USA awaits Florida recount

by Erica Geller | 11/9/00 6:00am

Yesterday afternoon, students across campus concentrated on CNN, eagerly awaiting the results of the Florida recount amid national media and pundit speculation.

Students debated as they gathered around available television stations, anticipating any updated news. Many watched live broadcasts even while speaking to The Dartmouth, and said they would continue watching and waiting for another day -- at least -- until the final tally was certain.

Many of the College's first time and returning voters were visibly and vocally swept up in this historic election.

"I'm trying to sort out how I feel about the Democrats' anger toward Nader," Daniel Colvard '04 said. "It is undeserved." But added that "sometimes Nader will say things that do not make much sense either."

Some students went to sleep Tuesday night believing they had all the answers, but the morning brought new uncertainty. All of the campaign leaders interviewed yesterday-- whether pro-Democrat or pro-Republican -- were exhausted and full of anticipation.

Timothy Razel '03 said that he was exasperated, but added, "this is one of the most exciting races I've ever seen."

Democrat Brian Stults '02, campaign manager for unsuccessful state representative candidate Bob Gienko '01, shared very positive opinions both on Gienko's loss and on the forthcoming national news. Stults agrees with others that the national election is "definitely exciting."

Stults said "[the election] is polarizing Americans" and conjectured that it is a sign that the nation is becoming less apathetic. He said he hopes that this year's high voter turnout is a trend that will continue in the next four to eight years.

Regarding voting results in New Hampshire, Stults said he was disappointed with the overall outcome but "at the same time [was] extremely happy with what happened at the College."

Over 852 newly registered voters flocked to the polls, which was a significant change from 1996, during which only 498 Dartmouth students visited the polls, Stults said.

According to Kathleen Reeder '03, president of the Young Republicans, "it has been a long two days." Reeder said she knew it was going to be close, but she "didn't know it would come down to 2,000 votes in Florida."

"It seems like this outcome [in Florida] limits the presidency to a four year presidency," she postulated.

Nina Basu '02, a member of the Young Democrats, brought up the issue of exit polls. "Basically, [it is] a very important part of the democratic process to make sure that votes [and] not exit polls are counted," she said.

According to Basu, it has been psychologically proven that a lot of people will vote for the person in the lead and that they "like to be on the winning team."

Basu also stressed that "absentees should have the chance to vote effectively," and that she dislikes the electoral college system. Basu said she would like to see a more direct popular vote because while, "100 years ago people did not know what candidates stood for. today people have access to [the candidates'] stances on politics," due to the modern mass media. ... The logical thing to do is to let people decide in a straight popular vote."

According to assistant government professor Dean Spiliotes, there is little to say regarding the election until the final results are tallied.

Spiliotes predicts that both campaigns are going to proceed very cautiously, with both sides, "couched in talk about preserving the process."