Clicking on banner ads keeps JWR alive
Jewish World Review June 21, 2004 / 2 Tamuz, 5764

John H. Fund

Fund
JWR's Pundits
World Editorial
Cartoon Showcase

Mallard Fillmore

Michael Barone
Mona Charen
Linda Chavez
Ann Coulter
Greg Crosby
Larry Elder
Don Feder
Suzanne Fields
Paul Greenberg
Bob Greene
Betsy Hart
Nat Hentoff
David Horowitz
Marianne Jennings
Michael Kelly
Mort Kondracke
Ch. Krauthammer
Lawrence Kudlow
Dr. Laura
John Leo
David Limbaugh
Michelle Malkin
Chris Matthews
Michael Medved
MUGGER
Kathleen Parker
Wes Pruden
Sam Schulman
Amity Shlaes
Tony Snow
Thomas Sowell
Cal Thomas
Jonathan S. Tobin
Ben Wattenberg
George Will
Bruce Williams
Walter Williams
Mort Zuckerman

Consumer Reports

This Time, Get It Right: Instead of "lawyering up," both parties should be working to prevent another Florida.


http://www.NewsAndOpinion.com | Ronald Reagan's death led warring political camps to call a temporary truce. Everyone seemed to agree that politics back in Reagan's era weren't quite as much of a blood sport and that a return to some civility and cooperation across party lines would be welcome.


As the presidential campaigns pick up their brickbats again, it's time to look toward November and see if we might avoid recounts, lawsuits and challenges. But the campaigns are preparing for another Florida. "Both sides are lawyering up and we could see Florida-style challenges in every close state," says Doug Chapin of Electionline.org, which monitors electoral reforms.


The level of suspicion between the two parties is greater than ever. John Kerry says he believes Al Gore "won" the 2000 election and has assembled a team of 2,000 lawyers to "challenge anyplace in America where you cannot trace the vote and count the votes." Republicans have their own legal team to combat fake voter registrations, absentee-ballot fraud and residents of nursing homes being overly "assisted" to cast votes. Maria Cardona of the New Democrat Network dismisses such concerns, saying "ballot security and preventing voter fraud are just code words for voter intimidation and suppression." Liberal legal groups are suing to set aside laws in some of the 11 states that require photo ID at the polls on the grounds they discriminate against the poor and minorities.


It doesn't help that the federal government is way behind in implementing the Help America Vote Act. HAVA is designed to distribute $3.9 billion to the states for election improvements, but many states will be in no better shape come November than they were in 2000. Some 50 million Americans will vote on ATM-style touch-screen machines, but many of those will lack a paper trail. Internet chat rooms and talk radio shows are filled with speculation that these "black boxes" won't count votes properly. In January, a special election in Florida was decided by 12 votes, but touch-screen machines failed to record the votes of 134 people who signed voting registers. No recount was possible; there was no paper trail.

Donate to JWR


In a rare example of bipartisan agreement, Reps. Rush Holt (D., N.J.) and Tom Davis (R., Va.) both back amending HAVA to require voting systems to produce a verifiable paper record. Sen. Hillary Clinton, who supports a Senate version of the idea, says another contested election will cause people to "fundamentally lose confidence in our democracy and in their vote."


More bipartisan approaches are needed if we are to avoid a legal quagmire of election through litigation this November. Last week Ed Gillespie, chairman of the Republican National Committee, sent a letter to Terry McAuliffe, his Democratic counterpart, suggesting they find ways the two parties can work together to protect the integrity of the election process.


One of his ideas is that in close battleground states each party identify precincts where it fears there will be problems on Election Day. "Each of us would be responsible for recruiting a volunteer for each named precinct," he wrote. "Similarly bipartisan teams would be assigned to cover multiple precincts to respond to and investigate reports of problems. The teams would agree on avenues of appeals that could be taken to the courts, if needed." Journalists could be embedded with the teams, la the Iraq war, to report on developments. This wouldn't eliminate the threat of lawsuits, but it would surely reduce it.


Donna Brazile, who served as Al Gore's campaign manager in 2000 and shares his outrage over the 2000 Florida outcome, nonetheless believes the two parties have some common interests. "Both should want every voter having information and training to cast a ballot that counts," she says. "And if that's done, both parties should support steps to ensure every vote cast is a valid and proper one."


