Flashback: Democrats Worked Hard to Disqualify Overseas Military Ballots in 2000 Recount
On Thursday, I broke the news that the Obama campaign had sued the state of Ohio over a provision which gave members of the military three extra days for early voting. The media and the left predictably pushed back aggressively that the Obama lawsuit wasn't intended to target votes of the military. Rather than taking them at their word, my colleague, Joel Pollak documented the sad recent history of Democrats working to suppress the military vote. Today, we bring you evidence, from 2000, of Democrats actively succeeding in disqualifying military ballots.
In 2000, the nation's politics hung in the balance of a recount fight in Florida. George W. Bush had beaten Al Gore by a few hundred votes in the seminal swing state, and Democrats went all-in to reverse this result and hand the presidency to Gore. One of the lawyers hired by the Democrats during the recount fight was Mark Herron, how drafted a memo detailing how to disqualify military absentee ballots. (Memo is below.) His work had an immediate affect, as recalled by Bill Sammon in 2001:
The main battlegound was Duval County, home to more military families than any other county in Florida. Duval had more absentee ballots from overseas than any other county - 618 of 3,500 cast statewide. Five Gore lawyers showed up at the elections office at 9 a.m. Friday to disqualify as many of those ballots as possible.
Tom Bishop, one of the Republican lawyers, was incensed as he watched the Democrats, armed with the smoking-gun memo, blatantly go about disqualify large numbers of military ballots.
"They had their little cheat sheet they were using, and they objected on every single possible ground they could, no matter how spurious," Bishop told Sammon. "It was so bad that there was rolling of the eyes by even some of the Democrats there who were watching their lawyers work."
Before Nov. 17, the Duval supervisor of elections compared signatures on ballot envelopes against signature cards on file. He could find only two absentee ballots that could not be included because the signatures did not match.
"But now the Democrats insisted that they be allowed to compare all signatures, one by one. For seven tedious hours, they bitterly argued that signatures on more than 100 envelopes did not precisely match the signature cards - although some envelopes had been signed by sailors on rolling seas in hostile situations,” Sammon wrote.
"You could clearly tell it was the same person´s signature, but they would object because it didn´t have a certain curlicue or didn´t have a certain twist or it was smaller," Bishop told him.
The Democrat lawyers sought to disqualify military ballots that had no overseas postmark on the grounds that some voters might have marked their ballots a day or two after the election and then mailed them in.
The Democrats' efforts to suppress the military vote weren't confined to one county. From an Associated Press account:
In some counties, half or nearly all the overseas ballots were rejected, many of them military ballots that apparently didn't have postmarks.
Orange County, for example, rejected 117 of its 147 overseas ballots. In Hillsborough County, 74 of the 135 ballots were rejected after Democrats raised concerns about postmark or signature problems. Alachua County rejected half of the 56 ballots it received. St. Lucie rejected 13 of 14 and Lake County, all five.
"The party of the man who wants to be the next commander in chief is trying to throw out the votes of the men and women he will be commanding," charged Jim Post, a Republican lawyer in Duval County, where 107 ballots were rejected.
Thomas Spencer, a Miami attorney for Bush, said the GOP legal team would weigh whether to sue this weekend. "One of the problems with those ballots is it is so difficult under Florida and federal law that you almost have to be a rocket scientist to comply," he said.
Earlier this week, Mark Herron, a Tallahassee lawyer helping shepherd Democratic presidential election lawsuits through the local courts, sent a five-page letter to Democratic attorneys throughout Florida giving them tips on how to lodge protests against overseas ballots.
Such protests had to be filed before the ballot was taken out of the envelope. The letter focused on protesting military ballots.
Herron said he was retained by the DNC on election night.
No matter how the Democrats and the media try to spin this, the party has actively sought to suppress the votes of the men and women in the military. The very fact that a memo was circulated, explaining, in detail, how to disqualify military ballots should be enough evidence of the party's checkered history with military voting.
Don't believe what the left and the media say. Believe what the Democrats have done.