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Special Event

Election 2000: Rep. Anne Gannon Addresses Florida House in Special Session to Appoint Electors

Aired December 12, 2000 - 12:03 p.m. ET

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

FRANK SESNO, CNN ANCHOR: Now to Tallahassee, Florida for the latest on the move by the Republican-dominated Florida legislature there to name its own slate of electors loyal to Bush.

National correspondent Mike Boettcher covering that part of the story, as he has all along, along with other parts of the story -- Mike.

MIKE BOETTCHER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Every part of the story, Frank.

Well, we're watching the debate live inside the House. It's been going on for about two hours. They're considering the concurrent resolution introduced on past Friday in which the Florida legislature will name 25 electors for George W. Bush.

Speaking right now is Rep. Anne Gannon, a Democrat from Del Ray Beach. Let's listen to her.

(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

ANNE GANNON (D), FLORIDA STATE HOUSE: ... Frederick Douglass and Susan B. Anthony are just a few who weathered imprisonment and hardship so that America could realize its promise. By the time victory came, Charlotte Woodard would be the only living alumni to partake from the fruit of their labor, one vote from the many voices that rippled through the text of history.

Our history is filled with intense struggle over voting. It is a right that has come at a high price. But liberty rarely comes easily. And today I focus on the battle that allows me as an elected official, the battle that allowed me to vote on Nov. 7, in case we forget the basic principle that has brought us to this point.

In a speech before the Seneca Falls Convention, Clara Barton pleaded with the American people: "Brothers, when you were weak and I was strong, I toiled for you. Now you are strong and I ask your aid. I ask the ballot for myself and my sex. As I stood by you, I pray you stand by me and mine."

It is a plea similar to those issued by some of our citizens in Florida over the past few weeks. However strong those voices gathered, the opposition was no less strident and claimed that the suffrage movement would lessen the influence of the intelligent and true and increase the influence of the ignorant and vicious. The word ignorance has rung through the nation for a month now, meant to diminish the value of our constituents. Justice Charlotte Woodard displays the meaning of a single vote cast at a poll.

I am also reminded of the power a vote can hold in this legislature. In 1919, 35 of the necessary 36 states had ratified the 19th Amendment. The battle came down to Nashville, Tennessee and all sides...

(GAVEL BANGING)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Rep. Gannon, if we can, let's...

BOETTCHER: That's Rep. Anne Gannon of Del Ray.

Interestingly enough, she is one of the 63 freshmen in the House of Representatives in Florida making her first speech on the floor about such an important issue; 63 of these people there who are serving for the first time in the legislature. And this debate is expected to carry on for another couple of hours. Tomorrow, the Senate will take up the matter. And if everything goes as they have planned, the last vote will be the Senate's vote tomorrow.

But all eyes here are also on Washington and the U.S. Supreme Court. They will recess if an opinion comes out from the Supreme Court. They'll take a look at it and see if it affects what they're doing here now in the legislature, Frank.

SESNO: Mike Boettcher, thanks very much.

TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com

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