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Election 2000: Leon County Circuit Court Hears Opening Statements in Seminole County Absentee Ballot CaseAired December 6, 2000 - 9:19 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: Now back to our story, the postelection period. Each day we've been checking in with each of the camps to see what they are doing as they await the outcome of this election, now just about a month after Election Day.
Let's start with the Bush camp in Austin, Texas, and that would be Tony Clark once again handling those duties for us this morning.
Tony, good morning.
TONY CLARK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Daryn.
You know, it's interesting that you mention all the international news that's going on today, because there is a tie to what we're seeing here in Austin this morning, is the briefing -- in fact, right now, Governor George W. Bush having his intelligence briefing from the CIA.
A short time ago, we saw Condoleezza Rice, who has been one of his advisers throughout the campaign, she is expected to be his national security adviser. She arrived at the mansion. She's, we are told, listening in on this intelligence briefing as well. And it's all designed to make sure that if George W. Bush becomes the next president of the United States that he is up to date on things that are going around the world, the sorts of things, Daryn, that you've been reporting on today.
Couple of other things, he's expected to stay at the mansion pretty much all day long not only working with Condoleezza Rice and looking at international affairs and that sort of thing, but also looking at staffing for a possible Bush administration. He was very visible yesterday. We talked to him as he went to the state capital. At the time, he said he wasn't going to urge the vice president to concede. Last night, he was on "60 Minutes II," he's doing interviews, a little bit more visible.
Running mate Dick Cheney on Capitol Hill yesterday talking with Republican leadership about a possible Bush administration and the kinds of legislative packages that they would pursue in the first year of the administration. A lot of work on transition under way, but also keeping a close eye on the Florida courts and their actions there. The mood here in Austin is still optimistic about the outcome in Florida, but as we have seen so often over the past several weeks, courts can go either way and so there is still that bit of caution, the celebration very moot here -- muted here in Austin. No one is ready to celebrate until the last legal suit is over with -- Daryn.
KAGAN: Tony, as Governor Bush goes ahead and it seems each day acts a little bit more and more as the president-elect, he said in that interview last night on "60 Minutes II" that for right now he still prefers to be addressed as Governor Bush.
CLARK: He has said that. He said that -- or Karen Hughes, his communications director was asked that last week as well and said that he still wanted to be referred to as governor. But it is interesting, you might remember the other day when he was talking in an interview -- it was when he was with the governor of Colorado and he was asked about activities, and he referred to his running mate twice as the vice president, so some indication of his feelings about the direction this is going -- Daryn.
KAGAN: All right, Tony Clark in Austin, Texas, thanks very much.
While we're hearing from Tony, we're able to see that Judge Nikki Clark has taken her seat at the bench. This case, once again, involving absentee ballots in Seminole County, Florida.
Let's listen in.
(JOINED IN PROGRESS)
JUDGE NIKKI CLARK, LEON COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT: I've had a chance to review the stipulation that was entered into yesterday and first, let me compliment counsel on getting that together. It certainly, I think, is going to help expedite these matters and I appreciate the work that you put into it.
Are there any additions or corrections to it?
GERALD RICHMAN, ATTORNEY FOR PLAINTIFF: No, Your Honor.
BARRY RICHARD, ATTORNEY FOR BUSH CAMPAIGN: No, Your Honor.
First, let me announce on the issue of a demand for a jury trial and the request to strike that demand, my research indicates that there is no right to a jury trial on any of the issues presented by this case. I could not find any statutory authority to support the request. Accordingly, I am going to deny the request for a jury trial and grant the motion to strike that request. There will be no jury trial in this matter.
Now, on the issues we've got before us, and certainly I want input from counsel, but I see two distinct issues we have to deal with here. The first is whether the addition -- and I'm getting the language from the stipulation -- whether the addition or completion of voter registration I.D. numbers is sufficient to invalidate the absentee ballots.
And then the second issue I see is whether or not the Democratic Party and Republican Party were treated differently by the supervisor of elections office -- thank you -- to the extent that the validity or the integrity of the election process was compromised.
From reviewing the stipulation that's been presented, it would appear to me that the first issue, that is whether the addition or correction of the voter registration I.D. numbers can be dealt with on a motion for summary judgment, because there don't appear to be any undisputed facts, just legal issues.
And let me have input from counsel on that, please.
RICHMAN: Your Honor, on behalf of the plaintiff in terms of the -- whether or not -- if what Your Honor is saying whether or not it was altered and so on has been stipulated to, I think that would be a -- that would be an issue for partial summary judgment on the question of what was done.
On the issue of whether or not it is sufficient to void the absentee ballot, the reason we don't believe that would be appropriate for summary judgment is because one of the critical issues for Your Honor to decide is the intent that's involved, intentional wrongdoing. We believe that the stipulation alone probably is enough to show intentional wrongdoing, but we have significant additional evidence to offer on that point, and the additional evidence includes the -- what was stated by the supervisor's office to a couple of live witnesses we'll present in terms of strict enforcement as to what is done; the knowledge of the employees and Sandra Goard with regard to the supervisor's office as to how that should have been handled; the issue concerning a cover-up.
It -- basically actions that show that she was not candid. Number one, that she -- where she testified under oath that she did not know the name of the Republican operative, when the testimony will clearly show that she did. She didn't know who it was that called her from Tallahassee. The testimony will be that she knew it was Mr. Snick (ph), the...
CLARK: OK, so you don't agree then that the issue is right for summary judgment?
RICHMAN: No, Your Honor.
I believe we've got to have some more, call it meat on the bones, the facts to show in there the issue of intentional wrongdoing, because I think that's an issue under Boardman and the other cases that bear on Your Honor's decision with regard to the extent of the wrong and why the entire integrity of the process...
CLARK: OK, let me hear from opposing counsel.
RICHARD: Appears clear to me, Your Honor, that each of the things that counsel mentioned are utterly irrelevant to this question. I think that Your Honor is absolutely right. None of them have anything to do with whether or not a voter's ballot should be invalidated. There is no suggestion in this case that the voter did anything inappropriate. So the sole question is whether the insertion of the number on the voter's ballot -- on the voter's request for a ballot invalidated the ballot. The motives of the public officials involved it seems to me have no relationship to that. I know of no statutory and no common law authority that suggests that the motive of a public official has any relationship to invalidating a ballot which is properly submitted by a qualified elector.
CLARK: And Mr. Young.
TERRY YOUNG, ATTORNEY FOR SEMINOLE COUNTY CANVASSING BOARD: Yes. Your Honor, on behalf of Seminole County, we would concur with Your Honor's analysis and Mr. Richard, we believe that this -- the first issue that you've outlined is absolutely right for summary judgment and we would concur.
CLARK: Well, let me take a look at the Boardman and Beckstrom cases and I will make a decision in just a minute.
