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State Supreme Court Stays Certification of Florida's Vote; Three Florida Counties to Manually Recount Presidential BallotsAired November 17, 2000 - 5:00 p.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
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AL GORE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This election is a matter that must be decided by the will of the people as expressed under the rule of law, law which has meaning, as determined in Florida now by the Florida Supreme Court.
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BERNARD SHAW, CNN ANCHOR: Another new twist in the Florida stand-off: the state Supreme Court has blocked, blocked the certification of the presidential vote, which had been on track for tomorrow.
JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: On another front, those late absentee ballots from overseas finally are being counted. Will they determine who wins the White House?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CROWD: It's all over! It's all over!
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SHAW: No, it's not over quite yet. But, are Al Gore and George W. Bush completing their political endgames, anyway?
ANNOUNCER: This is a special edition of INSIDE POLITICS with Bernard Shaw and Judy Woodruff with analysts Bill Schneider and Jeff Greenfield in Washington.
WOODRUFF: Thank you for joining us for this special two-hour edition of INSIDE POLITICS.
Well, just when the legal and political momentum seemed to be shifting back to George W. Bush today, Al Gore scored a new victory in the Florida Supreme Court less than an hour ago. The court temporarily blocked the Florida secretary of state from certifying presidential election results.
CNN's Deborah Feyerick has been following the latest legal turns in this undecided election and she joins us from Tallahassee -- Deborah. DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Judy, the Gore team has wanted these vote totals, the recounts, to be included in the final total and that is what the Supreme Court is now considering. They have effectively blocked the secretary of state from certifying the results as she hoped to do on Saturday. Instead, they are going to hear this appeal that was filed by the Gore team just today.
Now, the oral arguments will be held at 2:00 on Monday. Each side will have one hour to present their case to the seven-judge panel. Now, this is going to be a very busy weekend for the lawyers. First of all, they have got to submit papers tomorrow, Saturday, then they've got to submit papers again on Sunday. All of this in preparation for these oral arguments.
Now, the Gore team appealed this matter after a judge voted against them this morning. The judge this morning upholding the secretary of state's discretion in not including these vote totals in the final tally. Now the Supreme Court will hear this appeal and we will see what they have to say -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: And, Deborah, you say Monday, 2:00. Some people are going to be asking, what's the delay? It's not as if they didn't know this was coming.
FEYERICK: Sure, well, actually this really is a rush by the Supreme Court. They did not have to take the case as quickly as they did. They have been treating this as a matter of very serious urgency. It will take time for the lawyers to file their papers on Saturday. It will also take time for the responses to be made on Sunday. When the judges hear the arguments by the lawyers, they want all sides to be very prepared to discuss this intelligently, logically, and in a manner to present their cases clearly.
And, Judy, just to mention something about absentee ballots, you know, there has been so much weight put on the overseas absentee ballots that would be ultimately included in the final total. Well, an interesting thing here, just to give you an example of what's happened here in Leon County, they received, so far, 49 absentee ballots. Of those 49, 3 are in question, either because where they were mailed from or because of a postmark date. Nineteen others -- I'm sorry -- 16 others have actually already been thrown out as being invalid.
So, of those 49, that number effectively being cut down to just 30 absentee ballots. So, anybody who thought they were going get a windfall there may find that their windfall is much smaller than they had expected.
WOODRUFF: Deborah, did they say why they are invalid?
FEYERICK: Some of the reasons for them being invalid is they may have had a late postmark, for example. Even though they have these absentee ballots, they had to fill them in by November 7th, Election Day, and then they had to postmark them on that very same day.
Also, there was some question because in order for military personnel to file these ballots they have got to fill in official forms. There is a question as to whether, in fact, those forms were filled out.
So, all of that, basically, tossing out 16,three others in question, leaving 30 ballots to be counted.
WOODRUFF: All right, Deborah Feyerick in Tallahassee, thanks -- Bernie.
SHAW: A short while ago Vice President Gore offered his take on this new Florida Supreme Court ruling.
Let's go to CNN's Chris Black here in Washington.
CHRIS BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Bernie, this has been extraordinarily emotional day for the Gore campaign. After being profoundly disappointed by a circuit judge decision earlier today not to stop Secretary of State Katherine Harris from certifying the election results, they got a huge boost from the state's highest court.
On its own authority, without being asked, the Supreme Court of Florida said the secretary of state may not certify the results tomorrow. The court also said, and said it quite emphatically, that the hand counting of the ballots in Broward and Palm Beach Counties should not stop.
This unexpected ruling caught even the Gore camp by surprise and delayed a public statement by the vice president by 45 minutes. When he finally came out of his official residence, Vice President Gore said the ruling shows that the votes will determine the outcome of this election.
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AL GORE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I want to be clear: Neither Governor Bush nor the Florida secretary of state nor I will be the arbiter of this election. This election is a matter that must be decided by the will of the people as expressed under the rule of law, law which has meaning as determined in Florida now by the Florida Supreme Court.
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BLACK: Before the unexpected gift from the state Supreme Court, the vice president and his advisers decided that he himself needed to make a pre-emptive strike against what they assumed would be Secretary Harris' declaration that George W. Bush won the Florida race.
