LETTER: Columnist has misconstrued facts of 2000 election

Friday, October 24, 2008 | 10:41 a.m. CDT; updated 10:08 a.m. CDT, Wednesday, October 29, 2008

I enjoy reading your newspaper and being informed on events occurring both locally and nationally. However, I take issue with a recent column by J. Karl Miller in the Oct. 22 edition of the Missourian.

In that column he states, "The New York Times, The Washington Post and other news organizations reported on a review of all of Florida's ballots. The result was Bush won, end of story." This statement is demonstratively false.

The National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago was the organization that conducted the study on behalf of a number of major newspapers. They found that regardless of counting standard, Al Gore would have won if all of the Florida ballots had been recounted. This conclusion is clearly stated in the report.

Therefore, either Mr. Miller has not read the study that he refers to, or he read it and decided to alter its conclusion to fit his own perception of reality. Whichever is the case, I expect more from the Missourian. Moreover, Mr. Miller uses his erroneous statement to belittle individuals who questioned the validity of the Florida electoral process in 2000.

It is my opinion that he deliberately misinforms readers to advance the agenda of the Republican Party.

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Robert craig October 24, 2008 | 5:23 p.m.

"The result was Bush won, end of story. This statement is demonstratively false."
What?! Not only did he win in 2000 but he won again with a majority of the vote four years later!
Even CNN did a recount study and determined, in their own words, "Bush Still Wins".

(Report Comment)
Christopher Foote October 25, 2008 | 10:30 a.m.

Mr. Craig you have missed the point entirely. I have no desire to rehash the election of 2000. In my opinion it was a statistical tie, and chance ended up with Bush in the lead. We will never know with absolute certainty who received the most votes cast in Florida. Bush received the most votes that were tallied, and therefore obviously won the election. I think many in the country were dismayed at the manner in which the recount process was abruptyl ended. With that in mind a consortium of major newspapers enlisted the National Opinion Research Center to review the methodolgy of various recount scenarios to predict what would have happened. The study concluded that if all of the ballots cast statewide had been recounted, Gore would have recieved the most votes under any of the four recount standards. Thus it is demonstratively false to reference the study and state "The New York Times, The Washington Post and other news organizations reported on a review of all of Florida's ballots. The result was Bush won, end of story." To simplify it let's imagine a study that concludes "x". A columnist cites this study, but instead of saying "x" says "y", and "y" is the opposite of "x". "x" and "y" don't really matter, what matters is that Mr. Miller deliberately misrepresents the conclusion of the study he cites.

(Report Comment)
J Karl Miller October 26, 2008 | 9:15 a.m.

Mr. Foote has unwittingly made my point to wit: "my futile hope we are spared the mindless and endless hatred over the "selected not elected" nonsense from the 2000 election." It is indeed unfortunate that there are those still out there who continue to dwell on that non issue and cannot or will not come to grips with reality but rather cling stubbornly to past irrelevance.

Mr. Foote is welcome to his opinion that I made erroneous statements in misrepresenting my conclusions; nevertheless, he is not entitled to invent his own facts. Had he quoted his source factually, he would have stated "the consortium found Al Gore might have won had there been a full recount of all the ballots." Accordingly, Mr. Foote's claim that "regardless of counting standard, Al Gore would have won had all Florida ballots been recounted" is not entirely accurate inasmuch as "might have" differs not a litle from "would have."

J Karl Miller

(Report Comment)
chris macy October 27, 2008 | 10:34 a.m.

As long as Republicans continue to disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of lawful Americans by purging their legal registrations and blocking their votes, we'll never know whether the official vote tallies represent the actual will of the people.

Unless we act to reverse the heinous actions of these Republican secretaries of state, before long the Republican party will permit only wealthy, white, land-owners to vote.

(Report Comment)
Christopher Foote October 27, 2008 | 8:40 p.m.

Mr. Miller, as I mentioned to the previous poster, I have little interest in rehashing the 2000 election. When I read a column in the Missourian I expect it to be factually accurate. In the online version of your column, you link to a Washington Post article that reported on the findings. Let me quote it directly, "An examination of uncounted ballots throughout Florida found enough where voter intent was clear to give Gore the narrowest of margins." With respect to counting standards it says this, "But the study also found that whether dimples are counted or a more restrictive standard is used, a statewide tally favored Gore by 60 to 171 votes." Now let's compare that with what you wrote, "The New York Times, The Washington Post and other news organizations reported on a review of all of Florida’s ballots. The result was that Bush won, end of story." Do you think your statement is supported by the Washington Post story that you referenced?

(Report Comment)

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