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Special Event

Seminole County Circuit Court Hears Democratic Challenge to Absentee Ballots

Aired December 6, 2000 - 2:38 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: Judge Nikki Clark back on the bench in Leon County in the Seminole County hearing, and we'll continue to listen in.

(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

GERALD RICHMAN, ATTORNEY FOR PLAINTIFF: What we've agreed to do is just go ahead and put excerpts in, and (UNINTELLIGIBLE) advise court what they want to put in. We will not read any of this outloud with the exception of Ms. Goard. We might have somebody (UNINTELLIGIBLE) portions of that out.

Beyond that, we've also agreed that despite a couple of witnesses being here -- Mr. Altiro (ph) -- we can nevertheless use his deposition. And with regard to Mr. Stellig (ph), who's here in the courtroom, it's been agreed that with regard to the brief excerpt that we want to introduce, which I don't believe is here, but we separately agreed to -- I think it's like two paragraphs -- that that can be just read in, too.

JUDGE NIKKI CLARK, LEON COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT: And of course, these will be in the court file.

RICHMAN: Pardon.

CLARK: These will, of course, be in the court file.

RICHMAN: Yes, your honor. And I believe the actual originals of the depositions have all been filed, with notices (UNINTELLIGIBLE)...

CLARK: And the additional excerpts you want read?

RICHMAN: With regard to Mr. Stellig, your honor?

CLARK: Well, I was thinking of Mrs. Goard. I mean, you mentioned that you had excerpts of Mrs. Goard.

RICHMAN: We basically have portions of what we've excerpted in here and that's what I wanted to present to the court live. It'll probably take 20 minutes to half an hour to do that.

CLARK: Proceed.

RICHMAN: Can we ask the witness to take the stand, please?

CLARK: And will the clerk please hand me Ms. Goard's deposition.

What's the date of Ms. Goard's deposition, please?

RICHMAN: Let me -- we have three volumes of the depositions.

CLARK: I need to -- before you start, let me have the clerk hand me copies.

BILL HEMMER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: As we watch Judge Clark come back into the court room there -- David Cardwell with us as well -- David, they're talking about depositions here. Clarify for us what's happening between the attorneys and the judge on the bench.

DAVID CARDWELL, CNN ELECTION LAW ANALYST: OK, what -- what happens before you go to trial is that the attorneys literally have a cross-examination of the witnesses. It's done outside of the courtroom. It's in front of a court reporter. And that's called a deposition, and that's where you find out what the person is going to testify to, and you also can get some idea on what you might be able to attack them with.

Those depositions are under oath, so they can be used in lieu of live testimony. What they're doing here is in the interest of time and not having to bring all their witnesses into the courtroom live they're wanting to submit their depositions. The dispute is that the plaintiffs want the depositions read allowed in open court, and the defendants are saying, just give them to the judge and the judge can read them.

You often -- and in fact, it's customary -- that in a jury trial you would read the depositions so the jury could hear it, but in this case, it's just the trial judge. So you should just be able to hand her the depositions.

I think what they've probably done is worked out some compromise to where there'll be a fewer number of depositions read than what they originally wanted to.

HEMMER: A question of time and a question of attorneys possibly knowing the TV cameras are here.

CARDWELL: Certainly. They know that there's a court -- a courtroom that they're in, but there's another courtroom outside of that building.

HEMMER: All right. Gerald Richman, the attorney for the plaintiff in this case, Harry Jacobs -- back before the microphone.

RICHMAN: What is your current address?

SANDRA GOARD, ELECTION SUPERVISOR, SEMINOLE COUNTY: Business 116 West First Street/Sanford, Florida. Residence 929, Caitlin (ph) Point, Longwood, Florida.

RICHMAN: And what is your current position?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Seminole County supervisor of elections.

RICHMAN: How long have you held that position?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Since 1983.

RICHMAN: Going to line 8 -- to page 18, line 10. Where there are absentee ballot request forms that have been rejected for whatever reason, where do those rejected forms go?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They're in a book in the filing room.

RICHMAN: And it's an area that's specifically designated that says -- are they specifically designated as such?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They are just placed in a box.

RICHMAN: And the box has no specific identification in there?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.

RICHMAN: And who is it that puts those in the box?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It would be many staff members.

RICHMAN: So any staff member could go in there and put the rejection forms in the box?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

RICHMAN: Sure. Our understanding is -- in fact, we're at page 19, line 22.

Our understanding is that with regard to this election, that there are absentee ballot request forms that at one time were rejected and later were modified with information, voter identification numbers being put on there. What I'm trying to establish is where did they go?

First of all, did that happen for the forms that were placed in a box that were rejected that were later taken out of the box?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's correct.

RICHMAN: And was there any log or tabulation of how many of those were taken out?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.

RICHMAN: Page 20 -- OK, my understanding is, you said that there were absentee ballot request forms that were rejected, correct?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Correct.

RICHMAN: And when they were rejected, they were put in a box -- the same box you're describing. Is that correct?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

RICHMAN: OK, at some point in time, relating to the current election, the sum of these were taken out of that box, correct?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Correct.

RICHMAN: When they were taken out, where were they placed?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When the cards began to come in through the mail and there was no voter registration number on that card, those cards were placed in a box. An individual came into this office. We provided them with a chair. They sat at a table with their laptop computer. They took that card and placed the voter registration number on that document. That document was then processed and the elector was mailed an absentee ballot.

RICHMAN: With regard to the -- first of all, who was the individual?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: His name was Mike (ph).

RICHMAN: Michael what?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Michael Leach (ph), I believe.

RICHMAN: OK, was there only one individual or was there another individual at any time with Mr. Leach?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There were times when another individual was here. I do not know the name of that individual.

RICHMAN: And how long a period of time was Mr. Leach there?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I do not know.

RICHMAN: Who would know that -- besides Mr. Leach, obviously?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I do not know. We did not document the time that people were here.

RICHMAN: So you have no idea whether it was one day or 10 days?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was for more than one day.

RICHMAN: So it would have been several days; you just don't know exact number?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Correct.

RICHMAN: Skipping over to page 24 -- actually 25, line 13: So there actually was nobody in there, as far as you know, full-time with Mr. Leach and whoever Mr. Leach was with. Is that correct?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I did not station an individual to be there at every moment that he was there.

RICHMAN: Was there ever an individual stationed in there while he was there?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes; employees were in and out all the time.

RICHMAN: Well, other than people going in and out from time to time, was there anybody who was given any responsibility to stay there for any period of time at all to observe what Mr. Leach was doing?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Other than the fact that that is where Michael's desk is -- and he would have been there probably the most.

RICHMAN: That's Michael Massioni (ph)?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

RICHMAN: You had indicated earlier that there was another individual who was there with Mr. Leach from time to time, but you don't recall the name of the person, correct?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Correct.

