Since 2002, daily Florida political news and commentary


UPDATE: Every morning we review and individually digest Florida political news articles, editorials and punditry. Our sister site, FLA Politics was selected by Campaigns & Elections as one of only ten state blogs in the nation
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Welcome To Florida Politics

Thanks for visiting. On a semi-daily basis we scan Florida's major daily newspapers for significant Florida political news and punditry. We also review the editorial pages and political columnists/pundits for Florida political commentary. The papers we review include: the Miami Herald, Sun-Sentinel, Palm Beach Post, Naples News, Sarasota Herald Tribune, St Pete Times, Tampa Tribune, Orlando Sentinel, the Daytona Beach News-Journal, Tallahassee Democrat, and, occasionally, the Florida Times Union; we also review the political news blogs associated with these newspapers.

For each story, column, article or editorial we deem significant, we post at least the headline and link to the piece; the linked headline always appears in quotes. We quote the headline for two reasons: first, to allow researchers looking for the cited piece to find it (if the link has expired) by searching for the original title/headline via a commercial research service. Second, quotation of the original headline permits readers to appreciate the spin from the original piece, as opposed to our spin.

Not that we don't provide spin; we do, and plenty of it. Our perspective appears in post headlines, the subtitles within the post (in bold), and the excerpts from the linked stories we select to quote; we also occasionally provide other links and commentary about certain stories. While our bias should be immediately apparent to any reader, we nevertheless attempt to link to every article, column or editorial about Florida politics in every major online Florida newspaper.


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The Blog for Monday, January 09, 2006

2000 Election Controversy Resurfaces

    Over at dKos, there is a lengthy discussion thread about a book by and interview with Professor Lance deHaven-Smith is a professor in the Askew School of Public Administration and Policy at Florida State University.

    We're also looking at this over at FLA Politics.

    The Professor wrote the dKos poster an e-mail clarifying a few points, making clear the following:
    A number of studies have been conducted of the "spoiled ballots" in Florida. The most thorough was by the National Opinion Research Center (NORC) at the University of Chicago. It examined all of the 175,010 spoiled ballots that were excluded from the vote tabulations in Florida in 2000. Ballots were examined by multiple coders to assure reliability, and a dataset (available on NORC's website) was constructed that included each coder's judgment on each ballot. NORC also provided a program for applying different criteria and calculating the results. If the most restrictive criteria are used, Gore's margin of victory is 158 votes. By "most restrictive," I mean ballots are counted only if the voter's intention is totally unambiguous (no partially punched chads, no unclear write-ins, etc.).

    Please note that this estimate of Gore's margin is very conservative. It only counts ballots that are totally unambiguous. Also, it deals only with votes as they were actually cast - it does not address the votes lost by Gore because of the butterfly ballot in Palm Beach County or the faulty ballot instructions in Duval and Gadsden Counties. Nor does it take into account the effects of Florida's flawed program of felon disenfranchisement, which excluded many eligible voters from casting ballots and also created delays and confusion at polling places. During the election controversy, most observers acknowledged that more voters had gone to the polls to vote for Gore than for Bush, but it was unclear whether Gore had actually received more legally valid votes. We now know that he did.

    Today, this would be widely recognized if NORC had published a report on its findings, but instead it chose simply to release the data and let everyone make sense of it on their own. My assumption is that NORC and the research sponsors did not issue a report because they did not want to embarrass President Bush. The study was concluded just after 9-11-01.
    (via dKos).

    Note from Florida Politics: Republicans and their allies in the media like to muddy the water by saying that these NORC numbers are well and good but are nevertheless irrelevant because Gore did not request a statewide recount.  However this claim - which the docile media has accepted - is entirely irrelevant because these "spoiled ballots" (including overvotes) were required by law to be reviewed and counted in the first place (if the intent of the voter was discernible); instead these ballots were never officially counted, and in the vast majority of counties were never looked at in the official process (because they were not counted by the machines)

    Moreover, the official counting of these ballots during the recount was truncated by the SCOTUS stay order.

    Bottom line: these "spoiled ballots" which for the most part clearly showed what the voter intended (e.g., Gore's name on the ballot might have been circled on a optical scan ballot instead of the small circle being filled in, or the ballot might have double marked, or overvoted (e.g., one mark properly placed next to Gore's name and the "write in" also marked with Gore's name, etc.) were never included in the vote totals because they did not register on the vote tabulating equipment in the initial count and the requisite hand review of these so-called spoiled ballots" was never undertaken (except in a handful of Florida counties).

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