More on the 2000 election

Regarding the June 14 letter “Trump laying dark groundwork,” there are some serious flaws and omissions in the writer’s account of the November 2000 election.

To begin, the news media called the race in favor of Gore before the polls in Florida were closed. Precincts that leaned heavily Republican had not been tallied since voting was still in progress. It was reported that once the race had been prematurely declared over, several voters in those precincts assumed that their votes would not count and so they did not go to their polling places and cast a ballot.

This had a net effect of voter suppression and it was likely that the numbers for Bush would have been higher if the press had waited until the actual numbers were in before declaring Gore the winner. In addition to that, the Democrats in the state had refused to allow the overseas military ballots of service men to be counted. They invalidated their mail-in ballots by using the excuse that there was no postmark on their ballots, even though mail from overseas soldiers is not required to have U.S. postmarks. It was understood that the troops and the President had mutual respect for each other and these suppressed votes would have likely strengthened Bush’s lead over Gore.

A recount did take place where both parties audited the process. At one point the Democrats involved in the process tried to remove the ballots to another room where they could certify the ballots without the watchful eyes of their opponents. This tactic resulted in a contentious protest and the Dems backed down. Once the process was over, a process where the paper ballots were examined by both sides, Bush was declared the winner.

At that point, the Gore team wanted an additional recount of only select counties where they assumed the prospect of vote harvesting might reverse the effect of the first recount. The Supreme Court reasonably determined that the matter was settled and it was time for the defeated party to accept the loss.

What is truly sinister here, and threatening to our democratic process is the inability of partisans to allow the peaceful transition of power without accusing the other side of bias and cheating.

Helen Hofawger

Washington, W.Va.


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