BILL HEMMER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: David Cardwell here in Tallahassee, let's go ahead and let the folks at home know what's going on right now. We heard from Barry Richard and also Gerald Richman just a short time ago.
DAVID CARDWELL, CNN ELECTION LAW ANALYST: We're at the beginning of the hearing. The judge has announced her ruling on the request for a jury trial, and she denied that request. So it will be just a trial before the judge so that -- much like with Judge Sauls over the weekend, in this case, Judge Clark will be the sole arbiter in this case.
HEMMER: The other thing she pointed out, two issues she's looking at, number one was the I.D. number, adding that I.D. number on the applications sufficient enough to throw them all out, and were Republicans or Democrats treated differently in this case.
CARDWELL: Right. And also what we have found out, they have stipulated to a lot of the facts, so that should speed up this trial a good bit.
HEMMER: All right, Judge Clark again.
CLARK: ... and issues of whether or not there's been intentional wrongdoing, and I based it on filing language.
In determining the effect of irregularities on the validity of absentee ballots cast, the following factors shall be considered: presence or absence of fraud, gross negligence, or intentional wrongdoing; whether there has been substantial compliance with essential requirements of absentee voting law; and whether the irregularities complained of adversely affect the sanctity of the ballot, or the integrity of the election.
Now, I would presume that there is not a substantial amount of evidence to be presented since so many facts have been stipulated to. How many witnesses do you expect to call, Mr. Richman?
RICHMAN: Your Honor, in terms of eyewitnesses, the actual number, which I've got right here, is no more than four live witnesses. We have two very short witnesses not included in that, which if we get stipulation on it -- Mr. Stelling (ph), who is here in the courtroom, I have probably a couple of sentences to ask him about. We have an issue of the photographs, I have tried to get a stipulation on the photographs here that show the elections office, and I've not been able to get a stipulation so I will need to call a witness simply to identify the photographs.
Beyond that, what we intend to do is we've got probably 20 hours of depositions that we have very carefully gone through and excerpted, we have given a copy of that to counsel, those are the portions that we intended to read in what -- what we intend to do, Your Honor, is basically present most of our case right here through excerpts in the depositions that essentially will show exactly what happened in the office.
The only other witness we are going to be calling live is Mr. Brad DeLong (ph), who is a professor in California, who is a statistician, who will be testifying to give Your Honor an alternate remedy. In other words, on the issue of whether all 15,000 ballots should be thrown out, or whether Your Honor has the equitable power, finding of liability to find the remedy that some lesser number should be thrown out, and he'll present testimony on that issue. And I believe the other side has a statistician that they'll present rebuttal to that.
CLARK: Mr. Young, how many witnesses do you have to present?
YOUNG: Your Honor, we intend to be brief. Obviously, the number of witnesses we call depends upon the witnesses called by the plaintiff.
YOUNG: We expect that probably call five to six live witnesses, several of them, two of them -- three of them are supervisors from other counties. They will be very brief, and there may be some deposition transcripts or portions that we read as well. We only just this morning, just before Your Honor walked in, received their excerpts, so we think all of the deposition excerpts should be very brief based upon the stipulations that entered into.
The only reason we have not been able to reach a stipulation with regards to the photographs is not because I object to the fact that they accurately depict the supervisor of elections office when they were taken, but when these photographs were taken a week or more ago, we were promised copies of all of the photographs taken so that we would be able to use them for trial. The first time I have seen any of the photographs is today, with the ones that, that plaintiff has selected and mounted for showing the court.
I also contend that the need for the photographs to show the areas where Mr. Leech worked had been mooted by the stipulation which deals with that subject matter. The room in which they photographed -- that they photographed where Mr. Leech worked, the testimony, and I think Mr. Richman will agree, is not in the same configuration and it has other equipment and papers in it.
CLARK: Rather than taking those specific objections up at this point, if counsel can't stipulate on those issues, then I'll take them up in the context of the trial.
YOUNG: Thank you.
CLARK: Mr. Bayer (ph), or Mr. Bristow, or Mr. Sherstrom (ph)?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Somebody.
DARYL BRISTOW, BUSH CAMPAIGN ATTORNEY: Judge, I think again, depending on what the plaintiffs do, we could have three witnesses that we may call live. I suspect they're all going to be called and I will have a few questions on cross-examination, but I think that's it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Your Honor, the secretary of the canvassing commission may call one witness at this time, but I don't suspect calling any witnesses.
CLARK: Mr. Bayer, do you want to...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Beg your pardon.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Republican Party, Your Honor, I think would probably adopt the same witnesses that Mr. Bristow spoke of and I would not think that, that would exceed two, maybe three witnesses.
CLARK: Then let me set out a couple of ground rules for the trial. First, I intend to invoke the rule so any potential witnesses who are in court, I would ask that you retire from the courtroom until your testimony is required. And of course, I'll rely on counsel to advise your potential witnesses of the requirements of the rule.
I intend to limit examination of witnesses to direct, cross, and redirect. Mr. Richman, you should need more than about...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Your Honor?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Does your implication of the rule apply to party representatives?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you, Your Honor.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Your Honor, does the invitation of the rule apply to the experts, the two statisticians that are going to be testifying?
CLARK: It normally would, yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I thought that courts rule differently on that to say one expert can listen to what the other...
CLARK: Is there an objection if the experts stay?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: None from us.
CLARK: If there is no objection, then they can stay.
Now, Mr. Richman, you should need more than about 45 minutes for your opening statement, do you think?
RICHMAN: I think, Your Honor, I will need less than that. I can probably do it in 30 minutes (UNINTELLIGIBLE)
CLARK: And then on the defense, let me suggest that -- I mean, I will give you up to an hour for an opening, but I would ask that you get together and divide the time among yourselves.
RICHARD: Your Honor, I have another suggestion you might consider.
CLARK: Mr. Richard.
RICHARD: And we have already talked about it. We think the openings were essentially given yesterday evening and we're willing to waive opening and get on with the evidence if plaintiff's counsel is willing to do the same.
RICHMAN: Your Honor, I am not willing to waive, but I will certainly try to make it short.
CLARK: All right, what I am hearing from both sides then is that the openings really need to be very abbreviated and that's OK with everybody.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Your Honor...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ... we have previously filed affidavits, I think this court has filed the affidavits to expedite, and just want to confirm that those have already been filed and given to everyone in terms of the...
CLARK: I don't know.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (UNINTELLIGIBLE)
CLARK: I have not seen your affidavits. That doesn't mean that they haven't been filed. If you say they have been filed, then they probably have probably been filed. But I have not seen them.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That was the discussion to streamline our testimony, so that's already with the court, that's (UNINTELLIGIBLE) CLARK: OK, then during the course of this, I will make sure that I do review those affidavits.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Very good. Thank you.
CLARK: And then just a couple of general rules, too. I would expect counsel to keep your witnesses very focused on just the issues that are to be presented. And I would also expect that counsel not present any cumulative evidence.
