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The Florida Recount: GOP Observer Discusses Dispute Over Palm Beach County's Dimpled BallotsAired November 15, 2000 - 8:30 a.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CAROL LIN, CNN ANCHOR: Among the many things so far that have already happened this morning in the state of Florida, the recount in Palm Beach County started and then it suddenly stopped again with some 425,000 ballots still to be recounted by hand.
Joining us now is one of the observers in the room. His name is Judge David Norcross and he is a Republican observer.
And I thank you very much for joining us this morning. Can you...
JUDGE DAVID NORCROSS, REPUBLICAN OBSERVER: Well, I guess it's nice to be here.
LIN: I know. Welcome to the confusion. So what exactly happened this morning. You started the hand recount and then suddenly it stopped.
NORCROSS: Well, what happened is that the judge of the board of canvassers I think is upset that the Democrats have filed a lawsuit. They want to change the rules once again. They want to count dimples; that is, just those little pokes in the ballot where the chad, that piece that has to be poked out to cast the vote, just the little dimple in that chad. And that's a change of the rules from the 1990 rules that they've been following, so that what the board said on a 2- 1 vote was, let's get the rules straight before we start the count.
And that's very important because these ballot, you know, are just -- they're just pieces of cardboard with holes that get punched out, and the more you handle those cards the more those holes fall out.
LIN: Now, you have been part of this whole recount process all along. You've actually been there handling some of the ballots. How subjective is that? What are your conversations with your fellow Democratic observer as you both observe the ballots being counted?
NORCROSS: Well, they're obviously, you know, they want to keep counting, because this county has already been counted three times. It's had three machine recounts. And even running those things through the machine is damaging to the integrity of the ballot. And the accuracy won't improve with more counting. So they've gone through it three times. They now want to count dimples, and I think that's because they suspect that they'll get a lot more votes out of dimples. Well, dimples don't count in voting.
LIN: So, at the same time, the county still has to write, basically, a letter to the secretary of state justifying this hand recount. She set a deadline of 2:00 p.m. But at the same time, she's now asking the Florida Supreme Court to take over all matters legal in this presidential battle.
LIN: So what is your understanding of what's going to happen to you? What happens next there?
NORCROSS: Well, it's pretty hard to tell what happens next. I mean, we came yesterday ready for a recount and the board I think properly followed the secretary of state's order, and that was a finding that there hadn't been the kind of error that justified a manual recount. So we went through that yesterday, then they decided they'd count today, then they found out that the Democrats had filed a suit to change the rules of the count sort of in midstream, so they've stopped again. We've got dueling judges, dueling lawsuits, dueling courts, and we'll just wait here on the ground till they get the rules straight and we know how to proceed.
LIN: Well, Judge Norcross, you're outside of the courtroom, but still a witness to history and the democratic process. Thanks so much for joining us this morning.
NORCROSS: You're welcome, Carol.
LEON HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: All right, we should mention, in the interest of balance and being fair on both sides here, we're working on trying to get a Democratic spokesperson to balance the comments you just heard there by the judge.
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