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Election 2000: Miami-Dade County Canvassing Board Elects Not to Do Hand RecountAired November 22, 2000 - 1:48 p.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
STEPHEN FRAZIER, CNN ANCHOR: Mandatory or not, Natalie, as we know, at just a few minutes ago, the canvassing board in Miami-Dade county elected not to go ahead with its hand recount, saying it was just physically impossible to get through all of that before the deadline set by the Florida supreme court.
Let's turn now once again to Frank Buckley who was there during that vote, who was there during a near-riot, as it's been described, earlier in the day, by Republican observers, and who is now just outside the room where the canvassing board members are still explaining why they voted the way they did.
Frank, what's happening?
FRANK BUCKLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Stephen, clearly, a completely different mood here among Republicans who have now gathered outside of the county building in Miami. This was a group of people that earlier today was dejected, was angry, was raucous, was doing its best to protest the earlier decision of the canvassing board, the decision to just go forward with the so-called undervote of 10,750 ballots. They were just going to go through those.
Democrats were elated with that news. They felt they would gain with that. Republicans were very angry about it. And now, of course, a full "360" for Republicans who feel they have won here.
They have been high-fiving each other, they've been hugging each other, they're been excited and very happy.
And Chairman Daley, as you just heard, saying he is very disappointed -- that would probably be quite an understatement on the Gore side, given the fact that they expected to pick up at least several hundred votes here in the Miami-Dade county area.
Six hundred fifty-four thousand ballots were to be hand counted by December 1st. The canvassing board here said that the fact that the Supreme Court, the state supreme court, set a deadline of Sunday, had effectively cut their time in half; they said there was no way to, physically, count the ballots that they needed to to do a full recount. And so this morning, they had changed course; they were just going to go with that undervote. Then later, at some point between that decision being made this morning and then early this afternoon when they reconvened, they decided that they couldn't even complete that by the deadline.
I don't know if you can hear some of the activity behind me, but there are still people who are happy or unhappy with the decision being very vocal. And with that, I'll toss it back to you -- Stephen.
FRAZIER: Frank, I hope you're able to hear us. But as you explained earlier, in a very gracious way, it actually came down to where they would be counting, and how private that would be, and whether they could shift to the 19th floor, where they'd have room to actually operate, the three members?
BUCKLEY: Stephen, the only thing that I heard there was "19th floor." If you want to know what happened this morning with regard to the 19th floor, it appeared as though David Leahy believed -- and he is the election supervisor -- that once they decided, after this morning, to move it up to the 19th floor, there was a great protest by Republicans who felt that they weren't going to be having enough access to view, to observe, the process because it was in an office area.
Once that decision was then made to reconvene back on the 18th floor -- where they've been conducting this vote count all along in full view of both the media and Republican observers and Democratic Party observers -- once they decided to do that, Leahy made it clear to the other canvassing members that just because of the geography and the logistics of being on the 18th floor, rather than on the 19th floor, which is where the tabulation room is -- which is where they had planned to do this recount of the undervote, the 10,750 votes -- because they couldn't do that there, he could not guarantee that they would get through that even 10,000 figure of votes by Sunday. So based upon that, the board, once again, voted this afternoon to take up this matter, yet again, and then this time voted unanimously, 3-0, to simply not go forward with any manual recount -- Stephen.
FRAZIER: Frank Buckley, once again in middle of things down there in Miami-Dade county. Frank, thank you very much.
Much more coming, a very busy day today, still haven't told you about events in Broward county or what's happening with the Vice President. We'll do that when we come back.
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