Court ruling adds chaos, skepticism

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 21, 2000

It’s difficult not to be discouraged. Two weeks after we cast our ballots in the presidential election, we learn a supposedly non-partisan panel of judges in Florida is rewriting election law.

And, unfortunately, to at least half the American public, they’re simply trying to manipulate the system in an effort to give Vice President Al Gore a chance to win.

That perception — echoed according to AP polls on the other side by the Americans who strongly believe the rights of voters have been violated in this election — pervades our country’s spirit today and, ultimately, will taint the results of election 2000 even as history is written.

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At some point, we’d like to think, this saga will end. At some point, we’d like to think, we’ll stop reexamining and recounting ballots — and attempting to interpret voters’ intent based on pregnant dimples and partially punched chads — to let the system stand.

At some point, we’d like to think the courts, the electorate, would uphold the system we’ve used to elect a president for some 200 years now.

Apparently, we’re wrong. The Florida Supreme Court’s ruling simply adds more chaos to the system and more skepticism to the country — skepticism we can hardly afford in an already split country.

In an election that offered no mandates –&160;other than perhaps the mandate that voters were unsatisfied with both candidates — the reality that our next president will be selected by a process manipulated through the court systems is discouraging … and concerning. We wish the attorneys, the judges and, yes, the candidates’ campaign staffs, would let this debate come to an close.

For the sake of our democracy.