RICHMAN: Do you know how long that other person was there?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.

RICHMAN: Can you describe the person -- what that person looked like?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.

RICHMAN: Page 27, line 2: and you have no idea who that person was at all?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.

RICHMAN: Do you know who it was that authorized him to have access to that room?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Who?

RICHMAN: Who authorized this other person, besides Mr. Leach, to have access to that room and the absentee ballot request forms?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The individual came with Mr. Leach.

RICHMAN: Now, with regard to the room itself that you -- that room had in there had computer terminals, you've said, correct?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Correct.

RICHMAN: And did those computer terminals have access to your database?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

RICHMAN: Do you have any way of knowing whether or not that individual tapped into your database one way or the other?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That would not happen because every employee in this office has a password that is required to get into that system.

RICHMAN: OK, do you have any knowledge as to whether any employee gave that individual a password?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.

RICHMAN: Do you know if Mr. Leach or the person he was with carried a briefcase -- brought anything with him besides a laptop?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I do not know.

RICHMAN: Was there anyone who checked whether or not the individual took anything out of that room?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.

RICHMAN: On the absentee ballot request forms, do you have any kind of log as to how many absentee ballot request forms where changed by adding at least the voter identification number to it?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.

RICHMAN: Did the person represent that he was a member of -- or that he worked for the Republican Party?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

RICHMAN: Did you actually see him there in the room?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

RICHMAN: What did you observe him doing while he was there?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Using his laptop computer, he wrote the voter registration numbers on the absentee ballot request cards.

RICHMAN: Now, when he did that, what happened with those absentee ballot application forms, or request cards, as you've referred to them?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He provided them to a member of my staff to be processed.

RICHMAN: And which member of the staff was that given to?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I believe that it was Dennis (ph), my assistant.

RICHMAN: Skipping down to page 29, line -- actually page 30, that would be, line seven: What was he given?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He was provided with the absentee ballot request forms that came in on the postcard that the Republican Party had mailed to the voters of Seminole County.

RICHMAN: OK, now, how are those segregated? In other words, when you say he was given that, who segregated them out before they were given to him?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We did that as they came in by mail. It was a postcard that was recognizable as a card that was mailed by the party.

RICHMAN: So when they came in, you put the ones from the Republican Party -- the absentee ballot request forms that were for Republicans or from Republicans -- and you put those in one area, and you put all others, Democrats and others, in another area. Is that correct?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

RICHMAN: You understand what I'm asking you is that you told us that there was a box, and in that box you put all of the rejected absentee ballot request forms, correct?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Correct.

RICHMAN: And this is the procedure you had followed for years before -- correct?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

RICHMAN: In years before, at any other time, did you ever have anyone come in and fill in the identification numbers of the voters or any other data on forms that had been rejected?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.

RICHMAN: And, normally you would take your absentee ballot request forms that had been rejected and you keep them in a box. They end up getting stored in the warehouse, and then they stay there and then are destroyed, ultimately, in accordance with your record retention procedure; correct?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Correct.

RICHMAN: Page 32, line six: Sure, you understand what I'm trying to find out is, when did the sorting out occur? Did it occur at the time it came in so that they were put in separate boxes, or did everything go into one box and then after that somebody comes in and sorts those out, taking the Republican ones and separating them from the democratic and independent absentee ballot request forms?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: As the requests came in, we put the postcard in one specific box. RICHMAN: So you took postcards which you knew were from the Republican Party and put these in a box separate from the other absentee ballot request forms that were rejected. Is that correct?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Correct.

RICHMAN: And did you ever follow that procedure before?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.

RICHMAN: Why is it you followed that procedure in this case?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Because we were requested to allow an individual to write the voter registration number on those postcards that been mailed out.

RICHMAN: Who made that request?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The Republican Party.

RICHMAN: When did they make that request?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I do not know the date -- the specific date.

RICHMAN: Can you tell us the approximate date?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I would think it would have been a week to 10 days prior to the election.

RICHMAN: So, a week to 10 days would place it probably around October 30th. Would be in the time frame, correct?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

RICHMAN: Tell us, did you call Mr. Poe (ph) or did he call you?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. Poe called me.

RICHMAN: And tell us what he said to you to the best of your recollection.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That he understood that individuals had come into the office to place the numbers on the cards and that he objected to that.

RICHMAN: And what did you say to him?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: To the best of my ability, I don't recall exactly what I did say to Mr. Poe. It is my understanding that on the day that Mr. Poe was in the front of the office and was interviewed by one of the local TV stations. I don't know exactly how I responded to Mr. Poe.

RICHMAN: Page 24, line 17. Was Mr. Poe upset when he spoke with you? UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He expressed concern.

RICHMAN: And what did he say his concern was?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That I should not have allowed someone to come in and do that.

RICHMAN: And you have no recollection about what your response was to him, is that correct?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's correct.

RICHMAN: What did you do after he expressed his objection in his concern regarding that procedure?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I did not change any procedures.

RICHMAN: So you continue to allow the person to go ahead and put the identification numbers on the Republican ballots if they were still doing it at that time.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If that had not already been completed, yes, I did.

RICHMAN: Did you at any way offer to Mr. Poe an opportunity for the Democratic Party to do so or you just don't have any recollection of that.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. Poe did not request that.

RICHMAN: With regard to the forms then, you continued to allow and to fill them out and then after he filled them out that data went into the data bank and that absentee ballot requests were sent out.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

RICHMAN: And any absentee ballots sent out that way with the additional information filled in was then -- then used to send out an absentee ballot for the person to be able to vote for the Republican or from the Republican party, correct?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

RICHMAN: If you thought this procedure was correct, why did you not go ahead and fill in the data yourself, both for Republicans and the Democrats?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was going by the statutes whereby, when we receive a request for an absentee ballot and it must contain the name, the address, the voter registration number, the last four digits of the social security number, and the signature of the voter, if it was in writing.

RICHMAN: Page 28, line 20. I'm sorry, skipping all the way down to page 29, line 16.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would like you to continue to read 28, 22, that's all way to the next page, line 16.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Starting where.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The excerpts.

BILL HEMMER, CNN ANCHOR: To our viewers once again, Sandra Goard is the supervisor of elections back in Seminole County in Sanford, Florida. David Cardwell, her testimony certainly is critical in this case. One of two very critical witnesses thus far. Are they getting to the heart of the matter, though, through this deposition reading?

CARDWELL: They're starting to. What they're reading for her deposition now and there's been a request from Gore's attorney to read another section is how they get to the situation of where these Republican's request were segregated from the other requests and how they were then handled and was someone allowed in the office and not supervised by anyone.

HEMMER: It may be tedious and it may be very critical, too. Back inside now, circuit court. Judge Clark

RICHMAN: ... relating to absentee ballot applications. Did you have Democratic postcard with regard to absentee ballots applications?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, .

