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November 10, 2000 - Image 14

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The Michigan Daily, 2000-11-10

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14 - - The Michigan Daily - Friday, November 10, 2000

ELECTION 2000

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Emotions flare over recount, ballot confusion

Los Angeles Times
DELRAY BEACH, Fla. --- The fury came in
waves yesterday at the Lakes of Delray retire-
ment community, an enclave of 1,408 modest
townhouses that Palm Beach County election
records show cast 47 votes for Reform Party
candidate Pat Buchanan on Tuesday.
"Impossible," raged Shirley Datz, a retired
systems analyst. "Even one vote for Buchanan
would be impossible here."
"I'm outraged," added the community's presi-
dent, Arthur Robb, who said his wife, Sylvia,
was so confused by the ballot that she mistaken-
ly cast her vote for Buchanan rather than Vice
President Al Gore. "It's something that never
should have happened. It's something that
couldn't have happened," Robb said. "You see,
the average age here is 75. The community is 95
percent Jewish. It's almost entirely Democratic."
Welcome to Precinct 162G, which chalked
up the highest single vote tally for Buchanan in
this South Florida county. It is one of more
than a dozen precincts of similar demographics
where election records and interviews with
local residents show Buchanan scored an inex-
plicable surge of votes on Tuesday.
These are the faces and anguish behind the bal-
lot controversy that threatens to paralyze the U.S.
presidential elections - and just a handful of the
outraged voices in a vast and diverse county.
The dispute centers on the two-page ballot the
county designed specifically to help its estimat-
ed 235,000 elderly residents better read the
names of candidates. Democratic Party officials
ad many voters in enclaves like the Lakes of
Delray now say the change led as many as 3,407

Gore supporters to punch Buchanan's name -
and as many as 19,120 others to mistakenly
punch both names on ballots that county offi-
cials have since disqualified.
Leon Teger, who edits the community's
monthly Lakes of Delray Times and served as
chief of a nearby precinct on Election Day, is
certain the new ballot cost Gore a victory.
"Everyone was confused by the ballot at my
precinct, especially the older voters," Teger
said. "But I couldn't call anyone. The phone
there was out from the time I opened up until 3
p.m. I understand there was similar problems
everywhere in the county."
Pearl Seltzer agreed. She worked the elec-
tion at the nearby Heritage Park nursing home,
where half the voters cannot see or hear well,
she said. "All we could do is help them put the
ballots in the box. I'm sure they made lots of
mistakes. It was pathetic. And it hurts so
deeply. I'm sure it happened all over."
Palm Beach County has one of the nation's
largest populations of senior citizens. Its I mil-
lion residents also range from the fabulous
wealth of Boca Raton's Meisner Park villas and
the exclusive Jupiter Country Club set of Tiger
Woods and Celine Dion to the haunting pover-
ty of the immigrant and black enclaves in
Rivera Beach and Lake Worth.

The county's 2,023 square miles spread from
the swampy shores of Lake Okeechobee to the
swank, seaside cafes and beaches of West Palm,
Juno and Singer Island on the Atlantic. The aver-
age per-capita income is $38,000 and the median
age is 40, said Maria Bello, the county's demo-
graphics chief. Its residents are 73 percent white,
14 percent black and 1I percent Latino.
Against that backdrop, county election
records show that the votes cast for Buchanan
- now a key barometer of the confusion at the
polls - were disproportionally clustered at
retirement communities such as Lakes of Del-
ray. Palm Beach County, by far, had the highest
Buchanan vote in the state.
Yesterday, as Palm Beach County's ballot
recount continued, there were similar cries of
protest at other such communities. At King's
Point, an enormous complex of retirees just up
the road, 53 Buchanan votes were recorded at
its six precincts, where some residents Thurs-
day echoed the argument that any votes for the
Reform Party candidate were unimaginable.
To a voter, elderly Jewish residents countywide
said the mistake was made all the more agonizing
because they view Buchanan's ultra-conservative
views as anti-Semitic and anti-black.
More than 10 miles south, at the Century
Village retirement complex, there were so
many angry voices that MSNBC television set
up a makeshift studio in the lobby, broadcast-
ing their outrage live throughout the day.
Among them: A Holocaust survivor who said
she has lost three pounds since mistakenly
casting a ballot for Buchanan. Election records
show that 57 others there voted for him.
Still further south, at the Whisper Walk

4

TOP LEFT: Republican vice-presidential candidate Dick Cheney awaits results from the recount.
TOP RIGHT: The Rev. Jesse Jackson points out problems with the Palm Beach County ballot.
ABOVE: Bush and Gore supporters argue outside the courthouse in West Palm Beach.

