Mrs. Harris, ummm....

Mrs. Harris the Secretary of State of Florida certainly seems to be a loyal Republican. You also have to admire her directness. At least we’re not seeing a facade of impartiality here.

I don’t feel to good about this though.

The electoral boards of these counties in question are overwhelmingly democrat. Harris could be a balancing force. Unfortunately she seems to be going overboard.

Though I don’t like it, ideally I don’t think she should be saying she’s not going to accept any ammended returns. There should at least be the appearance of an open mind for forms sake, and in reality she should be willing to accept anything that is reasonable.

On the other side of the coin, is her hard nosed approach in response to interference in the process by Democrats in certain counties?

What’s going on with this lady?

If she continues to be overzealous she’s going to do a lot more harm than good.

I think both her and Baker are involved in some conspiracy to make Bush look as bad as possible.

You don’t NEED a conspiracy to make Bush look bad, IMHO.

However, it does seem like Harris is making a bad move, on her part…
It doesn’t look good…

I’m glad to see someone on the other side of the political spectrum agreeing with me on this one.

Not only was Ms. Harris the second-biggest Bush supporter in Florida, she has also been grooming herself for an ambassador position for the last few years. In other words, this is a raging conflict of interest any way you slice it. She should remove herself from the process, if at all possible, and should have done so before it ever started.

Did she even give any reasons for denying the hand count requests, other than her opinion that the hand counts were less accurate? Are we supposed to see the timing of her decision–after Gore’s offer of a statewide hand count, and before Bush’s rejection of it–as coincidental? I really hope that a judge somewhere is able to see through all this.

If Bush does get in office (an increasingly likely scenario), and she gets any sort of federal appointment, holy hell needs to be raised.

Dr. J

How bout what I hear today about her saying absentee ballots don’t have to be postmarked by election date, as long as they say they were executed on that date? Just what we need - more irregularities.

And on the catty side, could she use a serious makeover or what?

I’m just surprised she was able to be appointed Secretary of State of Florida after shooting that Scarsdale Diet doctor . . . Didn’t she go to Paris, too?

I think they’re doing the best they can here. I heard a report that one overseas absentee ballot was postmarked December. Also, apparently Costa Rica doesn’t even have a postmark.

A summary (from a liberal newspaper) can be found here.

The full text can be seen here.

Actually, she was elected. She will be the last elected SOS in Florida, as the same election which gave her the office passed an initiative to alter the composition of the Florida cabinet.

What’s that? It wasn’t a serious inquiry.


[sub]Never mind[/sub]


And the majority of the Election Boards in these counties are democrat…

As are 99% of all politicians

The whole state of Florida is a raging conflict of interest. The judges looking at all this will be accused of Liberal or Conservative partisanship, the workers counting the ballots, the voters complaining about confusion, all have an agenda.

The Secratery of State was elected, not appointed, and opposed by Jeb Bush. Let’s see, if it really comes down to a partisan pissing contest (wait, that’s what it is now), how is this any worse than judges appointed by Democrats?


The judges, the election boards and the SOS are supposed to be impartial.

Now, they have interests, and those interests produce bias. Ideally checks and balances between parties attempting to be impartial can actually come pretty close to the fact.

For example, the democratic judge who ruled against Bush earlier to stop the handcounts did so in a very timely fashion, wich was both correct and fair, so that Bush had the opportunity to appeal. I also beleive that judge acted reasonably, and indeed nobody has said otherwise.

Even if you are not impartial, and are acting in a biased way, it behooves you to at least keep up appearances and seem impartial.

I don’t think the election board is impartial, but they are keeping up appearances, and an accusation otherwise at this time would be unwarranted.

The SOS has an obligation to enforce the deadline. She should do so, as she has. Thumbing her nose at the democrats while doing so, doesn’t seem particularly wise.

Now, it may not be that way. The counties in question may be running fast and loose with their obligations to provide election returns in a timely manner, and assuming discretion that rightly belongs to the SOS. She might just be kicking them back in line, and reminding them and the country that there is actually a procedure here that needs to be followed.

But, as much as I try to make it seem that way, that’s not how it looks.

I would much prefer that she enforce the deadline (as she has, and should,) not comment on the handcounting, but remind the counties that if they wish to submit amended returns, they better have damn good reasons if they wish her to consider them, and that those amendments had both better be timely and stand up to very strict scrutiny for fairness, and consistency. Only under those conditions would it be appropriate for her to exercise her discretion, and only under those conditions should she be expected to.

If she had done this, she would have knocked the ball back into the counties’ court, and they would have to both prove their need, and the legitmacy of their handcounts. There would be no need for the Dems to go to court again.

By saying she will summarily deny any recounts, this can be seen as a proactive stance to discourage them, which I don’t beleive is her perogative. It may very well succeed. If it does, it leaves a bad taste in the Public’s mouth. If it doesn’t, it can really draw out the election process as handcounts will need to be resumed, there will be a new timeframe, and Mrs. Harris will hafe lost her credibility to prevent any abuses that occur on the Democratic side.

She’s not playing it smart in my opinion, and I don’t think the Bush camp is particularly pleased with her.

Artless comes to mind.

I’m not a Bush supporter, but I suspect he is the winner at the end of the story (although I’ve felt for about a week that whoever wins may win a phyrric victory). Harris is not really helping him at all.

Right. I mean why not wait until the absentee deadline? Then claim high ground? Bad tactics.

I think that’s the reasonable position, hell, haven’t I read that one county bumped up Bush’s total slightly?

Well, its all based on the law. Interference is a strong word. The whole maneuvering is quite tiresome.

