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Election 2000: Bush Campaign Attorney Discusses Democrats' Challenge to Loosen Local Palm Beach County Standards on What Constitutes a Vote

Aired November 21, 2000 - 1:36 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: Well, in Palm Beach County, Democrats today asked a judge to loosen the local standard for what technically constitutes a vote.

CNN's Jeff Flock following this story for us from West Palm Beach -- Jeff.

JEFF FLOCK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Indeed, outside where the counting is taking place, Natalie. And we have talked to Mark Wallace, who is counsel for the Bush campaign, into coming out.

You have spent much of your day inside that room, and we can take our viewers inside to watch live, as the counting continues. You have been at those tables today, in some sense going over every disputed ballot; correct?

MARK WALLACE, BUSH CAMPAIGN ATTORNEY: That's correct.

FLOCK: What is your reaction to the other side going into court today and asking that, in some sense, the standard for dimpled ballots be changed and enforced counting the dimpled ballots here?

WALLACE: Well, the best indication of the Gore campaign's dissatisfaction with this process is now that they're going in to court for a fourth time to try to change to another standard yet again. They are on their fourth standard, they are looking to change it once again. What better indication could we have that they are dissatisfied with the process, and the way it's turning out for them.

FLOCK: Mark, I want to pause for one second and take a look. This is what it is all about. We have talked the local elections officials into giving us one of these for demonstration purposes. And the key, as I rattle it around here is the three and the five. You are the three, they're the five.

WALLACE: Right and we are seemingly arguing over every three and every five, and the Democrats really are not pleased with the result.

FLOCK: How is it coming down right now? I talked to David Neumann earlier, your opposite number for the Gore campaign. He said, if you count the dimpled ballots, it's an overwhelming majority for Vice President Gore? WALLACE: Well, I don't know if that is an overwhelming majority or not, but just now we went through a heavily Republican precinct, and many of the dimpled ballots were Republican, and the judge said, looked over to my Democratic counsel and said: Paybacks are hell, because there were a lot of Republican dimples. So I don't think anybody can say there are more Democratic dimples or Republican dimples. I just think the Democratic Party is reaching to try to find votes wherever they can be and where they are not.

FLOCK: If you had to size it up right now, in terms of numbers of votes. We are reporting now about 103, 104 precincts counted and certified, and a swing of single digits. Obviously, a lot of disputed ballots like this one are still out there. What about when it comes down to those?

WALLACE: I think it is a very close margin right now. But the best indication that the Gore campaign is dissatisfied with the result is they are going to court yet again to challenge the standard.

FLOCK: Mark Wallace, I appreciate it. I am going to let you get back inside. I know you got much more work to do.

And that work will continue here today, it will continue tomorrow until about 5:00, then they will take Thanksgiving off. Then Friday and Saturday, just the canvassing board will meet here, no more counting on Friday and Saturday, just the canvassing board meets to try and resolve these disputed ballots, the dimple questions, as well as the chad questions. And then, on Sunday, they begin the recount here, and that is of course all supposing that the Supreme Court doesn't come in and obviate this whole process.

I'm Jeff Flock, CNN, reporting live from Palm Beach County, Florida -- Natalie.

ALLEN: Thank you so much, Jeff. It just seems to get more and more bogged down there in Florida. But we thank you.

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