4

development and its Precinct 194D, 30
Buchanan ballots were cast. Residents William
Stein and his wife Natalie, who retired here
from New York, explained how that happened:
"I wanted to vote for Gore, but I punched the
second hole, which was Buchanan. I didn't
know it until I watched the news that night and
saw how I did it, Stein said.

"I felt pretty stupid at first. But now I feel like
the whole thing was a crooked deal. It's a shame
that in a country like this, it should happen"
At the nearby public library, another precinct
that recorded about 40 Buchanan votes, Paula
Landau said she's still not sure whether she voted
for Gore. But she's sure of the outcome: "We've
been Bush-whacked," she said.

Unresolved race 'like gang wars'

4

By Yael Kohen
Daily Staff Reporter
Students may watch Saturday Night
Live for outrageous political parodies, but
some say they are finding more humor in
this week's media coverage of the unre-
solved presidential election.
Laughing hysterically with a friend
while getting food at Wendy's in the
Michigan Union, Engineering sophomore
Robert Hampton could barely contain
himself when he declared, "It's warfare -
Crips and Bloods. Itsis ridiculous."
Still three days after the election, Amer-
icans await the results of the Florida ballot
recount which could finally determine
who becomes the 43rd president of the
United States.
"Everyone is tooth and nails, going to
the death. It's like Gladiators," Hampton
said.
The fiasco began at 7:49 p.m. Tuesday
when the television networks initially
called Florida for Al Gore, then at 9:55
changed the state to be "too close to call."
At 2 a.m. the networks then called the
state for Bush, 16 minutes later declaring
the texas governor president. They

stripped him of that title two hours later
when official numbers indicated the call
was premature.
John Truscott, spokesman for Michigan
Gov. John Engler, said a "loss of faith in
the media has already occurred."
Since then the public have been in sus-
pense, glued to the very networks who
made the initial errors.
"It's so funny. It's like gang wars," Engi-
neering sophomore Darryl Boyd said.
"Everyone's desperate now."
Even a group of friends having a drink
at Good Time Charley's last night couldn't
help but discuss the recent political events.
"Clearly the networks messed up big
time," LSA junior Joel Sundin said.
Bush officials have declared that the
Texas governor has won the election.
Truscott said Engler has been in person-
al contact with Bush and key campaign
officials in Florida to discuss the situation.
The events have been "an extreme roller
coaster ride, one like we've never been on
before and probably will never be on
again," Truscott said.
Michigan Democratic Party spokesman
Dennis Denno said state party members
are "doing the same thing everybody else

is doing" - watching their television sets
and waiting for the recount to finish.
Although Sundin voted for Bush in the
general election, he said he was disap-
pointed in the way the Texas governor has
conducted himself.
"He hasn't won yet. He's overconfi-
dent," Sundin said, showing concern over
the hostility that has erupted between
Republicans and Democrats. "If he wants
to bridge the gap ... you need to have
some kind of integrity and wait," Sundin
said.
Florida state election law mandates a
recount of the votes if the margin is within
one half of one percent. The recount has
been continuing for two days.
"I can't believe 100 million people
voted and it came down to that close of a
margin" University Housing staff member
Dan Kugler said while enjoying a cigarette
at the bar and watching the news coverage
on the television in Ashley's on South
State Street last night.
But Ohio' State University student Seth
Krupp said he has had enough of the pres-
idential mess. "I just want to know what
the truth is," Krupp said at Good Time
Charley's last night.

A P PHOTOS
ABOVE: Florida A&M students crowd the state capitol building in protest of the
ballot confusion in some Florida precincts.
RIGHT: Election officials recount ballots in Fort Lauderdale.
FAR RIGHT: A protester holds up a sign in Palm Beach County.

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