(CNSNews.com) - Attorney David Boies, the latest powerhouse to join Al Gore's legal team in Florida, Wednesday said he hopes it won't be necessary to go to court to force Miami-Dade to do a manual, countywide recount. But he didn't rule it out.
"We believe that Florida state law is very clear that a Party has a right to have a recount," Boies said in an interview on NBC's Today show Wednesday. Boies is the attorney who successfully prosecuted the government's antitrust case against Microsoft.
Miami-Dade County elections officials voted 2-1 against a countywide, manual recount Tuesday night, after a sample hand count of three precincts - 6,000 votes - turned up a net gain of only five votes for Democrat Al Gore.
"We're done," county spokeswoman Ruth Kimbrough said Tuesday night.
Not so fast, Attorney Boies hinted Wednesday morning. "State law says...you take three precincts...as a sample, and if that sample tells you that it would change the election if the same thing happened throughout the county, you manually recount. And the word is "shall" in the statute - Section 5 of the statute says "shall." And then you go on and take the next step. Because once you know there's a potential to affect the election, you really need to count the votes."
Florida counties have until 2 p.m. Wednesday to explain to Secretary of State Katherine Harris, in writing, why they think a hand recount is necessary, above and beyond the machine recounts, but Boies indicated that the deadline is arbitrary. "There is no authorization to say you've got to do it by 2 o'clock today."
According to Boies, "The court made very clear that that information is to be evaluated after the corrected returns come in...She can't cut the process off prematurely."
Boies suggested that county elections officials might have proceeded with full manual recounts - and even completed them by now - if they'd been allowed to proceed without "the constant interruption and interference" of the Florida Secretary of state and the Bush campaign.
"If the Secretary of State and the Bush campaign essentially let this process go forward we'd be almost through with it by now," Bois said. "This could have been done to a large extent, if people would just let the vote counting get under way."
Echoing the now-familiar refrain of the Gore campaign, Boies suggested that Al Gore is the "rightful" victor. "This is an election [where] Vice President Gore and Sen. Joe Lieberman have already won the popular vote. They won the electoral vote outside of Florida.
"All that's being asked is that Florida count the votes that were cast in Florida. If [Secretary of State Harris] stops this process now, will anyone ever believe she did it for any purpose other than a partisan purpose? If you want to have legitimacy, you ought to let the votes be counted."