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The Florida Recount: Broward County Judge Will Decide Whether to Allow Hand Recounts to go Forward

Aired November 14, 2000 - 11:38 a.m. ET

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

KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: With more on election 2000 and the Florida recount we're going to go back to our Susan Candiotti, who is in on the telephone with us in Broward County, and she's going to respond to the recent press conference by James Baker and the fact that he named precincts in Broward County, and his proposal to the Gore camp.

And what is the response from that area right now Susan?

SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kyra, there is no official response to what former secretary of state Baker had to say. However, there is another development here. The Democrats have won a partial victory over the objections of the Republican Party here in Broward County in that a Broward circuit judge has now agreed to a request by the Democrats. That judge's name is John Miller.

He will hold an emergency hearing at 2:00 this afternoon Eastern time to hear arguments over whether, as the Democrats would prefer, to overturn a decision by the Broward County canvassing board not to order a full hand recount of all the votes in Broward County. Now, the Democrats wanted that. However, the canvassing board rejected that by a vote of two to one. There are two Republicans on that board and one Democrat.

It is the hope of the Democrats that, by getting a full hand recount, that they will pick up, they say, up to hundreds of additional votes on behalf of Vice President Gore. So there will be a hearing about all of this at 2:00 this afternoon.

Now, yesterday there was a hand recount of only three precincts in Broward County, which amounted to about 1 percent of the total votes and that picked up an additional four votes for Vice President Gore. We will be -- the Democrats argue that, if there was a manual recount of all the county votes, that potentially, based on a rate of error, that there could be many more votes picked up for Vice President Gore.

The Republicans charge that this is simply an attempt to troll for additional votes and that the machines should be believed. And they also go along, of course, with the opinion of the secretary of state for Florida, Katherine Harris, who had said that no additional hand recount is necessary. So we'll see what happens at 2:00. PHILLIPS: Susan, have you heard anything from members of the canvassing board? Has anyone come forward and have you been able to get any information from them?

CANDIOTTI: We've been attempting to reach them, Kyra; however, so far none can -- you can't -- we've been unable to reach any of them so far. The one Democrat, presumably, would go along with this idea of holding the emergency hearing because, naturally, she has maintained, throughout, that all of the votes in Broward County, which would be more than 560,000, should be redone.

PHILLIPS: And you mentioned the machines. Has anything come forth with regard to the machines, and anything been proven that they've been fault in any way?

CANDIOTTI: Well, there were 6,600 -- approximately 6,600 -- votes that were, as they say, under-counted here. Which means that -- in Broward County -- which that those did not register a vote of any kind for the president. Now the Democrats petitioned the board and were allowed to recount a portion of those. A little more than -- almost 3,900 votes that were recounted. And of those, they determined that there were -- four of those actual ballots that showed what they call a clear, and the supervisor of elections maintained, those were clear additional votes for the vice president.

So it is on those basis -- it is on that basis that attorneys representing the Democratic Party here in Broward maintain that there wasn't a problem so much with the machine, but that a manual recount would show that there could be more votes picked up by either candidate, and that's why they're pressing for that.

PHILLIPS: All right; we'll hear more about the 2:00 p.m. emergency hearing and more from Susan Candiotti in Broward County later on. Thanks, Susan.

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