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The Florida Recount: Hearing on Butterfly Ballots Expected Today in Palm Beach CountyAired November 15, 2000 - 9:31 a.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: And now we move back on to Florida. Part of the confusion over this election has been the so-called butterfly ballot that they used in Palm Beach County. Wouldn't you know it? There is a hearing on that today as well. Let's bring in our Mark Potter standing by with more on that hearing in West Palm Beach.
Mark, good morning. Good to see you.
MARK POTTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, that hearing, indeed, under way right now here at the courthouse in Palm Beach County before Judge Jorge Labarge (ph). The Florida Democratic Party is asking him right now to define the rules by which the canvassing board conducts that manual recount. And if you can believe it, the central issue here involves the word "dimples" and "pregnant chads."
Let me try to explain that. In counting the ballots so far in the manual count they have done so far, the canvassing board has counted those ballots, where the hole was punched all the way out or partially punched out. The Democrats, however, want the judge to order the canvassing board to also consider those ballots where the hole was not punched out, but where there is a mark on that piece of paper indicating the intent of the voter. That mark is known as a dimple. That little tiny piece of paper that was supposed to have been pushed out, which has a mark on it, is called a pregnant chad. So that is the terminology we are going hear in this courtroom, and that is what the Democrats are asking the judge to order the canvassing board to also consider.
Now the Republicans have filed a motion to be part of this -- the hearing and it's assumed that they are going to oppose this idea proposed by the Democrats.
The Democrats are also asking the judge to order the canvassing board here to conduct the manual recount even though the canvassing board has now said voluntarily that it will do so. Still to be determined? What happens with all of those lawsuits that have been filed by citizens here in Palm Beach County? There are 11 such lawsuits. Nine of them are filed by voters who say that they lost their vote or were confused by this butterfly ballot.
We do not know how the judge is going to deal with those today. But we can tell you that the lawyers for those plaintiffs are sitting in the courtroom now. They have their elections' experts there with them, just in case the judge calls them before the bench to discuss that too.
But the main issue right now being watched by the canvassing board is this issue of whether the judge will tell the canvassing board to also include those ballots that have little marks on them that were not fully punched out.
So we'll see where it goes, the Republicans, obviously, opposed to that.
KAGAN: Pregnant chads and dimples, a subject in Florida courtrooms today. Mark Potter, thank you very much.
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