TO THE EDITOR:
In Dan Harrison's letter to the editor ("Fair Election Results, Not Speedy Decisions, Are Needed in Florida" Nov. 21), Harrison mentions a statement I made for an article that ran in the Nov. 16 The Daily Tar Heel. Let me clarify my position on the recounts currently going on in Florida.
It is true that I said "If the heavily Democratic Palm Beach was being recounted, then why not recount the rest of Florida ." However, what was not printed was the rest of my statement concerning the issue. I continued by saying that recounting in three heavily Democratic counties (Broward, Palm Beach and Miami-Dade) was in fact not fair because there were so-called "irregularities" throughout Florida.
In Palm Beach County, approximately 20,000 ballots out of 440,000 cast were not counted because they were punched twice or not read by the machines due to the infamous "chad" - particle hanging near the hole of the ballot.
In heavily Republican Duval County (Jacksonville), more than 27,000 ballots out of about 280,000 cast were thrown out for similar reasons.
Yet we're attempting to determine the intent of the voter in Palm Beach County by hand recounting while not hand recounting with similar intent in Duval County? And this is what Harrison calls "get(ting) accurate results"?
As to Gore recounting the rest of Florida, Mr. Harrison says that Gore "asked for a full recounting of Florida . and was denied by the Bush campaign."
First, this is inaccurate. Gore said he would "accept" a hand recount of the entire state.
Second, Gore knows that when he made this offer, a week after the election, that hand recount requests were due in each county no later than 72 hours after the election. This is the law in Florida. Gore knew that there was no way a hand recount could be conducted throughout Florida regardless of what he said.
Gov. Bush rightly rejected, not "denied" as Mr. Harrison asserts, Mr. Gore's offer on the principle that there are going to be problems in Democratic and Republican counties alike and that these generally will cancel each other out.
I hope Mr. Harrison can see that recounting in heavily Democratic districts where Democrats control the boards that are responsible for these recounts overwhelmingly benefits Al Gore.
I would urge Mr. Harrison and others to consider the arguments being made and evaluate whether he wants to recount to get accurate results or wants to recount until Al Gore is declared the winner.
Justin H. Johnson
Political Science and French Studies
The length rule was waived.