What annoys me the most about Florida

Do you want to know what annoys me the most about the situation in Florida?

(If you don’t, why did you open this thread?)

Over the past days, we’ve seen numerous protestors with their Bush signs and their Gore signs, but I have yet to see a protestor with a sign that says, “I want an accurate count” or “I want the law followed properly.”

This whole thing is nothing but more partisan politicking, and it shouldn’t be. It shouldn’t be the Gore supporters vs. the Bush supporters. There may be a legitimate difference of opinion on how to handle these votes, but it has been almost completely lost in the partisan mudslinging.

In my daily job, I have to deal with laws and regulations quite a lot. There are some people who want to bend those laws or regulations based on specific cases. I hate that. I have told people that I am a “regulatory fundamentalist.” When people want to know what the rule says or means, they come to me because they know that I don’t bring outside baggage into it. If it can be interpreted in multiple ways, I tell them so. If it can only be interpreted in one way, I tell them so.

Now, I may not like that a certain rule will be interpreted in a certain way or that it mandates something specific, but that doesn’t mean that I’m going to change my interpretation just to suit somebody else. There are legal ways to make those changes.

Why is it that I haven’t seen anybody from either party stand up and say, “This is the way it is, even though I don’t like it.”?

The June bugs.

No, no, no. This is what annoys me the most, not what annoys you!


[The Paper]
“You’re accurate and ethical and I want you out of the building!”
[/The Paper]

Either candidate could earn a great deal of my respect right now if they were to stress the importance of accuracy and rule of law, regardless of the outcome in Florida — hey wait, isn’t that what one of the candidates has been saying from the start? <guileless nonpartisan look of surprise>

But are you really surprised that the protestors getting coverage are carrying signs of partisan support instead of support for rule of law? Isn’t this pretty much what happens with a two-party system? You decide which party you think best represents your interests, and then when there’s a clash, you support your party of choice.

The fact that the protestors are unthinkingly backing every action taken by their political camp, no matter how questionable its legal justification, is just a reflection of human nature (and Sturgeon’s Law).

An excellent point David.

The past 20 years my career has required that I be up on many laws and regulations regarding fair trade, restraint of trade, and national security. It’s been pretty well beaten into me that these rules are first and foremost. Whatever I do MUST fit within those guidelines.

While my boss keeps telling me that I can (and probably will) go to jail for not following these laws, the media keeps telling me that the next president of the United States might very well be a guy that got a judge to tell one of the state’s highest officials that she MUST disobey the law.

So… an elected official’s interpretation of a state law is valid, but a state judge’s interpretation of the same law is not?

Too right, xeno. I’m pretty sure thats what the constitution set up the judicial system to do… decide whether laws are valid, etc. Despite cries by some of judges ‘legislating from the bench’, legislators do from time to time write and enact laws which are either contradictory, incomplete, or illegal (unconstitutional).

Well, thats blatantly unfair. Both sides believe they are stressing that, they just each have different interpretations of it. I do think its a bit disingenuous of Republicans to say that the courts should not be involved. It is their job, after all, to interpret the law.

Most of the attention here has been focused on what is legal, and very little has been focused on whether those laws are any good. In my opinion, the tragedy here is that the laws seem to be poorly written for dealing with a situation like this one. I still believe that all ballots in all counties should be counted until the margin of victory is greater than the number of uncounted ballots. There should be bipartisan agreement to the methods by which those ballots are counted.

And I will be equally annoyed regardless of which candidate wins if the margin of victory is smaller than the number of uncounted votes. If that happens, I never want to hear the phrase “every vote counts” again.

Damn, once again I scroll through a thread, formulating my witty reply, and find it rudely usurped by the last poster. Damn you tourbot!

Oh yeah, what he said.

I also deal with statutory and regulatory interpretation at work every day (when I’m not on the boards.) Even the most clearly written stats and regs are subject to interpretation, and my brief review suggests that Fla’s election laws are not “the most clearly written.” Moreover, to the extent they rely upon an elected official’s discretion, are you suggesting no one can question the propriety of that official’s exercise of that discretion? And you can certainly disagree with a court’s decision to hear a case or its ultimate decision, but that doesn’t detract from whatever legal authority that decision bears.

tourbot, “blatantly unfair?” -but I was guileless about it! :wink:

You’re right, that was intentionally partisan, but ironically intended.

Probably the only good and lasting effect from this election will be widespread election law reforms and ballot improvements (at least I hope that’ll happen).

Are these the same things as Love Bugs? They fly all over having sex. Since they can’t be bothered to watch where they are going you inevitably drive into them. Within a day your car is covered by a mass glob of smashed insects who died while making love.

If they are the same I hate them too.

I can’t think of many Great Debates where it seemed both parties were arguing to reach truth. They were arguing to win. In a court of law, lawyers don’t argue to uphold the law, they argue to win.

It seems to me if you have two relatively equal but opposing sides battling it out over any issue, the winner will tend to be the one closer to the truth.

Turmoil mudslinging and partisanship is good. It’s the way us human beans we’re built to arrive at answers.

