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Special Event

Democrats, Republicans See Florida Recount Process Completely Differently

Aired November 25, 2000 - 1:12 p.m. ET

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

BILL HEMMER, CNN ANCHOR: Now down to Miami where there is a briefing now underway by democratic lawmakers speaking right now -- Alcee Hastings, a Democrat from Florida, at the microphone again in Miami.

REP. ALCEE HASTINGS (D), FLORIDA: ... that they are disenfranchising, at the very least, 10,700 people, and some of those are mine and Carrie Meek's and Peter Deutsch's constituents. And I personally believe that what is going on is deeply wrong and I'm deeply troubled by it all.

I have asked, through letter form, that the attorney general's office investigate what happened here in Dade County. In addition thereto, my advice to Vice President Gore has been to vigorously pursue the necessary undertakings under the election code, more specifically, dealing with the fact that there is a contest provision that allows for matters such as what transpired here to be undertaken. Once the percentages were determined after the tabulation by machine that there were errors, it is clear to me that it's violative, constitutionally, for the Dade canvassing board not to have gone forward with their manual count.

The other thing that I find distressing is that no one on the canvassing board, even though they had lawyers, sought the intervention of the Florida Supreme Court for additional time. Nobody has said that they requested additional time. There was nothing to stop them from going as far as they could go and then to alert the court in time that they could not logistically complete the manual count.

Thus, I perceive that a backroom deal was cut somewhere that most of us in our lifetimes will probably never know that transpired. I happen to know all three of the fine people that work on the canvassing board, but they did something that I feel cuts off the voters' opportunities. And if it was in the face of the intimidation of the organized, outlandish actions that were undertaken by the Republicans here at this government center -- if it was for that reason and that reason alone, then this election cannot stand in this county. And that's how I strongly will urge that we pursue every legal avenue for the purpose of assuring that a fair and accurate count is undertaken here in Dade County as well as throughout...

HEMMER: We're going to take you now away from Miami with the democratic lawmakers there with their briefing in Miami up to Broward County now and Christine Todd Whitman, the governor of New Jersey, now at the microphone there. We'll listen.

REP. CHRISTINE TODD WHITMAN (R), NEW JERSEY: Again, looking at this process, they're working hard. I worry if they're going to try to speed up in order to meet the deadline. I don't know how they can speed this process because it is a very deliberative process. Again, trying to do it right, it's each one -- looking at each one, and then trying to impugn the intent is very difficult, it seems to me, when someone has not punched out anything on the presidential level, and all you get is a little indentation which, having seen one of the ballots, it takes some skill to do.

It's very easy to push out a chad. It is perfectly possible for someone to have gotten into the voting booth and looked at their presidential and started to think they were going to vote and then say, no, I just can't do it, I don't like any of them, a pox on all their houses, I'm not voting and leave it the way it is.

And then to somehow decide, after the fact, that that means that that person really wanted to vote because they might have voted Republican or Democrat further down the line, that somehow that's what they meant presidentially, I think is a stretch. So the whole process -- the people here that I have observed are working their hardest. They're trying to be as fair and as even-handed as possible, but they're laboring under impossible conditions.

QUESTION: Governor, the people I've talked to...

HEMMER: All right, Christine Todd Whitman, the governor of New Jersey, again. She was an observer in Palm Beach County. We saw it live last hour here as she was sitting at the table and observing how the various ballots in Palm Beach were being scrutinized.

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