If you've been following cnn.com
, you may have noticed a small story about confusion over the ballot
booklets in Palm Beach County
. This is where I live.
I voted yesterday. They ARE confusing. I had to double-check my card. Basically, because of the way the presidential candidates were laid out, it was very possible to accidentally vote for Pat Buchanan instead of Al Gore.
However, I didn't realize until I started looking at the actual numbers by county just how screwed up it is. Below is a listing of adjacent counties, and then Palm Beach County's numbers. I used Harry Browne as a comparison.
Palm Beach County:
This is SCREWED UP. Palm Beach County is a VERY Democratic county. There are many bible-thumping counties in North Florida; none of them even broke 1,000 Buchanan votes! I included Harry Browne because in almost every other county I've checked so far, he had more votes than Buchanan - except for Palm Beach County!
Think this is insignificant? This situation could be the deciding factor - if the election officials choose to acknowledge the problem.
Note: I got those figures from cnn.com itself. Those interested in further statistical analysis can also visit www.pbcelections.org.
I was just looking at Florida Election law (http://www.leg.state.fl.us/statutes
), and it looks like the Palm Beach County ballots were illegal:
"The names of the candidates of the party which received the highest number of votes for Governor in the last election in which a Governor was elected shall be placed first under the heading for each office, together with an appropriate abbreviation of party name; the names of the candidates of the party which received the second highest vote for
Governor shall be second under the heading for each office, together with an appropriate abbreviation of the party name."
Yes, it says Governor, but if you read the whole document you'll see that the last Governor election in Florida dictates the listing order of all candidates for the whole general election ballot. The problem is that on the Palm Beach County ballots, Bush was listed first, Buchanan second, and Gore third.
News agencies are aware of this. Gonna be interesting.
Another small update...
From a statistical analysis at http://elections.fas.harvard.edu
"Compared to all the 4,481 reporting districts (counties or townships) that cover 46 of the 50 United States, Palm Beach
County is one of the five most irregular in terms of having exceptionally high support for Buchanan that deviates from
expected patterns. Among districts with more than 25,000 voters, Palm Beach County is the most irregular."