November 26, 2000
Al Gore, Vice President
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500
I commend your recent efforts in Florida to make sure that no American is disenfranchised, and in the event of your winning the Presidency, I recommend that you do everything in your power to implement the following further measures to guarantee more fully than ever before that in future elections, every hand will indeed be counted.
Circumstances beyond anybody's control
A large number of individuals were disenfranchised by accidents of their environments. For example, on voting day large numbers of voters fell into one or more categories such as the following: they were involved in automobile accidents, got locked in traffic jams on their way to the polls, were hospitalized on account of sudden illnesses, were arrested either wrongly or for trivial offences, were confronted with sudden family emergencies, had basements flooded by sewer blockages, were confined to their homes by bad weather, and on and on. All of these individuals should not be denied the vote on account of circumstances that were not of their making, and that could happen to anybody.
Probably thousands, possibly tens off thousands, of such individuals exist in Florida, and can be located and their voting preferences solicited. If insufficient resources are available to actually track down such individuals, then pollsters and statisticians will nevertheless be available to estimate their numbers and what their votes would have been, and lawyers and judges will be able to use these estimates to adjust initial machine counts.
A number of Floridians were disenfranchised because of intellectual incapacity. Some misunderstood the election date. Some couldn't find the keys to their cars, or ran out of gas on their journey to the polling station, or got lost along the way. Some made it to the polling booth, but either because of illiteracy or senility or some momentary confusion, were unable to distinguish which letters stood for Gore, and which for Bush, and voted for the wrong candidate.
Such individuals can either be invited to come forward to be fairly counted, or else can be estimated by pollsters, statisticians, lawyers, and judges.
In the future, it will be helpful to include a photograph of each candidate beside his name on the voting card, so as to assist voters who are able to recognize the faces of the candidates, though they have trouble reading their names. A valuable additional step would be to include wives and children in the photographs of the candidates — this for voters who have trouble distinguishing the candidates by appearance (who are, after all, typically Caucasian males of equivalent age), but can easily recognize their wives or their children.
A large number of individuals failed to muster sufficient strength to push the stylus all the way through the card, thus resulting in dimpled or hanging chads. This may have had two causes — the individuals were physically weak, perhaps because of age or illness, or else were afraid of tearing the card or damaging the equipment by means of too energetic a plunge of the stylus. As physical weakness or timidity do not constitute grounds for disenfranchisement, the intent of these individuals should be divined, not merely by casual inspection of their voting cards as is being done in Florida today, but by microscopic examination in a forensic laboratory. More efficient, of course, would be to rely on statistical estimation of the number of weak and timid voters in the population, along with the further estimate of their voting preferences.
Millions of individuals simply couldn't be bothered to come out and vote, but their punishment of being disenfranchised is excessive. These individuals too have jobs and families, pay taxes, make their contributions to society, and have interests that need to be represented. It is an inevitability that in the foreseeable future courts will determine that the traditional disenfranchisement of individuals as indispensible to our society as these is unconstitutional. Their "laziness" (to adopt the language of anti-democratic forces) is the result of accidents of heredity conducing toward laziness, and accidents of environment conducing toward laziness, and no American should be denied representation because of accidents over which he has no control — "acts of God," one might say. The indifferent, the uninterested, the unenthusiastic, the lethargic — in short, the slothful — are a massive segment of the American population whose needs must be fathomed and whose interests must be defended. Pollsters, statisticians, lawyers, and judges will be able to estimate both the numbers of such presently-disenfranchised individuals, and their voting needs as well, and by means of such estimates will be able to correct preliminary, raw vote counts.
Erroneous media reports and forecasts
Great harm has been caused by erroneous announcements of election outcomes by the media. Undoubtedly, many loyal Democrats who heard erroneously-negative tallies of your vote were disheartened and did not bother going to the polling station, or even left their place in line in dejection, wrongly concluding that their vote would be unable to save you from defeat. At the same time, many loyal Democrats who heard erroneously-positive projections of your vote decided that their vote was not needed to ensure your victory, and similarly did not bother travelling to a polling station, or similarly may even have left their place in line thinking that your victory was a certainty and their contribution was no longer needed.
These victims of media error too can either be located and their experiences documented and their intentions recorded, or in the alternative, estimates of their numbers and their leanings can be determined by pollsters, statisticians, lawyers, and judges, thus saving time and labor in the further correction of raw election results.
As the bulk of campaign material consists of disinformation and falsehood, many voters find themselves so taken in that they vote for a candidate who does not best represent their interests. However, the fact of having been duped by skillful con artists is not grounds for disenfranchisement.
Therefore, in cases where discrepancies are observed between the vote tally in a district and the interests of the voters in that district (as for example Jewish districts that cast votes for Pat Buchanan), voters could be offered a clarification of what interests each candidate represented, and asked to confirm their votes. In the event of insufficient resources to carry out such a review, pollsters, statisticians, lawyers, and judges will be in a position to determine what correction of raw vote counts needs to be applied.
Conserve scarce resources by applying corrections selectively
In the interests of efficiency, it is best that such corrections as proposed above be made only in those election districts where they are needed. Performing them everywhere would be a waste of resources.
Democracy does not rush
Slavish dedication to deadlines specified in voting legislation serves the interests of anti-Democratic forces. What is important is not speed; what is important is that the people be heard. Americans are not impatient; they understand that taking a month or two to correct raw election results is a small price to pay to achieve full enfranchisement. Americans would rather get the president right than get the president fast.
Be ready to refute the demagoguery of anti-Democratic forces
Of course it is to be expected that such steps as outlined above toward the enfranchisement of the people will be opposed by those having an entrenched interest in maintaining the status quo of massive disenfranchisement, and such obstructors of the spread of democracy will put forward fallacious arguments which you will be obligated to refute. One imagines that among these anti-democratic arguments will be that: