Linda Chavez

Hanging chads or no, the show must go on. Or so an 11-member panel of the 9th Circuit Court has ruled unanimously on the California recall election. The ACLU, the NAACP and other liberal Democratic front groups must be gnashing their teeth. They hoped to derail the election and save Gov. Gray Davis' job by arguing that minority voters would be disenfranchised because some areas of the state use punch-card voting systems similar to those used in Florida during the 2000 presidential election. But the 9th Circuit En Banc Panel didn't buy the argument, thereby overturning an earlier ruling by three of their colleagues.

The point of the ACLU's exercise wasn't merely to try to stop the recall in California. With the pro-recall vote slipping by the day -- now down to 53 percent from 58 percent in the last statewide poll -- and Democrat Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante in the lead to succeed Davis, liberals may not have much to worry about from the results of the election itself. But their goal is much more ambitious.

Liberals want to convince voters that the only reason elections don't always go their way is that nefarious forces -- read, conservatives -- keep likely liberal voters from voting in the first place or having their votes properly counted once they cast them. That's why liberals keep harping on the "stolen" presidential election in 2000.

To hear liberals talk about it, you'd never know that every single recount of the votes in Florida determined George W. Bush to have won the state's 25 electoral votes and, therefore, the presidency. And that includes a manual recount of votes in largely Democratic counties by a consortium of news organizations, including the New York Times, CNN, the Boston Globe and the L.A. Times, among others.

As the New York Times reported on Nov. 21, 2001: "A comprehensive review of the uncounted Florida ballots from last year's presidential election reveals that George W. Bush would have won even if the United States Supreme Court had allowed the statewide manual recount of the votes that the Florida Supreme Court had ordered to go forward." But the liberals still invoke their "stolen election" complaint at every turn, just as they do their "disenfranchised voters" mantra.

If it's not punch-card voting machines or "butterfly ballots" they're complaining about, it's restrictive voter registration laws. The NAACP, for example, wants to "re-enfranchise" 4,000,000 felons who have lost the right to vote because of their crimes. The group has made this one of their top legislative priorities in recent years.

Linda Chavez

Linda Chavez is chairman of the Center for Equal Opportunity and author of Betrayal: How Union Bosses Shake Down Their Members and Corrupt American Politics .

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