CONTENTS NOVEMBER 9, 2000
Click. AMERICAN COUP D'ETAT.
Click. Buchanan Says Disputed Florida Votes Are Gore's.
Click. ATTEMPTED KIDNAPS AND LOOK-ALIKE SUSPECTS STUN SAN JOSE, CALIFORNIA.
19,000 BALLOTS FROM PALM BEACH DISQUALIFIED. (Palm Beach Post details.) Click.
Palm Beach Post, News 12 11/8/00
19,000 ballots from Palm Beach County disqualified due to voting errors
• Just the numbers: Recount results by county
• GoPBI.com: See the ballot, vote in poll
The Associated Press
West Palm Beach - More than 19,000 ballots were disqualified on election night in a Florida county where confusion over the presidential ballot led to a flood of complaints and a lawsuit Wednesday.
Election officials said Wednesday that 19,120 ballots from Palm Beach County had showed votes for more than one presidential candidate. Those votes were nullified and not included in the count.
"That total is a high number," said Palm Beach County Commissioner Carol Roberts, a Democrat who is part of the canvassing board that is conducting a recount of the presidential race.
On Wednesday, hundreds of Al Gore supporters called the county elections office saying the punch-card ballot was so confusing they thought they may have accidentally voted for Reform Party candidate Pat Buchanan instead of Gore.
Three people sued, seeking a new election.
"It was so hard to tell who and what you were voting for. I couldn't figure it out, and I have a doctorate," voter Eileen Klasfeld said.
Palm Beach County Elections Supervisor Theresa LePore, a Democrat, said she designed the ballot on two pages to make it easier for elderly voters to read.
But lawyers for her own party said the design of the Palm Beach County ballot is illegal and that they may ask for a re-vote. But no immediate action was taken by the party Wednesday.
Reeve Bright, lawyer for the Republican Party of Palm Beach County, said just because more than 19,000 voters punched the ballot twice doesn't mean they intended to vote for Gore.
"Some could have been Bush votes," Bright said.
With all precincts reporting and following the recount, Buchanan had 3,412 votes for president in the heavily Democratic county Tuesday, more than he received in any other Florida county, according to unofficial returns. Gore received 269,696 votes, and Bush received 152,954 after the recount was complete. Gore's total in the county was up 751 votes in the first count. Bush gained 108 votes.
Statewide, Gore was behind George W. Bush by fewer than 800 votes, and Florida held the key to the national race.
In Palm Beach, Buchanan received 3,412 votes in the recount. Two larger counties south of Palm Beach both had much lower Buchanan results - 789 in Broward County and 561 in Miami-Dade County. In Duval County, a much more conservative county in northeast Florida, only 650 Buchanan votes were cast.
The confusion apparently arose from the way Palm Beach County's punch-card style ballot was laid out for the presidential race. Candidates are listed in two columns, with holes down the middle between the columns, to the right or the left of each candidate's name.
The top hole was for Bush, who was listed at top left; the second hole was for Buchanan, listed at top right, and the third hole was for Gore, listed under Bush on the left. Arrows linked the names with the proper hole, but some voters feared they had missed the arrows and punched the wrong hole.
"When ballots are placed in the slide for voting, Al Gore and Joe Lieberman are the second names on the ballot, but the third hole to punch," Florida Democratic Party Communications Director Bill Buck said in a statement.
The lawsuit filed by three residents says state law requires the Democratic presidential candidate to be second on the ballot.
But Clay Roberts, director of the Florida Department of Elections, said the problem was exaggerated.
"I don't think they are confused. I think they left the polling place and became confused. The ballot is very straightforward. You follow the arrow, you punch the location. Then you have voted for who you intend to elect," said Roberts, a Republican appointed by Gov. Jeb Bush, George W.'s brother.
Florida law specifies that voters mark an X in the blank space to the right of the name of the candidate they want to vote for.
Jeff Liggio, a lawyer for county Democrats, called the ballot illegal. "Right means right, doesn't it? The state law says right. It doesn't mean left," he said.
Don A. Dillman of the American Association for Public Opinion Research, who has done research on the design of paper questionnaires, called the ballot confusing.
"I've never seen one set up like this," Dillman said from Pullman, Wash. "It's very confusing the way they have put things on the right side together with things on the left side. I can see why there might be a problem. If you passed over the first candidate to go for the second candidate, it's logical that you'd punch the second hole."
Outside the Palm Beach elections office, about 50 outraged citizens carried signs protesting the ballots.
