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Election 2000: Kentucky Governor Paul Patton Urges Hand Recount of Presidential Votes in Florida

Aired November 29, 2000 - 1:30 p.m. ET

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

LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: Democrats have been urging the public, and possibly one another, to be patient through this legal stage of the Florida recount.

We're joined now by Paul Patton. He is the governor of Kentucky and chairman of the Democratic Governors' Association. Governor Patton joins us from Tallahassee.

Hello, governor.

GOV. PAUL PATTON (D), KENTUCKY: Hello, Lou, good to be with you.

WATERS: What are you doing in Tallahassee?

PATTON: Well, we're talking about the fact that all the votes should be counted, and it's a principle as much as anything else, and that's what the vice president's asking, and that's four governors were down here today to reiterate. There is, just in Palm Beach county alone, or Miami-Dade county, there's 10,000 votes that have never been counted. The machine kicked them out and said we can't apply the Florida law to these votes, and therefore, according to Florida law, they should be counted in the most accurate way, and that's a hand recount, and all we're trying to do is to get the people to understand that there's 10,000 votes in one county alone that have never been counted. Our message is count the votes, whoever gets the most votes we support.

WATERS: More accurately, would you not say, governor, the votes had not been hand counted? They were counted, as votes all over the country are counted -- by machine, and undervotes are kicked out.

PATTON: No, they weren't counted, they were kicked out, and said the machine didn't say -- the machine didn't say that they voted for one person or the other. The machine didn't say they didn't vote. The machine said we can't determine what they did, and of course, under Florida law, as rearticulated by the Florida Supreme Court, the intent of the voter is to be determined by a hand recount. Only individuals can do that, and the votes have not been counted.

WATERS: And while you are doing this, calling for a full recount in Florida, we are armed with these -- with these polls that are suggesting that majority, and it's a growing majority, of Americans think Al Gore should concede in this matter. Is there some suggestion, perhaps, the political class, the partisans, have more invested in who wins this race than the American people?

PATTON: Well, I think the American people have an awfully lot invested in making sure that every vote -- and that would include their vote -- would be counted. I would ask the American people, if an election were hinged on one vote and your vote had been kicked out by the machine, because the machine couldn't determine how you have voted, would you want your vote counted? It's just as important that 10,000 Americans as it is to one American, and that's the basic question that we're trying to get the people of the courts of Florida to understand. And I think the courts will eventually come to that conclusion.

WATERS: Despite how the vote turns out, Governor, essentially, the country is split right down the middle. Here it's a virtual tie. Does that give any you pause about how this nation will be governed? Some are saying it'll be a holy terror for the next president. Some say it's a healthy thing to have this cluster of Americans around the center?

PATTON: Well, it doesn't have to be, if whomever is declared the winner will take a bipartisan coalition government approach, and I would urge whoever is the eventual winner does that. But keep in mind, that we know the electoral vote is what counts, but Al Gore got the vote support of the majority of Americans. In my opinion, those one-third of a million American majority means that he has the responsibility to make sure that the electoral vote is actually counted accurately under the law, and that's the law of the state of Florida, as it should be.

And I think he's got a responsibility to preserve the principle of every vote should count. How can we go around talking to every people about -- people about every vote should count, you should count, the election might turn on one vote, and then get to a close election, and at least 10,000 votes in one county in Florida is not being counted.

WATERS: Kentucky Governor Paul Patton, thanks so much for stopping by, sir.

PATTON: Thank you, Lou.

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