The Miami Herald has gone out and checked the votes in three North Florida counties where registered Democrats voted heavily for Bush. The recount proves that there were no real inaccuracies:
Reporters for the newspaper went over more than 17,000 optical scan ballots cast in three rural counties mentioned by doubters: Suwannee, Lafayette and Union. All three are overwhelmingly Democratic in registration, but chose President Bush.
The Herald said they found minor differences with the official results in each county, most involving a few ballots that had been discarded as unreadable by optical scan machines but which reporters felt made the voters' intent clear. Since there was no official recount, those ballots weren't counted for either candidate.
In Union County, where more than 75 percent of voters register as Democrats, The Herald counted 3,393 votes for Bush, 1,272 for Kerry and 15 that couldn't clearly be counted. The official Union County total: 3,396 for Bush, 1,251 for Kerry and a few dozen that couldn't be counted.
''People here are mostly fundamentalist Christians who work in the prisons," said Union County Election Supervisor Babs Montpetit. ''Do you think they're going to vote for the liberal senator from Massachusetts?"
So now we all know that the blogging tinfoil hats can be safely ignored. (Tinfoil hats protect your brain against aliens trying to influence your thoughts...)
The problem is that this stuff is really old news on the net. The countries that the Herald looked at are part of the Dixiecrat area where people register as Democrats but vote for wingnut presidents always. The real questions about Florida elections are not about the Dixiecrat phenomenom (though it was good to check those out, too), but about counties such as Palm Beach, Broward and Miami Dade and the accuracy of the votes there.
It is curious, though, how the so-called liberal media sees its task largely to consist of the debunking of anything that might question the legitimacy of the last elections.