- The Washington Times - Friday, November 24, 2000

"It's not the people who vote that count," Soviet dictator Josef Stalin once observed. "It's the people who count the votes." Stalin obviously did not have in mind the Democratic-dominated election canvassing boards in several Florida counties. But he might as well have.
Let there be no mistake. In the immediate aftermath of the razor-thin presidential vote in the decisive state of Florida, those Democratic-controlled canvassing boards, exercising substantial vote-tabulating powers in overwhelmingly Democratic counties (Volusia, Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade), were strategically pinpointed by the campaign of Vice President Al Gore to play the pivotal, indispensable role in stealing the presidency from George W. Bush. Mr. Gore's intentions were greatly aided and abetted by the unanimous decision of the Florida Supreme Court, all of whose members were appointed by Democratic governors. On Tuesday evening, Florida's high court required Florida's secretary of state to include in the state's final election certification manually counted votes from selective, heavily Democratic counties. In doing so, the Florida Supreme Court managed to destroy any semblance of separation of powers. Besides overruling a carefully crafted, judicious decision by a lower-court judge, the Florida Supreme Court disregarded the intentions of the state legislature and replaced the judgment of a duly elected executive branch official with its own.
For days now, the canvassing boards in Broward and Palm Beach counties have been setting aside punch-card ballots that include a non-perforated indentation known as a "dimpled chad" and other ballots that have been challenged in the hand-counting process. Meanwhile, over the weekend hundreds of Democratic lawyers swarmed county election offices to force the rejection, based on highly questionable technicalities, of hundreds of absentee ballots cast by overseas American military personnel. A Bush lead of 930 votes represented the net result of Florida's initial vote tally, its statewide mandatory recount and the successful efforts of Democratic lawyers to disenfranchise hundreds of overseas soldiers and sailors. Thus were the Democratic-dominated canvassing boards given a precise number of votes to surmount. They will almost certainly manage to do so once they have turned their attention to the thousands and thousands of "dimpled" and challenged ballots. Yet, in order to reach their target, they have jettisoned long-standing criteria for legitimizing ballots. In fixing the election, the canvassing boards and the state Supreme Court have literally been making up new rules from one day to the next.
By Wednesday afternoon, Mr. Bush had no choice but to challenge the disenfranchisement of American military personnel in Florida court and to appeal the decision of the Florida Supreme Court to the U.S. Supreme Court. Meanwhile, it is no wonder that the Florida legislature is considering a special session to reassert its constitutionally delegated powers. Republican congressional leaders in Washington would be wise to explore their options as well. Regrettably, it has become clear that Mr. Gore and his agents long ago decided to stop at nothing in their pursuit of presidential power.

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