Gore in Florida, Again

Al Gore has returned to the campaign trail in Florida, the state he lost to George W. Bush by 500 votes in 2000 after the Supreme Court stopped the ballot recount.

The New York Times [thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com] reports this time Gore was speaking on behalf of Barack Obama, and was doing so sans Powerpoint.

The vice-president turned presidential candidate turned presidential race loser turned environmental leader turned Academy Award Winner turned Nobel prize-winner had returned to his old stomping grounds to urge voters to go to the polls.

“Take it from me, elections matter, every vote matters,” Gore told the crowds in his typical, laugh-off-the-2000-debacle off-humor.

Gore was with his wife, Tipper, in West Palm Beach and Ft. Lauderdale speaking at rallies today. The site was like a strange flashback from those who suffer post-election fraud stress disorder, which apparently many Floridians do.
“This election is personal to us. We know it was the curse of the butterfly ballot that brought the chaos to the world. … We’re not going to let what happened eight years ago happen again,” the West Palm Beach Mayor Lois Frankel told the Associated Press [ap.google.com].

The question remains, however, if Florida 2008 will look anything like Florida 2000 or if Ohio 2008 will resemble Ohio 2004. That’s why campaigns are deploying an army of attorneys, in addition to their get-out-the-vote volunteers, to both states [blogs.wsj.com] should (when) anything go wrong.

One advantage to this year over eight years ago in Florida, however, is early voting. This cuts down on the chaos inevitable on Election Day. It’s estimated that one out of every three [www.time.com] voters in Florida may cast their ballots early this year, and among those who have, many more are voting for Obama. Obama currently leads in Florida by 20 percentage point.

If the “bandwagon effect” [www.sundance.tv] proves true, it may turn out that early voting not only cuts down on chaos and fraud, but could boost votes for Obama.

–Jamie Wong