Litigation Day–A Real Concern, But Not Al Gore’s Fault

The Wall Street Journal warns that litigation day may follow election day as each party goes to court to fight the result. To some degree I share in their concern as it would certainly be preferable if we could have an accurate result following the vote which both sides could trust. To some degree I agree with their assessment of the situation where “Election night is not necessarily the finish line anymore. Both sides are lawyering up.” Where I disagree is with their attempts to place the blame for this situation on Al Gore:

We could see either party pursue the kind of lawsuits that Al Gore unleashed in Florida in 2000 and contest any number of tight races that are within the “margin of litigation.”

The implication they make here and elsewhere is that we are in this situation because Al Gore went to court. They leave out some important details, such as that it was necessary for Al Gore to go to court because partisan elections officials were preventing him from having the recount which should have occurred. It was Republicans who had Katherine Harris involved in both Republican politics and in supervising the election. It was also Republicans who went to the Supreme Court to prevent a recount.

Considering how close the election was, Gore’s desire for a recount was understandable. Gore’s actions are particularly justified in retrospect after finding that Gore would have won in Florida if there was a state-wide recount, or if the over-count was taken into consideration. (The over-count consists of ballots where people both punched Gore’s name and also wrote in his name, perhaps believing this would increase the chances that their intentions would be obvious. These ballots were not counted as there were two votes, but in reality they were clearly votes intended for Gore.)

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  1. 1
    Aaron Adams says:

    For the record, Gore didn’t file the first court suit, bush did.

    November 12: Palm Beach County officials vote to conduct a full hand recount of presidential votes; Volusia County begins its own hand count; Bush’s legal team, headed by former Secretary of State James Baker, goes to federal court seeking to block manual recounts.


  2. 2
    Ron Chusid says:

    That weakens the argument against Gore even more. I thought that might be the case but without the evidence I didn’t want to claim that. After all, if Gore had filed the suit for the recount that would have been prefectly legitimate. Thanks for the link.

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