Palm Beach County - Part 7
US Congressman Robert Wexler was committed to whipping the public into a frenzy regarding the butterfly ballot. He appeared on the Larry King show and proclaimed, "Larry, I have just received word that over 19,000 votes were invalidated in Palm Beach County!"
Larry King replied, "Boy, if my vote was thrown out I'd be upset too!"
King's reaction makes sense. Imagine how you would feel if your vote was randomly selected to be invalidated! If I were a citizen of Palm Beach County, I would demand a fix. I would believe the election was fraudulent and invalid. I would want to take to the streets and demand justice!
This is exactly the reaction Wexler wanted. But the 19,000 votes that he was talking about were overvotes, where people selected two presidents.
Wexler knows that overvotes occur in every election. In Florida, there were 113,820 throughout the state, representing 1.8% of the ballots cast (NORC, 2001).
He doesn't stop there. Wexler continues to explain that the reason 19,000 ballots were punched twice for president was because of the butterfly ballot design. "The facts speak for themselves Larry. 19,000 people had their votes invalidated because of an illegal ballot that was extremely confusing."
To your average viewer who likely never heard of an "overvote", this would seem tragic. Clearly the butterfly ballot must have caused mass problems. The election in Palm Beach County was invalid.
Later Wexler said, "I saw it myself with my own eyes... there was mass confusion in Palm Beach County... which resulted in at least 3000 votes for Buchanan and I know that that's incorrect."