Palm Beach County - Part 4
There were also 19,000 overvotes in Palm Beach County. Overvotes are ballots with two or more selections for one office.
Overvotes are generally difficult to explain. Florida had over 113,000 throughout the state. But did the butterfly ballot cause people vote for two candidates? Did it have powers of persuasion? Democrats argued that it did. They claimed that the layout was so confusing voters began selecting two or more candidates for president. This idea caused Bill O'Reilly (Fox News) to say, "What are we supposed to do, go in and vote for them?"
There were a variety of overvote combinations, thus making it difficult to identify a pattern that would explain how the ballot might have led people to vote twice. Many ballots were punched for Bush and Gore, Bush and Buchanan, Gore and Buchanan, Gore and McReynolds, etc. As a result, Democrats could only muster a few explanations. Mostly they just explained it was a matter of "confusion".
Let's examine some of the explanations that have come up.
First, there was the Buchanan and Gore combination. Democrats said that that ballot visually directed Gore voters to push the hole that was designated for Buchanan, whose name appeared on the right side (page 2). But then voters realized they made a mistake and proceeded to select Gore. The obvious problem with this scenario is that the voter realized the mistake but made another selection anyway. Doesn't that constitute voter error? Of course, this doesn't explain the other Gore combinations, such as Gore and McReynolds. The Buchanan and Gore combination accounts for 5330 of the 19000 overvotes, 28%, or just over 1% of all votes cast.
We then have the "page 1 - page 2" explanation. Here, voters supposedly read the ballot like a book, reading page 1 first, and then moving on to page 2. They selected a candidate on page 1 and never noticed there were additional candidates on page 2. They then viewed page 2 as if it were a different race, say, for Senate. They made a random selection on page 2, not knowing they were actually selecting another candidate for president. Or something.
There are problems with this explanation. First, each of the names had the words "president" or "vice president" next to it. Secondly, there was no office listed at the top of page 2. It didn't read, "Select one candidate for the office of Senate". Third, there were large numbered arrows pointing to the holes. The arrows/numbers were clearly staggered.
We also have the "President - Vice President" explanation. Here, voters thought they were supposed to make two selections, one for president and the other for vice president. This is simply hard to believe when looking at the ballot (see below).