The Gore campaign expects to lose the absentee balloting count today, and they were clearly disappointed by Judge Lewis' decision not to block the certification. But this ruling gives the Gore campaign a little more time to show through those recounts in Broward and Palm Beach County that Al Gore got more votes than George W. Bush, and to make their case before Florida's highest court, where they hope to get a legal sanction to this hotly disputed election -- Bernie. SHAW: Chris, I'm just curious about the sequence. The vice president was scheduled to speak at 4:00 p.m. Eastern Time. He delayed. And shortly thereafter, the Florida Supreme Court made its announcement and then Mr. Gore came out.
Did he have a heads-up from Tallahassee?
BLACK: I don't -- I honestly don't think so, Bernie. The Gore lawyers I spoke to were as stunned as everybody else. I think they were completely taken by surprise.
As I said, the court made this decision on its own. No one asked them to take action today. They assumed -- the Gore lawyers assumed that it would take them a few days to make their case before the court. But this court will hear oral arguments on Monday and then make a definitive and final ruling.
SHAW: Thank you, Chris Black -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: And now to the Bush camp. Our Candy Crowley is in Austin, Texas, where the governor returned just a short while ago -- Candy.
CANDY CROWLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Judy, we've had movement of the legal kind in Florida and we've had movement of the physical kind here in Austin.
Governor Bush, the Republican nominee, has spent most of his time since election night at his ranch in Crawford. He has now arrived back at the governor's mansion here in Austin. Both of his daughters, college-aged daughters, are expected home for Thanksgiving, and this is where the Bushes will celebrate Thanksgiving and who knows what else.
Now, as for the legal movement, that all took place down in Florida. It's hard to remember now in light of this Supreme Court decision that earlier in the day it was the Bush camp celebrating a bit of a victory when a lower court seemed to clear the way for certification of those votes on Saturday.
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JAMES BAKER, OBSERVER FOR BUSH CAMPAIGN: We now look forward to the prompt counting and reporting of the limited number of uncounted overseas absentee ballots so that the process of achieving a final result to the election in Florida is not subject to further delays.
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CROWLEY: That, as we say, in legal language is now a moot point because, of course, the Supreme Court of Florida has said that the secretary of state in Florida may not certify those results on Saturday, as the Bush camp dearly wished.
There was, in fact, even a lengthy discussion today at a news conference with Bush communications director Karen Hughes about what would happen when the results were certified and would the Bush and Cheney team come out and claim victory, went back and forth for quite a while. But now, when looking back on that news conference, almost everything asked at that point now no longer matters because of this latest court decision.
But there was one phrase that still stands true.
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KAREN HUGHES, BUSH CAMPAIGN COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: The one constant is that things are changing minute-by-minute, and we'll be glad, as always, to keep you posted minute-by-minute.
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CROWLEY: So, that's pretty much how they are going in Austin, as they are in Washington and in Florida minute-by-minute -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: Candy, you and others have reported that the governor has delegated much of the legal goings-on here to others, to the folks we've been seeing in Florida. How closely is he following all this himself?
CROWLEY: Well, there have been numerous conference calls. I mean, the process, I'm told, is that he leaves the legal -- the first preliminary legal decision to his team on the ground, Baker et al that are in Florida. They then call and there is a conference call meeting with the governor, with some of his top staff, and they mull it over. The final decision is made here and -- generally it's an OK for the preliminary decision from Florida, but they've taken great pains to note that the governor is on conference calls and talking and getting the lay of the land but also when needed making decisions about what the next legal step is.
WOODRUFF: All right, Candy Crowley reporting from Austin. Thanks a lot -- Bernie.
SHAW: Joining us now from Florida: Tom Fiedler of "The Miami Herald" and Ron Brownstein of "The Los Angeles Times."
Tom, first to you. How does this Supreme Court action affect the ballot counting?
TOM FIEDLER, "THE MIAMI HERALD": Well, now the ballot counting is going on. In fact, the counters are heartened by the Supreme Court's action and they see this as, if anything else, a green light to keep on going through the weekend. It's full steam ahead for the counts and in fact, it may encourage the counters to go on in Miami- Dade County, where the canvassing board I think is meeting as we're speaking.
SHAW: Ron Brownstein, your analysis of how this affects both campaigns?
RON BROWNSTEIN, "LOS ANGELES TIMES": Well, this is very much what the Gore campaign wanted in more than one sense. I think the Gore campaign is hoping to create what diplomats call facts on the ground. That is, by having the counts proceed and having the legal resolution not come until after the counts proceed, they think they'll be in a stronger position if over the next few days, Broward and Dade and Palm Beach go ahead, count the votes and Gore unofficially goes into the lead.
At that point, they think it becomes harder either politically or legally to in effect say we're not going to count those ballots. So I think this decision today both by preventing Harris from acting tomorrow, but also by not -- by the state Supreme Court saying it's not going to act again until Monday gives more time for the count to go ahead and thus gives more time for Gore to try to, you know, find votes in the counties which could create some more pressure and change some of the dynamic here.
FIELDER: Yes, and also I'd add to that, Ron, it also -- it's piling up or it's very much apt to pile up some numbers on Gore's side so that when these overseas absentee ballots are counted or the count is complete tonight or early tomorrow, even though those are expected to give some to Governor Bush, the fact that Al Gore may have offset them, I think, keeps the public relations battle going that this is still a too close to call race.
