Fwd: PBC Ballot. A point the statistics don't show... (fwd)
Fri Nov 24 15:52:10 CST 2000
Here is another very intriguing legal argument being made.
Has anyone heard about this possibility?
>Date: Fri, 24 Nov 2000 04:03:05 -0500
>From: James Musters <jmusters at bellsouth.net>
>Reply-To: jamesm at unforgettable.com
>Subject: PBC Ballot. A point the statistics don't show...
>The analysis of the Gore vote in Palm Beach County is very enlightening.
>There may be another factor in the miss punch and double punch problem.
>Look at a wide picture of the
>On the left, you can see "Electors for President and Vice President"
>Underneath the instructions
>say <http://www.pbcelections.org/Sample%20Ballots/g1.jpg> [Vote For
>The Florida law states the instructions must be <>[Vote for One]
><>Florida Statues Title IX Chapter 101.151 (3) (B)
> (b) Immediately following the name of each office on
>the ballot shall be printed, "Vote for One" .....
>This changes some of the usability issues. Some voters who double
>punched may have been confused by the instructions. It is possible
>the voters thought they were carrying out the instructions. The law
>was implemented to insure that voters received the correct
>instruction and then the wording was changed.
>This may be more significant than the butterfly layout because the
>law does not say the ballot cannot be confusing but it is very
>specific about what the instructions must be. The instructions are
>wrong and judges tend to be sticklers about instructions.
>It is important because some one must have made a decision to change
>the wording. That has to be an intentional act.
>Because the ballot did not say "vote for one", ejecting the double
>punched ballots is very questionable.
>The law for the "Voting device" specifies that the "Ballot
>Information" "shall, as far as practicable" follow the layout of the
>The ballot information shall, as far as practicable, be in the order
>of arrangement provided for paper ballots. Ballots for all questions
>or propositions to be voted on shall be provided in the same manner
>and shall be arranged on or in the voting device, if necessary, in
>the places provided for such purposes. Title IX Chapter 101.5609 (2)
>There is no provision for a change in wording. I do not believe any
>of the media have picked up on this point. They probably don't read
>Florida statutes for bedtime reading.
>I have been thinking.... about a remedy that does not call for a re-vote..
>The problem is that the instructions on the Palm Beach ballot were
>Group" and not "Vote for One". Florida law requires the wording
>for One" on the ballot instructions for the "Presidential"
>selection. In Palm Beach County the illegal wording appeared only
>section of the ballot and
><http://www.pbcelections.org/Sample%20Ballots/g2.jpg>not in the
>other sections of the ballot.
>The law requires that ballots with two punches be discarded by the
>tabulating machines. Title IX Chapter <>101.560 (3) and <>101.5614
>This poses the right to vote problem against the procedure for the
>It is very clear that the<> law requires the instructions to be
><>"Vote for One" and the
>information" clearly says
>Group". I think a court will rule that the direct instruction on
>the ballot was illegal and therefore the 19,200 votes should not be
>It does not matter who was responsible for the change in wording nor
>the fact that some of the parties may have signed off on it. There
>is absolutely no prevision in the law for changing this direct
>instruction to the voter on the number of selections they may make.
>Florida law allows a Judge to make any remedy necessary if there is
>Malfeasance or other Irregularities. Changing the critical wording
>is definitely an Irregularity. The only requirement is that the
>problem significantly impact the outcome. The law instructs the
>Judge to provide "any relief appropriate".<>
><>"The circuit judge to whom the contest is presented may fashion
>such orders as he or she deems necessary to ensure that each
>allegation in the complaint is investigated, examined, or checked,
>to prevent or correct any alleged wrong, and to provide any relief
>appropriate under such circumstances". Title IX Chapter 102.168 (8)
>What should the Court do to "correct any alleged wrong, and to
>provide any relief appropriate" ?
>Could we could re-vote Palm Beach County or re-vote all of Florida ?
>The legal challenges would be numerous and politically this would be
>If there is to be no "Re-Vote" in Palm Beach County then the
>"appropriate remedy" should be counting the 19,200 ballots as being
>How could they be counted ? Here is a simple solution that gets to
>the hart of correcting the discarded ballot problem.
>In the discarded ballots there are only 4 different combinations of
>punches that could affect the outcome of the election.
>First remove the double punched ballots that have no punches for
>ether Bush or Gore. The Judge can discard them because they did
>not select ether of the candidates in question and therefore do not
>affect the outcome of the election.
>Second there are double punched ballots that have punches for both
>Bush and Gore. The Judge can discard them because it is not
>possible to determine the choice of the voter.
>The last two groups of ballots are:
> Ballots with punches for Bush and some one else, but not Gore.
> Ballots with punches for Gore and some one else, but not Bush.
>The last two groups should be counted for the major candidate they selected.
>Gore could not claim any of the Bush ballots were for Gore and Bush
>could not claim that any of the Gore ballots were for Bush. QED
>This allows the Judge to provide an appropriate remedy where the
>remedy is narrowly tailored to the issue. It prevents challenges
>because no voter is allowed to change there minds. It does not
>require a re-vote and all the details that would require. It
>counts all the votes cast in the election, something that is
>totally in line with the discussions the Florida supreme court has
>insisted must happen in the recount cases.
>So the three questions are:
>Were the instructions illegal ?
>The answer is plainly yes.
>Are there any provisions for changing the language of the
>instructions on the <>"Ballot information" in the <>"Voting device" ?
>The answer is plainly no.
>How should a court <>"correct any alleged wrong, and to provide any
>relief appropriate" ?
>Probably the only way is to count the votes as I have suggested.
>Would the counting of the 19,200 be timely ?
>It has to be a lot quicker than a revote of several million people.
>By the very definition of why they were rejected in the first place
>we know that most of the ballots have no reluctant chad problems.
>If the tabulating computer can re-programed so that it does not spit
>out duplicates it would could be over in minutes.
>I think success is likely with a very narrow legal brief, based on
>one undeniable issue. Relief under the law is more likely if the
>plaintiff asks for specific limited relief. In this case relief
>that is confined to just the small percentage of ballots affected.
>If you have any contacts with the Democrats, please pass along this
>point about the wording.
>Thanks. James Musters
>PS You may use this email or forward it as you wish.
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