Count shows Bush was the true winner

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 11, 2002

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March 3, 2001 10 PM

We should all be happy and relieved about the findings of two big south Florida newspapers concerning the presidential election. After exhaustive examination of 10,644 ballots from Dade County that did not register in voting machines, former Vice President Al Gore picked up only an additional 49 votes.

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Although these new numbers would do nothing to affect the official outcome of the election they do answer some nagging questions. When the Dade votes are added to the votes the vice president picked up in three other counties where Democrats demanded hand recounts – Broward, Palm Beach and Volusia – the former vice president still trailed President Bush by 140 votes. This, then, means Gore lost the state of Florida, its 25 electoral votes and the presidency.

There is another recount under way, this one being done by a number of out-of-state media organizations. This one, however, is a statewide recount of all 67 Florida counties. Although it will be interesting to see the result of that analysis, it will, in essence, be meaningless.

The examination of the Dade County ballots is not meaningless. It puts an end to the question of who really won the state. President Bush did and that will hold true even if the statewide recount comes back with big Gore gains.

That’s because the Democrats never asked for a statewide hand recount, as they should have. The only counties where hand counts were demanded and the ones that were the subject of court arguments were Broward, Palm Beach, Volusia and Dade.

So let this be the end of it. The country needs a legitimate presidency, and that is indeed what we have now.

This is also an appropriate time to comment on this entire journalistic exercise. To say that recounting these votes was controversial would be the understatement of the year. Republican Party officials especially were frothing at the mouth during the entire process, demanding to be on the teams of reporters from The Miami Herald and the Palm Beach Post and the accountants working the story. And who could blame them? A stunning Gore victory in Dade County would have seriously undermined the president, crippled him even for the next four years.

But to fight against the recount was not only hopeless – because you cannot keep an editor from chasing this story for anything in the world – it was not in the best interest of the nation.

For we are an inquisitive people and, unlike most countries in the world, we want to know the truth, even if it hurts.

So here’s to solid journalism, and here’s to a victorious president.

– The Anniston Star,  

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