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Special Event

Democratic Lawmakers Criticize Lack of Miami-Dade Recount

Aired November 27, 2000 - 11:49 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: Right now we need to go live down to Miami-Dade County, a news conference currently taking place. This is Democratic Congressman Bob Menendez speaking. Let's go ahead and listen.

(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

REP. ROBERT MENENDEZ (D), NEW YORK: ... And that is a fundamental difference between their view of this election and our principles, and our view that, in fact, every vote should be counted.

Now, for those who say that we should just give this up that, in fact, the vice president should not proceed, George W. Bush is continuing his process he started. He went to court first. He went to federal court. He made it a federal case. It's before the United States Supreme Court. He's not asking for a withdrawal of that.

It's fitting and appropriate that the election contest move forward so that every voter's vote will count here in Florida, and, by virtue of having all those votes counted, having the entire election validated across this land, whatever that result is -- whatever that result is.

(SPEAKING IN SPANISH)

KAGAN: Listening to a Spanish version from Congressman Bob Menendez, as he address people in Miami-Dade County, talking about whether or not the Gore campaign and the Democrats should continue their fight in the courts to contest this presidential election that was certified yesterday by Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris. Expecting that contest to be filed any moment. Actually been expecting all morning, maybe we can put that live picture up again from Tallahassee, from the state capital, from Leon County, contesting the results in Dade, Miami-Dade County, Nassau County, and also Palm Beach County.

So this is where we are expecting the contest of that election to be filed. One of the counties in contention there -- as look at a picture of the floor -- but one of the counties in contention, Miami- Dade, where those three Democratic congresspeople were holding a news conference earlier today bringing you those comments. We will take a break and bring you more after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) KAGAN: Want to take you back live now to that news conference taking place right now in Miami-Dade County. Speaking right now, this is Congressman Ed Markey, Democrat from Massachusetts.

REP. ED MARKEY (D), MASSACHUSETTS: ... because they know that George Bush will lose the election if every vote in Miami-Dade County is counted. That's what this is all about. Ground zero in the election for the presidency of the United States is the 10,700 votes that have never been counted for the first time.

The reason that the Republican riot broke out last week is that they do not want George Bush to lose the presidency in Miami-Dade County. They know that he will lose if those votes are counted.

Now the Republicans say, "Those votes have been counted twice. Those votes have been counted three times." The reality is that the machines in Miami-Dade County did not work. They were broke.

If you take a dollar and you put a dollar into a candy machine and the dollar comes back out toward you, is the machine broken or is the human being and the dollar not working? It's the machine that doesn't work, because the dollar still can be hand counted.

Here, in Miami-Dade County, 10,700 ballots were kicked out by the machines. The Republicans know that within those 10,700 ballots are the victory for Al Gore as president.

Now, why are the Republicans mad? The Republicans are mad because the networks called this race for George Bush at 3 a.m. in the morning. The Republicans went to sleep at 3 a.m. in the morning with visions of sugar plums dancing in their heads, jobs for Republicans all across the country.

When they woke up at 7 a.m., it turned out they had slept through the entire Bush administration. And they're angry, they want their jobs back from their dreams. And the only way they can accomplish that is to stop the manual recount in Dade County of all of the ballots that were never counted for the first time.

That's wrong. That's just plain wrong.

The people of Miami-Dade County should not be denied of their right to vote for the first time. They are the only people in the United States being denied this right. And along with those voters up in Palm Beach County and in Nassau County, they hold the key to determining who the next president of our country is going to be.

So, ladies and gentlemen, this is, without question, one of the most important weeks that our country will ever know. It will be decided here in the state of Florida. It will focus primarily upon Miami-Dade County. And my hope is that, at the end of the day, that the courts of this state will rule that every voter was entitled to vote and have their vote counted for that first time. Otherwise, Miami-Dade County will go down in history as the place where the American voters were denied their ability to be able to have the president who they elected on Election Day in the year 2000. Let me turn now and introduce to you Sherrod Brown, who is a congressman from the state of Ohio, but was the secretary of state for the state of Ohio. I give you Sherrod Brown.

REP. SHERROD BROWN (D), OHIO: Thank you. Sherrod Brown, I am the Democratic representative of Ohio's 13th congressional district.

Last night, Katherine Harris, secretary of state who doubles as George W. Bush's Florida campaign chairwoman, certified an inaccurate, incomplete result from the Florida elections. Last night, her issuing those results means that she has not counted 10,750 votes in Dade County, 1,000 votes in Palm Beach County, and other votes all over the state of Florida.

When I was secretary of state of Ohio for eight years in the 1980s, whenever there was a recount, whenever there was a close election, we did a hand count.

It was accepted by Republicans and Democrats alike. Whenever there was a recount, we tallied every single punch card vote by hand. The Republicans agreed that it was safer, it was cleaner, it was more accurate. Republicans agreed; Democrats agreed. We did it in election after election after election.

In the state of Texas, Governor Bush signed a law a couple of years ago, saying that a hand count was more accurate than a machine count. And just recently, just this month, in Texas, a state representative race was decided by a hand count in a recount.

That's the case in the state of Montana, the state of Massachusetts. In most states in this country, a hand count is considered to be more accurate than a machine count.

Yet Governor Bush -- when Governor Bush went to the U.S. Supreme Court to stop all hand counting in the state of Florida, went to the Supreme Court so that none of these votes, the 10,000...

KAGAN: We have been listening to group of democratic congressmen. This right here is Rep. Sherrod Brown of Ohio, as they speak in Miami, talking about the filing that we expect any second in Leon County. The Gore campaign contesting the election results, specifically in three Florida counties, those being Miami-Dade, Nassau, and Palm Beach County. Miami-Dade, where those congressman are standing, there are 10,000 votes that that did not register a presidential selection in the machine count, and they were not hand counted, and that is what the basis of that contest will be when the Gore people file that.

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