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wasted potential

Ron Reagan - Can you cite any hard evidence to support your claim that African Americans are suppressed in their voting? I have heard this for years, but have never seen anything but people claiming that the law governing elections is biased - you know like having to vote at the correct place, registered correctly, etc ...

If anything, it is the other way around. In 2000, a federal judge allowed African American precints voting booths to stay open past the closing time. This same opportunity was not afforded to other areas.

I agree, every American who wants to vote should be able to and have it counted. I just don't want dead folks and mythical beings deciding my elections.

joe mcgee


You keep using that word. I don't think that word means what you think it means. Most of Saddam's ordnance was quickly turned into scrap iron.

This is 700,000 pounds of high explosive. twice as powerful as TNT.

Bush, through stupidity and incompetence, caused it to fall into the hands of insurgents and their new al Qaida friends.

But why in the world is Bush now advocating gay marriage?

Ronald Reagan

truth: I'm trying to conduct a rational discussion here, so the lie thing is a bit tiresome. This Washington Post article is one of a large number that supports my point.


I really don't know of any evidence that supports your opinion.

wasted potential

Jake - Yes, I believe we had plenty of troops for the purpose of protecting known munitions sites. This was formulated as part of plan by General Tommy Franks during his planning process. If anything, we had too many for this purpose, as they expected to find far more weapons and WMD than they did. The debate is whether or not they had enough troops after the conflict to deal with the insurgency they began to face after ending major combat operations.

As to the conflict between the article and NBC News, I do not know which one is true or not. I do know this, the 101st Airborne arrived there to protect the site and found the weapons gone. It is obvious that this 18 month old story is nothing more than an attempt to undermine the country's support for President Bush at any cost, facts or no facts.

Taking your argument that it will be after November 2 before we know what really is true, let me ask you a question. Does the NY Times have any responsibility to "sort out" these types of potential problems with a story before putting it on their front page as a headline? Does Senator Kerry have an obligation to check the facts on a story before running ads with it as an issue?

wasted potential

Joe McGee: Please check your facts before calling the President incompetent and placing the sort of categorical blame on him. If you had read my previous posting or seen NBC News' story about this, these explosives were gone before we got there and could have been gone before major combat operations began in Iraq.

As to your last point, Bush is not advocating gay marriage as you assert. He stated that he thought it was fine to allow state governments to determine the legality of using civil unions for gay couples, but he is for an Ammendment to the constitution of the US barring the recognition of marriage as anything other than between a man and a woman.

Jeffraham Prestonian

joe mcgee: "Well, Jeffraham, my bet is that you are not the real Jeffraham."

Bingo, joe. I'm flattered that the name-stealer feels I have enough sway over the forum to have to (rather amateurishly) imitate me to sell the GOP talking points, though. I smell sweet, sweet Repig flop-sweat in the air. A pity the name-stealer still can't get it quite right, though... Rove's already fielded the D-team, it seems.

Jeffraham Prestonian

wasted potential: "I do know this, the 101st Airborne arrived there to protect the site and found the weapons gone."

How about the 3rd ID, who were there the week prior? Were they testing the "nothing" that was found?

Ronald Reagan

wasted potential: in this election cycle it does seem that that there are systematic efforts by Republicans to suppress the black vote. My sense is that this activity is particularly strong in Florida. For example, the felon disenfranchisement list was faulty and only discarded by court order. The governor must have known that there were few Latinos on the list. Bob Herbert has reported on the recent activities of the Florida Department of Law Enforecement. We don't hear similar stories about Democrats trying to suppress the vote among Republican voting constituencies. There are other examples in other states. I'm not sure if this will be enough to persuade you, but it is persasive for me.

There is also ample quantitative evidence that black voters are less likely to have their votes counted. This was also a clear finding from Florida 2000.

And then there is the law, as you say. Felon disenfranchisement is an important issue in the 13 states that deny voting rights to ex-felons, though no Republican or Democratic leader would ever say so.

Jeffraham Prestonian

wasted potential: "I just don't want dead folks and mythical beings deciding my elections."

Who brought Ronald Reagan and God into the discussion?