And if counsel is ready to proceed, Mr. Richman?
RICHMAN: Yes, Your Honor.
May it please the court, Your Honor, most of the evidence that we will present is going to basically show that there was intentional wrongdoing in this case on the part of the elected party official, I should say, the elected official, who happens to be a Republican, and on the part of the Republican Party. And I might note that Your Honor asked a question yesterday about "must" and "shall" with regard to the statutes and whether or not isn't "shall" stronger than "must"? Our research indicates that "must" is actually stronger than "shall," and we will be able to present that to Your Honor at the conclusion of the trial.
RICHMAN: OK, I didn't even know that, that had been filed yet.
But the real issue in this case is going to be the intent of the parties that -- to show that this was intentional and not merely carelessness or negligence. And the ultimate question in terms of a violation of law, I believe has been absolutely stipulated to. I don't think there is any question, but that the law was violated in this case, and I don't believe that's in serious contention after the stipulation has already been filed.
What we will be presenting in the way of witnesses very briefly -- and I'm going to show Your Honor a timeline on this. We're going to have the testimony of a Mr. Stephen Hall (ph), who is a person who's worked in campaigns, though he is a registered Democrat, he has worked in Republican campaigns as well, and he will testify that when he got involved in representing -- and working for -- as a campaign manager for a Democratic candidate, he went to see Sandra Goard on August 18 to find out how absentee ballots were to be handled and she made very clear that the rules were to be strictly enforced and that they had to have the voter identification number on the absentee ballot request form in order to be able to have them accepted by our office.
A second witness who will testify is Mr. Ray (ph), I believe it's Dean Ray, and he is the man who I mentioned to Your Honor briefly yesterday was a -- an unsuccessful candidate for the county commission and he, to avoid paying the $3,700 filing fee, went ahead and gathered petition signatures, and when he presented those to Sandra Goard, the election supervisor, she informed him that they were not acceptable, there were problems, and when he wanted to take it out of the office to go back and have corrections and changes made, she said essentially that he could not do that, that you couldn't change your alternate at that point.
Again, this goes to the whole issue of disparate treatment in terms of Democrats and Democratic candidates out of what's supposed to be the neutral supervisor of election offices.
We will present photographs and hopefully we will be able to get those in. The fact is, is in -- with the rush of time, we did not have an opportunity -- I didn't even get the copies of the photographs back until yesterday afternoon, and with the tremendous pressure we had yesterday...
CLARK: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) ... have to take a short break to allow for the conference.
RICHMAN: What I am trying to do is just avoid having to call another witness, just simply to identify them. I don't think there is any issue in terms of what they look like. We have -- Mr. Poe (ph) will probably be called in our case for about two minutes of testimony with regard to the conversation he had with Sandra Goard on October 30, at which time she basically minimized what had been happening after Mr. Poe found out publicly that there was a representative of the Republican Party in the election supervisor's office. He called her. He was very, very upset at what had happened, and she basically indicated that it's just a few that had been changed or altered. She would not change anything, that she did not change the procedure that she had, but led him to believe that it was a very, very minor issue.
We will then call a reporter by the name of Keith Alterio (ph). He is the man, Your Honor, that broke the story on October 30. He's the one who met with Sandra Goard on October 16, and at that time, she ended up basically saying, we have a problem, these Republican cards are coming in and people are not giving their voter identification numbers. He went ahead and broadcast that about the problem and basically said, as he had been told by her, that they're not going to be accepted without the voter identification number. She did not inform him that there was a Republican coming in to change it. She never informed him of that afterwards, and he found out on October 30 what was going on, and he -- quote -- "broke the story."
The only expert that we're -- the only other person that we're going to call as a live witness is Brad DeLong. And Mr. DeLong is a statistician, a professor in California. And essentially -- without going into detail at this point, because his testimony will come from the stand -- but essentially what he is going to testify to is that to the extent that Your Honor would consider an alternate remedy for the felonious conduct that has occurred in this case -- that in the first instance, we believe that the law says, "all of the ballots have to be thrown out because the pool is tainted."
There is authority in a case in Alaska that says that you can go ahead and you can look at the ratio that's involved there with a pool that's tainted and be able to throw out a proportionate amount of the tainted ballots. But in this case, what our statistician is going to show is that you really have to look at the exact -- the numbers, what we have here are 1,932 absentee ballots -- absentee ballot request forms that were altered and that resulted in a vote. But because of the co-mingling and the secrecy of the ballot, there is no way to be able to trace these at this point.
Now, in Boardman, the court was able to trace them and separate them out. In this case, we cannot do that. In the city of Miami case, there was no way that you could do that, and in other cases they end up having to throw all of them out. What we are proposing to the court, for its consideration is an alternate remedy, and the other side argues that it would be draconian to throw all 15,000 out. We contend that is the remedy under Florida law.
But the statute gives this court of equity the right to award appropriate relief under the circumstances, so we simply want to present to the court in an abundance of caution an alternative remedy. And the alternative remedy in essence would show that out of the 1,932 illegal absentee ballot request forms that resulted in ballots being cast, there's a ratio that should be applied to them based on the fact that 1,833 were forms that were submitted by registered Republicans.
So you can make a certain assumption as to what ratio the registered Republicans would have voted for with regard to Governor George W. Bush. And, on the other hand, with regard to the approximately -- the 54 registered Democrats that were in the altered pool, that with regard to them, you could look at, or make a determination that a certain percentage of them would have voted for Gore. Apply those percentages and come up with a number that should clearly, at an absolute minimum be thrown out.
And we'll give the court those exact numbers, and I suspect the other side is going to have a statistician to say if you apply that method, the number should be less, and that's going to be a matter for Your Honor to decide after listening to the credibility of the witnesses.
In terms of the evidence that we want to present of intentional wrongdoing, the reason that we can't rely just on the stipulation of facts is very simple. Your Honor needs to know what this election supervisor's office looks like. Your Honor needs to know the significance of having somebody in there from the Republican Party in a nonpublic area for 15-21 days and be able to see what that person had access to while they were there. Your Honor needs to know that there was no one counting the absentee ballot request forms that were rejected. The ones that came in that were OK, that were proper, were logged in. Everything got stamped the day it came in, but there was no log.
There is no way -- and this gets to the very core issue of the -- of what the court has to do in terms of fashioning relief in the issue of being unable to trace this, because what you really have is, you have a Republican Party operative who's in the office, who has access to everything that's there in the office, because he is completely unsupervised. It also shows the change in the rules, because this had been -- this had never been done before. No one from any party had been allowed to come in and do what this gentleman did. Nobody else had been allowed to come in unsupervised. Nobody else had been given a private room with a chair, and not merely a chair, but a chair and a table.
