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Miami Herald to publish story on Florida recount dispute

Miami Herald to publish story on Florida recount dispute

MIAMI, Florida (CNN) -- The Miami Herald will publish a front-page story Monday that details its analysis of the aborted presidential recount effort in Florida, a news executive for the newspaper said Sunday.

"It just examines who would have won the presidency," said Mark Siebel, The Herald's managing editor for news.

The Herald's Monday story will focus on "what would have happened if the recount had gone forward without challenge" in four counties cited by Democrat Al Gore, Siebel said. The counties examined by the newspaper are Miami-Dade, Broward, Volusia and Palm Beach.

  • The Florida vote

    Siebel said a team of up to 15 reporters and researchers had examined 10,644 disputed presidential ballots from those counties.

    Monday's story by The Herald is the latest in a series of stories the newspaper has published examining the presidential vote in all 67 Florida counties.

    Following the November election, Gore had sought a recount in selected counties, saying thousands of ballots had never been counted. Republicans opposed that effort, saying the ballots had been counted by machines and some voters simply never made a clear selection for president.

    George W. Bush won the presidency five weeks after Election Day after the U.S. Supreme Court blocked Gore's efforts to have the disputed ballots counted by hand.

    Siebel remained mum on Sunday about his newspaper's Monday story.

    "We want to make people read the newspaper tomorrow." The story will also be available on the newspaper's Web site sometime after midnight, Siebel said.

    Other news organizations examine Florida vote

    A separate group of news organizations, including CNN, The New York Times and The Washington Post, have joined forces to retain a nonprofit research firm to conduct an inventory of Florida's uncounted presidential ballots.

    The National Opinion Research Center, affiliated with the University of Chicago, will evaluate the ballots and classify the marks or lack of marks on each. The firm will not try to determine whether a ballot contains a "vote," but will only describe the marks.

    The firm will look at roughly 180,000 ballots from throughout the state's 67 counties that did not register a presidential vote when they passed through machines. Those ballots includes both undervotes -- no vote for president -- and overvotes -- two or more votes for president.

    Other news organizations that are part of the inventory effort include The Associated Press, The Wall Street Journal, the Palm Beach Post, the St. Petersburg Times and Tribune Publishing.

    The center will train teams of three independent coders to classify each ballot based on the varying interpretations local canvassing boards have confronted in Florida in their efforts to count those ballots.

    When the effort was announced, organizers said it should be completed by April. The results will be released to the public.

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