by Chris Elkins
Published: November 20,2000
I think they should flip a coin. It’s simple. It’s indisputable…unless, of course, the coin lands on its side or slips down a drain or has two heads or…
This year’s presidential election has created a stalemate. As everyone eyes the results in Florida, I can’t help but nod respectfully to our founding fathers.
I always questioned the Electoral College, that archaic system that awarded all or nothing votes to candidates by state. This year, the system encouraged candidates to
spend all their time in those key undecided states and leave out the states where the question had already been answered.
In Mississippi, that meant we did not get a first-hand look at Bush or Gore. We did not hear the ads or get the phone calls. Our votes did not matter. Long ago, the
pollsters decided Bush would receive all seven of our votes.
Meanwhile, Florida emerged as the pivotal state. The candidate who received those 25 votes would win the election. When the count was completed, it appeared Bush
had won the day.
But hold the presses, a recount was requested.
The first and second counts were done by machines that measured those tiny holes in the ballots made by voters. The count varied by about 1,500 votes. So, hand counting
began, and each ballot was scrutinized to determine if the hole was really a hole or if it was just an indentation. And the integrity of each person involved, from Gov. Jeb
Bush on down to the judges to the election commissioners, was called into question.
And my head spun in amazement.
Elections are not perfect. In fact, they are incredibly flawed. But somehow, most of the time, it works. And the very time that things look so out of whack is the time that
the wisdom of the constitutional creators becomes clear.
If this vote was done simply by popular vote, there is the chance that the whole country would have to be recounted. And we would be facing months of indecision. At
least, now it’s narrowed to one state.
Meanwhile, everything hangs in the balance waiting for the winner to be declared. Wall Street is begging for a resolution as it struggles on the slippery slope. After all, the
enemy of stock prices is uncertainty.
The whole world is holding its breath. And we have discovered that limbo is a very unpleasant place.
So, flip the coin. After all, whatever happens, half of the voters will feel disenfranchised. Half will be cheering. But at least we can get on with the business of the country.
Most importantly, we can live to vote another day.
Nancy Lottridge Anderson, CFA, is president of New Perspectives Inc. in Clinton. Contact her at (601) 924-9828 or firstname.lastname@example.org. She’s online at
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