Thomas Sowell

FLORIDA has now given us the most famous dimples since Shirley Temple and the most famous long count since Tunney and Dempsey. Meanwhile, the Gore camp has given us the most shameless lies since Bill Clinton.

Lie number one is that there are "uncounted votes" out there, which should be counted because "every vote should count." Not only have all the votes been counted, partisan guesses about ballots by officials in heavily Democratic counties have also been counted as if they were votes -- and Gore still lost. This guesswork was imposed by the Florida Supreme Court, which substituted its discretion for the discretion which the written law gives to the Florida Secretary of State.

Sometimes courts step in because there has been an abuse of discretion by some official. But Secretary of State Katherine Harris did nothing more than decline to extend the deadline imposed by law. What does discretion mean if you cannot even decline to provide an exception to the written law?

Had Katherine Harris imposed some additional requirement of her own, that might have been a possible abuse of discretion, but everything that her raucous critics are objecting to consists of her declining to provide exceptions -- first, to the deadline established by state election laws and then to the new deadline established by the Florida Supreme Court.

Every national election, as well as many state and local elections, produces many ballots that cannot be counted for any number of reasons. Sometimes the voter has voted for two candidates for the same office and sometimes the voter has failed to vote for any candidate for a particular office.

What is unique about the Florida election is that these very common situations have been hyped in the media as "uncounted votes" and hand recounts have been launched -- but only in heavily Democratic counties -- thanks to lawsuits and spin by the Gore propaganda machine, as well as judicial activism by courts ignoring the law to impose their own idea of how elections should be run.

This process has generated its own additional lies. One is that counting "dimples" as votes has been common in other states. An Illinois case cited by Gore's lawyer David Boies, who got an attorney in that case to make a sworn statement backing him up, turned out to say exactly the opposite of what was claimed. "Dimples" were shot down by an Illinois judge, whose decision was upheld by an appellate court.

Keep that in mind the next time Boies comes on TV talking about wanting "accuracy."

Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institute and author of The Housing Boom and Bust.

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