November 10, 2000
To the Editor:
It is possible that our Presidential contest will remain “undecided”
for weeks to come, partly because of uncertainties in Florida.
If (a big “if”) prolongation of this standoff threatens to damage the country and to subvert the authority of the next Administration, would it not be prudent for the two major candidates to announce an immediate recourse by them to the drawing of lots to settle this matter? The Electoral College votes could thereafter be easily adjusted by their supporters accordingly.
Would not this be a statesmanlike resolution of this “crisis” by both candidates, dramatizing their character and fitness and making more likely an era of national good will thereafter?
This approach would best be taken before the official recount, including the absentee ballots, is announced in Florida, thereby making less likely the risk of having it appear that the “loser” won. It is fortunate that the major candidates have roughly the same amount of popular support nationwide; making it much easier for the country to accept this kind of self-denying compromise.
These candidates have long been extolled as pious patriots. Would not a voluntary recourse by them to the drawing of lots in these extraordinary circumstances, for which there are American legal as well as Biblical precedents, testify both to their faith in Providence and to their dedication to the common good? Certainly, this kind of resolution would be salutary as a reminder that what always unites us is much greater than what may chance to divide us from time to time.
Professor of Law,
Loyola University of Chicago