Mondays decision to side with man over machine in Florida is legitimate, but once the votes are tallied, all recounting should end.
Democrats asked for a handcount in four Florida counties in hopes that the procedure would muster a more accurate presidential election - one they hope would put Vice President Al Gore on top. The count was contested by Republicans but approved by a federal judge Monday.
The winner of Floridas 25 electoral votes will have more than the 270 votes necessary to become the nations next president. Previous counts in Florida have favored Texas Gov. George W. Bush by a slim margin.
Considering the dead heat of the election as well as alleged voting discrepancies, such as confusing ballots in Palm Beach County, Fla., Gore was justified in requesting a second recount. He has done nothing outside of the confines of Florida state law, which allows a recount if a candidate meets a postelection deadline to request it and the local election board agrees. Gore is understandably pursuing every possible chance to grasp a coveted win in Florida.
While Republicans argue that the recount leaves the results open to illegal meddling, the procedure is being conducted as fairly as possible. The process is overseen by supervisors and is operated in a public manner that does not leave room for partisan meddling.
Even with the process, though, the recount will not likely yield more accurate results. The errors will just be human instead of mechanical.
No matter what the results are, both candidates should live with them, so the fiasco can finally end. Mondays ruling creates greater interest for both camps to request recounts in other close states, but for the future of the country, neither candidate should pursue further recounts. If either hopes to save face, he should be prepared to drop the battle, and allow the country to move on as quickly as possible.
At this point, half the country will doubt the legitimacy of the presidency no matter who is elected. No meticulous handcount will convince Gore supporters that he is not the rightful winner, and vice versa.
A shadow will hang over the next president, no matter which candidate takes office.
The election has tarnished the American peoples trust in the accuracy of the voting system, which has shown it is not prepared for an election this close.
Outdated machines and confusing ballots will taint the final results of this election. Within the next two years, before another major congressional election, comprehensive reforms should be made to update the system and increase accuracy. Only a system overhaul will restore the countrys faith in the precision of the process.
Nevertheless, all Florida counties involved in the recount are required to submit their votes by 5 p.m. today, which seems difficult in such a short amount of time. If all counties have not completed the handcount, the deadline should be extended to allow for completion of the process. Time also should be allowed for overseas absentee ballots to be accurately counted. Otherwise, the results will be useless.
Both candidates should be ready to accept these final results from Florida and be ready to move forward, no matter which direction they are forced to go.