Palm Beach County - Part 1
Gore sought manual recounts in four Democrat counties. But Palm Beach County requires a closer look because it is the epicenter of his quest. It is the location of the most hysteria and confusion. Democrats were out of control in Palm Beach County.
When people argue on behalf of Gore, they often cite the so-called butterfly ballot as the reason. They claim that the design of the ballot somehow impeded voters from selecting Gore. (Few reasons were given for the other two major counties, Broward and Miami-Dade.)
I will review the ballot issue on the pages ahead. But there is an inherent danger in concentrating on just one county or one issue. Florida has 67 counties. By focusing on just Palm Beach County one can become entrapped by tunnel vision, losing the big picture of a huge election. Once we become swept away by the drama of angry citizens, the ballot design, hanging chads, etc, we could easily forget that there are issues in every county. For that matter, there are issues in every state! What makes Palm Beach so special that we should place the entire presidential election on its shoulders?
To say that Gore lost Florida because of the butterfly ballot is to reduce the complexity of the statewide election down to a single issue. It is to ignore everything else, including the spoiled ballots in other counties. We can play this game with a lot of issues. What if the networks didn't declare a winner before the polls were closed? What if Duval county didn't use a caterpillar ballot design?
Gore did not lose the election because of Palm Beach County. But it is accurate to say, "Democrats made Palm Beach County the epicenter of Gore's quest to find new votes."