Wasted Potential,

Thank you. This is a new blog and I was about to exit the comments section and leave it to the delusional left. If you can't win, cry foul. If the system doesn't go your way, destroy the system. These people have no idea the harm they are doing.

wasted potential

Ron Reagan

I am still new at posting, so I am posting the entire article from CNN in 2001 on the Media Consortiums recount conclusions:

Florida recount study: Bush still wins

Study reveals flaws in ballots, voter errors may have cost Gore victory

A county employee shows a ballot to a National Opinion Research Center coding team. The coders marked their observations on specially designed, triplicate coding forms. They were not allowed to confer.
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A comprehensive study of the 2000 presidential election in Florida suggests that if the U.S. Supreme Court had allowed a statewide vote recount to proceed, Republican candidate George W. Bush would still have been elected president.

The National Opinion Research Center (NORC) at the University of Chicago conducted the six-month study for a consortium of eight news media companies, including CNN.

NORC dispatched an army of trained investigators to examine closely every rejected ballot in all 67 Florida counties, including handwritten and punch-card ballots. The NORC team of coders were able to examine about 99 percent of them, but county officials were unable to deliver as many as 2,200 problem ballots to NORC investigators. In addition, the uncertainties of human judgment, combined with some counties' inability to produce the same undervotes and overvotes that they saw last year, create a margin of error that makes the study instructive but not definitive in its findings.

As well as attempting to discern voter intent in ballots that might have been re-examined had the recount gone forward, the study also looked at the possible effect of poor ballot design, voter error and malfunctioning machines. That secondary analysis suggests that more Florida voters may have gone to the polls intending to vote for Democrat Al Gore but failed to cast a valid vote.

In releasing the report, the consortium said it is in no way trying to rewrite history or challenge the official result -- that Bush won Florida by 537 votes. Rather it is simply trying to bring some additional clarity to one of the most confusing chapters in U.S. politics.

Florida Supreme Court recount ruling

On December 12, 2000, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a Florida Supreme Court ruling ordering a full statewide hand recount of all undervotes not yet tallied. The U.S. Supreme Court action effectively ratified Florida election officials' determination that Bush won by a few hundred votes out of more than 6 million cast.

Using the NORC data, the media consortium examined what might have happened if the U.S. Supreme Court had not intervened. The Florida high court had ordered a recount of all undervotes that had not been counted by hand to that point. If that recount had proceeded under the standard that most local election officials said they would have used, the study found that Bush would have emerged with 493 more votes than Gore.

Gore's four-county strategy

Suppose that Gore got what he originally wanted -- a hand recount in heavily Democratic Broward, Palm Beach, Miami-Dade and Volusia counties. The study indicates that Gore would have picked up some additional support but still would have lost the election -- by a 225-vote margin statewide.

The news media consortium then tested a number of other hypothetical scenarios.

Use of Palm Beach County standard

Out of Palm Beach County emerged one of the least restrictive standards for determining a valid punch-card ballot. The county elections board determined that a chad hanging by up to two corners was valid and that a dimple or a chad detached in only one corner could also count if there were similar marks in other races on the same ballot. If that standard had been adopted statewide, the study shows a slim, 42-vote margin for Gore.

Inclusion of overvotes

In addition to undervotes, thousands of ballots in the Florida presidential election were invalidated because they had too many marks. This happened, for example, when a voter correctly marked a candidate and also wrote in that candidate's name. The consortium looked at what might have happened if a statewide recount had included these overvotes as well and found that Gore would have had a margin of fewer than 200 votes.

A county worker displays an optical scan ballot through a viewing window.
The butterfly and caterpillar ballots

One of the most controversial aspects of the Florida election was the so-called butterfly ballot used in heavily Democratic Palm Beach County. Many voters came out of the polls saying they were confused by the ballot design.

According to the study, 5,277 voters made a clean punch for Gore and a clean punch for Reform Party nominee Pat Buchanan, candidates whose political philosophies are poles apart. An additional 1,650 voters made clean punches for Bush and Buchanan. If many of the Buchanan votes were in error brought on by a badly designed ballot, a CNN analysis found that Gore could have netted thousands of additional votes as compared with Bush.

Eighteen other counties used another confusing ballot design known as the "caterpillar" or "broken" ballot, where six or seven presidential candidates are listed in one column and the names of the remaining minor party candidates appeared at the top of a second one. According to the study, more than 15,000 people who voted for either Gore or Bush also selected one candidate in the second column, apparently thinking the second column represented a new race.