SHAW: Tom, on the front page of "The New York Times" today, a startling story. A story which says, basically, that 26,000 ballots in a County were invalidated and the upshot of the story is -- Ron, also -- the upshot of "The New York Times" front page story is that if those ballots had not been invalidated, we wouldn't have the situation now. What about that?
FIEDLER: Well, that's correct. And this is exactly the same kind of invalidation process, the so-called undercount, that is really behind the recount that's going on now in Palm Beach, Broward -- in Broward County.
It is -- we have seen in this election a phenomenon where more ballots in African-American precincts have been disqualified for mistakes in most cases than in other places and I think one of the reasons or at least what's emerging as the reason is that we're seeing in these precincts a lot of first-time or just very occasional voters.
They turned out this time because the ballot was long and maybe confusing, I think there were a lot of errors in actually punching the holes. So and this is the result. It truly is the difference could be well made up in African-American precincts.
SHAW: And the situation with that ballot, was that there were two pages with presidential candidates listed at the top of each page?
FIEDLER: That's right. You had to turn the page to get through the entire list, and again, it comes down to the same issue of ballot confusion. Is confusion over a ballot where you make a mistake? Is that the voters' responsibility or is that an inherent flaw with the ballot where the courts could come in and say something is seriously wrong here, the will of the people is thwarted, we'll throw it out. It adds -- it just really to the static.
BROWNSTEIN: You know, Bernie...
SHAW: Yes, Ron?
BROWNSTEIN: I was going to say, these are, you know, the kinds of problems that in an ordinary year might not have mattered. But because of the extraordinary narrowness of this race, they do and they create -- certainly the Palm Beach case creates a critical choice for the vice president. I mean, if the Florida Supreme Court, despite today's ruling, eventually rules in favor of Katherine Harris and these late counted ballots are not included.
At that point, the vice president has to decide whether he's going to concede the election or go down a separate track joining the litigation that's already under way in Palm Beach County to try to get a new vote or some other remedy there. I think that people on his staff are going to be very reluctant to do that. After all of the litigation that we've been through this week, this may be their bite of the apple.
SHAW: Ron Brownstein, Tom Fiedler, gentlemen, thank you very much. Recounting ballots by hand is a monumental task, as you know. And now there are even more votes to deal with, those from overseas. Live progress reports on the counting are coming up next.
Then, just how will the courts influence the final outcome of this controversial election? We'll hear from Greta Van Susteren when we come back.
WOODRUFF: The eyes of the nation, and indeed the whole world, are focused on Florida as we wait for word of how the numbers will add up. The progress of the absentee vote and the hand counts are, of course, of prime concern. CNN's Charles Zewe, Susan Candiotti and Martin Savidge are monitoring the tabulation in three different Florida counties.
And we begin with Charles Zewe in Miami-Dade County, where, Charles, I understand they've just finished voting on whether to go ahead with the hand count?
CHARLES ZEWE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Judy. A major development here in Miami-Dade County. The Miami-Dade County Canvassing Board has just voted two to one to proceed with a full hand count of all 654,000 ballots cast on Election Day. The meeting has just broken up.
Attorneys for the Democratic Party had asked for another chance to present more evidence at a special hearing this afternoon here in Miami. They said that there are approximately 10,750 so called undervotes in which it was not clear who the voters voted for on Election Day. Those ballots were cast aside and not counted by the machines. They said that the outcome of the election could well hinge on how those votes were cast. The election board, however, said that it was not -- they couldn't limit the recount to those 10,750 votes, that they would have to do a recount of the entire county. So they voted again 2 to 1 just moments ago to go ahead with a full recount.
Republican attorney Bob Martinez fought the move. He challenged the request as out of line and illegal, said it was improper that the canvassing board overruled Martinez's objections.
In an initial count here, an initial check of three precincts after the election, Al Gore picked up six votes. That led the Democrats to say that based on the 10,000-plus undervote, the votes that were not registered, that the vice president could well pick up enough votes to determine the election.
The canvassing board went along with that. The recount will now begin almost immediately. They've yet to announce exactly how they will go about this. But it's expected, according to an election official here in Miami-Dade, who told me earlier today that if a full recount was ordered, it could take a month, a month to complete this recount.
So, that's the latest here from Miami-Dade. Again, a full recount of the presidential ballots in Miami-Dade County has been ordered by the Miami canvassing board.
Canvassing meanwhile has been continuing and the recounting of votes has been continuing in Broward County just to the north, and that's where CNN's Susan Candiotti is -- Susan.
SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hello, Charles. Yes, indeed, the hand count is going on, as we speak, here in Broward County after Republicans lost a bid in court to try to stop it. They had filed a lawsuit yesterday against the Broward County canvassing board and asked a judge to grant an immediate trial so that the Republicans could prove in their view the illegality of what's going on here.
They charged Democrats with trying to hide the truth of what's happening here, and however, the Democratic attorneys got up before a judge, and said, well, all the world can see what's going on here, we're not trying to hide anything. Besides, they argued, that the Florida Supreme Court has ruled time and again that these hand counts can continue.
