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Election 2000: Votes Set to be Certified by Deadline in Florida Counties, as Legal Challenges ContinueAired November 14, 2000 - 8:46 a.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LEON HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: Now the update that we have for you on this continuing story, the Florida recount. In a nutshell, what we have here is something of a battle between different offices in Florida shaping up this morning.
The secretary of state, Katherine Harris, is recommending that all counties follow a 5:00 p.m. deadline for turning in certified results from this election and ending the whole matter today by 5:00 p.m. However, Florida's attorney general, Bob Butterworth, is now saying that that opinion is a flawed one, and he is recommending that an extension be ordered, rather, for the continuing manual recount that is underway in certain parts of Florida right now.
We've also heard this morning, from listening in on a meeting of the Palm Beach county canvassing committee, that they that are going to actually suspend any actions on a recount until they get a definitive word now from a court. Because they've now got conflicting orders from the secretary of state and from the attorney general.
The story keeps getting more and more confused as we go along. But at the ground where this story actually began, at least where the court case is, in Volusia county, CNN's Brian Cabell joins us now with the latest developments there -- Brian.
BRIAN CABELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Leon.
The recount here in Volusia county is almost but not quite finished yet. The canvassing board is expected to get here within the next half hour and resume its business. The latest tally we have on the recounted votes shows -- gives some comfort to the Gore campaign, but not an awful lot, frankly: Gore has picked up 289 votes in the recount, Mr. Bush has picked up 264. That's a net gain of 24. That's after about three-quarters of the votes have been recounted.
Now the canvassing board will be coming in this morning They will be going over some questionable absentee ballots, about 100 of them we are told. They also have to undertake some business to get their votes ready for certification this afternoon.
They are still party to that lawsuit in Tallahassee, but say they will be ready. They would like to have more time, they would like to have an extension. They're having to take a shortcut on some steps right now, but they say they will be ready by 5:00 p.m. What they're expecting to happen is that a courier from the secretary of state's office will show up here sometime before 5:00 p.m. They will hand that person the documents. It could be as late as 4:59. But they will have it on time. And just to make certain, they will be faxing those documents to the secretary of state's office before 5:00 as well.
So Volusia county, which started this whole process, will be ready. they will get the recount in on time.
HARRIS: I don't know how to ask you this without making it sound perhaps perfect here. But, Brian, did any of the members there of the commission say anything whether or not finding only 24 votes actually validated them going through this entire, this lengthy process?
CABELL: No, they aren't talking about the tallies. In fact, I should mention these are unofficial CNN tallies we're coming up with. But the very fact that they found 320 votes in one of the precincts yesterday, actually the evening before, according to the canvassing board chairman, he said that alone justified going over there.
And I should mention that this canvassing board chairman, who is a judge -- he's a nonpartisan judge, but he is a Republican -- he was the one who said: Absolutely, the finding of these 320 votes justified the hand count.
HARRIS: All right, great, thanks much Brian Cabell, reporting live this morning from Volusia county, Florida -- Carol.
CAROL LIN, CNN ANCHOR: And then there is Broward county, the most Democratic county in the entire state of Florida. And there, election officials, ironically have voted two to one against a full manual recount -- they don't want to do hand count -- saying that the inability of a voting system to properly read a ballot is still not justification for a full hand count.
We get a report now live on the telephone with Susan Candiotti, who is in Broward county -- Susan.
SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hello, Carol. And again, the decision the county canvassing board made was, again, made after an advisory opinion from Secretary of State Katharine Harris, the one that -- that decision that is so controversial at this hour.
Well, in just a few minutes from now, attorneys representing the Dade -- the Broward county Democratic Party expect to be arriving here at the Broward county courthouse in Fort Lauderdale to begin a legal challenge. They intend to ask the court here for an emergency hearing to challenge the decision made last night by the canvassing board here in Broward county. That decision made, as you recounted just moments ago, where they recounted three precincts which represents about one percent of the vote. And that recanvassing turned up four extra votes for Vice President Gore.
The canvassing board decided not to do a manual recount of all 564,000 votes. This county, Gore busted Governor Bush by a two-to-one margin. And so the Democrats are not satisfied with the decision made by canvassing board. Again, they will ask for an emergency hearing to challenge that decision, and they don't know how long it might take to get an emergency hearing. It remains unclear -- Carol.
LIN: Susan, did they expect a decision today, and if so, how are they impacted then by the 5:00 p.m. deadline to have all votes certified according to secretary of state of Florida?
CANDIOTTI: Well, certainly, attorneys representing the Democratic Party here in Broward hope to get a hearing as early as today, but that, of course, is up to a judge to decide. How it would impact the certification deadline at 5:00 remains unclear. But, of course, because of all of these legal challenges that are in play, it is the hope of the Democrats to try to extend that deadline, just as Democrats are hoping that occurs in other parts of the state as well.
LIN: All right, it seems to get more confusing than clear. Thank you very much, Susan Candiotti, reporting live from Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
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