More on the Florida recount

The media consortium gets ready to release its numbers.

Published May 8, 2001 3:36PM (EDT)


Drudge Report: "Florida Ballots Said to Show 'Conflicting Results'" "Bush Won't Lift a Finger to Lower Gas Prices: Call It Highway Robbery"
Smirking Chimp: "Get Set for an Expensive Arms Race to Nowhere"
Bush Watch: "Jeb's Name Is Job -- Or, Perhaps, Mud"
WorldNet Daily: "Jesus, Unborn Kids 'Too Offensive' for Public"

Big buzz

OK, everybody, wake up! It's recount mania -- again! Matt Drudge is reporting that everyone's favorite story -- the Florida recount -- is about to take new twists and turns sure to get the partisans going again. The votes are counted, the numbers are tallied and the results are ... inconclusive. Still.

"Members of the consortium have decided not to declare a 'winner' based on the recount, rather they will outline, in numbing detail, what would have been if ballots were counted using different variables," Drudge reports.

"'It looks like there is going to be something for both sides [Bush and Gore] to chew on here,'" said a source with direct access to the recount data. 'There are conflicting results.'

"Developing ..."

The Drudge item comes a day after a report in the Orlando Sentinel claiming that "thousands of ballots that ultimately counted were never even filled out by voters."

The story says local officials "made new copies of at least 10,000 mismarked or torn absentee ballots that the counting machines initially couldn't read. More than 2,400 absentee ballots were duplicated in Escambia County alone -- about 11 percent of all absentee votes cast in that county."

Among those ballots, according to the Sentinel, were "untold numbers" of ballots that machines couldn't read but that election officials said showed "clear intent" in the presidential race or other contests.

"This systematic effort -- blessed by Florida law but never raised in the pitched election-recount fight -- challenges the successful GOP courtroom argument that without clear standards, humans should not be looking for voter intent where machines couldn't find any," the paper reports. "In fact, election workers did just that -- and long before a recount fight made each ballot a legal battleground. Ironically, the process probably helped the candidate who would later argue so vehemently against manual recounts -- George W. Bush."

The rebirth of Recount Fever was enough to restoke the familiar choruses of "Get over it!" and "Commander in Thief" on conservative and liberal sites, respectively.

Table Talkers accused Drudge of trying to spin results that they believe will show Gore as the clear winner. "What a crock of shit," writes one. "Greg Palast on The Calling clearly said that Gore was 'way ahead' in the media recount. But the GOP will spin it and the media will lie about it, yet the public knows the story."

"Well," writes another, "if you thought you were over it, this ought to bring the anger back."

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By Anthony York

Anthony York is Salon's Washington correspondent.

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