And nobody else had ever had the election supervisor's office staff personnel, who were so busy with all their duties, with the press of what's going on, that they couldn't send letters out to people to tell them that there was a problem with their absentee ballots forms. They stopped doing that on or about October 10, but they nevertheless had time enough on the staff to have Mr. Joyner (ph), or Charlene Pike (ph), who's testimony we will read before Your Honor, to go ahead and selectively take out the Republican absentee ballot request forms and put them in piles and segregate them, feed them into the Republican operative and then go ahead and take them back and then have them inputted into the computer. Absolutely, totally disparate treatment.
And the testimony that we will be offering is the testimony of Sandra Goard. I'll give Your Honor the basic order in terms of which -- after the two live witnesses, there is one important witness that I forgot to mention, we could not get him here, and that's Mr. Livingston. Mr. Livingston could not come because he cannot travel on an airplane, he has a pulmonary disease and asthma. And he came into the deposition, and they subpoenaed him, we didn't. He filed the protest on his own. He is a registered, lifelong Republican. He ran for office as the clerk of the courts in Richmond and was the clerk of the court in Richmond for eight years. He is a veteran of basically just the end of the Korean War.
And he came in -- he is retired now, he is a certified public accountant -- and he filed the protest in this case because he was outraged at this conduct, that something could take place in the sanctity of a public office, whether it's the clerk of the courts, or the supervisor of elections, so we will introduce his testimony.
The rest of the testimony -- and I won't take the time to summarize it now -- will come from the Goard -- basically from the Goard deposition, three different depositions of Sandra Goard. We've got specific additions, but more importantly is we'll show Your Honor direct contradictions under oath on several material facts, the most significant of which are, gee, I don't remember who the Republican was that called me, it was just somebody from the party. We will show that she publicly on or about November 8 stated that she knew the name of the person, Mr. Schnick (ph) was the one who called her, yet when she is deposed under oath in this case, as part of a cover-up, she just doesn't remember who it is.
We will then -- she was then asked, who -- besides Mr. Leech, who came in, who were the other Republican operatives that were there? I don't know, she says under oath. I don't remember. Can you describe them? No, I really can't describe them. Well, other members of her staff will state, have stated under oath that they saw her talking to him. She knew the person. One of the people was the Seminole, Orange County Republican regional director. The other -- and the other person was the St. Lucie County regional director and she knew these people by name, but wouldn't tell us the truth in terms of what's happening. So we have those basic, I think very material contributions, and we have incredible admissions in her testimony. There were staff meetings, they went over the requirements.
And then there is the issue directly related to that of disparate treatment. Again, I won't go into those -- into detail now, I will highlight those in closing argument. In addition to that, we will have -- and I'm just going to highlight a couple of things here -- Mr. -- testimony from Mr. Leech, who is a party, who will begin to save time. We're not going to call him live. They can if they want to, but we're going to use his deposition to talk about the no supervision, the admission that we got that he was there for at least 15 days and the access that he had to the supervisor's office, and basically that -- certainly that the supervisor of elections knew who they were -- in other words, knew who the other Republican people were, directly contrary to Ms. Goard's testimony.
We'll have the testimony of Mr. Massioli (ph). Now, if I may, at least I would like to use the photographs for illustrative purposes, and I presume counsel doesn't have any objection to that. May I ask?
RICHARD: Your Honor, my objection is to say we just never were provided an opportunity to have (UNINTELLIGIBLE)
CLARK: Tell you what, for purposes of openings, I don't need to see the photograph.
RICHMAN: OK, Your Honor. The -- with regard to the photographs, by the way, I do want to note to Your Honor that we -- when the case was before Judge Nelson, we asked to go ahead and have a videotape and go through the office so everybody could see what was going on, and they objected and she ruled that we just go ahead and take photographs of it, and that's essentially what we did and that's where these photographs came from. In other words, everything that happened in that prior case was supposed to be transferred to this case, and the ruling was that we could use photographs and that's the basis on which we had them. But in an oversight, I did not go ahead and give copies of those to counsel when they arrived here in Tallahassee late yesterday afternoon -- actually early evening.
But aside from that, let me hit a couple of highlights and then I just want to show Your Honor a couple of exhibits in the timeline illustratively. We have Mr. Masioli, he was back -- the one who was back in the equipment room with Mr. Leech. In other words, he was there doing his work in and out of the office while Mr. Leech was there. He testified that he believed Mr. Leech was there at least three weeks and he saw two other men with Mr. Leech.
Then we will have testimony from other persons in the office, Ms. Bailey (ph) with regard to how they dealt with the absentee ballot forms --I am so sorry, with the -- with regard to the absentee ballot request forms, and that there was a pre-election meeting to go over this and that there was disparate treatment. Patti Chase (ph) will testify that there was training of temporary people in that same office with computers that were on in the office where Mr. Leech was.
So when there is testimony that Mr. Leech did not have the password, the problem is, what happened while he is there in the room while computers are left on that had access to the database of the supervisor of elections, when you have this outside person in what is supposed to be a nonpublic area.
We'll have the testimony of Mr. Joyner, he is the first assistant to Sandra Goard, and he will testify in his deposition with regard to the segregation, all the work he did to go ahead and separate it out in terms of his staff; the complaint of Mr. Poe, that there was no procedural change; there was no verification in terms of the cards coming in, so that there's no log that came in, there was no supervision; and that there were various forms that were not actually checked by the supervisor's office. In other words, when Mr. Leech made the changes on the voter identification -- on the cards and put the voter I.D. numbers on there, then nobody checked to make sure that the voter I.D. numbers were necessarily even correct. If they came through Mr. Leech, done by a Republican, they did not go through and use the same standard and check those out carefully.
There will be a testimony of Ms. Eaton (ph) with regard to the fact that the voter identification number, they were told, was critical, that it's mandatory, and she'll talk about her meetings with what Mr. Joyner did, what Mr. Leech did, and how she had a stack of rubber bands -- there were so many of these forms that they came in, they had been stacked up, they had -- rubberbands were put on them and they go ahead and they delivered them directly to Mr. Leech, who is sitting there, and how important the I.D. number is, and how you cannot in the supervisor's office correct it. It would be improper for them to correct it or change it.
Marian Buchans (ph) will testify that she got forms two or three days before the Election Day. And finally, we'll have the testimony of Charlene Pike, who is an executive assistant. She's a very important witness in terms of the number of things that she said, how Sandra Goard set the Republican forms aside, that she used the ratio, a guess, 30-70 percent of the Republican forms came in with the I.D. -- voter I.D. number on it and another percentage did not come in with it. And they dealt with the ones that did it, they set them aside. She was the one who sent the letters out telling people to correct it if it didn't have it -- across the board, Republicans or Democrats -- until on or about October 10. And then she stopped doing that. She says, other than maybe one or two, they made no phone calls to voters to try to get the voters to correct it after October 10. They were too busy with the press of what was going on in the election. And there was no supervision. She'll testify that she knew that the statute requires identification.