The judge said, well, what's the emergency? And he ruled that what's going on here can continue to go on, and so it is at this hour. You can see the work going on behind me. So far, 121 precincts of 609 here in this county have been reviewed with 36 additional votes for Vice President Gore.
The folks here believe that they will be able to wrap up their work by Monday at 5 o'clock, and we have also learned just a short time ago that as we speak there is yet another hearing going on before a Broward County court judge. They are arguing, the canvassing board is, that they want to be able to use those so-called dimpled chads, dimpled ballots, and they want to be able to include those in the count.
So far, the folks here have been using what they call the two- corner standard, that at least two corners of those chads have to be punched out before a ballot can be viewed as a valid one to be counted for either candidate.
So in the meantime, in addition to all of that, starting just about now, the overseas ballots will be counted. There are about 100 of those and they don't expect that to take very long, maybe an hour or two, and then the results will be faxed to the secretary of state's office.
That's it from here in Broward County. Now to West Palm Beach and Martin Savidge.
MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Thank you, Susan, very much. They are into their ninth hour of counting today. They went about eight hours last night in the total county hand recount. And the officials here are trying to remain oblivious, they say, to all the legal action that has been transpiring throughout the state. They say they will continue to recount until some court orders them to stop or until the recount is concluded.
Ironically, however, they have come to a halt right now with the recount as they deal with the overseas absentee ballot. There are about 52-53 that came in here, and there are some difficulties, apparently, as they try to verify dates of postmarks and also addresses from which those ballots were mailed. In the meantime, the recount process was brought to a halt.
At about 4 o'clock this afternoon, we did receive an update as to how the recount has gone so far. They have counted the ballots in 39 precincts. That is out of 531 precincts, and they have counted about 32,000 ballots with roughly 430,000 ballots yet to go.
They admit that the process is not going as quickly as they would like, especially last night they had some difficulties. The problems, once again, seem to be the questionable ballots. These are ballots that must be looked at by the eyes of the canvass elections board.
They felt they could do that while the recount was going on. It's proving too problematic, so they are going to count the ballots in the precincts, have the questionables set aside, and the elections board will deal with them after the recount is done on a specific day.
Now, they did release some results from only two precincts. These are two precincts, they say, they have unofficial results from out of the 39 they've counted, and those two precincts showed a one- vote gain overall for George W. Bush. So, that's a little bit of a surprise as to what people might have thought here. The recount process expected to go to about midnight tonight -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: All right. I want to ask you to stand by, Martin. If Charles Zewe is still available to us on the phone -- Charles, are you still there?
ZEWE: Yes, Judy.
WOODRUFF: Let me begin, I just want to quickly begin with you. You told us how the canvassing board has now voted 2 to 1 to have the hand counting continue. It's my understanding -- in Miami-Dade County -- it's my understanding that before this they had voted against it. Is that correct?
ZEWE: That's right, Judy. This will be a brand-new...
WOODRUFF: What changed?
ZEWE: Well, what's changed is that they have a very small sample of only three precincts, 5,871 ballots. That was earlier. The board voted 2 to 1 against going over all 654,000 ballots. But Democrats came back and brought up new contentions that they should look at all the votes based on what is happening in Broward, what is happening in West Palm Beach, and Palm Beach County, and also based on the Supreme Court ruling from the Florida Supreme Court this afternoon that added a great deal of weight to the sentiment here among the three-member board that they should go ahead with a full recount.
The board chairman, Lawrence King, Judge Lawrence King saying that he was convinced now that a full recount, a hand count of all of these votes could well determine who the next president of the United States is. And he said he owed it not only to the people of Miami, but to the people of the nation to decide and go ahead with this recount to once and for all determine who the president was going to be.
WOODRUFF: All right, Susan Candiotti in Broward County, you made the point that there is some consideration now of changing the standard from the current two-corner -- the so-called two-corner standard, where there have to be at least two pieces of two parts of the four-corner chad have to be attached. They're considering changing it to the dimpled chad.
Just to clarify, each county in the state of Florida may have by law its own standard. Is that right?
CANDIOTTI: That's my understanding. And so -- and in fact, in Palm Beach County, you'll recall that they were using that pregnant or dimpled standard. Broward County had been saying for all throughout this week that they felt that their standard had been far more objective, because they were requiring at least two corners to be punched out.
So it will be interesting to see how this judge is going to rule on that. This is the same judge who ruled in favor of the canvassing board's effort to continue the hand count. There was a different judge earlier this day that handled the question about the lawsuit.
So indeed, it would be a change, and the second change this week, if they go to a different standard, because you'll recall that also here in Broward County earlier this week the canvassing board said that it wasn't going to continue with a wider recount and changed its mind. WOODRUFF: All right, and just quickly to Martin Savidge in Palm Beach County. Martin, you said they're saying it's looking like it's going to take longer than they had expected. Are they giving a guess, an estimate as to how long it will take there?
SAVIDGE: No, they believe that things actually by later today were moving a little more smoothly. They hoped that some of the jitters and some of the bugs had been worked out of the system by last night.
However, if you take a look at what they have completed so far and you sort of project it out, they were looking at a schedule of maybe six days -- as it stands right now, they are on a schedule of about 10 or 11 days. So they've got to streamline things even more -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: All right, Martin Savidge in Palm Beach County, Susan Candiotti in Broward County, and Charles Zewe in Miami-Dade. Thank you, all three-- Bernie.