I think she thinks she’s helping her boy, but she’s pretty artless about it.


Suggestion I just heard on the radio:
If W wins, Ms. Harris should be appointed the ambassador to the Republic of Chad.

One other suggestion:

People don’t like it when they tell people what to do who they think should listen to them, and get the thumb-nosing treatment instead. (e.g. the US gov told Milosevic what to do, and when he didn’t listen, went out and bombed an entire country to pieces). Ms. Harris is technically the head of the election process, and the tone of her actions may be, in part, an emotional response to having her authority flouted by the local boards.

Pure speculation, of course.

This article from Slate does a good job of taking apart Bush’s arguments against the hand recount.

Dr. J

I’ve been defending Bush all through this, but after Harris’s decision yesterday, I switched.

My point all along was that selective hand-counting in heavily democratic areas was unfair. I still think it’s unfair. My suggestion was that the entire state be hand-counted.

Gore offered just that option yesterday, and Bush (predictably) refused. The attitude among Bush people is, “Why should we give him another shot at it? We already won.”

The problem is that I think most of us can see that there is an opportunity here to count the state in an unbiased fashion. Bush could easily hammer out an oversight agreement to conduct a re-count fairly. For instance, they could count all districts with an even number of Republican and Democrat officials, but put a Republican in to break ties in the heavily Democratic areas, and a Democrat to break ties in heavily Republican areas. Or something like that. But clearly, a hand recount of the state would produce the most accurate representation of the will of the people. They could even possibly agree that the result must favor Gore by at least X votes for him to win, since any lower amount could still be noise and not reflect the will of the people.

The ‘problem’ from Bush’s standpoint is that it will almost certainly cost him the election, because his areas were not tabulated by machine, and therefore won’t be heavily under-represented.

But think about that - If a recount would cause Gore to win, then he should be president. That’s the will of the people. Clearly, Bush ‘won’ Florida by a fluke - a bad ballot design coupled with an elderly population, plus the fact that the Democratic votes were under-represented by machine count (incidentally, a lot of people may have to apologize to the polling firm that originally ‘called’ Florida for Gore - had that ballot not been screwed up, Gore would have won by several thousand votes, and the state would never have gone back into the ‘undecided’ territory. But it also points out the danger of ‘calling’ a state based on exit polling data rather than actual counts).

Ms. Harris’s pronouncement was clearly not ‘considered’ - she had her mind made up before she even requested that the counties submit their reasons. That was merely a smokescreen to make her appear more thoughtful. But there is absolutely no way that a heavy Bush partisan should make that decision - she should have recused herself, or perhaps even set up a bi-partisan commission to make the decision. But she’s no doubt acting under orders from her party.

Ethics aside, her announcement was extremely poorly staged. Why not wait longer? Why not at least go through the motions, perhaps consult with some election law experts, call some witnesses, etc? Even if she planned to rule for Bush, political reasons alone should have dictated an appearance of propriety. Acting this early also gave the Gore team time to mount a legal challenge before the Friday deadline. Politically, it was a dumb move.

To be charitable to her, she may have acted quickly simply to try and save a bunch of people a whole lot of time and money in re-counting something she wouldn’t allow. Perhaps SHE was the one with some ethics, who was told to stall by the Republicans and refused.

Either way, I think the ethical tide has shifted to Gore. His last proposals were reasonable, IF the goal was to elect the guy who got the most votes in Florida. The fact that it’s almost certainly him is irrelevant.

Now it’s Bush who is trying to steal the election. At least, that’s the way I see it.

I keep seeing this “argument”. It gets no better with reuse.

Do people really see no difference between “member of the same party” and “co-chair of the Florida campaign”?

Do people really see no ethical conflict with the official in charge of overseeing election returns actively campaigning for one candidate?

Do people really see no conflict of interest in an official who actively campaigned for one candidate potentially swinging the election with an individual decision?

Or do some people simply allow partisanship to once again override any considerations of ethics or objectivity.

Thankfully, not all people. Kudos to scylla, Sam Stone, et al.

Sam, I’m beginning to admire you. You’ve never abandoned your ideological convictions, but you’re often willing to shift your stance on a particular issue as you gain more information. That’s not something that everyone can do.

I have not read every line of every post, I just got in and I have some things to do, but I have read enough to see that Scylla and Sam Stone have proven themselves to be very fair-minded. Of course, we all know how I feel about these events, and to me certain things are blatantly clear. That you guys could look at them and say “ein minuten, bitte!” (hold on a minute, EI fans know…) “Even though I want my guy to win, this looks pretty icky to me” says alot for you.

Unfortunately for me, the only thing I’ve found so far to be on the opposite side about is the pregnant chads. I think counting those is ridiculous, and anyone advocating doing so is not doing the Gore cause any favors.

Anyway, had to acknowledge y’all. (Applause)


don’t sell yourself short Spiritus Mundi a calm voice in this hailstorm has been most welcome.

I commend you, in particular. I’ve been watching most of these threads, posting in some. And BOTH sides (in the interest of peace I won’t name names nor quotes) have resorted to disprespectful language and partisan accusations in lieu of rational arguements.

There’s a late breaking development in this (what, again? who’d have thought?) in that the Florida SC have stated they see no reason the counting should be stopped.,1597,249613-412,00.shtml

This means, there will be some answer about those last couple of counties. Either it will change the results in Fl or it won’t.

If it doesn’t change, it WILL however, remove a potential cloud over the next administration.

If it does change the results, then one would hope Ms. Harris would accept the results with grace.