Federal Law Gives Jeb Bush Final Say in Presidential Election


DECEMBER 8—Florida governor Jeb Bush may yet trump the state supreme court, which today backed Al Gore’s request for a manual recount of so-called undervotes. Under the federal Electoral Count Act of 1887, the governor of a state has final say over the slate of electors.

On November 26, Jeb Bush signed the certificate naming a roster of 25 electors pledged to support his brother George W.

The certification is on file at the National Archives, along with certifications from the other states. If the Florida legislature decides to name its own slate of George W. Bush electors, that would only add emphasis to Jeb Bush’s earlier action, but wouldn’t settle the question of how Florida’s vote should be decided.

The continued standoff between the judicial, legislative, and administrative branches threatens to tumble into Congress, where both the House and the Senate would have to decide which of two slates of electors is valid. If the chambers vote along current party lines, the House would pick the slate supporting Shrub; in the Senate, the tie-breaking vote would be cast by Gore himself and result in a decision for a Democratic slate.

If the chambers do in fact disagree, then the Electoral Count Act specifies that the electors chosen by the governor—Jeb Bush—shall be accpetd.

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