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The Florida Recount: Palm Beach County Judge Will Decide Whether he can Allow Revote Next WeekAired November 17, 2000 - 9:46 a.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
STEPHEN FRAZIER, CNN ANCHOR: A development, now, from Florida, of all places; the place we've been telling you about all day as we've been showing you recounts of votes in Palm Beach County and Broward County. Remember that there's been a hearing underway on the possibility of conducting an entirely new vote in one of those counties, and it turns out there's a development in that hearing.
Here is Greta Van Susteren to bring us up to date on what's happening there.
Greta, good to see you again.
GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Nice to see you, Stephen.
Lots of action here in Palm Beach County court. The issue before this judge is whether or not he has the authority to throw out the vote or to order a new vote in Palm Beach County in the event there is a problem with the butterfly ballot. And what he has just announced in court is that he does not intend, after hearing arguments from the lawyers today, to issue a verbal decision but, rather, because he calls this an emotional decision, is that he must -- he's going to wait until next week. And next week he will issue a written order.
The lawyers for the plaintiffs in this case, who are challenging this election, say that they do not have to show fraud, but merely substantial noncompliance with the elections procedure here in the state of Florida, in Palm Beach County. Of course, we have not heard from the other side, but the issue only before this court is whether he has the power to toss out the election in Palm Beach County and to order a revote here in Palm Beach County. We won't get that decision, we'll get a written decision next week, not today, but the arguments continue.
FRAZIER: And Greta, fill me in once again: Who is that asked him to do that? That's the voters there, is that right?
VAN SUSTEREN: That's right. There are plaintiffs here, voters; and the defendants' list reads like a who's who in the election. You've got the Palm Beach canvassing commission, you've got Governor Bush, you've got Katherine Harris, you've got Al Gore. I mean, it's a who's who in this election, are the defendants here.
But it's brought by voters who are complaining that they think that there's procedure -- there should be a new vote because that butterfly ballot, which was designed about a month and a half ago here in Palm Beach County, was confusing, causing people to vote in a manner in which they never intended. But before the judge even reaches the issue about whether there's a problem with this butterfly ballot or not, he first wants to know that, if he does find it, does he even have the power to order a revote here? Does he have the power to throw out the election?
Because if he simply doesn't have that power, he doesn't want to spend a lot of time, wasteful time, listening to the lawyers talk and evidence presented on the issue of the butterfly ballot. So this is only the question as to what is his power and nothing else.
FRAZIER: And if I understand you correctly, he's going to wait a while before we hear his ruling. So between now and then, Greta, we're going to have a number of developments. We're going to have the continuing counts of the regular ballots. We're going to have the very careful un-padlocking of and counting of absentee ballots.
We just want to let everybody know CNN's going to keep you all completely up to date on those developments as the hours wear on.
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