SHAW: These days most of the skirmishes in this battle over ballots are taking place -- you know where -- in courtrooms. With more insight into that side of the fight, we turn to CNN legal analyst Greta Van Susteren.
Greta, a simple question: between now and next Monday afternoon, what will the seven justices be doing as well as the lawyers for Gore and Bush?
GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: What they'll be doing is studying the law, and Bernie, in every court you have something called law clerks, who are young lawyers just out of law school, and oftentimes justices or judges have one or two assigned to them.
They are going to be scouring the books, trying to figure out if there's any precedent in terms of giving them some guidance at how they look at this case. Even if there is not an election case for them to look at, they're going to look at other cases in which one of the issues is, when does someone exercise discretion? how do we define discretion? because at the heart of this case will probably be on Monday is whether the secretary of state exercised reasonable discretion in making the decision that she was going to reject any additional votes after Tuesday.
And so they are going to have to try to figure out, what is discretion? what is reasonable discretion? what is unreasonable discretion? what is arbitrary and capricious? It's that type of thing that they're going to be looking at.
But, you know, they may also have their eyes on these hand counts. You know, they may be sort of taking a look to see how these votes come out, not because of the political consideration, because they shouldn't be involved in politics, but if it turns out that Governor Bush is the clear front runner in this and that he's picking up votes, you know, they may decide not even to consider the case. Theoretically, I don't think it's going to happen, but they could dismiss the appeal if Governor Bush is the clear winner after the hand counts, assuming those could be accomplished by Monday. But after listening to my colleagues at CNN, it seems like we're going to be here for a long time.
SHAW: And Greta, by stepping in, basically, what is the Supreme Court affirming?
VAN SUSTEREN: Well, what the Supreme Court did was this. The Democrats went -- or Gore went to the Supreme Court today and said, look, I think the secretary of state was wrong when she rejected the additional consideration of votes and we think that the trial court judge who said that she was proper in exercising her discretion is wrong. Will you take a look at it, Florida Supreme Court? Will you weigh in on this, because you have the last word?
What's interesting, though, about this decision, not only the fact it was seven to zero that they would consider that issue raised by the Gore issue, but was this: that by themselves, not on request of the Gore people, but by themselves, on their own consideration, they decided to issue what we call a stay, an order to the secretary of state to basically stop, hold it, don't certify that election.
We're here now, we're the ones who determine what the law is in the state of Florida. We're going to determine it and we're not going to let this go one step further until we can sort it out and we're going to begin that sorting out on Monday. We're going to hear from the lawyers on Monday and then they'll make a decision.
That decision could come within an hour after hearing from the lawyers, two hours, three hours, or we could be sitting for a couple days waiting. But they've put everything on hold by themselves. So, you can see how serious they think it is.
SHAW: Indeed, Greta Van Susteren, thanks very much -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: And much more ahead on this two-hour edition of INSIDE POLITICS. Still to come: the latest from Tallahassee as George W. Bush, Al Gore and the rest of the nation wait for answers in the vote counts and in the courts.
Plus, recounting the ballots in two Florida counties: will the revised numbers matter?
And later: big questions beyond Florida. Jeff Greenfield on uncertainty in the electoral system.
SHAW: At this hour, the Florida Supreme Court has barred the secretary of state from certifying the election results until a Monday afternoon hearing.
Meanwhile, the counting of the overseas absentee ballots continues. Now on your screen, you can see the latest numbers according to unofficial results gathered by the Associated Press. George W. Bush has increased his lead slightly from the 300-vote margin that he had to start the day with. These numbers do not include any figures from the manual recounts going on in Broward and Palm Beach counties. This hour, Miami-Dade County voted to go ahead with a full manual recount as well, to begin as soon as possible.
WOODRUFF: And, now let's get the view from the campaigns. And let's begin with Senator Chuck Hagel who is here in Washington. And after we speak with him, we will talk with Gore representative Doug Hattaway in Tallahassee.
Senator Hagel, we will begin with you. The Florida Supreme Court has spoken. They said, let's wait, no certification of ballots. We are going to hold a hearing on Monday. Are they an impediment to justice in your view?
SEN. CHUCK HAGEL (R), NEBRASKA: That's an interesting way to frame-up the state Supreme Court of Florida. But there is no question that the center of the universe now is in Tallahassee, Florida.
The fact is, we don't know. The fact is until we get more framing up of the issue and clarifications from the state Supreme Court on Monday, we will not know. And I think the objective here is, for all of us, is we want to end this as quickly as possible. But at the same time, there obviously must be a legitimate and validated process that produces a president.
WOODRUFF: Do you expect if the hand recounts, recounted ballots, are included that it's likely that Al Gore would be the winner?
HAGEL: Judy, I don't know. I don't think anybody knows that. Again, it is in the hands of the Supreme Court of Florida as to what the next set of rules are, and what will be counted and what won't be counted.
SHAW: Does it trouble you, Senator, that so many ballots in this state have apparently been thrown out because they're invalid for one reason or another? We know that there were 19,000 ballots thrown out in Palm Beach County, apparently at least partly due to confusion. And we've learned through this story today in "The New York Times" about 26,000 ballots thrown out in Duval County, many of them in predominantly African-American precincts. What does that say to you about the way we elect people in this country?