Had many of these voters not marked a minor candidate in the second column, Gore would have netted thousands of additional votes as compared with Bush.

However, the double votes on both butterfly and caterpillar ballots were clearly invalid under any interpretation of the law.

Limits of the study

The National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago study was commissioned by eight media companies -- The Associated Press, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, CNN, the St. Petersburg Times, The Palm Beach Post, The Washington Post and the Tribune Co., which includes the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, the Orlando Sentinel and Baltimore Sun, as well as other papers.

A county worker displays a punch-card ballot to a NORC coder.
NORC used experienced staff researchers to supervise and train a larger pool of investigators, who then fanned out across Florida and personally examined 175,010 ballots provided by local election officials. The investigators recorded exactly what they saw on each ballot but made no attempt to determine whether the vote should have been counted.

From there, the media consortium took over, analyzing the raw data produced by NORC and drawing conclusions for various hypothetical scenarios.

As with any large-scale study, the NORC data is subject to some important limitations.

NORC reported serious problems with record keeping at many local election offices. NORC relied on these offices to produce the rejected ballots, but county officials were unable to deliver as many as 2,200 problem ballots to NORC investigators.

Although trained to produce accurate, impartial reports, the NORC investigators are human and prone to human judgment and error. In particular, NORC discovered that male investigators were more likely to record marks on ballots than women. NORC also found a slight but statistically significant relationship between candidate marks and the investigators' party affiliation.

Most importantly, there is no guarantee that the judgments of the NORC investigators would have matched those of local election boards had the recount been permitted to proceed under any scenario.


>>And one other thing: electing Kerry -- which I can't believe would happen -- would have an immediate victory to our terrorist enemies.<<

Aren't you a tiny bit embarassed when you write this kind of silly campaign pablum?

Why would it give them a victory? Why do you think Kerry would fight the war on terrorism with less vigor than Bush. If anything he'll fight it just as hard and much more intelligently.

Bush's policies have failed. Iraq wasn't a threat, now it's a breeding ground for terrorism. Al Qaeda's membership is larger today than it was before the war. The terrorists are also better armed. They possess a good portion of Saddam's weaponry because Bush failed to send enough troops to secure it. Our chemical plants remain unguarded and our ports are vulnerable.

wasted potential

Ron Reagan: First, I pray you do not believe God is a mythical being.

Second, I see your response to my postings is to try and attack what you believe to be icons of Republicanism. Is that all you got?

Ronald Reagan

Acme: rather overheated.

I'm trying to *save* the system. I worry that those engaged in vote suppression are destroying the system. I hope we can agree that efforts to suppress the vote are anathema to democracy, and we all believe in democracy, right?

wasted potential: I'm not sure if any news organization has the story right yet. NBC certainly didn't have it right last night and have backed off there claim. Note that Larry DaRita at the Pentagon originally claimed not that the explosives were missing before the war started. Rather he claimed that "we don't know" if the explosives were taken before the war started.

Another question for you: were there enough troops after "Mission Accomplished" to secure WMD and large conventional weapons sites, and what is the evidence that there were?


I have been saying what will eventually turn this election to Bush in the last few days,especially in the voting booth, is what I call the "creeps" factor (for lack of a better word).

I know around 10 center to left leaning democrats who nearly always vote straight Rat ticket. In 2000, meet together and watch the returns together and have some pizza and beers. There were also several other Republicans there and we all do this every election year.

About half way into the night before any announcements were made on the news we all confessed who we voted for president. Of course, all the Pubs voted righteously as usual, but to my utter surprise, one by one, the Dems all said that they voted for Bush.

To say that I was shocked was an understatement. I asked them all why and they said that they had intended to vote dem again as usual but when they got to the booth, to a man, they just couldn't do it and voted for Bush. The reason was that Gore just gave them the "creeps" and was way to far left for them and they thought that he would be dangerous. I was amazed, unfortunately they voted democrat on everything else, but I was thankful just the same.
Take into account that we were not in war then and how creeped out are dems and undecideds going to be concerning Kerry as it concerns the war on terror. I think quite a few. Kerry thinks that he has a base, but I think that base is the extremely far left wing, but the rest are not as steady as he may expect.
Those dems friends of mine all worked on the Gore campaign locally and still didn't vote for him. Every day Kerry speaks I think he "creeps" people out more and more..

