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Gore picks up votes in Broward recount

Palm Beach count shows little change

PLANTATION, Florida (CNN) -- A manual recount of ballots in Broward County found new votes for Vice President Al Gore, but a similar recount in Palm Beach County showed little change as the battle over whether to include those results headed for Florida's Supreme Court.

About 70 counting teams gathered in the Broward County emergency operations center for a fourth day of counting Saturday. With ballots in 210 of the county's 609 precincts recounted, Gore had a net gain of 59 votes, county officials said.

Each counting team is comprised of four people: two ballot counters and one representative of each of the major political parties.

More than 588,000 ballots were cast in the county in the November 7 presidential race. Broward County's canvassing board predicted it will complete the entire process late Monday afternoon.

Bush aides allege 'distortion'

With control of the White House hanging on Florida's 25 electoral votes, the count of overseas absentee ballots completed Saturday gave Republican nominee George W. Bush a 930-vote lead over Gore in Florida's presidential recount. Gore, the Democratic nominee, has pushed for hand recounts in Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties, all heavily Democratic.


Bush aides said they had evidence that hand recounts under way or planned in those counties were being distorted in Gore's favor.

Broward County Elections Supervisor Jane Carroll said she hoped she would have enough workers to complete the work Monday and that the state's image would recover from the bitterly disputed recount.

"Right now, we're a laughingstock," she said.

Miami-Dade County's canvassing board will begin a hand recount on Monday after a mechanical sorting Sunday to separate questionable ballots from those indicating a clear favorite.

In Palm Beach County, the chairman of the canvassing board said initial hand counts had resulted in little movement for either presidential candidate.

"I'm not seeing much of a change," said Charles Burton, one of three Democrats who comprise the canvassing board.

Democrats protest exclusion

Democratic lawyers protested a decision Saturday to exclude about 150 "dimpled" -- punched but not perforated -- ballots from the recount in one precinct.

Officials study a ballot during the recount Saturday at Palm Beach County's emergency operations center  

Denis Newman, an attorney for the Democratic Party, likened the alleged problem to a 3-hole punch not cutting completely through the paper.

Meanwhile, Republican monitors complained that several ballots appeared to have been tampered with.

"We probably saw maybe seven, eight, nine, 10 different ballots that had pieces of tape that were obviously meticulously cut out and placed over various holes over a ballot," GOP observer Jeff Cahrs said. "Maybe two or three of these were on the presidential column ballots, and the other ones were for other races as well."

As of 1 p.m. Saturday, about 25 percent of the county's 531 precincts had completed their review by hand of the county's 462,000 ballots, Burton said.

Twenty-five teams of counters were working two seven-hour shifts monitored by Democratic and Republican Party observers. He said inspection of the ballots shows "an awful lot of undervoting."

"I'm seeing an awful lot of people who apparently didn't feel like voting for anybody in this race," Burton said.

CNN Miami Bureau Chief John Zarrella and Correspondent Susan Candiotti contributed to this report.


Saturday, November 18, 2000



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