On 15 February, for BBC TV, I reported that inside information from the Consortium of newspapers conducting a thorough review of Florida’s 180,000 uncounted ballots showed Gore picking up about 20,000 votes. The information came from sources involved with the newspaper group’s contractor, National Opinion Research Center of the University of Chicago.
I’m sure the final was not far off – but understand that NORC did not designate ANY ballot as either a Bush or Gore vote. NORC’S work is solely limited to describing each ballot physically – and each newspaper member chooses a method of analysis. The Gore victory margin is my reading of a fair view of ‘voter intent’ – even if there was some technical error on the ballot. This is in accord with the Florida court’s rulings, not the US Supreme Court’s. With all those waivers in place – yes, Gore nailed it – by a mile.
The Observer (London)
NORC COUNT – BACKGROUND INFORMATION
1. NORC did not allow its workers to designate a ballot as ‘Gore’ or ‘Bush.’ Rather each of 5 workers independently described the physical ballot (‘circled Gore and checked box; double-hanging chad etc.’)
2. Because of this, no one, not even NORC, has a ‘tally’ of ‘votes.’
3. Each member of the consortium may analyze the descriptive data as they wish.
4. As a result, from the beginning, it was unlikely they would come to any agreed conclusion as to their findings.
5. NORC reviewed 180,000 ballots uncounted by Florida.
6. Based on a ‘loose’ interpretation of data as leaked to me, that is, based on voter intent regardless of marking errors, Gore would pick up several thousand votes. I reported that in February, and there’s no reason to believe much has changed. But caution: this is leaked stuff and could be biased by the limit of data known to any one person.
7. Due to the excessive number of ‘spoiled’ ballots in minority counties, it’s a no-brainer that the 180k uncounted ballots will showed more uncounted ‘Gore’ votes (i.e. discernable intent to vote Gore.) For example, the county with the highest concentration of Black voters (58%) had the highest concentration of spoiled ballots (12% – one in eight).
8. Nevertheless, anyone who says they have NORC’s final tabulation of who ‘won’ is off the wall- because NORC has made no such tabulation and will not.
9. Last month, I wrote, “I believe consortium will eventually release data – and it will seem conflicting and useless. The NORC work was set up to fail.” And, lo, it came to pass.
10. As the chairwoman of the Civil Rights Commission said, it wasn’t the count, but the ‘no count,’ the pre-vote disenfranchisement, which settled the election.
I hope that helps.