Tags: Alaska | Electors | Told | They | Could | Change | Vote

Alaska Electors Told They Could Change Vote

Tuesday, 21 November 2000 12:00 AM

Electors Bill Allen, Susan Fischetti and Lucy Groh told NewsMax.com it doesn't matter what anybody tells them. The residents of Alaska have made their choice loud and clear. They want Bush to be the next president of the United States.

Still, they've received calls from various press people who tell them that Gore will win the popular vote and that it's within their right to change their vote if their conscience tells them to do so.

Groh recalled how one reporter was very aggressive with her over the phone. Although she didn't feel intimidated, what bothered her most about the reporter was that he acted as if she didn't know the rules regarding the Electoral College.

"I had one [reporter] that kept telling me, 'You know you could [vote for Gore],' " Groh said.

"I was insulted that someone would think that I didn't know I could switch my vote. I mean, I know I could do a lot of illegal things, but that would be an immoral thing."

"It isn't maybe illegal, but it's immoral," Groh added.

Groh told NewsMax.com she didn't think to record the names or the news organizations of the reporters until after most had already called. The other electors had trouble remembering names as well.

But even if they didn't remember the names of the reporters, they did remember the questions that were asked.

Fischetti said one media representative who called her simply wanted to know if she would change her vote. She said he then went into a careful explanation of how he wasn't from the Gore campaign.

"They assured me that all they were doing was trying to do a story on the Electoral College," Fischetti said. "They asked me if Al Gore won the popular vote, would I maybe, you know, change, and I said that well, in Alaska, he didn't win the popular vote."

In a statement reminiscent of that of the small states at the time of the Great Compromise in 1787, Fischetti said: "If [Gore] wins the popular vote of the whole country, that doesn't mean anything to me in Alaska. We only have a half million people anyway, so we would just pretty much say, well, people in New York and L.A. can choose our president for us because we only have a half million people. They have the popular vote."

During the Great Compromise, small states such as New Jersey and large states such as Virginia argued over state representation in Congress. Virginia argued representation should be based solely on population. New Jersey argued every state should have equal representation. The result of the compromise is the bicameral Congress – the Senate and House of Representatives – found today in Washington.

Ironically, California Gov. Gray Davis, on Fox News Channel yesterday, in a call to change the Electoral College, made a "big state" argument, saying that although a good handful of states together carry as many electoral votes as California, they still don't have nearly the population of the Golden State. Davis argued this wasn't fair to the residents of California.

Recollecting calls he received from reporters, Allen told NewsMax.com he remembered receiving a call from Mark Matthews, a student reporter for Capital News Service. This news wire is operated by the College of Journalism at the University of Maryland and has a bureau in Annapolis and Washington. Clients of the service include the Washington Post, Washington Times, Knight Ridder Tribune News Service, the Baltimore Sun and FoxNews.com.

Regarding Matthews' call, Allen said, "It was kind of like he was trying to talk me into [switching my vote], and I said no way. Bush is good for Alaska, and that's how I'm voting."

When Allen was pressed as to whether he thought Matthews was really trying to persuade him to change his vote, he said: "You know, I can't really say that. It seems that way, but I can't think of anything he said that would make me dead sure."

NewsMax.com contacted Matthews for an explanation of his query to the Alaskan elector. According to Matthews, his questions were misunderstood.

"I didn't say that they could change their votes. I was just asking them who they would vote for," Matthews said.

Matthews explained further that he was working on a story in cooperation with Knight Ridder News Service in which he is attempting to contact all electors throughout the country to see who they will vote for in December. He added that electors have changed their votes in the past and wanted to see if this was a possibility this year.

Sure enough, Matthews had contacted the other two Alaskan electors as well.

According to Groh, Matthews had asked her if she and her fellow electors were going to have a confirmation meeting regarding their votes. Groh said she wouldn't insult them by calling such a meeting.

Commenting on the calls she received from certain members in the press, Groh said: "I have watched journalists not be journalists now for some years. They try to make the news."

Allen agreed that getting the calls from the media regarding his vote for Alaska was strange.

When asked if he thought he would be getting as many calls if the election weren't so close, Allen said, "Definitely not."

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Electors Bill Allen, Susan Fischetti and Lucy Groh told NewsMax.com it doesn't matter what anybody tells them.The residents of Alaska have made their choice loud and clear.They want Bush to be the next president of the United States. Still, they've received calls from...
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Tuesday, 21 November 2000 12:00 AM
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