RICHMAN: And did some of those not have the required information?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.

RICHMAN: So you're saying that every single one you got from a Democrat had the necessary information, is that correct?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: On the Victory 2000 cards that were submitted to this office, they contained all of the required information.

RICHMAN: How about with regard to the independent voters requesting an absentee ballot?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When we are processing a request for an absentee ballots, we do not look at anyone's political party affiliation.

RICHMAN: So you're saying that other than the Republican postcards that you saw, every single other form that came in had all of the necessary information by anybody requesting an absentee ballots? Is that your statement?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We received requests for absentee ballots from the elector, in writing, that did not contain all of the required information.

RICHMAN: OK. And when that happened, did you contact that elector to ask them to give you the proper information or to resubmit it?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We made an attempt to call the individuals by phone to obtain the information.

RICHMAN: Do you have a log of that?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I would hope that it is notated the form.

RICHMAN: Do you know whether or not it's notated on the form?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I do not. I did not personally make the calls?

RICHMAN: Other than what may or not be notated on the form, is there a log kept of phone calls with regard to people who submitted absentee ballot requests or who are contacted by phone regarding absentee ballots requests?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.

RICHMAN: Page 31, line 4. Were you given any training by any source with regard to changes in the law that occurred that regarding absentee ballots that were passed in 1998?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I am aware that changes were made.

RICHMAN: Page 31, line 12. You're familiar with the provisions, then, of Florida statutes -- Florida statute 101.62, request for the absentee ballots, correct?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

RICHMAN: Under that statute, you understand that the only circumstances under which you may accept a written or telephonic request for an absentee ballot from the elector or if directly instructed by the elector, a member of the elector's immediate family or the elector's legal guardian, correct? Those are the only persons you can accept it from.

Skipping down to line 13, you understand that, correct?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

RICHMAN: That the request can only come from those persons. It can't come from the party. It can't come from a third party. It can only come from the persons listed in that statute, correct?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, if I receive a request that is signed by the elector, that is a request from the elector.

RICHMAN: Right, and the only ones that you can accept from the elector are those that meet the statutory requirements which say, quote, "the person making the request must disclose," and then, it lists the various items, correct?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. RICHMAN: And one of those items that must be disclosed is item number 4, the registration number on the elector's registration identification card, correct?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

RICHMAN: Skipping over to page 34, line 14. Item number 4 that I'm asking you about is the registration number on the electors's registration identification card. Do you understand that?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

RICHMAN: And that is the information that Mr. Leach and his unknown assistant put on those absentee ballot request, correct?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

RICHMAN: And prior to the time that that information was put on there, you understood, under the statute, that those had to be rejected because the elector did not put that information on the card when the electors submitted the request, correct?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I based my opinion was because the voter registration number was not on the form.

RICHMAN: All right. So, in other words, when you rejected these, and you put them in your rejection bin or box or whatever it is you put them in, you did so based upon the fact that they were deficient with regard to the statute and you could not accept them under the statute, correct?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

RICHMAN: And when these other people came in there and put the information on there, Mr. Leach and his unknown assistant, they were not resubmitted by the elector, were they?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.

RICHMAN: In what was happening is, is a representative of the Republican Party was the one who is going ahead and resubmitting them after having added information to those cards without the knowledge of the Democratic Party and without any provision of the statute that says they could do so. Isn't that correct?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

RICHMAN: With regard to the second unidentified person who was there with Mr. Leach, do you have any knowledge as to what that man actually did while he was on the premises, personal knowledge?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I only saw him standing at the location where Mr. Leach was.

RICHMAN: Did you have any conversation with Mr. Leach as to who the person was? UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, if I recall, he may have introduced him to me. But I do not recall the name.

RICHMAN: Do you have any written record anywhere in your office of that person's name?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.

RICHMAN: Do you know if anyone else in the office knows that person's name based on what they may have told you?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.

RICHMAN: Did you watch this person in any way as he walked around the office or assign anybody to watch him walking around the office?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.

RICHMAN: Was anyone else during the period of time in which Mr. Leach and this other unidentified person were in the room where the rejected absentee ballots request forms were located, given access to the room, other than your regular staff?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Not to my knowledge.

RICHMAN: Where was the person actually sitting in the room? Was there like, more than one chair in there that this other person could sit on, too?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, we had the room set up for the telephone bank.

RICHMAN: How many computers did you have in that room, approximately?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Eighteen.

RICHMAN: In all of those 18 computers, if somebody had a password could connect right into your database, correct?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

RICHMAN: Page 42, line 21. And with regard to the absentee ballots request forms that were in filing cabinets you told us before that that room was locked, correct? Was not locked, correct?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's correct.

RICHMAN: Did anybody guard that room or in any way ensure that either of those two people never entered that room.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.

RICHMAN: And you had no log or record of how many hours a day either of the two people spent in that room, is that correct? UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.

RICHMAN: Meaning it's correct that you have no log.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Correct.

RICHMAN: Page 46, line three: and prior to this having occurred -- the alterations being made to the absentee ballot request forms -- had anybody in your experience as supervisor with this office since 1977, ever made any alterations or changes to the absentee ballots request forms?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.

RICHMAN: Page 46, line 21: Is it correct that the only people that were given access to that room, with regard to the absentee ballots request forms, was Mr. Leach and the unidentified person and that, to your knowledge, no one else was given such access?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's correct.

RICHMAN: Page 48, line 11: And, without any question, you do have forms that were rejected that do not have the voter ID number on there in that box, correct?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Correct.

RICHMAN: And no one from your office made any effort to go ahead and fill in that information for those people -- whether they're Republicans, Democrats or independents. Is that correct?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Correct.

RICHMAN: That's all from volume II, your honor.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Richman, I request (OFF-MIKE) cross- examination (OFF-MIKE) volume II (OFF-MIKE).

RICHMAN: OK, would you tell me what page that's on, please?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As you recall, I don't have anything but an e-mail copy.

CLARK: It's on page 49.

RICHMAN: I think this should be it, here.

HEMMER: Once again to our viewers, Sandra Goard -- and her deposition is being read now to the court and you're watching it here by way of our CNN cameras.

And, I guess, David, for the folks at home, clarify why Sandra Goard would not come in person for such testimony.

CARDWELL: Well, we don't know for sure. It could be that either, you know, she's ill or unable to be in Tallahassee or it may be that it was a tactical decision on the part of Gerry Richman -- that he thought it was more effective to just hear her words read from a transcript than to have her actually on the stand.

For example, if you recall from Sunday's session of the trial before Judge Sauls, Shirley Keating (ph), the supervisor of elections from Nassau County was on the stand live and really turned into a very sympathetic figure because she was showing how she was trying to help people vote -- try to help votes be counted. And he may want to try to avoid that by just reading the deposition.