Mr. Gore's decision to contest the Florida election in 2000 until the bitter end may have permanently changed the way close elections are decided, in much the same way that judicial nomination battles have changed. If the election is close this November, endless lawsuits and recriminations could poison of public opinion and create a climate of illegitimacy around any final winner. Voters are used to having the final word in an election. Let's take steps to keep it that way, so we can minimize the use of scorched-earth tactics of trial lawyers to settle elections. The Floridification of our politics isn't something anyone should want.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in Washington and in the media consider "must reading." Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.


Comment on JWR contributor John H. Fund's column by clicking here.

Up

06/14/04: Don't Pardon Their French: "Good government" Californians embrace the system that produced David Duke
06/07/04: Freedom's Team: How Reagan, Thatcher and John Paul II won the Cold War
05/25/04: Don't Touch That Dial? Radio hosts worry about the FCC's indecency regulations. What about political speech?
05/18/04: Anger Management: Dems start to realize that a campaign of hate won't beat President Bush
05/11/04: Will Sen. Kennedy turn out to be a political liability for John Kerry?
05/04/04: Buyer's Remorse: Dems start to worry that Kerry can't win
04/27/04: Arlen Specter's personality helps make him vulnerable in today's primary
04/20/04: Arnold Schwarzenegger thinks making laws should be a part-time job. He's right
03/23/04: Bragging of foreign support doesn't win many votes in America
03/16/04: The Vanishing Center: In both political parties, the defense of moderation is no virtue
03/09/04: A JFK-NBC Ticket? If Kerry wants to make things interesting, he'll consider Tom Brokaw for veep
03/02/04: As Virginia mulls a tax hike, all Americans should guard their wallets
02/24/04: Marriage of Inconvenience: Why same-sex nuptials make Democrats nervous
02/10/04: Republican Rot: Is Congress's GOP majority becoming as corrupt as the Democrats were?
02/03/04: Moore Trouble: Alabama's former chief justice may challenge Bush for the Religious Right vote
01/13/04: Rage of a Relic: Paul O'Neill is angry that the world has passed him by
01/06/04: Unintended Consequence: How Terry McAuliffe and James Carville created Howard Dean
09/03/03: The Anti-Dean: Why Hillary opposes the Democratic front-runner
06/27/03: The California jurist who may replace Justice O'Connor
06/02/03: Clinton the Hoover: Bill, Hillary and the Dems' political vacuum
05/27/03: Nerd Nirvana: Students are to the right of the faculty even at the U of Chicago
05/16/03: GOPers gain in the land of Humphrey and Mondale
04/28/03: With the war won, it's time for Bush to master the Senate
04/04/03: Is "diversity" on campus even a goal worth pursuing?
03/05/03: Sunday morning with the BBC
02/28/03: Shut Up, They Explained: If you can censor this, thank a teacher
02/21/03: Unmitigated Gaul: Saddam isn't the only dictator with whom Jacques Chirac is cozy
02/18/03: Growing number of black officials breaking ranks by calling for a more honest approach to race relations
01/31/03: Half and Half: Republicans have achieved parity among American voters
11/11/02: Sobering Thoughts: The GOP's cup runneth over? No, it's half empty
10/31/02: Blue Gray: California's governor answers a Nobel Prize winner with obscenities
10/14/02: Bad Hair Day: Did Montana Dems exploit antigay prejudice?
10/11/02: The kill-everything senate
09/30/02: Schroeder did what it took to win--but at what cost to Germany?
08/22/02: Buh-Bye Bob, So Long Cynthia : No amount of shouting could've saved Barr or McKinney
07/29/02: GOP: Get Over Panic --- Dems are vulnerable on corporate scandals, too
07/17/02: Not Just an Average Joe: A black GOPer may give Rep. Eliot Engel a run for his money
07/15/02: The McCain Mutiny-II
07/01/02: Opening the Schoolhouse Door: The politicians can't stop school choice now
