US presidential results in Florida:
Manual or machine recount? Two different mind sets

Nipawin - November 14, 2000 - by: Mario deSantis

next US president

As at this time (morning of November 13), the Associated Press reports Bush leading in Florida by 288 votes. There is every indication that who wins Florida will become the next US president, and as a consequence many political and legal wranglings are unfolding.



several thousand

One particular issue is the manual recount ordered by Palm Beach County election officials affecting some 400,000 votes. In this county, several thousand ballots have been mechanically rejected because machines could not detect punched votes in the cards and there are speculations that a manual recount would end up in benefitting Al Gore. Therefore, Bush's legal team in Florida has filed papers in federal court seeking to halt manual recounts in the state, but their demand has been rejected by the federal judge.



mind sets

Bush's legal team has been looking for the fastest resolution of the dispute so that the present lead of 288 votes can be maintained. What I find very interesting about the legal positioning of the parties are the statements provided by Warren Christopher and James Baker, respectively spokespersons for Al Gore and George Bush. These statements are a reflection of the two different mind sets of the presidential candidates. Christopher has stated

every vote
must count

"until today the Bush campaign has argued every minute counts. We have constantly maintained, however, as we continue today, that every vote must count" and Baker has argued that manual counting would be subject to "human error, individual subjectivity and decisions to determine the voters' intent" and that "machines are neither Republicans nor Democrats and therefore can never be consciously or even unconsciously biased."



human judgment

Machines are just tools to speed up and enhance our human intelligence, but they cannot and must not replace human judgment. Therefore, I find Bush's positioning against the manual recount very unfair, but then we know that life is not necessarily fair, that is, life can be a timed contractual deal.
  Palm Beach County election officials order full hand recount, CNN, November 12, 2000
  Florida secretary of state issues presidential vote count deadline, CNN, November 13, 2000