Banks County Opinions...

November 21, 2000

Letter to the Editor
The Banks County News
November 22, 2000

Banks Countian offers plea to Florida Supreme Court
Dear Editor:
The Supreme Court of Florida must determine if indeed we are the nation we contend to be on the world stage or that America, the envy of every nation, has fallen to an irretrievable place in its growth because even this branch of our government would disregard its duty and contribute to the loss of "the integrity and purity" of an election. (Bowman, 636 F2d at 1012)
To tabulate, [or] manual recount and count and count. ?
It is all about "integrity and purity" of the electionit's all about 'tabula rasa'. Tabula Rasa: (Latin) a mind not yet affected by experiences, impressions, etc. The Florida Supreme Court must recognize that the solemnity and integrity demanded by the election process that took place all across this great nation on November 7 resulted in the elimination of hundreds of thousands of ballots using the punch-card implementation along with machine-tabulation.
The court's primary position must be to rule, not on the peripheral issues such as butterfly ballots nor the statistical fallibility of tabulation machines, but rather on a very plain issue without dressings of political nature.
Tabulation or manual recounts: It is argued that manual recounts in selected counties or even the entire state of Florida will bring a fair resolution to this while ignoring the rejected ballots of the rest of American voters also affected by this "antiquated machine method" of tabulation.
We find ourselves along with the entire world focused on that process.
It can be argued that ballots were under voted, votes were rejected by the tabulation systems in Florida and yes, individuals had various experiences with respect to voting in this election; however, this is not about FLORIDA, nor is what is before this court about personal experiences.
This is about the integrity and purity of the election process nationwide, not here in FLORIDA alone ­ We are a UNION of states. Today, the court in Florida has an opportunity to tell the world the 'state' of that Union. They are all watching us.
Each state in the Union has legislatively written laws to deal with the election process ­ and today let us look at those in particular that reflect on the tabulation of votes and the re-tabulation (recount) of votes.
The Florida legislative branch has put into place a decision tree to address a close election race. For the sake of brevity we will not recount every word but look to the 'spirit' of the process as this court is so inclined to remind us when we forget.
Let us outline the process as they are in the statute.
A: Tabulate (machine)
B: Tabulate (machine and software check)
C: manual recount
We see, that in succession, (A, B, or C) the preferred choice is to TABULATE: OR, as the last resort, a manual recount is suggested - an alternative if the first two fail.
To impartially ensure that the ballot of every punch-card voter across the nation and Florida "is counted," we employ "a process of counting" by way of machine-tabulation that relies on the principle of "tabula rasa" ­ which only a machine can provide.
These machine-tabulations deliver the "integrity and purity" demanded of the election process by ensuring that all cast ballots (punch-cards) are treated in the same fashion with the same acceptance or rejection NATION-wide without respect to race, sex, religion, or political affiliation.
It is for this very reason that tabulation is the first and the second preferred methods as outlined in the statues.
In the US v MCCRAINE (11th Circuit), we find election anomalies and the court had this to say:
" the defendants argue that language in Bowman creates an additional requirement that in order for us to have jurisdiction, the fraud that is directed toward the state election must "affect" or "corrupt" the outcome of the federal election. We do not agree with this narrow reading of Bowman.
"The language in Bowman not only prohibits any fraudulent activity that affects the outcome of a federal election but also prohibits any activity that has the potential to affect the integrity and purity of an election."
Therefore, THIS COURT MUST PROHIBIT ANY ACTIVITY ­ including these manual recounts: that have the potential to affect the "integrity and purity" of the election - for Florida and in this case the entire NATION.
Only "tabula rasa": a tabulating-machine not affected by politics, prejudices, experiences, impressions etc. can provide the integrity and purity demanded by this process.
Manual recounts as the third choice by Florida state statute cannot offer the non-discriminatory protection required for every voter's right across America including Florida that this court has so strenuously in the past spoken for by invoking the "spirit of the LAW" rather than the letter of the law
The Florida Statute with respect to the "recount" situation has clearly not only provided for that protection in "spirit" but also the "'letter of the law ".
We and the world have watched the manual recount process being done and executed by minds (people) affected with personal experiences, prejudices, and political persuasions.
There is no 'tabula rasa' found here.
How can this preserve the integrity and purity of the election process?
The court must rule to protect "the sanctity of every punch-card voter's right and the election process" in Florida and across the entire nation.
They must find that the second "recount' as required by Florida law and carried out under the Statutes A and B, provided the "election process' with the 'integrity and purity' it demands.
The court must rule that as in the 11th circuit's Bowman reference: it must prohibit the MANUAL RECOUNTS which have the potential to affect the integrity and purity of this election. Anything else shows the world that even this court is unable to act within the principle of "tabula rasa" (without prejudice nor political preference) and will bring to bear a strong blow by the court upon every voter in America by maintaining the STATUS QUO which has so far only served to further pervert one of the most precious aspects of our republic.
We plead that this branch, so provided to us by the constructors of this great nation, will use their position to act with the discretion so desperately needed at this moment.
The jurisdiction of this court MUST extend this day to not just the manual recount issue at hand but speak to the injury done to the election process as a whole by a myriad of tactics. The court MUST restore order and bring FINALITY at once.
Mark D. Lynch

