President-elect Bush meets with Vice President Gore at Gore's official residence in Washington, Tuesday, Dec. 19, 2000.
It was interesting to read former Sen. Bob Bennett's selection of facts about the Bush-Gore contest in Florida in 2000. "The election was legitimate," he concluded. Many political scientists have the opposite conclusion. The Florida 2000 presidential election was run by Republican Katherine Harris, who was also one of the chairs of the state committee to elect George Bush as president. Fair?
Every decision she made in the chaos after Election Day favored Bush. Thousands of ballots were in dispute including hundreds of mailed-in ballots that were being counted differently in different counties. Yes, various courts issued different decisions, but the common factor seemed to be the party majority on each court. Later recounts?
After 9/11, few wanted recounts to indicate the president was illegitimate, but one set of recounts done nine different ways had Bush winning five and Gore winning four times. Clearly, what was needed was a set of clear counting rules and careful and honest recount in Florida. Something the U.S. people never got because the Supreme Court voted 5-4 to stop the counting and let Harris declare Bush the winner.
Not to mention the illegal purges of tens of thousands of legitimate voters, mostly Democrats, done by Harris' office prior to the election. Every political scientist I know in the field of electoral studies thinks more Floridians tried to vote for Gore on that Election Day. The important lesson is that we should have reformed the process so this never happens again. We didn't and it will.
Ronald J. Hrebenar
Salt Lake City