She came into the office, by the way, Your Honor, early in 1998 and shortly after that, the law changed. And then there was a meeting that took place with regard to the change in the law. She will testify -- that's where she learned how important it was to strictly comply with the law, including those factors such as the voter I.D. identification registration number. She says there was no list made with regard to any that were rejected. That's why we don't know what was or should have been in that shoebox. That's why we don't know what forms that were given to Mr. Leech that he may have elected not to put in, because they may have been strong Democratic voters that happened to get these cards and sent them in as a matter of convenience. That is one of the things because of the breach in the integrity and the sanctity of the election process, that this court can never know. I mean, it's speculation, but what is not speculative is the fact that it occurred and the opportunity for mischief occurred as a result of the breach of the process favoring one party over the other.
She will finally say, unequivocally, that a person making the request must disclose this information, that, that was a policy, as far as she was concerned, she understood to be strictly enforced.
Now, if I may, very briefly just show Your Honor a couple of exhibits here, and hopefully Your honor can see this, this is simply for illustrative purposes. This is the process in Seminole County. The request comes in here. Then it goes through the process of being validated. They look to see whether or not all the statutory requirements are there. If they don't have it -- if they have it, it goes here and it's entered into the system. And once it's entered into the system, then they print the label, they issue a ballot and it goes to the voters.
Those who decide to vote, return the ballot, the ballot gets counted and it ultimately gets entered into the precinct books. But here is the problem in red. When you get to the validation process, we had one bag for rejected Republicans, and everyone else gets put elsewhere. And guess what? There's no arrow here, because they stopped it at that point. But here, the Republican operative comes in and he moves these along in terms of disparate treatment to get entered into the system.
That is the crux, illustratively, of what happened.
Now, in addition to that, we have a timeline, which I think will be helpful to your honor.
Can your honor see it here, or should I step over there?
CLARK: I can see it.
RICHMAN: What the timeline, essentially, shows, we start in 1997 with the Miami mayoral race. In 1998, in response to what happened there, you got the 1998 statutory amendments. Making various activity, clearly, a felony under Florida law. On September 16th, 1998, we get the division of elections opinion letter from the defendant, Secretary Harris. That letter comes out and basically sets down the important -- and again, importance -- and again emphasize the must nature of the absentee ballot request form requirement.
In 1998, in response to that, there's a Seminole county election supervisor staff meeting, and in that staff meeting, all of these requirements are emphasized. Then we have the official ballot request form, and I'll show your honor a copy of this. This is the one in stipulated to. It was on the web site of the election supervisor's office. And what it says is the application is void without the required information. Not voidable, not send it back, the voter is informed -- the world is informed -- that it is void. After that, the Seminole county elections supervisor's policy is disseminated, saying incomplete request are clearly void. This is what the staff is told. Then we have, roughly on August 18th, we have the meeting -- during the same period of time, around August 18th -- we have Mr. Hall, who meets with Sandra Goard to find out what the policy is -- and that's around during that same period of time as when Mr. Ray meets with her.
In the fall of 2000, the absentee ballot request forms go out without required information on the Republican party and others and are rejected. Goard's office sends corrective letters to applicants -- that's what I referred to with Charleen Pike (ph) earlier -- and then we get to October 8th -- roughly October 8th or 10th -- that's when the invalid Republican requests arrive. Goard establishes the new policy of segregating the Republican requests, something that had never been done before. Then she goes ahead and has a conversation with Mr. Schnick (ph), and they enter into an agreement to let the Republicans offer to come in.
And by the way, she says we won't do it: The supervisor's office will not go ahead and make those changes. She knows that would be in violation of the law.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Your honor, I'd like to object. Is Mr. Richman going to get to make a closing as well as...
CLARK: What's your objection? What's your objection?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The objection is that it is an improper opening statement. He's gone well beyond...
CLARK: And I will have the counsels take care that it's an opening has an opening, during which I expect that you will just give me what the evidence will show, rather than explain what all the evidence is.
RICHMAN: very briefly, we're just about done.
The evidence -- in terms of the time line -- the evidence is going to show that she biased the staff with the arrangement with the Republican Party on October 10th, that the corrected letters were no longer sent in mid-October -- that's when Mr. Leech begins the alteration. We don't have an absolute, exact date, but we have testimony that says minimum of 15 days, and one witness who says it was 21 days, and that's when Ms. Louise submits the altered request. On October 16th, that's when the interview occurs with Mr. Altierro (ph).
On October 26th -- this is division of elections letter, and that's the one that's got to do with the Great Seal issue, where there was a suit filed on whether forms were to go out with the Great Seal, and Katherine Harris says don't worry about that issue, just go ahead and process these, and remember, you must have the required information. As long as it has the required information, go ahead and process it. October 30th, that's when Mr. Altierro breaks the story. And sometime in early November, Leech stops his alterations and submissions because it's over, there's not time enough to get any more absentee ballot request forms in and get the ballots out in time.
And lastly, in terms of exhibits, which your honor will see, are these forms, the absentee ballot request forms, and this is on the issue of disparate treatment. You'll see here, in the absentee ballot request form, this is an example of the -- we referred -- this was not on it, by the way, this is illustrative to say Democratic forms -- but he rest is a photocopy of the form. The Democrats send it out.
You notice this, it says voter ID number is blank. the Democrats had the place in there for it, and this is a Democratic voter: That was one who's rejected, that person did not get an absentee ballot. And, again, here's another example of it here: Qualified voter, it says, they wrote on here no ID, and that got rejected. Then we look over here. Here's the Republican's form, and on the Republican form in the postcard, the voter ID number place for the printer was right up here, the machine said two, instead of putting in the right voter identification number. The back of the card didn't have a place for it -- they had a place for phone number, they had a place for the signature, they had a place for the name and address, but on the front of it where it said voter ID number there's the handwriting of Mr. Leech, where he went ahead and added it.
So disparate treatment is clearly established right there, and I would suggest to your honor that on that issue, in terms of disparate treatment, it may well, ultimately, be right for a -- either a -- a summary judgment or a ruling as a matter of law at the close of the case, because I don't think there's any question about the fact that we had disparate treatment as a matter of law. I think the issue, really, is, ultimately, going to be the remedy. Thank you, your honor.
CLARK: And counsel for the defense?
DARYL BRISTOW, BUSH CAMPAIGN ATTORNEY: If it please your honor, this will be short, because I think you heard a lot of rhetoric and what you've ruled is that you'd like to hear some real evidence to the extent that we have not stipulated.
I will remind the court that 75 percent of what I heard in the opening statement of counsel is either contrary to, or already set out in the, stipulations. I'm going rely on our stipulations, and I don't intend to ask those questions, and I'm going to try my best to stop other people from asking those questions so we cut this short and we limit it to the issues that are not covered by the stipulations.
