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Breaking News

The Florida Recount: Gore Supporters Demand Revote

Aired November 9, 2000 - 4:32 p.m. ET

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

LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: CNN continues its election coverage. We welcome our international viewers. Earlier this afternoon, a federal lawsuit was said to be heard in West Palm Beach, Florida. John Zarrella is watching down there.

And apparently, there was a hitch in the get-along, John?

JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Boy, there sure was, Lou.

We expected perhaps some drama out of federal court today here in West Palm Beach. It was not to be. The gentlemen who was going to file a suit in federal court asking that the election here be voided, and that a new election be called here in Palm Beach County withdraw his claim in federal court.

So, they're saying that they hope that they will join another lawsuit, perhaps next week, either in state or federal court. But they're pretty nebulous about what they were going to do. You can hear the people behind me, chanting: "Impeach Jeb Bush." That, of course, is the governor of Florida, who is the brother of George W. Bush. And these -- these folks here, these protesters have been here all day.

They got here about 8:00 this morning, been here all day: a major demonstration in protest at about noon today. The Reverend Jesse Jackson was expected to speak here. In fact, about 1:00, 1:30, the reverend did show up. And the Reverend Jesse Jackson said that what's happened here in Palm Beach County is just flat out wrong.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JESSE JACKSON, RAINBOW/PUSH COALITION: This ballot is fuzzy. Yes, it is -- it is deceptive. The issue here today is not about black and white. It's about wrong and right.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZARRELLA: As most people in the United States know now -- and most people around the world probably know now -- it's all come down to a ballot, the Palm Beach County Ballot, the way it was laid out. People here in Palm Beach County are saying that it was unfair. In fact, that federal lawsuit was exactly alleging that: that the ballot was unfair and misled people. Now, what ended up happening because of that ballot was, according to the people here, that Pat Buchanan actually got 3,407 votes in Palm Beach County. That's five times more votes than Pat Buchanan got in Broward County, Florida, which has twice the number of registered voters as they have here in Palm Beach County. So there is some indication, certainly, that that number was skewed. There were also 19,000 votes that were thrown out here in Palm Beach County, because the people voted for more than one presidential candidate -- punched their ticket twice.

So there is some concern about that 19,000 vote. On a bar graph that we have probably have already shown you up there on the air, you can see that there is this just wide discrepancy in the number of votes that Pat Buchanan got here and that he got in the other counties around the state. There is also -- there is also some talk by congressman here, U.S. congressman here, that there is some precedence that a state court judge could review the case here in Palm Beach County, and, in fact, use his own statistical analysis to change the number of votes that have been handed out in this county.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. PETER DEUTSCH (D), FLORIDA: In the most recent case, in the city of Miami, someone was elected mayor of the city of Miami, sworn in, served as mayor. Ballot irregularities were uncovered. The judge then did a statistical analysis to determine what the people's wishes were, and actually removed that mayor and put in another mayor. So there precedence. There is the law.

In fact, it is not just an issue. It is an actual -- has to happen. In fact, when presented with this case, a judge will have to, in fact, change the numbers, whether through statistic -- I believe through a statistical analysis. And, in fact, at that point, Al Gore will win Florida, will become president of the United States.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZARRELLA: Now, on the flip side of the coin, of course, supporters of George W. Bush are saying that any challenges to the ballot here in Palm Beach should have been done well before the election, that there was a lot of information out there. People got sample ballots. They were able to see the sample ballot. They could have challenged the sample ballot. They're saying that, of course, that it was a Democratic here that put the ballot together.

So why should it be -- why should the election be changed or thrown out? A lot of issues on both sides still coming out. There will be court challenges, we believe, next week in state court here in Palm Beach County -- still could be further action in federal court, if someone else decides to bring a lawsuit. But no doubt that the challenges to the 3,400 -- 3,700 votes that Pat Buchanan -- 3,407 votes that Pat Buchanan got -- will continue.

And what do about the 19,000 people who voted for two presidential candidates, because they say they didn't know who -- what the ballot looked like, and how was it was laid out, and didn't know who they were voting for? A lot of issues to be revolved in the next days of to come -- and with the tightness of what is happening in Tallahassee, less than 400 votes now separating the two candidates, what happens in Palm Beach County could be very, very decisive in determining the outcome of the presidential election -- Lou, Natalie.

WATERS: John, you have got a bunch of folks crowded around you there. Could you spin around it and ask a couple of them what they think about all of this?

ZARRELLA: Yes, I sure can.

Let me ask some of you folks. You have been gathered here behind us all day today. What are you -- what do you believe needs happen here. What happened? And what needs to happen? What is your name, first?

MICHAEL DIAL (ph), PROTESTER: My name is Michael Dial.

Governor Bush said trust the people in his campaign. That was his campaign mantra. So we are just saying trust the people. If 1,900 votes were lost, let's have a revote. Let's have an election -- a reelection -- let's elect the proper president. Mr. Gore won the popular vote. That gives him the mandate to take this to court, we believe. We just want the people's will. If it's Governor Bush, we'll support him.

ZARRELLA: How do you feel?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My name is (UNINTELLIGIBLE). I (UNINTELLIGIBLE) with this guy, with that question he answer you. It's because if Gore lost, we are not to accept the Gore loss. If all of us come out voting for Gore, he is going to be the president.

ZARRELLA: Are there people here among you who think you might have voted for the wrong person?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have got that, John. It's very simple. And this goes all to you of you Bush advocates, as well. If you will notice on the ballot that we in Palm Beach County received here, the Republican ballot is first, when, in fact, realistically, it should be the incumbent party.

ZARRELLA: And this would be...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're all the way down on actually number 3.

ZARRELLA: Let me ask -- let me ask this one lady one thing real quick. You say you voted the wrong person.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. It looked like I was voting for Al Gore. But actually, it's Buchanan.

ZARRELLA: So, you're one of those who feels as if you definitely voted for the wrong -- so that's what you have here in Palm Beach County. All of these people here, of course, they are supporters of Gore and Lieberman. And they're demanding a revote. That's the word in Palm Beach County, Lou and Natalie, one word: revote.

CROWD: Revote! Revote! Revote!

WATERS: We get the picture. John Zarrella at his post in West Palm Beach.

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