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The Florida Recount: Bush Campaign Pleased With Palm Beach, FL Decision to Suspend Manual Count; Expert Discusses Election MachinesAired November 14, 2000 - 8:54 a.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CAROL LIN, CNN ANCHOR: It has been a busy morning here at EARLY EDITION as we wait now to see whether a court will force recounts in different counties in the state of Florida.
Meanwhile, we go to Austin, Texas where CNN's national correspondent Tony Clark is standing by with fresh reaction from the Bush campaign -- Tony.
TONY CLARK, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The Bush campaign is pleased with the decision for Palm Beach to suspend its manual count at this point. Dan Bartlett, a spokesman for the Bush campaign, saying "we do appreciate the board is," in his words, "doing due diligence," indicating that the Bush campaign believes that the manual count is not necessary, that under Florida law the only reason to do a manual recount is if there was a problem with the machines, the vote counting machines.
And he said there is apparently no problem. He said they have argued all along that Florida law ought to be followed in this case, and that the board there in Palm Beach was given a heads-up early on, that they shouldn't be going ahead with a manual count. And he says he appreciates that they are doing that now.
He said the Bush campaign for now must simply watch and wait to see what happens. He believes that it will ultimately be up to a court as to which direction Palm Beach takes. He went on to say that they believe, the Bush campaign believes, the manual count is fundamentally flawed. But for now, they must simply watch and wait like the rest of us.
Tony Clark, CNN, Austin.
LEON HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: All right, thank you, Tony.
Let's go now to Washington. And we're joined now by Kim Brace, who's with the Election Data Services. And he's an expert on the machinery actually used in elections across the country.
Been talking so much over the last couple of days, Mr. Brace, about these different machines and dimpled chads and pregnant chads. You've got a machine there that I understand is one that is used for paper ballots, correct?
KIM BRACE, PRESIDENT, ELECTION DATA SERVICES: No, actually this is a punch card machine.
BRACE: It's a punch card device. It's the kind of device that is used in Palm Beach. And, actually, IT is used in upwards of -- by 31 percent of the registered voters in this country. And all they end up doing is taking a ballot, placing it into the punch card device such as here, and putting it -- pushing it down and then using one of these, what is called a stylus. And the stylus is then used to punch holes in the ballot that goes through the mask and then a voter takes it out and there's the ballot right there with the holes in it.
And if indeed those holes don't get properly made, then you get the case of the good old hanging chad, such as what was right here in this particular ballot.
HARRIS: So you just had one just there?
HARRIS: And you pressed the stylus through rather firmly, didn't you?
BRACE: Yes. What tends to happen in these kind of machines is that you can have the device get clogged up with information, with chad, and therefore a voter can't always push down completely. You also have the problem that was there in Palm Beach, which was basically improper ballot design, the way that this butterfly ballot was created.
But what you end up seeing in that instance is that the voters clearly had a choice on the left-hand side of the page to vote for president, but if you notice on the right-hand side of the page, it does not say a continuation of the ballot, a continuation of voting for president. So, in fact, I would imagine that a number of people went in there and voted the left-hand side of the page and then went to the right-hand side of the page and voted again because they thought it was something else.
HARRIS: I actually talked to a number of voters last week who did describe that exact same thing. Why is it, then, because of the fact that we've been seeing that, and just your experience this morning, that you can have so many problems with these machines and punching the hole clearly through that ballot, why is there no standard machine used all across the country to simplify the whole process?
BRACE: Well, there are actually five major types of voting systems around the country. There's no standard because each local jurisdiction has the opportunity to make their own choice. Clearly Congress could come into play and impose some sort of standard, but they would have to think about the funding of that. These machines and the various types cost a lot of money, and it's on the taxpayers at the local level that fund that kind of thing.
HARRIS: It always comes down to that. Kim Brace, we thank you very much for sticking with us this morning. Lots of breaking news. We still appreciate your sticking around and joining us. Take care.
BRACE: Thank you.
LIN: That's right. Well, chads dimpled, pregnant or swinging or otherwise in Palm Beach County, we'll have to wait as election officials there wait for a court decision, which we expect to hear about at 10:30 a.m. Eastern today as to whether the counts should continue there as well as in some other places.
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