[Congressional Record (Bound Edition), Volume 146 (2000), Part 18]
[Extensions of Remarks]
[Pages 26609-26610]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office, www.gpo.gov]

                        FLORIDA ELECTION DISPUTE


                           HON. PATSY T. MINK

                               of hawaii

                    in the house of representatives

                      Wednesday, December 13, 2000

  Mrs. MINK of Hawaii. Mr. Speaker, yesterday's Supreme Court ruling 
stopping the recount of Presidential votes in Florida was most 
  In his dissent Justice Stevens refers to the 1960 Hawaii Presidential 
election as an example that the provisions of Title 3 of the United 
States Code do not mandate that the recount must have been completed by 
December 12: ``[the provisions] do not prohibit a State from counting 
what the majority concedes to be legal votes until a bona fide winner 
is determined. Indeed, in 1960, Hawaii appointed two slates of electors 
and Congress chose to count the one appointed on January 4, 1961, well 
after the Title 3 deadlines.'' (Bush v. Gore, slip opinion at 30.)
  So that Members have the benefit of the full story of the 1960 
contested Presidential election in Hawaii, I want to present its story 
and lessons.
  The Florida Presidential dispute contains all the elements present in 
the 1960 Hawaii Presidential election: an apparent winner on election 
night; a contest by the apparent loser; a

[[Page 26610]]

court-ordered recount; the certification of one set of electors by the 
Governor while the recount was under way; a court decision declaring 
the apparent loser the winner after a recount completed after the date 
the State's electors met; competing slates of electors presented to the 
Congress; and a joint session of Congress choosing which slate of 
electors to accept.
  The resolution of that dispute provides valuable guidance for the 
Congress and the Nation as we try to determine the next President of 
the United States.
  The results of the 1960 Presidential election in Hawaii between 
Richard Nixon and John Kennedy originally showed Nixon a winner by 141 
votes. Based on those results, the Republican slate was issued a 
certificate of election by the Acting Governor on November 28, 1960. 
The results were challenged by 30 Democratic voters who filed suit to 
require a recount in 34 of the State's 240 precincts. The suit was 
opposed by the State's Republican Administration, which contended that 
there was not sufficient time to complete the recount before the 
December 13, 1960 deadline for certifying electors, six days before the 
December 19, 1960 date set for the electors to meet.
  The Republicans also argued that if some of the votes were to be 
recounted, all the votes should be recounted.
  The recount began on December 13, 1960. By the time the electors met 
on December 19, 1960, only one-third of the votes had been recounted, 
but Kennedy had an 83 vote lead. Based on the earlier certified 
results, the Republican electors met and cast their three votes for 
Nixon. The Democratic electors also met and cast their votes for 
Kennedy even though they did not have a certificate of election from 
the State.
  The recount was not concluded until December 28, 1960. Kennedy was 
declared the winner by the court by 115 votes. The court entered its 
judgment on December 30, 1960.
  When Congress met to count the electoral votes on January 6, 1961, it 
had before it three certificates from Hawaii. The first was the 
certificate of the Republican electors dated December 19 accompanied by 
the November 28 certificate of the Acting Governor of Hawaii that the 
electors had been appointed as a result of the November election.
  The second was the certificate of the Democratic electors dated 
December 19, 1960 casting their votes for John Kennedy.
  The third certificate was from the Republican Governor of Hawaii 
dated January 4, 1961 certifying that the Democratic electors had been 
elected ``agreeably to the provision of the laws of the said State, and 
in conformity with the Constitution and the laws of the United States'' 
as ``ascertained by judgment of the Circuit Court.'' The Governor 
annexed a copy of the court's decision to the certificate of election.
  Vice President Nixon, sitting as the presiding officer of the joint 
convention of the two Houses, suggested that the electors named in the 
certificate of the Governor dated January 4, 1961 be considered the 
lawful electors from Hawaii. There was no objection to the Vice 
President's suggestion, and the three electoral votes from Hawaii were 
cast for John Kennedy.
  This result was supported by both Senators from Hawaii, Republican 
Hiram Fong and Democrat Oren Long and Democratic Representative Daniel 
K. Inouye.
  The precedent of 40 years ago suggests the means for resolving the 
electoral dispute in Florida: count the votes under the supervision of 
the court pursuant to Florida law, both slates of electors meet on 
December 18 and send their certificates to Congress; the Governor of 
Florida send a subsequent certificate of election based on the decision 
of the count supervised by the court accompanied by the decision of the 
court; and Congress accepts the slate of electors named by the Governor 
in his final certification.
  Under this procedure Florida need not rush to complete its recount in 
an attempt to meet unrealistic deadlines set by the court or the 
legislature. The key date is not December 12 or December 18. It is 
January 6, the date on which the electoral votes are counted. As the 
1960 experience of Hawaii shows, the Florida recount does not have to 
be completed until just before the electoral votes are counted.