Report From The Deciding Battleground State

JANUARY 2001 -
Palm Beach County Florida Members Share Their Opinions - While the entire world was watching, Association members in Florida's
Palm Beach County were the center of attention in the historic and
unprecedented 2000 presidential election.

With
the election hanging in the balance, a day-by-day and sometimes
hour-by-hour political drama unfolded following the November 7 voting
date. Palm Beach County and the previously little-used noun "chad"
became synonymous. CNN and all TV networks gave 24-hour focus to the
predominantly Democratic Gold Coast County.

Florida
is the legal address of 5,100 of our members. When combined with living
spouses, that number equates to approximately 8,000 votes. Palm Beach
County is home to 826 members, with West Palm Beach, Boca Raton, Delray
Beach and Boynton Beach being the population centers.

Shortly
after the November 7 vote, we sent a letter to Palm Beach County
members asking for their views on what transpired in their now-famous
county. What followed was an avalanche of letters and phone calls.

The
following is a limited cross-section of the replies we received. Boca
Raton is overly represented only because of the unusual volume of
replies forthcoming from that community.

Fred Coombs,
61, retired from the State DPW in 1996. He lives in West Palm Beach
with his wife Betty: "The butterfly ballot wasn't confusing to me or my
wife. Frankly, for so many people to say they voted for Buchanan when
they meant to vote for Gore makes the rest of the country think that
we're all old people who are easily confused. There's enough jokes on
Leno (Jay) and other shows about the elderly. Now we're the laughing
stock of the country."

Frank Goldman,
76, is a retired Boston police officer who moved to Delray Beach after
retiring: "It was a real mess down here. The way our butterfly ballot
was printed, if you punched number 2 you were voting for Buchanan when
it looked like you were voting for Gore. I intended to vote for Gore,
but I'm really not sure that's how it turned out. For a person voting
for Bush, it was very clear. I was in favor of a hand recount."

Joseph Orze,
67, is the former president of Worcester State College. He and his wife
Carol live in Boynton Beach: "This has been a messed up situation. I've
never seen such political reaction and vehemence. I hope when it all
ends that there will be an appearance of honesty to the outcome. I
didn't find the ballot to be complicated. Poll workers were going out
of their way to assist voters who might have been confused. I'm afraid
that the rest of the nation will look upon us as a bunch of doddering
fools, which is not true."

Neville Stone,
70, is a City of Boston veterans services retiree. He now lives in
Boynton Beach: "I was in favor of a revote but only in Palm Beach
County - I may have voted for Buchanan without realizing it. I vote a
straight Democratic ticket but the butterfly ballot was very confusing
- I filed an affidavit the day after the election. I felt all along
that Gore would win in a recount. Jeb's (Bush) people set this election
up."

Harriet Feldman,
74, is a retired Boston teacher who lives in Delray Beach: "I don't
listen to the news anymore. It's been the most despicable time in our
history. I resent the fact that the invalid ballots were blamed on the
elderly. There were just as many mistakes on ballots cast by young
people. One young college professor with an IQ of 165 voted
incorrectly. The Secretary of State should not have tried to stop the
hand count."

Ada Wronski,
75, is a Mass Dept. of Welfare retiree who lives in West Palm Beach
with her husband Ken: "There wasn't much to chose from in this
election. I was going to vote for Nader but thought it would be a waste
so I voted for Bush. West Palm Beach has been a circus since the
election. There was an invasion of Democratic party people from
Massachusetts working on the recount. I feel like we've been used and
made to feel important by politicians and people like Jesse Jackson:
I'm glad they're gone."

Ida Polonsky,
72, is a retired state employee who worked at the Industrial Accident
Board. She and her husband Ralph live in Boca Raton: "Bush is a
two-faced liar who would steal your eyes out of your head. My daughter
was told by a poll worker to be careful because her Gore vote might
actually be a Buchanan vote. I dislike liars, thieves and cheats,
especially when it comes to elections. There should have been an entire
re-vote in the state of Florida, not just one or two areas. We don't
need an electoral college."

