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Presidential vote recounts yield few changes so far, officials say

recount
Election workers recount ballots in Palm Beach County on Sunday  

In this story:

Palm Beach: No 'big swing'

Broward: Gore has net gain

Miami-Dade: Machine recount goes forward

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WEST PALM BEACH, Florida (CNN) -- Palm Beach County, Florida, officials said they expected at least 50 percent of about 462,000 presidential ballots cast in the predominantly Democratic county to be hand recounted by the end of today.

Early this morning, county officials said 202 out of 531 precincts -- or about 38 percent -- have completed their hand recounts, which may or may not be included in Florida's final presidential tally.

Officials tell CNN the precinct recount there has shown little change from Election Day results.

Palm Beach: No 'big swing'

"We have not noticed a big swing either way, quite honestly," Palm Beach County Judge Charles Burton, who chairs the county vote canvassing board, told CNN.

Other county officials said preliminary net gain numbers would be released later today.

"We expect to have a very productive day today," Denise Cote, Palm Beach County spokeswoman, told CNN. "We've called in county workers to supplement the other folks who've been coming in to count. We expect to have 30 full teams counting for us today. And I would project that we would (have) at least 50 percent of ballots counted by end of business today."

Broward: Gore has net gain

In nearby Broward County, where about 588,000 ballots were cast on Election Day, officials were in a fifth day of a hand recount. Officials told CNN that more than a third of county ballots had been counted by early Sunday morning.

These are the unofficial hand count results from Broward County, according to county election officials: Gore has a net gain of 88 votes with 287 of 609 precincts reporting.

These votes are not a part of the uncertified official state totals, which show Bush leading by 930 votes. The hand recount results are still subject to the Florida state Supreme Court review, set for Monday.

Miami-Dade: Machine recount goes forward

In nearby Miami-Dade County, a machine recount went ahead after a state judge denied a Republican petition to block it. Opponents of the recount allege that running the ballots through the machines again could damage them, resulting in possibly inaccurate counts.

Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Margarita Esquiroz made the decision this morning after an hourlong meeting with Republican and Democratic party lawyers.

canvassing board
Palm Beach Canvassing Board members recount ballots on Sunday  

The Miami-Dade canvassing board had voted unanimously Saturday to adopt a plan that would speed the recounting by hand -- scheduled to begin Monday -- of the county's 654,000 ballots.

The board planned to run the ballots through electronic vote readers Sunday to cull the 10,750 "undervotes" -- ballots for which the machines recorded no vote being cast for president.

The three-person canvassing board will inspect those ballots individually beginning Monday morning, when 25 two-person teams will begin reviewing the ballots in the Stephen Clark Center, a government building, in downtown Miami.

The remaining ballots will be sorted into separate piles for each of the presidential candidates. Then, instead of going through the ballots one by one, checkers will hold up one-inch stacks to the light to see if light passes through all of the ballots.

If light does not pass through the stack, ballots would be removed and inspected individually to see whether any of the holes was blocked by chad, the tiny bit of paper usually punched from the ballot by the voter.

The county elections supervisor predicted the plan would cut in half the time needed to check ballots in the state's largest county. The goal is to complete the hand recount by December 1.

CNN Miami Bureau Chief John Zarrella, CNN Correspondents Susan Candiotti and Charles Zewe contributed to this report.


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Sunday, November 19, 2000

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