Gore Campaign Wants Hand Recount Of Ballots In Four Florida Counties
(CNSNews.com) - Gore Campaign Chairman William Daley said Thursday Democrats want a hand recount of election ballots in four Florida counties, which Daley believes will prove that Floridians want Al Gore as President. If Gore wins Florida's 25 electoral votes he will become President. Wire service and television reports show Republican George W Bush still leads in Florida.
"Today, the appropriate Florida Democratic officials will be requesting a hand count of ballots in Palm Beach County, as well as three other counties, Volusia, (Daytona Beach area), Dade (Miami area) and Broward (Fort Lauderdale area). In addition, we will be working with voters from Florida in support of legal actions to demand some redress for the disenfranchisement of more than 20,000 voters in Palm Beach County," Daley said.
"We believe that with so much at stake, steps should be taken to make sure that the people's choice becomes our president," Daley said, referring to the fact that Gore leads Bush in the national popular vote.
Daley also said the Gore campaign continues to receive reports of voter intimidation in other parts of Florida and says if they are true, they will also become part of the legal action.
However, Daley denied that the Gore campaign is trying to drag out the process in determining the outcome of last Tuesday's election.
"All we are seeking is this: that the candidate that the voters preferred, become our President. That is what the American people truly deserve. Moreover, we will move this matter ahead as quickly as is possible. We do not want delay. What we want is democracy fulfilled," Daley said.
Daley admonished the Bush campaign not to "crown" themselves the victors yet.
"I believe that their actions to try to presumptively crown themselves the victors and to try put in place a transition, run the risk of dividing the American people and creating a sense of confusion. Let the legal system runs its course. Let the true and accurate will of the people prevail. And if, at the end of the process, George Bush is the victor, we will honor and obviously respect those results," Daley said.
Earlier, Former Secretary of State James Baker, who is in Tallahassee overseeing the recount for the Bush campaign, said the unresolved presidential election has not put America on the verge of a constitutional crisis.
"There's no reason for us to be on the verge of a constitutional crisis," Baker said, adding that both campaigns have an interest in "seeing that this recount, which is mandated by Florida law, is carried out very openly and as expediently as possible, fairly, and in accordance with Florida law" so the will of Florida voters can be respected.
As for lawsuits already filed over the allegedly confusing Palm Beach County ballot, Baker - himself a lawyer - noted, "You can sue anybody for anything these days." He added, "In many instances, courts will decline to take jurisdiction of lawsuits involving contests between political parties."
Baker said what we really ought to do is stop talking about filing lawsuits and "let the recount proceed in an orderly way, in accordance with the law of Florida."
Asked about the 19,000 Palm Beach County ballots that were nullified because people voted for more than two candidates, Baker said it might mean that there was some confusion about the ballot, "but that does not necessitate throwing the whole election out."
Baker emphasized that the people who are complaining now did have a chance to review the ballot before the voting took place. "That ballot was posted, as required by Florida law, in newspapers and public...places all over the state of Florida," he said, and noted that the ballot was approved by a Democratic elections supervisor.
"We haven't heard one gripe about that ballot until the voting took place," Baker said. He also said it's important to realize that no one's claiming fraud in Palm Beach County.
"We are, after all, a nation of laws. That's the key here. Was there any fraud in this election? Nobody's arguing fraud," he said. "Did the authorities comply with the law of Florida in conducting this election? That's really the test," he said.
Once the statewide recount is completed, a commission made up of Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris and Florida Division of Elections Director Clay Roberts is supposed to certify the results. Florida Governor Jeb Bush was on the commission but recused himself to avoid a potential conflict.