Election Night
  A Clear Winner
  Manual Tabulation
  Gore's Messages
  The False Call
The Conspiracy
Palm Beach County
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  "Recount" Study
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  HBO Recount - The Movie
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Was There a Broader Conspiracy?

Is it possible that the early projection was part of a broader plan to take Florida?  Consider what would happen if the Gore team could induce networks into making an early projection for him.  What if they could do so before polls were even closed? 

An early projection could squelch voters in the Panhandle who would typically vote for Bush.  It could squelch voters in western states who still had several hours to vote.  It would create the illusion that Gore was the winner even if he ultimately had fewer votes, thus setting up manual re-tabulation in Democrat counties.

As much as a stretch as this might seem to be, consider the following.

  • Al Gore spent the last few days of his campaign in Florida, operating nearly around the clock.  Before Election Day, the Democrat numbers indicated that he would likely take Pennsylvania and Michigan, but would be guaranteed the presidency if he could somehow take Florida.  They knew it would be close and that one final push might make it an even match. 

At one point Gore exclaimed, "This is the last official stop of campaign 2000.  It's not an accident that I am here because Florida very well may be the state that decides this election."

  • Ever since networks made an early projection in 1980 (taking a lot of heat from Democrats) they were guarded about projecting winners before the polls have closed.  In fact, they are loosely bound by a congressional agreement to do otherwise.  But oddly, they were very anxious to jump the gun and declare the state of Florida for Gore, a state where the results were extremely narrow.

Wouldn't it be logical that Florida would take even longer to project?  Consider how close the election was.  Consider that Bush had more votes!  Consider the complexity of Florida's voting base and the miniscule amount of data collected by the VNS?

Why did they declare Gore the winner of Florida?

Why did they declare Gore the winner of Florida before polls were closed?

Why did they declare Gore the winner of Florida when Bush never trailed in tabulations?

Further, what about other states?  In contrast to Florida, the networks decided to wait longer to declare states for Bush, even the states where he won handedly.  For example, it took networks two hours and forty-five minutes to project West Virginia, where Bush won by a comfortable 6 percent.  In Ohio, it took them an hour and forty-five minutes, where Bush won by 4 percent.

In North Carolina, Bush won by 13 percent but the networks said it was "too close to call" for 35 minutes after the polls closed.  This caused Tom Brokaw to exclaim, "The idea that North Carolina is still too close to call does come as a surprise this evening."  They waited at least thirty minutes on a variety of other states where Bush won handedly, such as Georgia and Virginia.

Shouldn't the opposite have happened?  Wouldn't it make sense for the networks to declare the lopsided races early while holding off on the tight races like Florida? 

Who decided that it was safe to project Al Gore as the winner of Florida before polls had even closed, yet decided more time was needed to project other more lopsided states?

Is it possible that operatives were in strategic places in order to manipulate the projection process?

  • One month before the election, Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris seemed to be concerned about networks making an early projection.  She submitted a letter urging them not to declare a winner before the polls had closed.  The message said, "The last thing we need is to have our citizens in the Central Time Zone think that their vote doesn't count - Because it certainly does!"

While most people assume that the botched network projection for Gore was merely an act of aggressive carelessness, I am skeptical.  Considering the extent that Al Gore went to overturn the election in Florida, I am under the impression that the early erroneous call was part of his plan.

CNN Report on the VNS