HAGEL: Well, this is not unprecedented, Judy, as you know. Four years ago, we had thousands and thousands of ballots thrown out in those same counties in Florida. Just this election in Cook County, we had more than 120,000 ballots thrown out.
Is that good? No, it's not good. But I don't know how you make that better. I don't know how you go back in after an election and correct it. We do have a process in each state, in each precinct, each county, and that is, both parties agree upon a ballot. They publish that ballot in newspapers. People should take the time to at least familiarize themselves with the basics of that ballot.
This is also a process of self-education, too. So, I don't think you can say that it's all the government's fault or anybody else's fault. We as citizens have to take some responsibility for our own actions here.
WOODRUFF: All right, Senator Chuck Hagel, we thank you very much for joining us. We appreciate it.
And now to Gore campaign spokesperson Doug Hattaway. He joins us from Tallahassee.
This decision today, what is your reaction?
DOUR HATTAWAY, GORE CAMPAIGN SPOKESMAN: Well, it's great...
WOODRUFF: I'm sorry, by the state Supreme Court?
HATTAWAY: Yes, the Supreme Court has put a stop to any premature announcements of a victor in the race where the votes are still counted so that's, of course, good news. We go to court on Monday to talk about that. I think we'll essentially make the case that the secretary of state should not certify an election when people's votes are being counted. Under Florida law, the candidate with the most votes wins and we're still trying to establish who got most votes.
WOODRUFF: We just -- I'm sure you just heard Senator Chuck Hagel make the point that, you know, we are waiting for the case here to be framed by the Supreme Court, the issues involved, but at the same time, the American people want this to be resolved. The suggestion being, how many more days do we have to wait? How much patience do you think there is out there for this?
HATTAWAY: Well, I think the American people have been very patient. They want to see this done right and I think they're willing to give the Supreme Court now of Florida, time, now to consider the matter and make a good decision.
I think the Republicans have been trying to rush this along. I don't think they've been given the American people credit for having the patience to make sure that the candidate who got the most votes is actually declared the victor. I think that they have delayed the process.
The secretary of state here has done everything she can to delay the counting of the votes. I think the good news is that the Supreme Court's decision is that it looks like that the people's votes will be counted and that those will determine who is the victor, and that's what it's all about. It's about the people's will being known before anyone is declared the victor.
GREENFIELD: It's Jeff Greenfield here, Doug. Your campaign often uses the phrase the will of the people, which happens to be a phrase used in a 1998 Florida Supreme Court decision that suggests grounds for a new election. There's also a part of the Florida Election law, Section 1628.1, I think, that talks about contesting an election. Your lawyers, are they prepared, following up on Judy's question about, you know, how soon. Are they actually prepared if the Bush wins is certified to contest the election and ask for a new one statewide as the law would permit them to do?
HATTAWAY: Well, again, as you know now, we're waiting to hear what the Supreme Court says. The court had ordered the other day that the counts continue, so I would think that it's logical that they want those votes to count towards the result.
They did say today that an option, if the certification isn't valid, that the court can set aside the certification if the -- if the election had been called for the candidate who did not get the most votes. That's a legal situation as I understand it. But I think the bottom line is that we'll make a case on Monday that those votes should be counted before any election is called.
WOODRUFF: So you're not, on Jeff's question, Doug Hattaway, you're not saying one way or another whether your legal team is looking to the possibility of asking for a revote?
HATTAWAY: Well, they had said earlier today that if the election were certified before the votes were counted, that they could certainly go forward and ask for the court to set aside the certification if it was -- if the election had been called for the person who didn't get the most votes.
So they had already said that today. I'm not a lawyer, so I can't talk about all of the legal options ahead of us. I think everyone right now is focused on getting our papers to the court and making the case that is very compelling one, that the people's vote should be counted before anything is certified.
And obviously, under Florida law, that the certification can only go to the candidate who got the most votes. It seems obvious, but that is what Florida law says and that's what the recounts are all about.
WOODRUFF: All right, Doug Hattaway with the Gore camp. Thank you very much and thanks once again to Senator Chuck Hagel. We'll back in a moment with more of this extended edition of INSIDE POLITICS.
SHAW: For the very latest on that Florida Supreme Court ruling, once again we go to Deborah Feyerick in the state capitol of Tallahassee -- Deborah.
FEYERICK: Well, Bernie, Gore officials here in Tallahassee visibly relieved that the Supreme Court has decided to hear this appeal. The vice president, we are told, was on his way out to meet members of the press when he was given word that the Supreme Court was going to hear the argument, all seven judges agreeing to hear the case. Oral arguments will be laid out. This case effectively right now blocking the secretary of state from certifying the votes Saturday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CRAIG WATERS, FLORIDA SUPREME COURT SPOKESMAN: The court has entered a stay order, and I will read it to you. "In order to maintain the status quo, the court on its own motion enjoins the respondent, secretary of state, and respondent, Elections Canvassing Commission, from certifying the results of the November 7th, 2000 presidential election until further order of this court. It is not intent of this order to stop the counting and conveying to the secretary of state the results of absentee ballots or any other ballots," and that is signed unanimously by all seven members of the court.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FEYERICK: We just heard word from the attorney for the secretary of state who says that they will be in court also Monday during these oral arguments and of course they're going to be presenting their case. All along they have maintained that the secretary of state has done exactly what Florida statute requires her to do.