By Shar Porier
The Banks County News
November 22, 2000

Take the keys, please!
While at the Autumn Leaf Festival in Maysville, I came upon an unusual sight.
A mother and her young daughter, eight or nine years old, were standing at a MADD booth. They were looking intently at photos on display. Though I was out of earshot, I watched as the girl pointed to a photo and then looked at her mom.
I grabbed my camera and snapped the shot, wondering why they were stopped here when there was all this other fun stuff around.
MADD had nothing to sell, nothing to give away.
So, I thought.
As I approached to get their names, I found myself looking at 200 faces. All of them had been killed over the years on Georgia's highways by drunk drivers.
I looked closely at the faces...happy, smiling faces. Some at the beginning of life, some near the end.
Lives taken because someone didn't have sense enough to hand their keys over and let someone else do the driving. Lives taken because a friend didn't stop him, or her, from getting behind the wheel of a one-ton hurtling mass of metal.
I remember an adorable baby girl, not even a year old. A mischievous three-year-old boy at his birthday party. A beautiful little girl in a pink ballerina outfit. An attractive elderly couple.
Faces...all these faces...staring back at me.
I was deeply moved by the tragedy of it all.
I happened to strike up a conversation with the gentleman holding down the "post."
For him the display meant far more than I could even have imagined. We talked about how important the organization was and how the photo display had come to be. How families from across Georgia had sent a photo of their loved ones lost to a drunk driver.
Twohundred faces in all on that board, front and back.
As we talked, his voice began to break and tears filled his eyes. He pointed and said simply, "That's my son. That's my nephew. That's my son's best friend." All three had been killed in a terrible collision years ago. Three young lives taken; three families struggled to get through that first Thanksgiving, that first Christmas without their boys.
His grief was still fresh even after all this time. Tears spilled onto his cheeks. They began forming in mine. We hugged and cried together.
I got a glimpse of the pain that the family members of these 200 people felt and still feel. It's an awful burden they bear, and will all their lives. Like this poor man.
I realized that this display did belong at this festival. And I wished I had seen it at more. That young girl got the point. It made a visible impact on her. The look of concern on her innocent face...hard to forget. Her mom got the point. She didn't want to imagine losing her child. I got the point.
The holidays are upon us. Happy times for families and friends to get together and share love and joy. Keep your family and someone else's happy and whole. Think before you take a drink. You could be responsible for another face on that board.
Shar Porier is a reporter for The Banks County News.

The Banks County News
November 22, 2000

Every day should be a time to give thanks
"We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us, that we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us."
These words are as true today as they were in 1863 when president Abraham Lincoln wrote them. People take their blessings for granted. They expect to receive and seldom give.
In 1863, president Abraham Lincoln called on his fellow Americans to take time to thank God for their blessings. He even set aside the day that it was to be done. The president was concerned that people had forgotten about God and what He had done for them.
Lincoln had the right idea. A time of thanksgiving was needed then and it is needed now. But instead of just one day, every day should be a day of thanksgiving.
Lincoln ended his proclamation calling for his fellow citizens to join together in giving thanks for their blessings on a designated Thursday in late November of each year. We ask our countians to take time every day to give thanks for their blessings.


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The Banks County News
Homer, Georgia
Telephone: (706) 367-5233 Fax: (706) 367-8056

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