According to the most recent reports, we know three things about Florida. Bush is ahead by a mere 332 votes; an extraordinary number of people voted for Pat Buchanan in liberal Palm Beach County, no Buchanan stronghold, many of whom complained about their ballots while at the booth; and 19,000 voters had their ballots thrown out because they voted for two candidates because of the strange butterfly ballots used in the county.

Technically, of course, Bush may be able to stake a legal claim to having won Florida and the electoral vote. The ballots were approved and there have been no allegations of fraud. But it would be an extraordinary breach of the spirit of the election. Not only will Al Gore have won the popular vote, everybody will know that he, in many ways, deserved to win Florida’s electoral vote and will only have lost because of a strange ballot that thwarted the will of voters in Palm Beach county. If that happens, a countywide revote is the only solution that seems fair to me.

Charlie Peters is the editor-in-chief of The Washington Monthly.

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Charles Peters is the founding editor of the Washington Monthly.