HEMMER: The gentleman now standing on the right of your screen is Barry Richard, a prominent attorney on the Bush side. He has argued in state Supreme Court, he's argued in many cases, including Sanders Sauls from this past weekend.

I'm not quite sure what they're discussing, but why don't we talk further about the name that we've been hearing -- the last name of Leach. This is Michael Leach; he's 29 years old. He was the Republican who went into the elections office in Seminole County with his laptop and went ahead and made the proper application for the ballots themselves.

CARDWELL: That's right. And that really goes to the heart of their complaint. There are several paragraphs in the complaint that they filed in this case where they're alleging that Michael Leach and some unidentified Republican Party operative, as it's described, was allowed into the supervisor of election's office. Put in a room, not having anyone supervising them or overseeing what they were doing.

And there, where there were computers that were turned on, where there were election records out on the tables, that's where they went through these request forms. So the allegation that Mr. Richman is making is that, because he was unsupervised, we don't know what may have happened, you know, what he may have done with the request forms that he didn't want to have counted.

HEMMER: All right; we'll give a timeline, too, for how these work -- these applications -- how they're received and sent out, et cetera when we come back shortly.

But now back inside the courtroom to continue with the deposition reading. Sandra Goard is the woman with the deposition on the paper there, and the woman reading that, we assume, is a colleague of Mr. Richman.

Once again, inside.

RICHMAN: ... did with regard to any of those forms?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I only saw them writing numbers on the cards from their database.

RICHMAN: But you were not present during much of the time they were there; isn't that correct?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's correct. RICHMAN: So you actually don't have any personal knowledge as what else, if anything, they may have done with regard to the absentee ballots request forms. Is that correct?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Correct.

RICHMAN: That's it, your honor, for volume II.

Going to volume III -- and I believe everything that Mr. Young (ph) wants me to read doesn't even begin until page 43, so I'll just go right through this. Page -- beginning at page 4, line 10: With regard to the rejected absentee ballots requests, the ones that we had talked about earlier that were put in a separate box; when they were rejected, was there any log made of that? In other words, any kind of a separate list of the ones that were rejected?

The answer is at line 14.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.

RICHMAN: And was -- when the procedure occurred where you had Mr. Leach allowed to come in and the other person was with him, if he did it, to add voter identification numbers -- was there any notification to anyone that this was occurring outside of your immediate office?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I did not notify anyone.

RICHMAN: And that would be neither the press, representatives of the Democratic Party or the general public were notified of any such change. Is that correct?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.

RICHMAN: In other words, it's correct that you did not give any such notification, is that right?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Correct.

RICHMAN: Skipping to line 22: to your knowledge -- I'm sorry, line 22, at page nine -- and to your knowledge, did anyone in your staff -- anyone on behalf of your staff -- notify the Democratic Party, the general public, radio stations or anyone of a change in procedure at the time the decision was made?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.

RICHMAN: And so we can be clear, when I use the words "change in procedure," this is not a procedure that you'd ever employed before. Is that correct?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's correct.

RICHMAN: And after that decision was made, going all the way up to the period of time of the election on November 7, was there any notification by you or your office staff of the change in procedure to the general public, to the Democratic Party, to anyone else outside of your office, to your knowledge?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If someone had called and inquired about this being done, I would have responded to that.

RICHMAN: Did you affirmatively go out and inform anyone? In other words, other than responding to a request or a question if someone asked you, did you or anyone else on your staff or anyone on your behalf make that change of procedure known?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I did not. I can't speak for other staff members.

RICHMAN: I'm asking you, though, if, to your knowledge, anyone in the staff did. In other words, what was reported to you?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.

RICHMAN: And did you contact anyone to publicly tell anyone that or to contact the party, through and including the date of the election?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.

RICHMAN: Prior to this election, had you, as election supervisor for 23 years, ever allowed an outsider -- meaning somebody outside of your office staff -- to fill anything in on absentee ballot request forms after they'd been submitted by the voter?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, I had never received a request for that to be done.

RICHMAN: And had you ever done, whether it was requested or not?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.

RICHMAN: Skipping over to page -- to line six, looks to be page nine -- page 12: Did you confirm anyone in there -- with anyone in the Republican Party, the identity of Mr. Leach?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.

RICHMAN: Did you make any calls to anyone in the Republican Party from October 1 on regarding the voter identification numbers being inserted?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I returned a telephone call to an individual who represented themselves as a representative of the Republican Party from Tallahassee who inquired about whether or not an individual could place the ID numbers on those ballot request cards.

RICHMAN: Skipping over to the next page, line two: In the facility that we're in, which is the supervisor of elections office, are there areas that are public and areas that are non-public?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is a...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Your honor, at this point, I would (OFF-MIKE) objection (OFF-MIKE).

CLARK: Mr. Richman?

RICHMAN: I don't recall that we asked that question, ever -- whether it's a public building or not. That has not been covered at all in what I've read of deposition excerpts, your honor.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Your honor, we'll stipulate to the fact that it is a public building and that these individuals were in a portion of the public building that is not ordinarily a public area and that they were unsupervised for some period of time while they were in that area.

CLARK: Mr. Richman?

RICHMAN: I'll accept that stipulation. And let me skip right over to -- I want to go down to line 16 about -- this has got to do with the supervision that somebody from the...

CLARK: (OFF-MIKE)

RICHMAN: Yes; line 16: So anybody from the public can walk in the front door in your office, walk right into where the absentee ballots request forms are and just look at those without any restriction or control; is that correct?

Answer -- I'm sorry, answer?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, I believe we would certainly have -- no one would come in the front office and just walk through the door and just start walking through unless they were authorized to walk through.

RICHMAN: And would you just let someone walk through without having somebody accompany them and observe what they were doing normally?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.

RICHMAN: Page 20, line 8. Was it physically possible at that time on October 30th, when Mr. Poe called to complain to segregated out the ballot request forms that had been filled out by Mr. Leach?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: At that time, my staff members were very busy.

RICHMAN: I -- I'm sorry. The -- it should say, "When Mr. Poe called to complain to segregate out the absentee ballots request forms that had been filled out by Mr. Leach." I believe there's a typo in the transcript.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: At that time my staff members were very busy. But had the request been made, we certainly could have considered that.

RICHMAN: Could you have traced the ballots? In other words, that had come in at that point in time and found the ballots and pulled those out that had been submitted by people who had had absentee request forms sent on cards that had been altered by Mr. Leach?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I do not know the time that had permitted us to do that. We had a large number of absentee ballots returned by that time.

RICHMAN: Did you consider doing it when Mr. Leach called to complain? I'm sorry -- when Mr. Poe called to complain?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was never requested.

RICHMAN: Did you consider, when he called and complained and said the procedure was illegal, doing anything to change the procedure?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Your honor, we have an objection (OFF-MIKE).

