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Election 2000: Newly Appointed Broward County Supervisor of Elections Judge Robert Rosenberg Holds News Briefing

Aired November 21, 2000 - 10:18 a.m. ET


KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: We're going to break in and take you to a developing story in Broward county. You're going to hear from Judge Robert Rosenberg. He is the judge that's going to replace Jane Carroll, the 70-year-old Broward county supervisor of elections who resigned today. She said she was tired of the 15-hour work days and that she is going on vacation with her family in California.

Let's listen in to Judge Rosenberg.



QUESTION: You got this responsibility?

QUESTION: Coming in at the last minute?

ROSENBERG: I received a call last night. Actually, I came home -- I had exercised -- I came home and I received a call from the chief judge, and he asked me to come down and do this, and it's my duty to do it. I'm honored to be part of the process, and I'm here.

QUESTION: Judge, do you think it might get a bit tedious, as to the process, the length of it? Just what have you signed up for?

ROSENBERG: I guess that's a good question. I may not know how to answer that right now. So far, it's been going fairly smoothly this morning. We've just been counting ballots, or maybe double checking what's been happening here, trying to reconcile things, and it's gone fairly smoothly.

QUESTION: But this exhausted Jane Carroll.

ROSENBERG: It's possible. I don't know. I mean, I -- actually, I was in I was in Reno, Nevada, the last week, the close of the national judicial college, watching this on television from time to time, when you get out of class. So I wasn't really a part of this, wasn't a party to it, I just saw it, like every other American.

And then I came back here, and I was in court yesterday, had my docket, had proceedings. I had a docket for today and tomorrow, I might tell you. I got a call last night. I was asked to be part of the process, and I'm here. QUESTION: Did you discuss your views of voter intent, Judge? Did you discuss you views of voter intent? In other words, is a dimpled ballot, in your view, a ballot for the candidate -- is that not enough to show voter intent?

ROSENBERG: I don't know that I can answer that right now. I simply don't know. I'd want to see the ballots. I'm looking at the ballots right now. Want to get through the morning. And I'm trying to get a sense of what's happening.

QUESTION: Judge...

ROSENBERG: I can't fully answer your question. I don't want to give you an answer now.

QUESTION: Judge, in Palm Beach county -- Judge, in Palm Beach county, the standards...

ROSENBERG: Let me do it one at a time.

QUESTION: I was asking first. Yes. In Palm beach county, the standard they've established for counting dimpled ballots is if the presidential ballot is dimpled and no other races are, they throw it out. Would you consider that to be a fair standard here, indicating that the person obviously couldn't vote, because they dimpled several races.

ROSENBERG: I don't know that I'm in a position right now to give you a view on ballots, on dimples, or these other things. I'd simply want to look at them and get a greater sense. I've only been here the morning. It's not something that I've really looked at. I'll probably have a sense of that at some point today or maybe tomorrow. But at this point, I'm not prepared to really...

QUESTION: It's a big issue in the country right now with the ballots.

ROSENBERG: Oh, I know that. You know, I can understand. But I think until you're there, until you're on the firing line and you see these things, I don't know if you're prepared to answer that.


QUESTION: Judge, what is your view of the process so far? And as you're aware, your predecessor had not been in favor of this recount. When you were not part of this board, what had been your view? Now that you're part of it, what is your view of how it will...?

ROSENBERG: I'm simply here to do the really the best job I can do and try and do it well. I don't know that I have a view on that. I'm just a judge here, I'm not a -- I'm not anything else, I'm just a judge, and I was given this -- this is my duty, and I'm going to do it. I don't know that I have any other position.

QUESTION: How is coming in at this stage of the process a disadvantage, an advantage?


QUESTION: Is coming in at this stage of the process an advantage, a disadvantage?

ROSENBERG: Well, I'm probably a lot fresher than a lot of people, and we're fairly close to the end here -- at least, at least for some things. And that might be helpful. But I don't know -- I'm learning: I've learned something this morning as we were going through.

As I say, it's fairly smooth in there, it's not rancorous at all. We're looking at ballots, turning them over, trying to see what the situation is, and generally there is agreement, at least on most of the ballots.


QUESTION: Do you believe right now that you bring some kind of -- I don't know if balance is the right word, or at least the appearance -- because there's been so much emphasis placed on Republican-Democrat. Well, we have another Republican to fill in. Do you think that you bring to this the appearance that all sides are...


ROSENBERG: ... And call it as I see it.


QUESTION: Judge, what is the situation judging the overseas ballots, in light of Bob Butterworth's opinion. Do you know what's going to happen to those ballots?

ROSENBERG: I don't know. Earlier this morning, I did ask a question about that. I said: What is the situation? And I didn't get a response back on that. So we will direct ourselves at that. At least, I'll ask that question, again, at some point. I want to know the answer to that too. At this point, I don't know the answer to that, and I don't know that the answer has been formulated, nor do I know that I have a position on that at this point. I simply want to look at that, I want to see what the other canvassers say and what the legal opinions are. But at this point, I can't answer that question.


QUESTION: Judge Lee said publicly, a couple days ago, that most of the dimpled ballots, if they're counted, will go to Al Gore. Is that something that will weigh on your mind when you decide what standards have to be used in counting dimples?

ROSENBERG: I don't know what he said. I'll look at the ballots, and I'll look at them on one by one and make a call on a one-by-one basis. I don't know which way anything's going to fall.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Last question, please.

QUESTION: Judge, what is your impression of the other board members. Did the rest of them seem tired? Give me an idea of when you walked in this morning and when you've been talking with them?

ROSENBERG: Did they seem tired?

QUESTION: You said you're fresher -- that you have more...

ROSENBERG: Well, I think I am. I wouldn't characterize them as tired at all.

QUESTION: But I mean the process itself: It's exhausting, it's tedious.

ROSENBERG: That's possible. That's possible, and I'm not in that situation, though, so I can't tell you that.

QUESTION: But you will be, so what do you think of it?

ROSENBERG: I don't know. I hope I won't be.

QUESTION: Judge, just for -- have you seen any evidence of any partisanship, from your view, this morning? Did you see anything that is any partisan...?

ROSENBERG: Not as far as I can tell right now. No, I haven't seen any evidence of that. People seem to be getting along. On the other hand, there hasn't been a contested matter. I suppose as long as things get along, you won't see that. When there's a contested matter, you might. I don't know. It hasn't happened yet, and I don't know that that will happen. So I can't fully answer your question, I'm sorry.


QUESTION: Can you tell us why you switched party affiliations?

ROSENBERG: Well, I used -- since you want to know -- I was an assistant United States attorney. I was a NPA for, I don't know, 13 or 14 years, and there were some friends of mine -- I worked on a couple campaigns -- they happened to be Republicans. I thought they were nice people.

QUESTION: What's an NPA?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm sorry, that's last question.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: NPA is "No Party Affiliation."

PHILLIPS: You are listening to Judge Robert Rosenberg. He is the newly appointed Broward county supervisor of elections. He replaced Jane Carroll, the 70-year-old former supervisor who resigned today, saying she was tired of the 15-hour work days and is going home to California to be with her family for a vacation.

Couple things that the judge said: He received the call yesterday, after exercising, and was very happy to be a part of this process. He feels its his duty. So far, he says, things are going smoothly. It's not rancorous at all, and there's been an agreement so far on most of the ballots.

He was swamped by questions, and you could see from his face he was trying the best that he could to answer them to answer them, but still reserved his opinion and didn't really address issues such as the dimpled ballots or stating a position with regard to his view on the recounts.

So we will be following him and his new duty. The advantage he does say that he has is that he is a lot fresher than most of the people there right now.



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