"It was an injustice. Thousands of people were confused," said 42-year-old Niso Mama. "We have to have another election in this county."
In Pinellas County, meanwhile, election officials ordered a recount of the recount late Wednesday, saying some ballots weren't properly counted.
Copyright© 2000, The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
AMERICAN COUP D'ETAT
Author: consortiumnews.com - http://www.consortiumnews.com © 2000
If Kostunica had won a clear plurality in Yugoslavia and a province run by Milosevic's brother had reversed exit polls, amid complaints of fraud, to give Milosevic the electoral victory, what would we call that result?
How long would it take Jimmy Carter and troops in blue helmets to show up?
The Yugoslavian people had enough commitment to democracy to demonstrate against the denial of their popular will. It seems that the least the American people can do is demand that there be a re-vote in Florida, not just a superficial recount.
So far Jesse Jackson, some African-Americans and a few elderly Jewish women in West Palm Beach are standing up for democracy in the United States. They need more support.
Pretty quickly, the media pundit class will demand that the Democrats step aside and that the country accept the will of the Bush family. Already, NBC's Tim Russert said in an interview with Tom Brokaw that the Democrats will look like whiners if they don't accept a Bush victory, after the recount and tabulation of absentee ballots.
The media has given only passing notice to the fact that George W. Bush will be the first popular-vote loser to claim the White House in more than a century. That his brother Jeb governs the state that reversed the clear preference expressed by voters in exit polls makes the story even more remarkable.
As Americans, do we demand more of Yugoslavia than we demand of ourselves?
For coverage of how the Bush family has long operated in defiance of American democratic principles, go to Consortiumnews.com at
Buchanan Says Disputed Florida Votes Are Gore's
"I don't want any votes that I did not receive and I don't want to win any votes by mistake," Buchanan told NBC's "Today" show. "It seems to me that these 3,000 votes people are talking about -- most of those are probably not my vote and that may be enough to give the margin to Mr. Gore," he said.
The entire electoral race between Gore and Republican George W. Bush depends on a recount of votes in Florida, where claims of voter irregularity have emerged in Palm Beach County.
Bush is currently ahead by little more than 900 votes in the recount that will decide who wins the White House, according to the Miami Herald.
In addition to the more than 3,000 votes he won, Buchanan also disputed about 19,000 ballot papers in Florida that were nullified because people voted both for both Buchanan and Gore due to the layout of the ballot paper.
"I don't want to take any votes that don't belong to me," Buchanan said, adding that he had not campaigned in Palm Beach and that the majority of those votes probably belonged to Gore.
San Jose police issued a warning Tuesday after receiving reports of two attempted kidnappings in two days.
Detectives are unsure whether the cases are related, but they noted that the victims gave similar descriptions of the men in both incidents. And they offered the same general description of the vehicles the men drove -- an older, light-colored van with red and blue graffiti on the right rear side.
However, in the first kidnap attempt, the man spoke Spanish, and in the second, English, said officer Rubens Dalaison.
``The exact descriptions of the suspects seem somewhat similar,'' he said. ``We're looking at both to see if they're related for sure.''
The first case occurred at 1:05 p.m. Monday when an 18-year-old woman was walking to a bus stop at Tully Road and McLaughlin Avenue. Two men in a van drove by, and one whistled at her. She continued walking, trying to ignore them.
But they made a U-turn and pulled up along side of her. One opened the van's sliding door, got out, grabbed the woman from behind and tried to get her into the van.
She struggled, and he punched her in the face, but she didn't surrender. She broke free and ran. The van sped north on McLaughlin.
On Tuesday at 8 a.m., two 12-year-old girls were walking to Boeger Middle School when they reached Clayton Road and Story Lane. A light-colored van came up alongside them.
A passenger offered them a ride and asked if they wanted a puppy. The girls said no. He asked if they wanted candy; again they said no.
The man got out of the van and grabbed one girl's backpack, but she freed herself and ran. The other girl also ran away.
Police described the passenger as a Latino man, 20 to 30 years old, 5 feet 8 to 5 feet 10 inches tall with black hair and brown eyes. He was wearing khaki-colored pants with paint on them, a white shirt, and brown boots.
The driver was described as a man wearing red clothing and sunglasses.
Police urge anyone with information about these cases to call detectives Natasha Smith or Mike Roush, (408) 277-4161. Those wishing to remain anonymous can call the Crime Stoppers hotline, (408) 947-STOP.