JUDGE: Objection, overruled.

RICHMAN: Page 21, line 24. In all prior elections, were absentee ballot request forms, once they were rejected for whatever defect or whatever was missing -- rejected? In other words, did they remain rejected or not?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In past elections when we received a request that did not contain all of the information, we made every effort to notify the voter that the request did not contain all of the required information.

RICHMAN: Did they remain rejected?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If we had notified a voter that the request could not be processed, certainly. If they called in by telephone to request an absentee ballot, we would have taken that request, provided that they could give us what the required information.

RICHMAN: And when you say, "required information," if the person did not have their voter identification number, did you provide it to them?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.

RICHMAN: Page 26, line 5. And under no circumstances, until this election, was it your procedure or even, well -- under no circumstances was it your procedure in prior elections to go ahead and put the information in for the person, correct?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Correct.

RICHMAN: Let me show you this -- page 27, line 6. Let me show you this and ask if you can identify that three-page exhibit No. 2 as being what was posted by the this office officially on Your web site, which I believe, by the way, is still on your Web site.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That is correct.

RICHMAN: And at -- skipping down to line 15 -- and at your Web site, you basically lay out all of the requirements that have to be required by the statute, including where it says, "What information must I provide to request an absentee ballot?" Is that right?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

RICHMAN: Page 28, line 5. And at the bottom of the sample form, boldly, would you read into the record what it says regarding the absentee ballot request form?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: "Note: All of the information above must be provided or the request is considered void."

RICHMAN: Page 28, starting with line 23. That statement, where it says, "Note: All of the information above must" -- and the word "must" is in bold and underlined -- "be provided or the request is considered void," was the official policy of your office, is that correct?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

RICHMAN: And that, as you understood it, was also the law of the state of Florida, that you were following as the elected election supervisor for Seminole County? Is that correct?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That all of the information must be provided. Yes.

RICHMAN: And that if the information is not provided the request is void, is that correct -- exactly as it has been stated there -- is that correct?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

RICHMAN: And the same form that talks about who's providing the information says -- would you read that out loud into the record?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: "Only the voter or a member of the immediate family or the legal guardian can request an absentee ballot."

RICHMAN: Page 30, line 24 -- back to my question again -- my question simply is, as you know that no political party can make or submit a request in behalf of the voter. Isn't that true?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

RICHMAN: Page 31, line 14. Can you identify that, please, exhibit No. 3? And I'll represent to you that's a photo copy of one of the request forms in your office.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It appears to be a request form for an absentee ballot that was mailed to this office.

RICHMAN: OK -- again, that's -- that's exactly the same form that we have on exhibit 2 that appeared on your Web site with the same language, about that "all of the information above must be provided or the request is considered void." Is that correct?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

RICHMAN: And in all of your prior procedure, in your 23 years as an election supervisor, you never had a third party provide any of that information in that form other than the elector themselves? Is that correct? In other words, once it was sent in signed, no one else provided that information. Is that correct?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There was a time when the Florida statute did not require that the voter themselves or a member of their immediate family request the absentee ballot.

RICHMAN: But that changed and clearly changed in 1998, expressly by the legislature, which you know as a majority Republican legislature. Is that correct?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I know that the legislation was changed in 1998.

RICHMAN: And do you know, as a result of that change, all of the information, including the voter identification numbers specifically was required to be provided by the voter, correct?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

RICHMAN: And you were aware of that at the time of this election, correct?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, I am aware of requirements to request an absentee ballot.

RICHMAN: Page 34, line 15. And is there any way of knowing that some of these forms that came in, that were not in any way logged in, but were put in the box, or inadvertently or intentionally discarded by anyone, whether it would be a member by your staff, or by somebody who is in this office who is not supervised when they're in the nonpublic areas?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have no log.

RICHMAN: So there's no way of knowing, correct?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Correct.

RICHMAN: Page 40, line 3. And how long had you been using that form that appeared on the Internet that had that bold statement that note: "All of the information above must be provided or the request is considered void"?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That would have been on there since I created the Web site, and I would have to actually go back and get a specific date as to when I got my Web site up for you.

RICHMAN: Can you give you us an approximate date?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It would have been over a year ago.

RICHMAN: Page 40, line 18. I just want to clarify one thing and ask you about one exhibit. When you said -- when I asked you earlier about whether you knew all of those statutory requirements at the time of the election, I want to make sure we understand that you certainly knew about them during the period of time that Mr. Leach was here. Correct?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

RICHMAN: And you knew about it pretty much after the 1998 legislation had passed, because you were informed of that. Correct?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

RICHMAN: Skipping over to page 62, line 9...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Richman, at this point, I would (OFF- MIKE)...

RICHMAN: Let me see if I can find those. Beginning at page...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (OFF-MIKE)

RICHMAN: I think I have it here -- 43, line 1, right?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.

RICHMAN: OK, let me just find it in here. OK. Page 43, line 1. This is -- these are the questions being asked by Mr. Young.

Ms. Goard. I have a few questions to follow up on, on some things Mr. Richman asked you. I think that he asked you with respect to permitting a man that has been referred to Michael Leach during this deposition coming into this office and adding the voter identification numbers to the Republican request forms. I believe Mr. Richman asked you if you've ever permitted that before. Do you recall those questions?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

RICHMAN: OK, have there ever been a need arise in this office for that before 1998 when the law changed requiring voter identification numbers to be included on a request form?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No. In fact, in 1998, the Republican Party mailed out the same request forms for the governor's election race. When those forms were returned to this office, the appropriate identification number was on those cards. So there has not ever been a need for that in the past.

RICHMAN: Had it ever been a required piece of information, prior to the legislation, in 1998?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.

RICHMAN: Had anyone ever requested, on behalf of any political party, the opportunity to add the voter identification number to any request form in the past?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.

RICHMAN: Was your office involved, in any way, in initiating or causing Mr. Leach, or the Republican Party, to come into this office and add those numbers?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.

RICHMAN: Was that a request that was made through this individual you identified to Mr. Richman that called you one day and identified himself as a representative of the Republican Party?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's correct.

RICHMAN: And did that occur, that telephone conversation occur, after you had the meeting that you described with Keith of WDBO radio?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, I believe it did.

RICHMAN: OK. Going to page 46, line 15. And was it shortly after that that Mr. Leach asked to have a place in this office to access the voter ID cards -- excuse me -- the absentee ballot requests?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I received a request from someone with the state Republican Party from Tallahassee.

RICHMAN: Page 47, line 7. Now, you indicated to Mr. Richman that Michael Leach did not provide you with any identification. Did he represent who he was to you?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He introduced himself the first day he came in.

RICHMAN: Now, where he performed his work, does that area of the office have a name?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It is in our warehouse that is attached to this office.