Miriam Slotnick,
75, formerly worked for the Town of Wellesley. She has been living in
Boca Raton for the past 4 years: "I worked at the polls and could see
that many people were confused. They're blaming the seniors for the
problems but many of those who had problems were younger. The absentee
ballot was set up with the punch holes on the right. There has been
great anger with the whole situation and many people think it was just
the Jewish community, but many ethnic groups were involved."

Ray Moore,
73, grew up in Rockport. After retiring as a teacher in Rockport and
Gloucester, he and his wife Shirley moved to Boca Raton: "The sample
butterfly ballot which everyone received did not show where the holes
were. Century Village, the huge retirement complex here in Boca Raton,
held a meeting after the election. Out of several hundred people
attending, not one voted for Buchanan. Now what does that tell you
about all those Buchanan votes?"

Eugenia Murphy,
72, moved to Boca Raton after retiring from the City of Peabody in
1985: "People should have paid attention to what they were doing. Many
people who were having trouble have no trouble when they play bingo.
Gore is attached to Clinton's coat strings... He would sell his soul to
get a vote. The ballot was approved by the Democrats and had been used
in previous elections. We should eliminate the electoral college and
let the majority decide who wins future elections."

Elizabeth Dubuque,
74, is a survivor whose deceased husband, Arnold, worked for the state
with the Dept. of Public Health. She lives in Delray Beach: "This has
been a pretty bad mess down here. They sent out a booklet to explain
the ballot but it was still confusing... in fact it was a travesty. I
have a friend who knows she voted wrong. There should have been a
re-vote. There were too many questions surrounding the ballot... it was
a Republican vendetta."

Joe Devine,
68, is a retired Scituate police officer who lives in Boca Raton: "I
voted for Gore but the scene here was insane. We had Jesse Jackson
running all over the county stirring things up. That's exactly what we
didn't need. It's been a euphoric time for the elderly who migrated
from political hotbeds of the north, such as Boston, New York and
Chicago. These people know elections can be stolen."

Joan Doherty,
68, and her husband Phil live in Boca Raton. Joan is a retired
Somerville teacher: "No, I didn't find the ballot to be confusing
because they sent out a sample ballot. However, the sample ballot
didn't show the holes and I can understand people being confused. There
was a lot of room for error in Palm Beach County and the mistakes were
horrendous. It's giving Palm Beach County a bad name. Instead of
sending bags of oranges to our friends, we're sending bags of 'chads'."

Pasquale "Pat" Petruccelli,
85, lives in Boca Raton with his wife Margaret. He is a Dept. of
Revenue retiree: "I wasn't confused by the ballot and you might say I'm
pretty old. They wanted to keep counting until they could find a way
for Gore to win. It was a lot like the Kennedy-Nixon thing in Chicago.
The electoral college has been here for 200 years and nobody ever
complained before. Now everyone is an expert."

Robert DiGloria,
52, retired from the Burlington Police Department and now lives in West
Palm Beach: "The Democrats were determined to win the election through
recounts. There was a lot of personal subjectivity on the part of the
hand counters. There was no problem with the ballot. There are always a
certain amount of problems everywhere, but the focus was on Palm Beach
County. It was hard to watch what the county went through. The
secretary of state was right, she simply followed the law."

Marty Sedar,
56, and his wife Emma live in Boca Raton. He is a Dept. of Ed. retiree:
"The process to make the American people satisfied with the outcome
will be lengthy and will take years to heal the wounds. Books will be
written about what occurred in Palm Beach County. The hand count was
cumbersome. There were people from both parties looking over the
shoulders of the weary workers doing the hand count. I'm afraid this
election will end up in the courts."

Dorothy "Dot" Mulloy,
69, is a survivor whose deceased husband, Jim, was an Everett teacher.
She lives in Boca Raton: "I didn't find the ballot confusing. Not one
of a class of second-graders got the ballot wrong when presented with a
similar ballot. There's been a dumbing down in this country. The
Secretary of State's deadline should not have been overturned. I'm a
Republican with 8 children: four are Democrats; three are Republicans,
and one couldn't care less."

Tags: