Saturday, November 11, 2006

Ahead of the Times

Here's Malcolm on Thursday:
Malcolm has long been suspicious of the journalistic standards of the Times. Fact-checking seems a thing of the past.
And here's Catherine Philp doing the Elections 2006 sidebar in the Times on Friday:
No recount needed
Katharine Harris, the Democratic hate-figure, paid for her role in bringing George W. Bush to power when she lost her long-shot quest for a Senate seat in a resounding defeat by the Democratic incumbent. Bill Nelson had been considered vulnerable until the perennially unpopular Ms. Harris was chosen as his opponent. Harris, Florida's former top election official, is most famous for calling the 2000 presidential poll for Bush, even as a recount was still going on.
Well, one could not expect Malcolm to let that lot pass, so he fired off a shot on the Thunderer:
"No recount needed"—NOT!

Catherine Philp seems to miss the real story about Katherine Harris in Florida.

The high-maintenance Ms Harris continues her unbroken trail of electoral disaster.

Her former District, the Florida 13th, is currently re-counting. Polls indicated the District would go Democrat. To some surprise, the Republican candidate, Vern Buchanan, took the seat by just 368 votes. It then transpired that 18,382 Congressional votes (or 13%) had gone adrift. These were electors who had, curiously, not recorded a vote for Congress, while making other options. The Senate and Gubernatorial elections (immediately above and below on the ballot paper) had discrepancies of just 1%.

Equally curiously, many of these "undervotes" occurred in the (mainly Black) areas most favourable to the Democratic candidate, Christine Jennings.

It was Katherine Harris, as Florida's Secretary of State, who steered through the use of controversial touch-screen voting. Since there is no "paper trail", the evidence of voting intention is lost: this is endorsed by the regulations Ms Harris instigated.

There are two further ironies here. Sarasota County (effectively the Florida 13th) has passed a charter amendment to restore paper ballots. And Christine Jennings was prominent in the 2000 Democrat demand for a full recount in Florida, while Harris pre-empted the result in favour of George Bush as counting continued.
Malcolm is confident that nobody will waste time and patience expecting the Times to address its imperfections, mistakes and banalities.

Malcolm has more cheering thoughts. The magnificent Wonkette will be seeking for Harris's successor as the Republican bimbo/style-guru.
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