RICHMAN: Is it called a warehouse area?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

RICHMAN: And when Mr. Richman asked you whether or not numbers of the public regularly and routinely have access to the warehouse area -- do members of the public have reason to have access to the warehouse area?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.

RICHMAN: Do members of the public generally have reason to access this room?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.

RICHMAN: But is there anything private about this room?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.

RICHMAN: Is there any voting equipment or machinery this in room?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.

RICHMAN: Are there any ballots kept in this room?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.

RICHMAN: Are the absentee ballot request forms kept in this room?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.

RICHMAN: Forty-nine, line 17. Was there anything in the warehouse area that he had access to that would have impacted the election results?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.

HEMMER: Once again, what we are hearing read back to the court is the deposition for Sandra Goard. She is the election supervisor back in Seminole County and David Cardwell, let's stop right now and remind our viewers about how this process works because you know it. I'm just getting educated on it just like so many other people are.

Basically, the first part of October the applications are sent out to the Republican Party and the Democratic Party. They go out to party members. The applications then filled out and sent back to their particular areas. It was at that point on the Republican side where they noticed where the registration number was missing. That's when workers came in and filled out those numbers.

At that point, those applications go back to the voters in order for them to vote actually with their ballot. That's when he or she can decide which candidate he or she wants to go with and then they are returned to their respective areas there.

In that case, however, Republican alleged that their ballots came back to the election supervisor's office. The Democratic ballots went to the DNC. Why would that be critical?

CARDWELL: Well, if the ballots went directly to Sandy Goard's office the Republican Party may have not picked up immediately that those voter id numbers were not being put on those request forms whereas with the ballot requests going back through a party or back through some office they could check them.

One of things to keep in mind also here is that the absentee ballot law was amended in 1998, but it was not effective for the '98 election. It didn't go into effect until '99 and that's what added this requirement for some of these details to be put in the request and it came out of some problems with the Miami mayor election in 1997.

So, this is really the first major election that this new absentee ballot law was in effect. So, you would expect there to be a little bit of confusion as to what's required and what's not required.

HEMMER: And as we're watching this, it's past 3:30 Eastern time here in Tallahassee. It was largely believed that not only this case but the Martin County, which started way early this morning, could be able to be wrapped up by later tonight. What we don't know though how long this deposition reading may last and again what follows after this?

CARDWELL: Right, we don't know how many pages they're going to read because if you recall at the very beginning of the reading from this deposition there was an objection in fact to even the reading of the deposition. There was a recess taken. The attorneys went with the judge into chambers and there they worked out what was going to be read and what was not going read and we don't know what the agreement was.

HEMMER: And the reason I bring that up, obviously, is because we continue to watch the clock tick down and if this goes into tomorrow that would mean the Martin County case would go into tomorrow and also tomorrow you've got oral arguments in the state Supreme Court. It could be an extremely busy day here.

CARDWELL: Oh, definitely. In fact, we're a bit surprised it seemed that this trial started late this morning -- much later than had been expected. It took a very long lunch break. And now with the reading of this deposition, that's sort of dragging things out a little bit. So it's taking a little bit longer.

HEMMER: All right, back inside, now. The deposition reading continues. Again, Sandra Goard is the election supervisor back in Seminole County. The woman reading this is a sit-in basically to translate the words that were given in the deposition for Ms. Goard. Back inside, now, circuit court.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: ... on behalf of an elector. They are mailing a request form to the elector so that the elector can complete it and personally request a ballot themselves.

RICHMAN: Have you ever received any instructions as to whether or not the political party is prohibited from supplying the voter identification number on the form?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.

RICHMAN: Do you know whether or not political parties commonly do that?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

RICHMAN: Do you recognize this document?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

RICHMAN: What is it?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's an absentee ballot request form preprinted to an elector in Seminole County for them to complete and return to this office requesting absentee ballot provided by the Democratic Party.

RICHMAN: And does it include a voter identification number?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, it does.

RICHMAN: And does that appear to be provided by the voter or provided by the Democratic Party

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The Democratic Party.

RICHMAN: Does it appear to be provided by the voter?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.

RICHMAN: And in looking at the front side of the postcard indicating where it's mailed back to, is it mailed to this office?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Where is it mailed to?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: House Victory 2000, 444 East Merrill Street, Orlando, Florida.

RICHMAN: Do you know what's located at that address?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.

RICHMAN: How does your office get this voter request form or absentee ballot request form? Does the voter bring it in?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If I recall correctly, these were brought in from representatives of the Democratic Party. They were turned in over the counter my staff members. .

RICHMAN: Turn to page 58.

RICHMAN: Yes, I see that. Page 58, line 15. Mr. Richman asked you -- I'm sorry. Just a moment. Now Mr. Richman asked you whether or not you logged in the request forms that ultimately were never processed and I think you indicated they were not logged, and is that right?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's correct.

RICHMAN: Is there any requirement that you're aware of that they be logged in?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.

RICHMAN: Are you aware of any other supervisor's office logging those in?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.

RICHMAN: Do you have any knowledge that any of those were intentionally discarded?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Absolutely not.

RICHMAN: Did you or other any of your office staff intentionally discard any of those?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.

RICHMAN: Next excerpt I think is at page 62. Just checking your honor, to see if any cross or and of the redirect relates to that. If I may have just one moment.

HEMMER: Again, as we get a short timeout here, David, let's back up just a little bit and again point out what are they trying to get out through this deposition here?

CARDWELL: They're trying to through the supervisor of elections' deposition show what the policy of the office had been, the practice and procedures of office and how to handle absentee ballot requests. And that Mr. Leach was allowed in and the room that he was in and was he supervised or not.

Right now, they're going through kind of the administration of the absentee ballot requests. For example, do they keep a log of each request that was received? Did they note what happened to that request? You know, was the ballot mailed out timely manner. Sort of going through the legal requirements that the supervisor has to follow.

RICHMAN: Did they ensure that the elector's address was on the written request form?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

RICHMAN: Did they ensure that the last 4 digits of the social security number of the requester was on the request form?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

RICHMAN: Did they ensure that if the request was being made on behalf of another elector as provided, did they ensure that the requester's name was on the request form?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

RICHMAN: Did they ensure that the requester's address was on the request form?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

RICHMAN: And did they make sure that the requester's social security number or driver's license number if available was on the request form?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

RICHMAN: With respect to requests made on behalf of another person, was the requester's relationship to that voter reflected on the request form?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's our policy.

RICHMAN: And the requester's signature would also be reflected on the request form?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If the request was received in writing.

RICHMAN: OK, are those signatures checked to verify their accuracy?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Not at the time that the absentee ballot request is made. The signature is the elector is verified upon receipt of an absentee ballot back into this office.

