Throughout the past two weeks, the American public witnessed hours of endless news coverage of the election in Florida. Everyone from journalists to congressmen, even random people on the street, chimed in with thoughts on the current predicament. Multiple lawsuits are still pending in court. The issues surrounding Florida’s election are complicated and multifaceted. However, they rest on simple and fundamental principles.
Not all votes cast in Florida have been counted. Thus, George W. Bush’s certification as the winner of Florida’s 25 electoral votes is premature and inaccurate. While it is possible Bush will win after all votes have been fairly and accurately counted, it is also possible Al Gore really won Florida. In fact, he probably did.
Vice President Gore trails Bush in the certified Florida vote by a little more than 500 votes. There are thousands of ballots in Miami-Dade, Nassau and Palm Beach counties still in dispute. Further, there are ballots that have never been looked at or tabulated in the complete count. It is not unreasonable for the Vice President to contest the certified election results considering these facts. The margin of error for a machine count is approximately .01 percent. This margin is greater than the discrepancy between Gore and Bush in the certified vote count.
The Republican argument that there have been multiple recounts, and Bush has consistently won every time, is erroneous. Take for example the case of Nassau County. The Bush camp talks about how the machine recounts should be trusted. However, in the official count, after pressure from the Bush camp, Nassau abandoned their machine recount numbers and went to original election night numbers costing Gore 50 votes.
There has not been a single complete count of all the ballots in Florida. Unfortunately, the Bush campaign is attempting to thwart the electoral process by not counting all the votes. While they claim the other side is too litigious, the Bush camp has used courts at every level even as a method of intimidation in 13 counties, often over no more than 10 or 15 votes. The facts show the process in Florida is incomplete. The ruling of the Florida Supreme Court to ensure the inclusion of all of Florida’s voters has yet to be fulfilled. There is no need to rush the process to declare a winner. This election is too close to be hastily called. It is far more important for the integrity of our political process that all votes are counted – regardless of how long it takes.
If Bush is serious about uniting the country, he should accept that his certification in Florida is invalid as it currently stands. Al Gore has not lost this election, and George Bush has not won the election. The GW College Democrats are proud to strongly support Al Gore and Joe Lieberman throughout this process. We believe they have proven they are the best people to lead America. Did Al Gore get more votes than George W. Bush? There is only one way to find out – count all of the ballots!-Anjan Choudhury is president and Jeff Marootian is vice president of the GW College Democrats.