Monday, November 23, 2009

The sad reality of 2000 comes back yet again

In November of 2000, Vice President Al Gore was given a premature victory via faulty exit polling and a media eager to rid themselves of the Texas misfit cowboy. Hours later, Gore conceded the election to George W. Bush and within hours of that, rescinded his concession. It was at that moment, the American political system would forever be changed.

Hanging chads, absentee voters, military ballots, butterfly ballots, voter intent, and the list went on and on; it was nothing really out of the ordinary as far as elections go, but it happened in the narrowest of margins and during the biggest election of the free world.

Since the 2000 Presidential election, there have been a number of post-election challenges from state congressional races to the US Senate. The 2000 precedent of recounting and legal wrangling has been seen over and over again. The last big spectacle was between Norm Coleman and Al Franken for a senatorial seat representing the state of Minnesota. Coleman won the election initially, but team Franken kept the recounts going until their candidate was sworn in.

Now, in the wake of the tide-turning gubernatorial elections in Virginia and New Jersey, the District 23 race in New York between democrat Bill Owens and conservative Doug Hoffman seems to have been decided. By a narrow victory on election night, Mr. Owen’s bested his opponent but the race wasn’t over. Out of the media spotlight, this race was close, close enough for Doug Hoffman to imitate Gore’s un-concession – leading to the dreaded chicken-or-egg electoral guesswork. Last week, the last of the district’s absentee ballots were counted, and challenger Doug Hoffman trailed the earlier declared winner, Bill Owens, by 3,129 votes.

Mr. Hoffman would have to come with a 500 vote margin to continue his challenge, a goal that is quite unlikely to be met. Staring defeat in the eye for the second time, Mr. Hoffman has made allegations that state unions and ACORN had stolen the election.

Elections are held in precincts, not courtrooms and the 2000 Presidential Election proved that; there is often a lamenting of how few Americans actually turn out to vote on Election Day, but with candidates like these, who can blame them?

-- Killswitch Politick

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