RICHMAN: Let's talk about the other side of the process, when the absentee ballot arrives. Before an absentee ballot is counted, is it verified that the person submitting the absentee ballot has filled out the voter certificate properly?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My staff members, when absentee ballots are returned back to this office, they are scanned into the system as being an absentee ballot that has been returned. My staff members then take those absentee ballots and they check the back of the envelope.

At the time -- at that time they compare the signature of the elector on the envelope with the signature that we have on file from the voter registration records. My staff also checks to make sure that that voter's signature has been witnesses and that the witness has provided the address.

RICHMAN: So that would include, then, filling out the voting certificate that accompanies the ballot as part of the process of checking?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Correct.

RICHMAN: And before an absentee vote is counted, is it verified that the ballot has been placed properly in the secrecy envelope that is provided with the absentee ballot? UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Once the canvassing board begins to prepare the ballots with tabulation ballots are -- were brought into this room. They were opened on a letter-opener. Individuals took the ballot that was inside the envelope, separating them into two stacks -- pardon me -- straightening them into stacks.

The envelopes with the electors' signatures were placed here -- the ballot. We do have some individuals who do place their ballot into the secrecy sleeve. But if it was in a secrecy sleeve or not in a secrecy sleeve, the ballots were placed in a stack over here. All envelopes are then removed from the table. The procedure then is to go to these ballots that are here, remove them from the secrecy sleeve, unfold them, and prepare them for election -- for tabulation on Election Day.

RICHMAN: An absentee ballot is returned that is improper and does not or does not have the proper voter signature -- certificate, rather -- or signature: Is that ballot set aside and not counted?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Those ballots are set aside for review by members of the canvassing board, for them to make a determination as to whether or not they will be accepted or rejected as illegal.

RICHMAN: And was that process followed this election?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes it was.

RICHMAN: And that process included having their voting certificate properly witnessed.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Correct.

RICHMAN: And if there was any problem with the witnessing of the voting certificate, that absentee ballot was set aside and presented to the canvassing board, as you indicated.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Correct.

RICHMAN: And if a signature on the voting certification did not appear to match the signature your office as record, was that ballot then set aside and presented to the canvassing board?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. My staff member makes a copy of that voter signature, attaches it to that ballot for the canvassing board to review, to make a determination as to whether or not to accept or reject that ballot as illegal.

RICHMAN: OK. Can you briefly explain what canvassing the ballots means?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well...

RICHMAN: I would -- at this point, Your Honor, I would just simply note that I believe that all of this is irrelevant to the issues in this case since we're -- everything in here describes what happens with regard to the ballots when come back. And that's not an issue in this case.

RICHMAN: The integrity of ballots is exactly the issue in the case in the standard of law.

CLARK: Objection overruled. Go on, please.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm sorry. What was the question?

RICHMAN: I think you're on line 3, page 68.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you.

Well, we began on Friday prior to the election to begin to review the ballots that the canvassing board needed to be reviewed -- and also to proceed to open and prepare the ballots for tabulation on the day of the election.

RICHMAN: Does the canvassing board actually review all of the absentee ballots that were set aside to be examined by the canvassing board -- that person to look at them?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

RICHMAN: Did they make a determination with respect to each one of those ballots that were in question?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

RICHMAN: And then is that decided by a vote of the canvassing board?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

RICHMAN: And does the canvassing board also oversee the count of all the absentee ballots that were not presented in disputed ballots?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

RICHMAN: And, in the end, the absentee ballots that were not disputed and the ones that were reviewed by the canvassing board are placed together in counted in total.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The ones that were rejected by the canvassing board as not being permitted to be counted were placed in a bag and sealed with a notation on there that those were ballots that were rejected as illegal.

RICHMAN: OK. And the ones that the canvassing board approved to be counted: What happened to those?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Those, in addition, on -- because we began this process on Friday because of the large number of ballots, they were also placed into these bags, sealed, tagged with a seal number, placed both inside the bag and on the outside of the number -- of the bag. RICHMAN: Approximately how many absentee votes were counted in Seminole County in this general election?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Approximately 15,000, I believe.

RICHMAN: So is it safe, is it true that, for all 15,000 of those voters, of those votes, the signatures on their absentee ballot were confirmed with the signatures in your records?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

RICHMAN: And for all of the 15,000 votes that were counted in this election -- the votes -- the absentee ballots, when they were received in your office, were checked according to procedures that we just went over?

And then I noted, Your Honor, that we have a standing stipulation. She's talking about policy. And she is not talking about actual knowledge with regard to each ballot or ballot request form or envelope.

Let me rephrase. So far as you know, were all 15,000 absentee votes that were counted in Seminole County in this election subjected to the scrutiny that you just described as part of the procedures from Florida law to ensure that it was a valid vote?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

RICHMAN: And all the ones that were counted were deemed by the canvassing board to be proper votes under Florida law?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

RICHMAN: There has been a lot of questions asked about where various records are kept in your office. Can you tell us where the absentee ballots, once they are returned...

Sorry. Am I going too fast? I once had a court reporter's machine start smoking. I'll try to avoid that.

There have been a lot of questions asked about where various records are kept in your office. Can you tell us where the absentee ballot, once they're returned and they're mailed to your office, where are those kept?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Of course, once they are returned in the mail, my employees have to work on those. And they work on those over in the main office by getting them scanned in and verifying the signatures, and making sure that there is a witness. And when that is done -- or if that is not completely done -- all absentee ballots were placed over in the ballot counting room.

RICHMAN: OK, and the ballot-counting room is not in the room where are Mr. Leach was working?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No. RICHMAN: Now, I said, to be clear, you are talking about the absentee ballots, or the absentee request forms. Mr. Levy (ph) stated I'm talking about absentee ballots, and then said that's fine.

The absentee ballots were not kept in any room where Mr. Leach was. Is that correct?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Correct.

RICHMAN: OK, I'm going back to exhibit 6 with you, Ms. Goard. This is postcard absentee-ballot request that was sent out, you believe, by the Democratic Party in this election. Is that correct?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

RICHMAN: When you first -- when your office first received these cards, it had all this information that we currently see on it, correct?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

RICHMAN: The cards are delivered to you by -- at least in some instances -- by someone who is member of the Democratic Party, right?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

RICHMAN: And they are not sent directly to your office from the voter itself?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Those were not addressed to our mailing address, no.

RICHMAN: These are the ones that are addressed to House Victory 2000, Orlando, correct?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Correct.

RICHMAN: So no one in your office has any way of knowing in what order this information gets on this postcard, do you?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.

RICHMAN: So it's possible that the voter registration number was put on this card after the person signed the card. Isn't that correct?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I do not know.

RICHMAN: You have no way of knowing that, do you?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.

RICHMAN: And that whether or not the voter registration number was put on before signature or the voter registration number was put on after the signature wouldn't make any difference to your office in terms of whether you process this request for an absentee ballot. Is that correct?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's correct.