Now, just to fill you in on what's going on here with the absentee ballots. We are only getting a slice right now of what's taking place here in Leon County. They had received some 49 absentee ballots. Of those, we mentioned 16 have already been thrown out. Three are in question. That leaves 30. Of those 30, we are told, that 17 are for Gore; 11 are for Bush; and two are for Nader.
Now we have some preliminary results of some other counties but really just a couple of ballots. Just a smattering, but we were given a list from the election officials and they said that right now, with about seven counties reporting, Bush has some 35 votes while Gore has some 14 votes. So again, not due until midnight tonight. The counting will continue of course through Saturday and the lawyers will be getting ready to present their oral arguments.
They've got to file papers ahead of time just to let the court know exactly what case it is they're going to be making -- Bernie.
SHAW: Deborah Feyerick with the very latest from Tallahassee. Thank you very, very much. And coming up on this special two-hour edition of INSIDE POLITICS, CNN analyst Jeff Greenfield with some unanswered questions.
WOODRUFF: A picture of the house that George W. Bush and Al Gore would like to live in as darkness descends on the nation's capitol. If this situation we're talking about has left you with a lot of questions about the American election process, you're not alone.
CNN's senior analyst Jeff Greenfield has some too -- Jeff.
JEFF GREENFIELD, CNN SENIOR ANALYST: Yes we are, it seems, as of an hour ago, a ways away from any final answers about this election, but it sure has produced a lot of questions about the process, about the coverage, and about what's right and wrong.
If you're a die-hard partisan, the answers are very easy: The other guy is trying to steal this election, the other guy is trying to nullify the will of the people. Our coverage clearly helped the other guy. And if you think this is overwrought, just ask yourself, have you heard anybody say, "I'm for Gore, but this recount is silly," or "I'm for Bush, but they really should try to count all the votes."
But if you're in the muddled middle, well, think about just a few of these questions, like: Should electors vote their own beliefs? The founding fathers thought so, but as long ago as 1800, a prominent politician said of one elector, "Do I choose him to think? No, I choose him to act." Clearly, we expect these folks to follow the will of their state's voters. But suppose after the election we were to learn that a candidate had committed a serious crime or was a closet bigot. Or, less melodramatically, suppose an elector came to believe his candidate was a hypocrite, or had run a dirty campaign. Is it really all that clear that the electors should vote without thinking about what they've learned?
Another question: How should a House member vote? Suppose this election is thrown into the House of Representatives, and that is a lot more plausible than it's been in more than 100 years. We have a one-state, one-vote system. On a straight party-line vote, 28 states have a Republican majority in the House. But would every representative cast a party-line vote? Maybe not. Connie Morella, a Republican from a heavily Democratic district in Maryland, says she might vote for the president the way her constituents did in November -- that would be Al Gore.
Well, how should a House member vote? You can imagine five different answers: Vote for the party's nominee; vote for the national popular vote winner; vote for the one who got the most votes in your state; vote for the candidate who got the most votes in your district; vote your own conscience. Edmund Burke famously told his constituents more than 200 years ago in England, "Your representative owes you not his industry only, but his judgment; and he betrays -- instead of serving -- if he sacrifices it to your opinion."
And last, what about those network calls? Yesterday, Louisiana Republican Billy Tauzin took the networks to task. First, for those early Gore calls in Florida while some of the polls were open; second, for calling Gore states right away, while waiting to call states that eventually went big for Bush. He argued that depressed Bush's turnout out West and might have cost the Republicans a House seat or two, and he wants to see why this happened.
This is an argument that goes back 20 years, when Western Democrats argued that an early call of Ronald Reagan's victory cost them two House seats. It's triggered years of academic studies, most of which have not found any evidence of any real impact. But still, in an election this close, there are serious questions that need to be asked: Was there an impact? If so, who left the polls -- Democrats who thought they'd won, or Republicans who thought they lost? Moreover, this time, the networks did not call an early victory for Gore; they -- we -- reported that it would now be crucial for Bush to win out West. So didn't that increase the Bush turnout?
Finally, if any voters in Florida's panhandle turned away from the still-open polls because the networks had already called the state for Gore, shouldn't the incredible closeness of that Florida count mean that a state should never be called as long as any of the polls in those states are open?
Editorial, personal opinion here? Yes; that's what it should mean.
So I answered one question.
WOODRUFF: That's right, and I know a lot of people who agree with you on that last one.
Well, there's much more ahead in the second hour of INSIDE POLITICS. We will have live updates on the legal and political combat over who will be the 43rd president, including the new ruling from the Florida Supreme Court. Plus, we're keeping tabs on the tally of ballots from Floridians in other countries. And, find out who gets Bill Schneider's vote for the political play of the week.
SHAW: The Florida Supreme Court changes the legal dynamic in the presidential election impasse, again.
WOODRUFF: What does this mean for the final vote counts for Bush and Gore?
SHAW: We'll have all the latest plays in a contest that may even upstage a football rivalry in Florida.
ANNOUNCER: This is a special edition of INSIDE POLITICS. Once again, Judy Woodruff and Bernard Shaw in Washington.
