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Election 2000: Democrats' Lawyers to File Legal Challenge in Broward County; In Iowa, Gore's Lead SlipsAired November 14, 2000 - 9:22 a.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: As we turn our attention back on Florida, remarkably the most Democratic county in the state of Florida voted yesterday not to go ahead with a manual recount of its presidential votes there.
With more from Broward county, let's bring in our Susan Candiotti, who is on the phone with us this morning.
Susan, good morning.
SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Daryn.
I just got off the phone a few minutes ago with attorneys representing the Broward county Democratic Party, and they expect to arrive any moment now here at the Broward county courthouse in Fort Lauderdale to file a legal challenge asking for an emergency hearing before a judge, asking that judge to force the canvassing board of Broward county to allow a full manual recount of all approximately 564,000 votes here in Broward county.
The Democrats here are challenging a decision made by the board last night, the canvassing board, not to recount all those manual ballots. The board did do a manual recount of three precincts here, which amounted to about one percent of the vote, and they came up with four extra votes for Vice President Gore. Democrats feel as though, if a full manual recount was done, that Vice President Gore could come up with even more votes in his favor.
However, the canvassing board decided to go along from a decision from the secretary of state for Florida, Katharine Harris, who determined that no further tabulations were necessary if, indeed, there seemed to be no problem with the voting machines.
At the same time, in Miami-Dade county at this hour, Democrats there -- rather, the canvassing board there -- is meeting, at this hour, to decide whether to do, at least, a partial manual recount of approximately 10,700 ballots; on those ballots there were no votes at all for the presidency.
So you've got two actions going on here in Fort Lauderdale and in Miami to determine whether additional recounts should be done -- Daryn.
KAGAN: All right, we will keep an eye on things, as you will, too. That's Susan Candiotti, in Broward county.
Once again, if you're keeping up county by county. Yesterday, the canvassing board of Broward county voted two to one not to go ahead with that hand recount. And one of those two votes was, indeed, a Democrat, who decided that the hand recount would not be a good idea. But as we heard Susan Candiotti say, Democrats within that county have decided to go to court with an emergency hearing trying to get that decision reversed -- Kyra.
KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: OK, well, Florida isn't the only state still battling over the election results. Five other states are dealing with close votes. They are New Mexico, Oregon, Wisconsin, New Hampshire, and Iowa.
And in New Mexico, one county official says a 500-vote error has been discovered in favor of Al Gore. Now, if certified, that could mean the vice president once again moves ahead of Bush in that state.
In Oregon, the Bush camp appears to be laying the groundwork for a possible election challenge. And in Iowa, county officials are expected to finish their vote canvassing by today.
CNN's Jeff Flock joins us now live from Des Moines with the latest on that situation.
JEFF FLOCK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning to you, Kyra. We're here in Des Moines this morning. This is Polk county, the Polk county administration building. In this room behind me, in about -- well, less than an hour's time now -- the board will meet, the canvassing board will meet and certify the results.
The headline out of Iowa, though, this morning is both literally and figuratively in "The Des Moines Register." Perhaps you can see: The headline is "Election Miscount; Gore's Victory Margin Shrinks." Now this may be slightly a strong headline, but the substance to the story is this: "The Des Moines Register" has been keeping track of each of the 99 counties' canvasses. They began yesterday, it will end today.
And in their count so far, it appears that the Gore victory total in Iowa, which was about 5,000 votes, is now down to about 4,000. Much of the change coming in the county of Sioux, which is in the northwest corner of the state. First reported yesterday on CNN, Republican officials suggesting that perhaps there was a problem there. It's a very strong Republican county, and apparently they'd look at the vote totals and thought that the Gore total was high.
Well, according to that canvassing board there yesterday, about 890 Gore votes were mis-written down. And those votes were taken away. So about 1,000 votes swing.
And of course, this becomes important as you report in the kind of plan-B strategy of the Bush campaign. If this vote total close enough in Iowa, perhaps there would be reason for a recount. Now, here's how that would work. After each of the 99 counties in Iowa complete their canvasses today, the Bush campaign would have three business days in which to ask for a recount. Individually in each county -- it would not be a statewide recount. There's no provision for that; it would have to be county by county.
And if the Bush campaign came in and asked for those recounts, they would get them automatically. They might have to finance some of them if the vote totals were not close. But they would be able to get those recounts and the state party is said to be preparing a recommendation to the Bush campaign as early as tomorrow about whether, or how, they should proceed with that recount.
Again, the margin now about 4,000 votes, at least according to "Des Moines Register" numbers, and they have been tracking each of the counties. Slightly more than half of them now have their canvassing results. That would be a 4,000-vote margin in a total of 1.3 million votes cast in Iowa.
Again, in about a half hour's time, the Polk county canvassing board meets in this room behind me. It is the most populous county in Iowa. And they'll be watching closely the totals there. The lead in Polk county for Gore right now is about 10,000 votes. And again, about 4,000 statewide.
We'll continue to watch it. I'm Jeff Flock, CNN, reporting live from Des Moines, Iowa.
PHILLIPS: All right, Jeff, thank you.
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