When people complain “Why can’t we all just getting along?” I always feel a predatory grin starting in my hindbrain. “Oh yes,” I say. “Let’s!” As I move in for the kill.

Opposition as a means of arriving at truth has a lot of precedent, and it works. The only time I think it’s faulty is when one side is vastly more powerful than the other.

[Principal Skinner]
“Hmm. These campaign buttons are all partisan. Don’t you have any neutral ones? ‘May the better man win?’ ‘Let’s have a good, clean election?’ That sort of thing?”
[/Principal Skinner]

Seriously, I agree–I think people should be more concerned about an accurate count than anything. However, I don’t think it’s possible to have an accurate enough count to definitively decide this election. Any way you look at it, it’s going to be inside the margin of error, which is why I advocate splitting the electoral votes.

I don’t make the mistake of thinking that either candidate gives a rat’s ass about accuracy. I do think Gore is on the high road at this point, but that’s only because the high road was going in his direction.

A statewide hand recount by unbiased parties would be the most fair way to settle this. So if anyone sees any unbiased parties, let me know.

Dr. J

Human beings were designed to survive. I don’t think anyone has proven that the best design for survival is the best design for arriving at metaphysical and philosophical truth. But thats a subject for a whole 'nother GD. :slight_smile:

As for arguing for a win rather than the truth, I’ve had my mind changed by arguments in more than a few GD’s here. If your mind can’t be changed by an argument, why get involved in it in the first place?

Here’s some local scuttlebutt. (I do apologize that there doesn’t seem to be a decent cite.)

The specific laws in question (Florida IX 102.111 and IX 102.112) have existed in their current form since 1989.

According to former state Representative Kaiser (Dem, ret), a member of the House Ethics in Elections Commission that formulated the law, the committee intended to prevent the exact scenario that we have today. Specifically, the committee felt that timely certification of election results would limit the opportunity for impropriety and maximize the public’s confidence in the process.
I, for one, will have NO confidence in a system that counts all the ballots 2 to 4 times with the same result, but has the result overturned because the fifth count provided a different result.

And I certainly won’t have much faith in an administration that won by forcing recounts until the results changed.

*Originally posted by tourbot *


Actually I think we’ve evolved to reproduce, and have also evolved to be competitive and solve our dilemmas competitively

Again, that’s not what I’m saying. Regardless of the outcome, do you argue a point when you think you are wrong? No, you argue to win. If you are later proved wrong and are man enough to admit that’s something else.

People who advocate an interpretation of the law to suit their ends or even plain ignoring the law to achieve what they feel is a worthy end, they do not realize what a dangerous game they paly. It has been said many times that “the end does not justify the means”.

If you believe the end justifies the means then the laws are meaningless.

If you read the Constitution of China you can see they have a wonderful fundamental law whose only problem is that it is interpreted by Chinese people.

The UK on the other hand needs no constitution. A fair interpretation of the laws is worth even more than good laws themselves.

Those people who want to read into laws (and even the constitution) things that are not objectively there, are playing with fire as they would render the laws meaningless.

I agree that safeguarding the system by not manipulating it to your own advantage is fundamentally important.

I also believe a majority of judges understand this and do their best to interpret the laws impartially.

OTOH, many laws are just poorly drafted and beg for trouble.

The “high road” consists of planning recounts before an election is complete, organizing protesters during the election, insisting that the courts decide an election and not the duly election election officials, and spearheading a campaign to smear the Secretary of State in an effort to intimidate her decision?

I guess the “low road” is a description reserved for when people go to jail. Oh, wait – Gore’s zealots have already promised to go to jail.

Gore is correct in asserting that the tally difference is within the margin of error of the counting machines, so initial count and subsequent machine re-count cannot be considered fair and accurate in a race this close.

Bush is correct in asserting that hand recounts are more subjective, error prone and open to abuse than machine counts and cannot be considered fair and accurate in a race this close.

Since we have eliminated the possibility of fair and accurate, we have nothing to fall back on but aribitrary. One purpose of law is to provide an arbitrary answer when people cannot attain or agree on a fair and accurate one. The thing that bothers me most about the current situation in Florida is the wishy-washy interpretation of the law by the Floria judiciary. For example, as it applies to the “votes shall be certified no later than 5PM on the seventh day after the election” law, how can a judge rule that the Sec. of State can apply the law - but not “arbitrarily”? Generally, laws are aribitrary. Is the judge equating this statute to a traffic offense where a police officer has the discretion to cite, warn, or ignore? That seems, on the surface, to be a dangerous legal precedent.

Some judge, somewhere, is going to have to realize that there is no fair and accurate solution to this problem. The only possible resolution is to arbitrarily enforce the laws on the books at the time, so long as those laws are constitutional. To do anything else would be perhaps the greatest blow dealt to our form of government in the history of this country.

Reproduction and competition have been around a lot longer than humans. They are the mechanisms of evolution, not the end results. Humans have evolved several survival strategies which require cooperation with other humans.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled debate.