RICHMAN: And you would process this absentee ballot request even if the voter registration number was put on the card after the person signed the card. Is that correct?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, a number would be put there.

RICHMAN: And that would be true even if voter registration number was placed on this card after it was signed, and the voter registration number was placed by someone other than the voter?

That was rephrased. And then the question was: You would process this absentee ballot request even if the voter registration number was placed on the card by someone other than the voter after the voter signed the card.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. It would need the requirement of having the I.D. number on there.

RICHMAN: In response to that, Your Honor, I wish to read my redirect examination at page 77, line 6.

Question: You have no information whatsoever indicating that, on any of the Victory 2000 pre-printed forms that any one from the Democratic Party ever added any information whatsoever after the elector signed the card requesting an absentee ballot, do you?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I do not know.

RICHMAN: Stated differently, do you have any information whatsoever indicating that anyone added any information to any of the pre-printed forms submitted by the Democratic Party after the person requesting the absentee ballot signed the card?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have not personally seen any such document.

RICHMAN: Nor have you ever hard of that assertion even having been made, have you?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's not been reported to me.

RICHMAN: You of course don't review the ballot-request forms yourself, do you?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Not hardly.

RICHMAN: How many of them, if any, do you review yourself personally?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My staff members process the requests for the absentee ballots.

RICHMAN: So you basically review none of them yourself, correct? UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.

RICHMAN: Is that correct?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's correct.

RICHMAN: You have no personal knowledge of whether anyone on your staff discarded any rejected absentee-ballot request forms, do you?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.

RICHMAN: And you have no personal knowledge of whether or not Mr. Leach or anyone else rejected any of these forms, do you?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.

RICHMAN: We were talking about the room, the area where the restrooms are back in there. I believe Mr. Young asked you about that and the description of the premises. Do you recall that?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

RICHMAN: What room is it that is directly across from the restrooms in this building?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Our filing room.

RICHMAN: And what is it that's kept in that filing room that's directly across from the restrooms?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have voter registration applications. We have requests for absentee ballots. We have a number of filing documents and cabinets in those rooms.

RICHMAN: And in that room, is there any employee that's stationed in there full-time?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.

RICHMAN: And is that room kept locked?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Your honor...

RICHMAN: And are the filing cabinets...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have to object, your honor. I mean...

CLARK: Just what's your objection?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is specifically stipulated to, and on top of that, I believe I'm the second person to make the objection on this line of questions...

CLARK: Counsel, if this is part of the stipulation, is there a need to go further?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, your honor, .

CLARK: Let's move on.

RICHMAN: I think that is -- that's it, your honor, .

CLARK: Anything further from Mrs. Goard's deposition at all?

RICHMAN: Not from the plaintiff.

CLARK: Your next witness?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: May I have a moment, your honor?

CLARK: Of course.

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This is Martin Savidge with CNN now as we have been watching the things that have been transpiring inside of the courtroom, the case involving Seminole County.

David Cardwell, we've just been listening now to what has been presented here. This was a written statement that was entered into the courtroom. That's come to an end.

Essentially, what came out of that?

CARDWELL: Well, they were reading from the deposition of Sandra Goard. Rather than putting her on as a live witness, they had someone read from her deposition.

SAVIDGE: She is the election supervisor for Seminole County?

CARDWELL: Correct. What they were doing was to show the procedures followed in her office, the request that she received from the Republican Party to have someone come in and look over these requests for absentee ballots and be able to add the voter ID numbers, and asked, you know, how that process took place, was the person that was doing it supervised while they were in the room, in her office, you know, was there some opportunity for them to have access to other records, or were they not supervised while they were there with the official records, being the applications for the absentee ballots.

SAVIDGE: Now, it was a lengthy deposition that we heard read, and it was not the person actually herself. It wasn't Sandra Goard.

CARDWELL: No, no. It was someone else, possibly a lawyer from Mr. Richman's law firm. But it was not Sandy Goard herself.

SAVIDGE: And the obvious question is why.

CARDWELL: We don't know for sure. We didn't hear the announcement of why she was not here. Obviously, for some reason, she could not be in Tallahassee today, or it may have been a tactical decision by Mr. Richman that he did not want her to be live on the stand, because we saw Sunday when Shirley King, supervisor of elections from Nassau County, was on the stand in Judge Sauls' courtroom that she sort was a very sympathetic figure.

She -- you know, they were accusing her of some wrongdoing, but she was, you know, showing she really wanted to try to do the right thing and try to get as many votes counted as possible, and they may have wanted to avoid that here.

SAVIDGE: And now they go forward in this case. We still have a long way to go in this particular case, and then Martin County is waiting (UNINTELLIGIBLE) as well.

CARDWELL: Martin County with Judge Lewis said this morning -- seems like it was a long time ago now -- that when the Seminole County case adjourns, not necessarily when the judge rules, but when it adjourns, that he'll start the Martin County case 30 minutes after that. But that looks like that's going to be tomorrow, because here we are almost at 4:00 p.m. and the plaintiffs have not even finished putting their case on.

SAVIDGE: And then we run into a situation where the attorneys that are involved in this particular, these two cases in Leon County Circuit Court, are also expected to cross the street at the Florida Supreme Court.

CARDWELL: I was surprised to see this afternoon that Barry Richard was still in the courtroom and taking a very active role in the cross-examination. He was objecting to some of the parts of the deposition that were being read, because I'm assuming, as he has in all the other times they've been before the Florida Supreme Court, that Mr. Richard will be making the oral argument tomorrow morning on the appeal of the contest ruling from Judge Sauls.

So I thought he would probably be preparing that or resting for that. Instead, he's in the courtroom here.

So we're talking about -- we've got two cases going on simultaneously right now. From Mr. Richard's standpoint, he's got three going on right now.

SAVIDGE: Now, can you concentrate on three cases at the same time, especially when one is before a state supreme court?

CARDWELL: Oh, I think you can, and with the stakes as high as this one is -- and perhaps that's one reason that Mr. Richard is still there. You know, there's adrenaline pumping in all these people because this is such an important matter: It may be that he can't rest.

SAVIDGE: Now, we look at this case and we say today this is obviously significant. In the overall contest of the election, is this sort of a sideshow legal event or could this truly be a major turn of events in the election?

CARDWELL: It could be a major turn of events depending on the determination by the judge if one, of course, there was something that occurred that affected the election sufficient to warrant some remedy. But that's when then the real important issue comes up: What is the remedy?

They've asked for all of the absentee ballots in Seminole County to be thrown out. If that should be the remedy the judge decides on, then we see a shift in the outcome of the statewide election from George Bush by, you know, 900 or 500 votes to Al Gore by almost 5,000 votes, a big difference.

SAVIDGE: David Cardwell, thank you very much. We're going to take a short break here, and then return to the legal action taking place in Tallahassee today.

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