower court, is also now on appeal before the Florida high court. In separate proceedings, other Democrats are challenging irregularities concerning absentee ballots in Seminole County.

In response to these various challenges, lawyers for Governor George W. Bush have adopted a strategy of legal obstructionism, hoping to delay any court action that might result in a more complete vote count before December 12, the date by which Florida must select its electors to the Electoral College. In addition, some leaders of Florida’s Republican-controlled...

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