Anyway, Four more years.

Scott B.


Dear Tuck,
History will never forgive you. You are tied to the greatest failure in American history. You are one of the Bush "ladies". Pretty as you may think you are-history will never forgive you...Lady.


This is my prediction.
Bush will win by approximately 6%
FL is his.
Either OH or PA or both.
Let's check back in a week.

wasted potential

Ron Reagan: I must tell you that I do believe we had the troop size required after the end of major combat operations. Before I go to my "evidence," I must confess I am not a military man and do not have intimate knowledge of battle planning. However, my observations at the time were that the troops who had been planned to come in from Turkey had to be redirected to enter Iraq from the south. By the time they were fully deployed, major combat operations were over. I do not know the exact numbers, but it was a sizeable force.

As I said before, there can be genuine disagreement over how we have chosen to deal with the insurgency. There are some who think that we are pulling a "rope a dope" or "flypaper" strategy, making Iraq a magnet for Islamic fascists and terrorists where we can annihilate them over there, rather than over here. I personally do not believe this was a plan, but more or less an end result. I do think that the political strategy of wanting the Iraqis to be in charge of our dealing with the insurgents is a military mistake, as we could have wiped out large sections of the resistance by now. It remains to be seen if it is a political success though.

wasted potential

Deb - I pray you are right, but there is a lot of work to be done in GOTV efforts to ensure your prediction comes true.


It is amazing to me how backward thinking you libs are when it comes to voting technology.

And here I thought that liberals were on the "cutting edge" of the modern world and conservatives were supposed to be backward?

This feined concern about no paper trail is either ignorance or hypocrasy on your part.

This type of voting has been successful and probably has a high rate of acuracy then other sysems out there.

Get out of the stoneage already.



I will take your word that your intention is positive. God knows I yearn for the days when Democrats could argue that it is government's purpose to make citizen's lives better and Republicans argued for free enterprise and market forces.

A one party system is no good for any of us. I have confidence that this election will go to Bush but I have a real fear that the Democtrats are doing great damage to their party and to our system of elections.


ScottB,you a lady man. You a sick apolgist for the Worst. President. Ever. Scott B stinks.

wasted potential

Ron Reagan - I am sorry I attributed Jeffraham Prestonian's remarks to you. Once again, this is all new to me. I just read your thoughts on disenfranchising felons and minorities. It does not persuade me. I think the real debate is not whether Republicans or Democrats want legal, registered voters to more or not, it is this - should we have laws governing who can vote and how they vote or not? For example:

(1) Should convicted felons be allowed to vote? The law says no, many would say that is biased against certain groups who have a high number of felons. Personally, I believe that if you are convicted of a felony and the law states that as part of your punishment you lose voting privileges, then that is fair.

(2) Should people be forced to register with the state/precint where they live before they can vote? I would say that this is necessary to prevent fraudulent voting, while others might say that it "restricts" certain groups from being able to vote. The only group it restricts in my humble opinion are those who are not engaged in the process and do not care, procrastinators, or those who choose not to vote.

(3) Should ballot/vote casting machines be much easier than they are today or be standardized? Personally, I think the only groups who are discriminated by this probably lack the skills to make an informed decision anyway. Come on, have you ever had an issue using any ballot put before you? Furthermore, I think this is soft racism on the part of the left to think that minority groups need machines created for 7 year olds in order to understand how to vote.

Once again, sorry for misreading the other post.

Ronald Reagan

Last post before turning in. Wasted potential: have a look at that National Opinion Research Center's page on the Florida data. The report on the Florida ballot was published in an article in 2003 American Statistician. Its a massive file (59 MB, pdf), with a lot of technical discussion about counting. Skip past all that to Table 11. The message here is that Bush would have won under a variety of scenarios for the contested counties. Gore would have won most statewide recounts.

The point here is not to refight Florida 2000. The point here is to determine whether an injustice was done to those who voted but were not counted. This isn't about Republicans and Democrats, its about democracy.


joe mcgee

" Please check your facts before calling the President incompetent and placing the sort of categorical blame on him."

Who should I believe? You or my own eyes?
Somethings wrong with the guy. Its obvious everytime he shows up without a teleprompter.

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