Many of us have seen former Secretary of State Jim Baker on TV recently decrying the “recount after recount” in Florida. He contends the Gore advocates are stressing the system and causing widespread “anxiety.”
Now, as Paul Harvey said, “Here’s the rest of the story.” Channel 9 featured a panel of Florida election law experts on the Jim Lehrer program. They all reported that Florida laws call for an automatic machine recount in the event of a very close race. If the race still hangs in the balance, a hand count is requested. These two lawful requirements for any close election contest are the pair Baker saw as dooming our democracy. One small irony to all this is that Texas recently passed a similar law which was signed by Gov. George W. Bush. It is a well-thought-out law which simply recognizes that machines are quicker but hand-counting by real people is more accurate. In any close race, particularly one as important as this one, accuracy must trump speed.
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