I would say to you only a few things. This business about throwing around words like "felonious conduct." Think about the fact that the way Democratic machinery worked in this state is that they sent out these request forms and had those forms sent back to themselves, and then they carried those cards to the various supervisors' offices after they had had, to use the rhetoric of counsel, unfettered access to those cards. No wonder that there weren't any mistakes. No wonder that there was no need for them to come in and correct mistakes; they could do that in the privacy of their offices and could throw out or distribute to the supervisor whatever they wanted to.
Abuse of the process -- this is a case that has to do with the question of the integrity of the ballot that was cast. If we were talking about some problem with integrity of the process, we might be talking about some case to throw out an election, which is not something this court is in a position to do. We're talking about a ballot. To question the process of an election, and then to punish 15,000 voters who had nothing to do with the issue complained of is improper -- disparate treatment.
What you will hear, your honor, to the extent it's not already in these stipulations, is that this very, very nice supervisor drew a line I would not have drawn. She wasn't going to help anybody. She would have given anyone access to the justice she gave to Mr. Leech, and that she said -- she got on the radio, she expressed her concern, but there were a stack of request forms that were not addressed.
They weren't addressed by Mr. Leech. Think about if Mr. Leech wanted to be fraudulent, and if Mrs. Goard wanted to get right in the middle of it. That is a county, your honor, that went two to one Republican. Common sense tells you in that stack that was not dealt with, it was 2-1 Republican. Why didn't Mr. Leech go to that stack? He didn't go to that stack because the Republican party was not trying to correct all mistakes, it was trying to do what it felt it had an obligation to do because of its computer error. But had he done that, he could have gone through,I suppose, and try to guess at which were Democrats and which were Republicans, and fixed it -- or fixed them all -- we would have had two to one vote.
Did Mrs. Goard disparately treat the Democrats when she refused, herself, to correct a stack of request forms that almost surely were two to one Republican? There is no evidence that she picked out Democrats and did anything -- did one thing -- to disadvantage the Democrats. She spoke with the state chairman of the Democratic Party, Mr. Poe (ph), and I -- we'll look at what the time is when the deposition came in. I put it further back in October than counsel for the plaintiff did.
But the point is, Mr. Poe knew about what was happening. He has, Democratic as they like to call it, operatives. He has laptop computers, He has databases that can do anything he wants. He knew that he could go into that office, and he did not. He knew that if there was any kind of a violation of law, he could have gone ahead and he could have filed suit, and he could have done something about it beforehand: He chose, your honor, in a two to one Republican county, to lay behind the law, and present it to you now and try to disenfranchise 15,000 voters'.
And we believe the evidence will show, your honor, that it is unreasonable to believe that this plaintiff, one of the most powerful Democratic activists in that county, didn't hear the radio programs, didn't hear from Mr. Poe, didn't know anything was going on at a time when this, if there was any problem with the process, could not have been addressed.
All in the world happened here is that this very nice supervisor was even-handed: she wouldn't help us, the Republicans; she wouldn't help the Democrats; she would provide a space, and she would provide records, and she acted evenhandedly, in my opinion -- probably more technically strict than almost all the other supervisors in the state of Florida. Thank you.
CLARK: If we need to take a short break so that counsel can confer about evidence, we can do that, but let me have some input.
Mr. Richman and Mr. Young, you two seem to be most in need of having a brief conference about the evidence.
TERRY YOUNG, SEMINOLE COUNTY CANVASSING BOARD ATTORNEY: Your honor, my issue has nothing to do with whether or not the photos have to be depict. What's depicted on them on the day. It's just as an opportunity to have provided to us, as Mr. Richman says, he neglected to provided us with the photographs, as promised, that were taken an week ago, so we just have...
CLARK: Can you give me the photographs?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right here, your honor. Plus we've got the copy of the all the ones used. And it's in the same order as hers is.
YOUNG: And Mr. Richman, do you agree that the photograph taken of the room that we represented to be the one ion which Mr. Leech performed his work is reorganized in a different fashion than it was at the time he was there?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He agreed to that subject to the -- there's an exhibit, your honor, from Sandra Goard in which she hand drew the way they were at the time, so your honor will be able to see the exhibit that she hand drew in light of the photographs, and see the changes.
YOUNG: With that stipulation, we will withdraw that.
CLARK: All right.
YOUNG: That's fine.
CLARK: Mr. Richman, call your first witness, please.
RICHMAN: Your honor, I think there's some other confidants that would like to give a brief opening.
CLARK: You want to hear that?
YOUNG: Yes, ma'am. Mr. Wright (ph), did...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I prefer to go make this (ph).
YOUNG: Your honor, may it please the court, my name is Terry Young, and together with my partners, I represent Sandra Goard and the Seminole county canvassing board. It's important that you recognize, as I'm sure do, that my clients are really the only people here in this courtroom that are non-partisan. Yes, Sandra Goard is a Republican; she ran unopposed in the last election as supervisor of elections, but she's no different than any other supervisor of election in the state of Florida in that she has some type of party affiliation, just like every judge in Leon county, probably, has some party affiliation.
That doesn't taint her in the performance of her duties of her office. No has vested interest in the outcome of the election, she has no vested interest in that whatsoever. Her only vested interest is that every legally cast vote -- absentee vote -- that was timely received and compliant with law as a absentee ballot is counted. Sandra Goard and Seminole county have an interest in seeing that the absentee ballots counted as cast -- canvassed, reviewed, authenticated, and counted, and certified -- are not thrown out.
Sandra Goard and Seminole county definitely have an interest in having these voices, all 15,000 of them that cast their legally reviewed and canvassed ballots, heard. A ballot -- and I'm talking about a ballot, you honor, not an application form or request form that's in issue here -- a ballot as set forth in Bextrum (ph), Boardman, Harris and every other case that's been cited to this court is not just a piece of paper: It is a voice, it's a right to be heard, it's a right to participate. And a voice at all cost should not be silenced.
That is why we are here today, and that is why we will vigorously defend against the relief that is sought, whether it be to throw out each and every one of the 15,000 votes that were cast because all of the absentee ballots were commingled, or because they have divined some type of statistical analysis whereby they don't want the court to throw out any particular ballot or any particular vote, but rather they want this court to simply throw the election in Seminole county.
On the other hand, your honor, the plaintiff in this case is very partisan. The deposition testimony, the evidence will demonstrate, that he is a very powerful Democrat in Seminole county. The moment he heard that Mr. Lieberman was going to be the vice-presidential candidate with Al Gore, he picked up the phone and he called Bob Poe, the statewide director for the state of Florida for the Democratic party, well before any of this occurred. And he pledged to Bob Poe right then and there that he would do anything and everything to support the Gore-Lieberman campaign, and he's doing that today.
