- The Washington Times - Sunday, November 12, 2000

The election debate continues

In this election, we have seen the difference between the Democrats and the Republicans. On Wednesday, the Missouri Senate race between the late Gov. Mel Carnahan and the incumbent, John Ashcroft, was officially conceded by Mr. Ashcroft. He conceded even though there were certain election irregularities in the St. Louis area that likely cost him votes. He said he did not think those votes would have changed the outcome and he wished not to drag out the process by filing numerous lawsuits and petitions.

Contrast that reaction to that of Vice President Al Gore and his campaign. Never mind that his campaign was caught shuttling homeless people to the polling place for packages of cigarettes, a disgusting act that unfortunately has not been covered to an adequate degree by the media. Now the Gore campaign, an offshoot of the "most ethical administration in history," apparently is on the road to launching multiple complaints and lawsuits. The end of this election is not likely near.

Central to this melodrama is the ballot in Palm Beach County, Fla. The Democrats allege that many individuals mistakenly voted for Reform Party candidate Patrick Buchanan because his punch hole was directly below that for Bush/ Cheney, when in fact they meant to vote for Gore/Lieberman.

However, those ballots were sent to party officials for their blessing and also were printed in local newspapers to familiarize voters with the ballots before the election in order to keep confusion to a minimum. Before the election on Tuesday, there were no formal protests to the style in which the ballot was produced.

Democrats protest that had the roughly 20,000 ballots that had two voter selections for president been purely Gore votes, Mr. Gore would have won Florida, pushing him over the 270 electoral minimum needed to be elected president.

Maybe we should have Regis Philbin stand next to the voter booths and ask voters, "Is that your final answer?"

This entire debate highlights a stark difference between the philosophies of the two parties. Republicans believe people are intelligent enough to make their own decisions in the process of voting. Democrats believe the government must hold the hands of its people even in the voting booths.

May our country and its people survive this shameful display of selfishness.

ALLEN ISSLER

Belleville, Ill.

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Vice President Al Gore and the Democrats are making a mockery of our system. In 1960, presidential candidate Richard Nixon could have challenged the irregularities that resulted in John F. Kennedy's winning Illinois and the election, but he chose not to for the good of America. Contrast that with the spectacle Mr. Gore is causing. With the popular vote still in doubt, it is critical that Mr. Gore accept the constitutional law of the land. But given the fact that his mentor Bill Clinton never did, it's obvious he won't. What Democrats can't win at the ballot box they try to win in court.

RAND E. OERTLE

Springville, Utah

n

When Mary Landrieu was elected to the U.S. Senate from Louisiana in 1996 by a margin of less than 6,000 votes, her opponent came forward with evidence suggesting voter fraud affecting more than 7,500 votes. Among them were instances in Orleans Parish of votes by deceased persons and at least 1,800 ghost votes cast by newly registered persons whose addresses turned out to be vacant apartments in public housing projects. There also was evidence of people being picked up, brought to the polls and paid for their votes, as well as evidence of people voting multiple times. When this evidence was brought before the Senate Rules Committee, seven out of seven Democrats on the committee voted not to investigate, citing the harm such a challenge would inflict upon the democratic process. Diane Feinstein even threatened a filibuster to prevent any challenge to Mrs. Landrieu's installation as a senator.

When the difference in the 1960 presidential election turned out to be in Cook County (Chicago), Ill., similar shenanigans were discovered to have been employed by Chicago's Democratic political machine, run by Mayor Richard Daley. (Dead people voted, and voted often.) Richard Nixon declined the opportunity to have Chicago investigated, to have the vote challenged, because he said it would harm the nation's democratic process. He conceded the election to John F. Kennedy.

Now the Democrats are in court, challenging Texas Gov. George W. Bush's victory in Florida on much flimsier grounds than Woody Jenkins had to challenge Mary Landrieu's victory in Orleans Parish. Apparently, the Democrats have no honor or integrity.

MICHAEL L. MARTIN

New Orleans, La.

n

Even more flabbergasting than Gore campaign Chairman William M. Daley's allegations that an election has been stolen by Republicans was his statement that "technicalities should not determine the president of the United States; the will of the people should." This plainly is wrong.

Voting, like the law, depends on lots of technicalities. You must vote on one particular day of the year. You must vote between certain hours. You must be registered to vote a fixed period of time in advance of the election. You must vote at a particular polling station. You must punch a particular hole or pull a particular lever to vote.

What a person "wills" is largely irrelevant to election results. Many who were eligible to vote stayed home on Tuesday but "willed" that Al Gore get elected. Their will doesn't count. Those who, with the best of intentions, requested an absentee ballot but forgot to mail it in on time do not get to have their will counted. Likewise, those who did not pay enough attention in the voting booth and "willed" that Mr. Gore be elected but instead voted for Patrick Buchanan should not be given a second chance. This is especially true when voters in that small segment of the electorate know they have the opportunity to determine this historic contest. Many who "willed" that Gore be elected but instead cast an ideological vote for Green Party candidate Ralph Nader, thinking their vote wouldn't make a difference, likely would bring their vote into accord with their will the second time around. When it comes to our cherished duty to vote, America should not be an enabler of carelessness.

FRANK J. RUSSO

Richmond

n

Texas Gov. George W. Bush, vice presidential candidate Richard B. Cheney and their campaign staff unknowingly have illuminated what has been missing from the Clinton-Gore administration during the past eight years: class and dignity. How refreshing it is to see Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney's approach to handling the events of the past two days, especially when contrasted with Mr. Gore and campaign chairman William M. Daley's desperate last grasps at an unsuccessful bid for the White House. I look forward to a strong and dignified Bush-Cheney administration.

RHETT STROM

Washington

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It is only just that if the residents of Palm Beach County, Fla., are allowed to recast their votes, voters in the entire state of Florida must be given a chance to recast their votes. And if the voters in one state in the union are going to be given the opportunity to recast their votes, the same opportunity must be provided to all voters in all states and thereby to all registered voters in the union. It would not be fair to give only a portion of Americans a second opportunity to cast their votes in the presidential election giving that select group the power to decide the future leadership of the entire country. The decision of who will be the next president cannot be put into the hands of only a few, whether those few be the residents Palm Beach County or of all of Florida.

This election has proved more than any election within at least 40 years that every single vote counts; we can not diminish this concept by allowing, through a revote, only a portion of the voting public's vote to count.

TARA BELEN LANGENARD

Girdwood, Ark.

n

The presidential election signifies the death throes of an administration that will go down in history as one of the most corrupt in the nation's history.

It is to Vice President Al Gore's discredit that he continues to tear his country apart with inflammatory statements suggesting possible fraud. How absurd such statements are, coming from a key figure in these past eight years of lies and deceit.

Mr. Gore is showing his true colors, and they are certainly not red, white and blue. Can the American people not recognize the inability of this man to lead our nation?

STEVE J. ACKERET

Stevens Point, Wis.

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