November 10, 2000

Florida Students React to Election

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As the 2000 Presidential Election centered on a few hundred votes in Florida, Cornellians from the Sunshine State had mixed opinions regarding their home’s pivotal role in electing the next president.

The confusing ballots, nullified votes and demands for a revote sparked criticism from the students.

In particular, controversy surrounds complaints from voters in Palm Beach County concerning the layout of the ballot, as many may have mistakenly voted for Patrick Buchanan instead of Vice President Al Gore or voted for both candidates.

Amidst the uncertainty, Cornellians from Florida expressed mixed emotions about their state.

“I think it’s humorous,” Sharon Ellis ’01 said, a Clearwater resident who voted for Gore by absentee ballot. “If I were from the rest of the country, I’d be so mad at Florida.”

Others speculated about the legitimacy of the voting process.

“It’s shady that confusion is occurring in a state governed by Bush’s brother,” said Allie Goldberg ’04, a Pensacola resident who voted for Gore by absentee ballot.

“There was definite voting fraud,” said Adam Fox ’04, who also voted for Gore. Fox, a Palm Beach County resident, voted by absentee ballot, but supports a revote for the entire state. “My friends at home said [the ballot] was really confusing. My mom almost voted for Buchanan.”

Ellis also supports a revote, but only in Palm Beach County, because “[the ballot there] was ambiguous.”

“It statistically doesn’t make sense,” she said. “These old people, who are predominantly Jewish, would not have voted for Buchanan, who’s a Nazi.”

Randi Eisner ’01, a Boca Raton resident who voted for Gov. George W. Bush in Tompkins County, disagreed with the idea of a possible revote. “Election Day is Election Day and that’s the way it is,” she said. “There are so many factors, therefore you can’t do a revote or else they would have to do the whole country again.”

Several Floridians who registered to vote in Tompkins County regretted not registering in their homestate.

“Now I wish that I did vote in Florida to make a difference,” Eisner said.

“I was personally frustrated because I didn’t send in an absentee ballot,” said Abby Eletz ’02, a Plantation resident who voted for Gore in Tompkins County. “It would have made me feel better if I voted [in Florida]. In the future I will do an absentee ballot.”

Though their opinions differ on the election, the students agreed that it was exciting to see their state in the middle of political turmoil.

“Everything has been consumed by the conflict down there,” Eletz said. “Selfishly, it’s kind of exciting.”

Archived article by Stephanie Hankin