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CNN Today

The Florida Recount: Many Believe Political Process Should be Allowed to Run its Course

Aired November 10, 2000 - 2:37 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: Now we're going to hear from more voters. Just north of Chicago, Northwestern University stretches for almost a mile along the shore of Lake Michigan. Nearly 12,000 students are enrolled at Northwestern's Evanston campus.

And our Jeff Flock is there inside a student center for some thoughts on the election -- Jeff.

JEFF FLOCK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Natalie, we are at the Kellogg School of Management here at Northwestern University and a class that is entitled "power and organization." I guess that's an appropriate topic.

We have been spending the time talking with professor Mark Vantresca (ph), who leads this class. I guess I want to get a sense of where everybody's head is right now. Is anybody worried about this process that we're undergoing right now?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think this is probably the best thing that's ever happened in a presidential election because it's the first time that the politicians and the people will get a chance to review the electoral system, ballot counting and even the very format of the ballot.

FLOCK: Anybody got a different view on that? Is anybody worried at all about this whole process? Yes, go ahead.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My worry is actually that people are paying way too much attention to this. I mean, we don't have to have a president until the end of January. Let's give it some time, figure it out, not rush to judgment and just have a step-by-step process and do the right thing.

FLOCK: Some people are concerned that, perhaps, the Gore effort may go too far. We were talking earlier that, if it gets into a lawsuit and there are recounts in other states there might be a problem. Does anybody got a potential problem with that? Yes, go ahead.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, I just don't think that division for the country is a very good thing. If we stay this divided, people feel very strongly one way or the other; and if we stay this divided for a long period of time it's not good for the country. It's great that this many people are involved in politics, and hopefully people know your vote does count; but in this particular situation, we shouldn't stay this divided this long.

FLOCK: What about this Palm Beach situation? We've got allegations that upwards of 19,000 votes, or perhaps more, didn't go to the place that they should have gone. How many people think there should be a revote in Palm Beach County? A revote?

OK, how many think a revote is a bad idea? Tell me why the revote is a bad idea.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You can't revote just in one specific county; then, the rest of the country is going to go say, I want to revote, too. These elections were close in these counties as well and I don't think the government should spend their money recounting the elections again. I think we should wait for the absentee ballots to come in and see where it turns out.

FLOCK: So what do we do then. If we don't do a revote, is there any way to make that situation right in Palm Beach County if, in fact, it was wrong?

Anybody else got any ideas? What do we do?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I mean, we have a process. They put that ballot in a newspaper. It was a democratic person that, you know, looked over that. Everyone had the time to look at that ballot and make the objections and they didn't; and now they're crying foul at the end. And we can go county by county, city by city throughout the whole United States and pick out all these different little ones, except the problem is just we've narrowed it down to one that is decisive on this election. And I think that's very dangerous. We just have to let, you know, what happened -- accept the outcome and move on as a country.

Professor Vantresca, what message are we sending these young people with what they are watching right now? This is history unfolding, you don't even have to worry about teaching it, do you?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not at all. This is -- I think I'm with Art (ph), actually. This is great process. Politics is a process and this entire debate reminds us of the centrality of competing interests, competing rules and a chance to be engaged and to really understand where the United States is going to go for the next couple of years.

FLOCK: Do you folks have a sense of just how big a piece of history this is? Does anybody have a sense of just, exactly what you're into right now? Does anybody have an appreciation of what it is they're into?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Absolutely, and I think that's why we have to be so careful with it. I think that's why we have to follow the process, as Matt (ph) said, and make sure that it is done correctly so that nobody, a month from now, can say, it's still not OK and we still have to continue to fight this battle. FLOCK: Anybody else got any other ideas about what we ought to do here? Are we doing the right thing? Is this rolling out the right way?

Last word.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think the best thing we can do is follow the law that's set right now because that's the most fair thing to do; and then we adjust it as needed for the next election.

FLOCK: Good deal. Folks, thank you. Professor Vantresca, thank you so much. Appreciate you letting us interrupt your class today to listen in.

This is part of what America is thinking. We'll have more.

I'm Jeff Flock, CNN, reporting live from Northwestern University.

ALLEN: Thanks Jeff and thanks to the students and the professor for their input today.

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