Maybe the fact that most of the recount favored Gore shows Florida officials went out of their way to give Gore ballots the benefit of the doubt on second viewing. But it surely suggests, also, that Florida officials as a group disfavored Gore ballots the first time around. The swing is small enough (a 1,457-vote gain for Gore, out of almost six million cast) that no one could claim conspiracy. But the fact that the recount consistently turned up more for Gore than for Bush seems to show that on election night, there was at least some subtle favoritism toward Bush when Florida officials made the first counts.

This seems a far more substantive objection to the Florida vote than a flawed Palm Beach ballot design (confusing perhaps, but a design specifically ordered by a Democratic official!) or the problem of people who punched their ballots twice (too bad, but there were discarded double-punched ballots all over the nation for both candidates, and no one's proposing re-votes for the entire nation) or people who might have meant to vote for Gore but didn't. (The Constitution does not allow mind-reading of voters; we might as well complain that people who forgot to vote should now get a second chance if they "meant" to vote.)

The steady drip-drip-drip of adding votes for Gore shows there may have been small but real systematic Bush favoritism in Florida. This, not Palm Beach, should be what Florida complaints focus on, though the logic leads to this: Hand-recount every county and then accept the result.