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All the Perl that's Practical to Extract and Report

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  • some of us have been beating this drum consistantly since the 2000 "election."

    Surely three years is long enough to find out how the Electoral College works. It's been around for two-hundred years; its workings really shouldn't have been a surprise to anyone eligible to vote.

    • by jamiemccarthy (664) on 2003.08.28 15:44 (#23626) Journal
      Hi, Chromatic!

      It's not the electoral college that was at fault. Gore received more votes in Florida (despite the undercouting of poor people's votes due to poor and confusing technology, and despite the GOP's illegally stripping the right to vote from tens of thousands of citizens -- those being the only two reasons that the count was even close).

      And this shouldn't be a surprise to anyone who bothered to follow the news [democrats.com].

      But the GOP delights in blaming the voters themselves as being "stupid"... when in fact the simple act of voters following the instructions they were given, in just one county, cost Gore the Presidency:

      In Duval County, which includes Jacksonville in the northeast corner of the state, a remarkable 21,855 ballots were invalidated because voters chose more than one presidential candidate. The county's official sample ballot erroneously instructed voters to "vote all pages." With 10 presidential candidates spread across two pages, following that instruction produced an overvote.

      Of those voters who made the mistake of voting once on each page, the study found that 7,794 voted for Gore (plus another candidate), while 4,705 voted for Bush (plus another). That's a potential net for Gore of 3,089 votes, enough to carry the entire state.

      http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/sns-ballots.story [chicagotribune.com]

      That's why people refer to the 2000 debacle as an "election," in quotes. It was a banana-republic screwup of unbelievable proportions. What is known is that more Florida voters went to the polls intending to cast their votes for Gore -- and despite many of them being illegally turned away, more of them got into the voting booth and cast ballots, to the best of their ability, for Gore. The ballots were just plain miscounted, allegedly due to lack of time (unbelievable though that excuse may seem).

      These are the plain facts and I'm a little surprised that anyone still hasn't learned them.

      • those being the only two reasons that the count was even close

        It takes some combination of a lot of knowledge and a lot of confidence to make that kind of statement. I wouldn't want to put myself out that far.

        Lest anyone get the wrong idea, I'm of the opinion that tampering with voting should be punished as harshly as possible. However, in the absence of perfectly accurate and clear voting (in other words, in practice), you have to do the best you can. Changing the rules after votes have been cast