Web: An outlet for angry voters

Sites of all political stripes let Netizens vent their frustrations about the as-yet unresolved presidential election.

Not content to watch and wait for resolution of the 2000 presidential election, Netizens of all political stripes are launching Web campaigns, hoping their crusades and diatribes will somehow sway the results.

Democrats.com, an online community for Democrats, is providing affidavits for angry Florida voters to sign on trustthepeople.com. So far, the group has collected 3,000 affidavits, which could lay the groundwork for a lawsuit challenging the election.

"This is an unbelievable test of the Internet to help voters who feel they've been wronged," said Democrats.com managing partner Bob Fertik.

Workingforchange.com provided form letters urging a revote, which Florida residents could sign and click to send to Palm Beach County's director of elections.

Republicans, meanwhile, defended the slim lead held by George W. Bush, who on Friday led Florida by a few hundred votes.

Thousands of ballots remained in dispute, however. Among them were more than 3,000 ballots that confused Palm Beach County residents cast for Reform Party candidate Pat Buchanan when they meant to vote for Vice President Al Gore. In addition, more than 19,000 ballots were tossed out because they were double-punched.

Democrats.com was also helping to organize what it called "spontaneous, decentralized protests in the event of a popular vote/electoral college split."

Fertik said his organization also hoped to organize a Web campaign to convince some Bush electors to change their vote to Gore, a move sure to be an uphill battle since members of the electoral college are usually picked for their strong party loyalty.

The Web was a popular tool for activists in the days leading up to the election. Hacktivists altered official sites belonging to both the Democrats and Republicans.

Even the major television networks were letting the little guy have his say during the brouhaha. During election-related programming, both CNN and MSNBC posted chat room messages, among them rants urging Gore to shut up and go home, demanding Bush to concede, and asking Congress to pass a Constitutional Amendment revamping the electoral college system.

ABCNews.com also solicited questions that viewers would like to see Nightline host Ted Koppel ask of election experts Friday night.

It was unclear whether the electronic movements or their rhetoric would have any effect on the outcome of the election, which could eventually land in the courts.

Still others tried to cash in on the chaos.

Gore2000.com, which hawks official merchandise from the Gore campaign, unveiled its "Too Close to Call" collection: a variety of buttons declaring either Bush or Gore a winner.

At a time when most politicos have lost their sense of humor, the site also was selling a brand new Dems 2000 pin, showing a red-white-and-blue donkey underneath a thought bubble that read, "Too close to call... My ASS."


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