Wednesday, December 15, 2004
Alternate reality: Lies about the 2000 election outcome continue to be proliferated, this time as an aside to the San Diego Mayor race.
She [assistant metro editor Laura Wingard] likened the Union-Tribune's role in the count to what happened in Florida in the 2000 election. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that George Bush won the election, but a count prompted by the Florida media estimated that Al Gore had a narrow majority based on the most liberal standards to count the vote. As we know, that did not erase the Supreme Court ruling, nor did it change the outcome of the election.
Wrong. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the lack of a common standard in counties where undervotes were being counted was a violation of the Constitution's equal protection clause. (That was a 7-2 vote.) By a 5-4 vote, the Supreme Court also ruled that the Florida legislature had intended to take advantage of the Constitution's "safe harbor" provision and therefore it was not possible for a statewide vote-counting standard to be set, all the ballots counted and still have the electors selected in time to meet the Constitutional deadline.
The court did not rule that Bush "won the election."
As for the media recount showing Al Gore had a "narrow majority based on the most liberal standards to count the vote," this is true if you realize that the most liberal standards are illegal. That's right, the "liberal" standards for vote counting included counting votes for Al Gore and another presidential candidate (aka "overvotes") for Al Gore. If a vote could in any possible way have been construed for Al Gore, the "most liberal" standards would have given it to Gore regardless of the law. The "most liberal" standards are also not what the Florida trial judge said that he would have set for the recount had it been ordered.
I believe that more Floridians went to the polls in 2000 intending to vote for Al Gore, but their votes were spoiled because of their own incompetence.
That something so factually wrong appears four years after the fact in the Union-Tribune is disappointing. If the Union-Tribune was the conservative paper that many on the left believe it to be, would this have gotten through the editing process?