Monday, September 27, 2004

Is Jimmy Carter highly partisan?...

Check Carter: No Fair Election Possible in Florida, per FoxNews. Are we seeing a potential set-up for a 2000 Gore vs. Bush scenario in Florida? Some excerpts:
Former President Jimmy Carter (search) says that despite changes designed to eliminate voting problems in Florida — where the disputed 2000 presidential election was decided by only a few hundred votes — conditions for a fair election in that state still don't exist. "The disturbing fact is that a repetition of the problems of 2000 now seems likely," Carter wrote in an opinion piece published Monday in the Washington Post. ...Carter, citing the experience of his Carter Center in monitoring international elections, said "some basic international requirements for a fair election are missing in Florida." Most significant, he said, were requirements that a nonpartisan electoral commission or official organize and conduct the electoral process and that voting procedures be uniform for all citizens. He said Florida's top election official in 2000, Secretary of State Katherine Harris, was "highly partisan" and that Harris' successor, Glenda Hood, has shown "the same strong bias". He said Gov. Jeb Bush, the president's brother, had done little to "correct these departures from principles of fair and equal treatment." "With reforms unlikely at this late stage of the election, perhaps the only recourse will be to focus maximum public scrutiny on the suspicious process in Florida," Carter said. - emphasis added
Let's see, our country has traversed over 200 years of elections without even the hint of resorting to the use of basic international requirements. What's next Jimmy?, using international standards to adjust our governmental structure with regards to the struggle for power? Maybe we should see what the rest of the world thinks about 6 year terms for Senators? Or whether two senators per state is really and truly fair? While we're at it, we could round up all those highly partisan officials (read: Republican) in order to prevent them from mucking things up. After all, there's nothing suspicious about a Democrat, with the same strong bias, claiming that the election process in Floirda is unfair only five weeks before the election... is there? Update: Check Memo to Jimmy Carter, at Asymmetrical Information. She begins,
Mr Carter, if you are going to rhetorically lump the US in with tinpot dictatorships that stage elections, there are a few things you might want to consider, so that the effect redounds to the greater glory of yourself and your party, rather than alienating the unwashed masses who will be voting in this sham election.
Hat tip: Instapundit

8 comments:

Paul said...

Of course Jimmy Carter is partisan. Fortunately he's not in charge of the Florida election, unlike the President's brother.

Unlike Walden O'Dell, who said that he is "committed to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes to the president next year", Carter also isn't in charge of Diebold, one of the manufacturers of the electronic voting machines that will be used in Florida despite having many security issues and not creating any paper trail.

Carter also didn't publish a list of felons who were illegally registered to vote in Florida that contained 0.1% Hispanics, in a state that is almost 20% Hispanic (who tend to vote Republican). No, that would be Glenda Hood, the Republican Secretary of State.

And of course he's not the one barring the registration of predominantly Democratic new voters because the paper they're using to register is a bit too thin. Again no, that would be the Republican Secretary of State in Ohio, J. Kenneth Blackwell.

So yes, Carter is partisan. But he can't actually rig the election, he can only complain about it.

Rusty said...

Paul,

So Carter's timing is just coincidence?

I agree that using electronic voting machines is a lousy way to go... of course, if no one would've complained about so-called hanging chads, then we wouldn't have to wonder about Diebold.

Are you claiming that Hispanics typically vote Republican? That would be news in the staunchly conservative Orange County precinct that elected Loretta Sanchez (D) over Bob Dornan (R) a few years ago.

Thin paper? What's up with that? Come on, it sounds like a re-run of the scare tactic charges from 2000 - you know - the oft repeated, but never substantiated, claims that predominantly Democratic voters have been discriminated against.

I'll call Carter's bluff... let him analyze EVERY state in the Union as much as he does the headline grabber.

Paul said...

Of course Carter's timing is coincidental, I'm sure he's gaming the system just like any other politician. The difference is that he can't actually change things, so we should be worrying about the people who can.

Am I claiming that Hispanics typically vote Republican? No, I'm saying they tend to vote Republican in (Florida) - Bush got 61% to Gore's 39% in 2000, for example.

As to the paper, I agree, what is up with that? Blackwell is saying that registrations must be on 80lb paper so that they aren't damaged during delivery or processing. A fair request, but he wants to throw out a bunch of registrations that have already been succesfully processed, because they weren't on the correct type of paper. And that's against section 1971 of the Voter Rights Act. Of course, it could be a coincidence that the Democrats are registering people much, much faster than the Republicans in Ohio.

