Charles Zelden on Florida 2000: “Guest opinion: Legislatures picking electors to the Electoral College: It could not only happen, it almost did”


On December 7, 2000, in the midst of the Florida recount crisis, Florida Senate President John McKay and Speaker of the House Tom Feeney announced that, “the Legislature would choose the electors, as permitted by the U.S. Constitution, if the court disputes were continuing and there was not yet ‘finality’ on December 12.”  When the Florida Supreme Court announced a statewide recount order, the stage was set for a confrontation. So long as there was a chance for the December 12 “safe harbor” to be violated, the Republican legislators were set to act.

On Tuesday, December 12th, the Florida House did just this, voting in George W. Bush’s electors as the state’s official slate to the Electoral College. The next day the Florida Senate was prepared to do the same. It was at this point that the U.S. Supreme Court made the whole matter largely moot by issuing its ruling in Bush v. Gore.  With Gore’s quick concession, the need for the Florida Senate to act disappeared.

And check out Zelden on this podcast, talking about the third edition of his Bush v. Gore book.

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