What did he do? He gave $50,000 of his own money. He produced a TV spot that was televised locally and nationally criticizing the integrity of the vice-presidential candidate selected by George Bush, Andy Cheney -- excuse me, Dick Cheney. He spend $50,000 of his own money on that -- there's a total of $100,000. In addition, he called very influential, well-heeled individuals in Orange county and Seminole county and solicited funds on their behalf.
He flew on jets, private jets to presidential debates. He shook hands with President -- vice-presidential candidate -- or Vice President Al Gore. It's not surprising that he's here today, but at the same time trying to distance himself from Al Gore, who is taking a contrary position with respect to counting every legally cast vote, which is our position.
Having said that, let me turn to the central issue in this case. And your honor, I know it's easy to get off track from time to time -- every single one of the lawyers will make the same mistake, the media has made the mistake, and I'm sure, inadvertently, your honor made the mistake yesterday. We're not talking, when we review the Boardman, Bextrum and Harris opinions about applications or request forms for absentee ballots. In all of those cases, we're talking about the ballot, we're talking about the integrity of the vote. Every single one of those cases talks about the integrity of the vote, not the integrity of the request process whereby one obtains an absentee ballot.
In this case, the central issue is and you've -- you've identified it. Should the 15,000 ballot properly cast absentee votes, timely received, canvassed and certified by the canvassing board, stipulated to in our stipulation, by registered voters of Seminole County, duly and properly cast, be just simply cast out altogether without any showing of fraud, gross negligence, wrongdoing or impropriety in -- and this is important, because this is what these cases say -- in the casting, canvassing, or counting, or certification of those votes, not with the pre-election application process.
Remember, there's no allegation or evidence, and remember Mr. Richman was in here the other day, begging to go back for a second look at the precinct book so he could find this. But there is no allegation or evidence that any voter who cast this -- their absentee ballot vote, as a result of these requests, were ineligible, that the ballot was altered, that the ballot was not properly, or timely received, that the ballot was not properly canvassed, that it was not properly counted, that it was cast by anyone other than the voter themselves, or that it was cast by a non-registered voter in Seminole County.
There is nothing that will reflect that these absentee ballot votes in question, the ones that came from the approximate 2000 request forms, in which Mr. Leech corrected an error made by no one at the supervisor's office, made by no one in the voter's household, that these votes do not reflect the will of the people in Seminole County.
As Mr. Bristow said, the will in Seminole County was 2-1. There is no reason to doubt that there are any different. And there is no reason to doubt that these people wouldn't have made it to the polls themselves, your honor. The one thing that is critically absent, as Mr. Richards pointed out yesterday, is whether -- that these people would not have made it.
We have file with this court, and we will submit the originals during this case, 92 affidavits of these people, and if we had time, and if time permitted, we would have taken every one of their depositions and brought them all here. Because these 92 affidavits of Democrats and Republicans who received ballots as a result of Mr. Leech facilitating their intent have said that they would have otherwise voted, that they didn't care that the number was added. They just wanted their absentee ballot.
In addition to those people, your honor may have seen that there have been other people, on their own, who have filed their affidavits with this court. That interveners have filed their affidavits with this court for the same reason.
The sole reason advanced is one which now is boiled down to intentional misconduct. And your honor, we must make a distinction here. The intentional misconduct that Mr. Richman is talking about is not the intentional misconduct that is recognized in the Beckstrum (ph), Boardman, and Harris cases. Intentional misconduct that would justify -- and quite frankly, I think it would mean that this court could and should grant summary judgment -- but the intentional misconduct that is referred to in the Beckstrum case is intentional misconduct that affects the ballot and affects the sanctity of the ballot.
And in that case, remember, in that case, they were opening up ballots with unsupervised -- in unsupervised spaces, with people that were not a member of election board. They had magic markers in their hand. If anybody doesn't think that they didn't know what they were doing, and they were doing something that wasn't wrong, that was intentional.
Now, the court found that it wasn't intentional misconduct because they didn't intent to cause an impact in the ballot. In this case, they may want to characterize Sandra Goard because, yes, she knew, as Mr. Bristow said, what the law said, and she may have been a strict constructionist, and she was not going to favor the Republicans with these cards, but didn't do anything intentionally wrong. She sat, and they are going to show you, through Keith Alterra's (ph) WDBO broadcast, that she expressed concern. She, for the first time since we had this new law, and everybody is using these pre-printed forms, I'm getting all these cards from the Republicans, and the lot of them don't have I.D. numbers on them.
These people, through no fault of their own, aren't going to get their absentee ballot. What am I to do?
Well, I am not going to call him an angel. But, almost immediately after that broadcast occurred, the Republicans solved the problem. They owned up to their mistake, and they sent Mr. Leech in, and he came in, and he did one thing and one thing only. Notwithstanding any of the innuendo, not withstanding any of the access issues. There is going to be no proof, your honor, that he did anything other than add those I.D. numbers to those cards.
There is going to be proof that he went into his computer, and because these cards went to Republican households, and they also went to people in the household who may not have been registered Republican, but in fact were registered Democrat, when he pulled up on his computer, which showed him their party affiliation and voter identification number, if they were a Democrat, he inserted their number too.
You will also see, when you see the shoe box, which isn't a shoe box, of the unprocessed forms, that you will see Republican cards in there with no number on them that were never processed.
How did that happen? You will hear how it happened. Mr. Leech didn't have that on his computer for some reason, whatever it was, he didn't have the number for those voters. The supervisor's office didn't give it to him either. And they went in the unprocessed.
The supervisor did everything she could do to process them on their own board, they show you that Chalayne Pike (ph) sent out letters to other people. They would get in an application from someone else, and she would send a letter out, as long as time permitted, up to and through October, and we have got the letters, you will see them, we have a stack of them, and send them back to the people and say: Complete the form. They didn't treat irrespective of what their Internet site said an incomplete form as void. They would send it back to give the opportunity to the voter to correct it. They did not treat them as void.
That was on the Internet site. It is not on the Internet site for any other supervisor of elections in the state of Florida. The reason it is there is because Sandra Goard wanted to encourage people to do what the statute said.
Now, let's talk about the statute for a moment:
CLARK: Actually in the opening, let's not.
YOUNG: OK, certainly. They point to the legislative history, and let me just briefly talk about that. And that will be the only thing I will say about the statue.
The legislative history was designed as a result of significant voter fraud having to do with ballots, not applications for request forms. The legislature did add these nine requirements and Mr. Richman says you have got to have every single one.
CLARK: And the problems that caused the legislatures to take a look at that were problems with absentee ballots weren't they?
YOUNG: Ballots, but not the request form.
YOUNG: They had to do with ballots. They added this trail, if you will, this foot print, fingerprint, whatever you want to call it. If there was ballot fraud again, they would be able to go back and look at this information on the request form, and hopefully find something out to get to the bottom of it.