Why would he analyze every state? Why doesn't he just start with the states that had to go to the Supreme Court to help them count their votes (or as I like to think of it, "Fulfill the single most fundamental requirement of being a democracy"). Oh wait, he did.

Paul said...

Oops, that first line is supposed to say that the his timing ISN'T coincidental!

Rusty said...

Paul,

Carter can't actually change things? He sure is attempting to here.

Thank you for clarifying your comment on Hispanic voters, although I'm still not sure what the point of the original comment was. Can you clarify that?

I'm not familiar with the details of the paper weight voter registration problem. My stance on such issues in general are to follow current law. In other words, if the law states that registrations must be on 80# paper and that non-compliant registrations must be rejected, then that's what must be done. Either that or convincing reasons must be given for granting some sort of pass. If the government officials are circumventing the law then they should be held accountable. This falls along the lines of the complaints raised when the deadline passed for votes to be hand counted in Florida (election 2000). Harris gave them an extra day and then shut it down and she was accused of being partisan - when all along the state law mandated a one week time limit. If that's unreasonable, which it certainly appears so now, then change the law for the next time around.

If Carter is sincere, then he should take his band of Election Police to every state in order to insure that someone, somewhere isn't pulling the wool over our eyes. You know very well why he's picked on Florida, and it has nothing to do with being "fair."

Paul said...

That's right, he's attempting to create an environment conducive to Democrat's appeals later on. Which, as you say in your later post, is the right and proper struggle on which your democracy is based.

The point of the Hispanic voters is that a group that can be expected to vote for the Democrats (African-Americans) was fully featured on the exclusion list, while a group that tends toward the Republicans was almost entirely absent. And that 'oversight' was 'overseen' by a Republican.

I agree with the idea that vote officials should follow the law. The Voter Rights Act says that you can't enforce a condition if it makes no difference to registration or voting (e.g. I can't say that you have to complete the form with your left hand). Given that these registrations had *already been processed* it's hard to see how the weight of the paper was making a difference.

It might be nice for Carter to check every state. But it's a big problem, with a limited amount of time to address it, so again why shouldn't he start with the state that can't fulfill the most fundamental requirement of a democracy?

Rusty said...

Paul,

It's one thing to work within the electoral system. It's quite another thing to attempt to circumvent the electoral system by the use of lawsuits and appeals to judges (as if they're is binding on the electoral process). I don't take issue with Carter for being partisan, I take issue with him for trying to railroad the election under the pretense of being fair.

Okay, thanks for clarifying your Hispanic comment. I'd say that much more evidence would be needed to justify claiming the event more than a coincidence. But I'm not familiar enough with the incident to make a call.

Ditto on the weight of paper issue. Were any other reasons given for the dismissal? (e.g., the weight must be 80# because...) Could someone potentially be misprocessed because of the weight of the paper (automated handling, etc.)? My point is that it may not simply be a matter of one party official attempting to disqualify voter's from a competing party. Those are serious charges and they deserve more than innuendo.

I agree that checking every state is a big chore, but either Carter means what he says or he doesn't. There is no valid reason to pick on Florida because no one has shown that the 2000 elections were rigged or tampered with. The accusations were baseless in 2000 and remain so to this day.

Paul said...

Which lawsuits from Carter were you referring to? I would have thought the core of a free election was that everyone gets to say what they want. As it is recourse to the law is part of your judicial system, so it's not working outside the system. Witness the huge legal teams that both sides are putting together at the moment.

On the paper issue - there is a reason for it, that a lighter paper might cause problems with processing the registration. A very fair point. But they were trying to throw out ballots that had *already* been processed. Perhaps lighter paper would cause problems, but clearly it was already a moot issue. I'll gladly concede that it could just be officials being spectacularly bad at their jobs, but that doesn't exactly give me hope.

Again, the Hispanic thing could be a coincidence - I know the computer error that was allegedly the cause, and if I had made that mistake when I started in software ten years ago it would be a race to see if I could resign in shame before I was fired. But yes, an internationally known consulting company could bill $200 million dollars and make that mistake.

Actually pretty much every major newspaper has shown that something was wrong with the 2000 elections. The only thing we're missing is an inquiry from a government body. I'm not expecting that to happen of course, because the people who won own the state and federal legislature and both houses of congress.