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Evidence? We Don't Need No Stinkin' Evidence!

A court decision about the Florida election is wrong because ... well, because the ConWeb says it is.

By Terry Krepel
Posted 11/27/2000

The decision by the Florida Supreme Court that set a new deadline for certification of ballots in the presidential race hacked off a lot of conservatives.

The problem is, in all their bluster accusing the court of partisanship, they can't seem to say specifically where the court screwed up.

NewsMax's Dan Frisa is typical. He writes in a Nov. 22 column: "That the high court injected itself as a willing partner in the Gore effort, by unjustifiably changing Florida law in a clear attempt to shift the election’s result from Bush to Gore, is a travesty plain and simple." No evidence is offered.

"I read the opinion this morning," Neal Boortz insists in his Nov. 22 column, "and, to me, it seemed like a stretch. It seemed that the court had a predetermined intent to make sure that those hand counts would be added to the totals, then set about trying to gin up a legal argument to support its decision."

Boortz is more concerned that the court didn't criticize voters who are apparently unable to to punch a ballot correctly: "nowhere do I find any mention that voters have any responsibility to exercise any degree of care whatsoever in casting their votes." Then again, nowhere on NewsMax will you find any reference to a Nov. 23 article in the Palm Beach Post that quotes the former supervisor of elections in Palm Beach County -- where NewsMax is headquartered -- as saying the county's voting machines "are so unreliable that election officials 10 years ago adjusted them to eliminate "pregnant" or dimpled chads."

The article also notes the machines are prone to allowing punched chads to pile up under the far-left column of the vote punch card, preventing voters from punching all the way through. That column was used for the presidential race. In fact, the article notes, because of that, the inventor of the county's voting machine said that column should never be used for candidates.

Over at the Media Research Center, Brent Bozell calls the decision "bald-faced judicial activism," but offers no evidence and merely uses his column to engage in his usual media-bashing.

At, John Nowacki of the Free Congress Foundation attempts a flawed analysis of what he called the court's "arrogant" decision by insisting that the original certification deadline seven days after the election should have been enforced. He doesn't seem to have read the decision, however.

In focusing only on what Nowacki calls "the clear words of the legislature," the statute with that mandatory deadline, he ignores the fact that is a conflicting statute (also legislatively approved) that makes the deadline non-mandatory, as well as conflicting statutes on when the time frame in which candidates may request a machine or manual recount. Resolving statutory conflicts is clearly under the interpret-the-law mandate of a court.

Of course, lack of meaningful evidence is a way of life for the ConWeb in general and NewsMax in particular. Check out the text of NewsMax's Nov. 22 ad in the New York Times (paid for by reader donations, of course; NewsMax has discovered an creative way to get other people to pay for its own advertising). It accuses Al Gore of vote fraud, but the evidence it cites -- disqualification of some military ballots, some professor's statistics and allegations of vote fraud in other close races -- is either tangental or not applicable; none directly supports any case of vote fraud against Gore.

But hey, who needs evidence when you're trashing a Democrat? Or scaring up other people's money to promote yourself?

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