But, as was argued yesterday, and I won't say anything more about it, they didn't say that the ballot, subsequently issued, would be illegal if you didn't have every single piece of information.
We are going to walk you through, in our testimony, how this request form process works. They showed you a card, but -- they showed you a board that deals with that. But it's more than that. Because the request come in a number of way, your honor. And we -- real quickly they come in four ways -- five ways: telephone request, where there is no written request; they will come in in written requests directly from the voter, and that may be any form or fashion, it may be a handwritten note, it may be a letter, it may be using the form that my client provides on the Internet, or some other form; and it may be a Democratic pre-printed form or a Republican pre-printed form.
And they come in and they are all processed the same way. In this case, the pre-printed forms by the Democrats didn't need any help. You won't hear any testimony that there was a Democrat pre- printed form that was rejected because of a lack of identification number.
You will hear that there are some Democratic pre-printed forms. very few, a handful, that were not given absentee ballots because they didn't sign the card. You will also hear, and we will take you through analysis of that shoe box, and show you that -- that right off the bat, your honor, 50 percent of the unprocessed forms, the request forms in that box received an absentee ballot request.
How can that be you ask? Well, it is because the people either had already asked for one, or they asked for one after the fact. They could have already asked for one because, if you probably know your honor, you can ask for an absentee ballot in March for all elections in the ensuing year, and then if you send in another request form, you may have already received one.
So 50 percent of the 742 that were not processed in the box, already got an absentee ballot request one way or another.
The other 350, this is important, because when you get to the disparate treatment, this is where you are coming to, this 350. You don't have disparate treatment with the Democrat post card or the Republican post card because the Democrats didn't need any help, they didn't ask for any help, they didn't make a mistake.
So we are down to 350 in this shoe box. That's it. What happened to those? Well, of those that are left, that didn't have an absentee ballot, you are going to see that 80 percent of those people voted anyway. So now we're down to approximately 70-80 people who didn't vote because they didn't get an absentee ballot request form. That is the number.
And you will find out, of those 70-80 people, that that was because they didn't sign it, they were from a different county and they sent it into the wrong county, and you will even see, of those, that Sandra Goard faxed those to the right county in which they lived, the right supervisor, or they were not registered to vote, or they had -- they were no longer residing in Seminole County.
So you are going to see that breakdown because we have done it, we have provided counsel with a copy. It has actually been filed with the court as well.
This, I want to talk quickly about this intentional issue again. It's our contention, your honor, that for this to fly, they have to demonstrate an intentional act directed that was intended by Sandra Goard directed to the ballot. You won't find that. As opposed to an affirmative decision that we admit Sandra Goard made to facilitate the request of the absentee voter that her office was plagued with, because of this error on the Republican form.
She found herself in a no-win situation, a catch 22, between a rock and a hard place. What was she to do? On one hand, as Mr. Staver said yesterday, if she didn't honor their request, she's violating federal law because of a technicality. On the other hand, if she -- if she let someone take the forms out of her office, she didn't think that was right, and she doesn't think her office staff should add it, but then someone offers to come in and add the one mistake and correct the one error, and that is all that she did.
Almost done. They're not going to be able to demonstrate proximate cause. One of the reasons they are not going to be able to demonstrate proximate cause is the reason I just described with regards to the analysis we have done of what is not in the box.
With respect to the Democratic cards, you're going to see, we have done an analysis of that. Those people were issued their absentee ballots and they voted or they didn't vote for reasons we'll never know, but it wasn't because of any disparate treatment.
Every single employee that Mr. Richards is going to read deposition testimony from, we are going to read from some too. You are going to hear that it was a nonpartisanship office. There was no partisan politics.
You are going to here from Keith Alterio (ph), in his deposition, how Sandra Goard told him, I would do the same thing for the Democrats if they had that problem or ask me. You are going to hear the same thing from Keith Alterio that he checked with the supervisor of election, Bob Kohls (ph), of Seminole -- Orange County, who is a Democrat, and Orange County went Gore, and Bob Kohls is going to be our first witness, that in Orange County they didn't even require the voter identification number.
You're going to hear in other counties that the supervisor of elections wrote it in themselves. You're going to hear that in virtually every county, Todd Schnikel (ph) testify that the only reason he sent this individual, who is not a Republican Party operative, if anybody is an operative for a party it's Mr. Jacobs.
What you are going to hear is the only he sent him to Seminole County was because, besides Seminole County and Martin County and Volusia County, those were the only counties where the card were not getting sent out directly by the supervisors of elections to people who had requested them and expected to receive that.
There is going to be no showing, and that haven't alleged it in their complaint. As Mr. Richard pointed out yesterday, that the Democrats, that some Democrats were denied a right to vote, or that the Republicans had a more, a greater opportunity to vote. The only thing they didn't allege in their complaint, Mr. Richman is right about this, he alleged pure math. He alleged how many votes were cast for Gore and how many votes were cast for Bush, but he didn't alleged how many votes -- or that there would be any change in the vote as a result of this.
It's just simply not there because they can't prove it, there never will be. We are going to spend some witness time going through the ballots, and showing you how the ballots are actually done, so that you can understand that this process has extreme integrity.
The relief that they sought, the relief that they sought, is not only draconian, but they want, in essence, to cast the baby out with the bath water. They seek to disenfranchise the voter. That is contrary to every case that your honor has, including the Harris case, recently decided by the Supreme Court of Florida, overruled by the U.S. Supreme Court on other grounds.
Mr. Staver is right, the right to vote is a paramount right. It's protected by Florida law, it's protected by federal law, it's protected by constitutional law. In a minimal omission of a voter identification number, having nothing to do with whether or not the ballot was properly cast, counted, authenticated by the voter, who would likely have voted anyway, cannot possibly nullify the ballot itself.
The plaintiffs have done an absolutely excellent, and I applaud Mr. Richman, job of making a mountain out a molehill. But this case really needs no further analysis in the case law that was cited yesterday.
In closing, I would like to say that Sandra Goard has done nothing but facilitate voter intent, an intent to vote. A request -- she honored a request to receive a ballot. There is no evidence, no misconduct, gross, intentional or otherwise, directed at the ballot itself that was cast. The will of the people.
This case is being brought for one reason, to change the outcome of the election and to change the will of the people in Seminole County. Sandra Goard and Seminole County defend the exercise of the voters' right to vote in Seminole County. Their right to participate, their right to be heard, and they don't want to be silenced.
Thank you, your honor.
CLARK: Why don't we take a break until 11:00 -- 11:00, Mr. Richman, be prepared to call your first witness. Courts in recess.
HEMMER: One hour and 20 minutes for opening statements. This in the absentee ballot case involving Seminole County in the courtroom of Judge Nikki Clark. We will get a quick timeout right now. But when we come back, we will analyze what we have heard thus far today. David Cardwell, Mark Potter and more after a quick time out.
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