06/20/02: The Body' Bows Out --- American politics will be duller without Jesse Ventura
06/06/02: It's time for President Bush to stand up to California's senators
05/16/02: A Court Intrigue: Procedural funny business in a racial-preference case
05/14/02: Thin moral ice: New revelations from a skater's Stasi files recall an oppressive era
05/09/02: Newark, Zimbabwe!?
05/02/02: Will Terror Leave Us No Choice? Teachers unions try to use Sept. 11 as an excuse for bad schools
04/23/02: The New Nixon? Al Gore plots his comeback
04/16/02: 'I, Uh, I Have No Comment': A union plays dirty in opposing an antitax initiative
03/31/02: Don't Just Do Something, Stand There!: Filibusters can help the Senate GOP get things done
03/14/02: Red-Light District: It's time to draw the line on gerrymandering
02/21/02: Slippery Slope: Can Dick Riordan beat California's Democratic governor?
02/14/02: Reform School: The Shays-Meehan incumbency protection act
02/07/02: Arizona Highway Robbery: Politicians make a grab for campaign cash
01/31/02: Disfranchise Lassie: Even dogs can register to vote. We need election reform with teeth
01/17/02: Dr. King's Greedy Relations: Cashing in on a national hero's legacy
01/10/02: Oil of Vitriol
01/04/02: The little engine that couldn't--and the senators who don't want it to
12/24/01: E-mail and low-cost computers could be conduits for a learning revolution
12/13/01: How Gore could have really won
12/07/01: Let our students keep their cell phones
12/04/01: Why the White House gave the RNC chairman the boot
11/12/01: A Winsome Politician: She won an election in a majority-black district--and she's a Republican
11/01/01: Bush Avoids Politics at His Peril
10/30/01: Cocked Pit: Armed pilots would mean polite skies
10/24/01: Chicken Pox: Hardly anyone has anthrax, but almost everyone has anthrax anxiety
10/11/01: Will Rush Hear Again? New technology may make it possible
10/04/01: Three Kinds of pols
08/24/01: Lauch Out: Who'll replace Jesse Helms?
08/08/01: Tome Alone: Clinton's book will probably end up on the remainder table
08/03/01: Of grubbing and grabbing: Corporation$ and local government$ perfect "public use"
07/31/01: Affairs of State: The Condit case isn't just about adultery. It's about public trust and national security
07/14/01: The First Amendment survives, and everyone has someone to blame for the failure of campaign reform
07/12/01: He's Still Bread: Despite what you've heard, Gary Condit isn't toast --- yet
07/12/01: Passing Lane: Left-wing attacks help boost John Stossel's and Brit Hume's audiences
06/25/01: Man vs. Machine: New Jersey's GOP establishment is doing everything it can to stop Bret Schundler
06/15/01: A Schundler Surprise? Don't count out "the Jack Kemp of New Jersey"
06/06/01: Memo to conservatives: Ignore McCain and maybe he'll go away
05/29/01: Integrity in Politics? Hardly. Jim Jeffords is no Wayne Morse
05/22/01: Davis' answer to California's energy crisis? Hire a couple of Clinton-Gore hatchet men
05/07/01: Prematurely declaring a winner wasn't the networks' worst sin in Florida
04/23/01: How to fix the electoral process --- REALLY!
04/11/01: A conservative hero may mount a California comeback
03/30/01: Can the GOP capture the nation's most closely balanced district?
03/09/01: Terminated
03/06/01: Leave well enough alone
02/22/01: Forgetting our heroes
02/15/01: In 1978 Clinton got a close look at the dangers of selling forgiveness
02/12/01: Clinton owes the country an explanation --- and an appology
02/06/01: How Ronald Reagan changed America
01/16/01: Why block Ashcroft? To demoralize the GOP's most loyal voters
01/15/01: Remembering John Schmitz, a cheerful extremist
12/29/00: Why are all Dems libs pickin' on me?
Dubya's 48% mandate is different than Ford's
12/13/00: Gore would have lost any recount that passed constitutional muster
11/13/00: The People Have Spoken: Will Gore listen?
10/25/00: She's really a Dodger
09/28/00: Locking up domestic oil?
09/25/00: Hillary gives new meaning to a "woman with a past"
09/21/00: Ignore the Polls. The Campaign Isn't Over Yet

©2001, John H. Fund