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CNN Today

Discovery of Mechanical Errors Gives Gore Sizable Lead in New Mexico

Aired November 14, 2000 - 1:21 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: We've thrown a lot of information your way regarding the developments in Florida today, so we'll give you a moment to digest that and we'll head out West for a moment because, lest we forget, the race in New Mexico hasn't been decided yet, either; and the vote count there has taken quite an interesting turn.

CNN's Greg LaMotte joins us on the phone from Albuquerque to tell us what's up.

GREG LAMOTTE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Natalie a major development occurred last night in the see-saw battle for votes here in the state of New Mexico. Al Gore and George Bush had been running neck-and-neck, with Bush holding on to, as few as a few days ago, a lead of about four votes.

Well, last night top Republican and democratic leaders in the state confirmed to CNN a mathematical mistake in the tallying process in New Mexico's second-most populous county was discovered. When the correction was made, more than 500 votes that had gone to Bush were taken away and given to Al Gore. It amounts to a 1,000-vote swing in favor of the vice president.

At this late stage of counting and the certification process; barring any new discoveries of mathematical errors elsewhere, both Republican and democratic leaders acknowledge Gore may now enjoy an insurmountable lead in New Mexico. This discovery occurred as it appeared that Governor Bush was about to extend his lead.

The counting process, involving a few hundred ballots, including overseas ballots, was completed last night in New Mexico's most populous voting county, that includes Albuquerque. When the vote results were announced, Bush had picked up five votes despite the fact that Al Gore won the county by several thousand votes. Here's thing else interesting: Al Gore captured the majority of the county's overseas votes.

The head of the state Republican Party told me that if the vote in New Mexico ends up being very close he would be in favor of seeking a recount. But he said that would be up to Governor Bush. In New Mexico a candidate must wait until after the state certifies the election before they can ask for a recount. The election here will be certified November 28. A request for a recount is automatically granted; the candidate who seeks the recount must pay the costs associated with the recount -- Natalie.

ALLEN: All right; interesting developments out West as well. Greg LaMotte watching things in Albuquerque -- thanks Greg.

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