In his recent book "Steal This Vote" - a very judicious work, despite its title - Andrew Gumbel, a U.S. correspondent for the British newspaper The Independent, provides the best overview I've seen of the 2000 Florida vote. And he documents the simple truth: "Al Gore won the 2000 presidential election."I don't know how Americans feel when they read this. There's nothing one can do about the past now. And there's little effort by Republicans (of course not) or Democrats to fix the broken electoral machinery that is controlled by the party in power in a given state. Ken Blackwell, the Ohio Secretary of State, controlled that state's electoral apparatus in 2004 while also serving as the Bush-Cheney campaign co-chair in Ohio. Such blatant conflict of interest should not be permitted. Period. What kind of situations end up happening?
Two different news media consortiums reviewed Florida's ballots; both found that a full manual recount would have given the election to Mr. Gore. This was true despite a host of efforts by state and local officials to suppress likely Gore votes, most notably Ms. Harris's "felon purge," which disenfranchised large numbers of valid voters.
But few Americans have heard these facts. Perhaps journalists have felt that it would be divisive to cast doubt on the Bush administration's legitimacy. If so, their tender concern for the nation's feelings has gone for naught: Cindy Sheehan's supporters are camped in Crawford, and America is more bitterly divided than ever.
And then there are the election night stories. Warren County locked down its administration building and barred public observers from the vote-counting, citing an F.B.I. warning of a terrorist threat. But the F.B.I. later denied issuing any such warning. Miami County reported that voter turnout was an improbable 98.55 percent of registered voters. And so on.The American democracy is broken...the notion that America is a legitimate standard bearer of democratic ideals is simple hypocrisy. Would that it were not so.