SHAW: Welcome back for this second hour of INSIDE POLITICS. The Bush and Gore campaigns still are digesting the latest jolt from the courts and from Florida counties. The state Supreme Court blocked a final certification of Florida's presidential vote until it can rule on whether recount ballots should be included.
About a half hour ago, Miami Dade election officials voted to conduct a full hand recount, the third Florida county to do so. A full recount continues in Broward County continues after a judge rejected a Republican attempt to stop it. A hand recount also goes on in yet another Democratic stronghold, Palm Beach County.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AL GORE, VICE PRESIDENT AL GORE: I'm very pleased that the hand counts are continuing. They're proceeding despite efforts to obstruct them, and that is why the decision just announced by the Florida Supreme Court preventing the Florida secretary of state from certifying the election results tomorrow is so important.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHAW: The Florida secretary of state had planned to certify the final vote tomorrow after absentee ballots from overseas were counted.
A partial tally conducted by the Associated Press shows Bush's lead over Gore has increased slightly from the 300-vote margin reported by the secretary of state Tuesday.
Bush has returned to the governor's mansion from his ranch in Crawford, Texas. We have yet to get an on-camera response from him or his top aides about these latest developments in the Florida recount.
Now, let's bring back CNN's Deborah Feyerick in Tallahassee -- Deborah.
FEYERICK: Well, Bernie, as you mentioned, the Florida state Supreme Court has basically said that the secretary of state cannot certify these votes tomorrow, as she had wanted to. She had said once all the absentee overseas ballots were in and counted, then she would be coming out with her official numbers. That now has changed.
And I am joined by her attorney, Joe Klock.
JOE KLOCK, ATTORNEY FOR KATHERINE HARRIS: Hi.
FEYERICK: First of all, thank you for being here with us. Tell me what the secretary of state's reaction was to the decision.
KLOCK: I don't think -- she was not terribly excited about it one way or the other. Remember that in the absence of that order being entered by the Supreme Court, she was under statutory obligation to certify the election results tomorrow when she got the overseas ballot. Since the Supreme Court of Florida has told her not to certify, she can then wait until such time as the court decides it's proper.
FEYERICK: Can we still tomorrow hear an official result without the official certification or will we not be getting those numbers at all?
KLOCK: No, my understanding is, is that tomorrow they will release the total of the overseas ballots, but they will not certify them. And I think the reason for that is that certification -- once it's certified, then it's included in the archives of the state and that type of thing. So I imagine that's the reason why the Supreme Court wants that to wait upon their ruling.
FEYERICK: What is your role, what do you do on Monday? The oral arguments we're going to hear from both sides. What is it you are involved in?
KLOCK: Our involvement is to basically defend the statutes that the secretary operates under. Remember that she is a constitutional officer independently elected. Her responsibility is to follow the statutes of Florida as they apply to the elections.
We went to the Supreme Court earlier this week for counsel. They didn't take the case, but actually directed us back to the lower courts.
Judge Lewis across the street entered an order earlier this week directing that the secretary had to consider any explanations that were given by the local canvassing boards as to why they would want to include hand counts along with the machine counts. She asked them to please furnish their reasons by 2 o'clock on Wednesday. Prior to that, she had developed a list of criteria to make a judgment, and she used the criteria from Florida case law.
FEYERICK: And the judge actually upheld that today. He said that he felt that she had used reasonable discretion.
KLOCK: That's correct.
FEYERICK: But right now, this is a bit of a setback, because they're going to relisten to the case to see, in fact, whether the judge's reasoning was correct in all of this.
KLOCK: It's not a setback to her. I mean, she has acted properly. We were told to go to the lower courts. Judge Lewis told us what to do. Judge Lewis has said we have acted properly.
You know, the secretary doesn't have a horse in the race. Her job is to follow the law of Florida and to certify the elections the way they're written.
The whole concept of being able to include votes that are hand- counted on top of this is a new concept.
FEYERICK: Joe Klock, thank you very much for joining us.
KLOCK: Thank you.
FEYERICK: And of course, we'll be hearing a lot more of this later on. But again, this hearing will take place on Monday -- Bernie, Judy.
WOODRUFF: All right, Deborah Feyerick, reporting from Tallahassee.
While all this has been going on in the state courts in Florida, Republican attorneys, attorneys representing George W. Bush have taken their case to the federal appeals court, the 11th Circuit Court located in Atlanta.
And let's go there now to CNN's Bob Franken for any developments -- Bob.
BOB FRANKEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Seconds ago, the appeals court judges here, all 12 of them, have issued orders denying the request for a temporary injunction, which would have stopped the hand recount. With a little bit of background here, the Republicans in Miami and Orlando had been turned down by a federal district court, who had -- they had also requested a stop to the hand recount. The Republicans argue that there were constitutional reasons that this should be moved to the jurisdiction of federal courts.
In their order, in this -- to quote from the order that just came out by the circuit judges: "It has been represented to us that the state courts will address and resolve any necessary federal constitutional issues presented to them, including the issues raised by the plaintiffs in this case. Therefore," they say, "there is no reason for the federal courts to get involved."
They are denying the request for a temporary restraining order. At least for now, there is no move by the federal courts to stop the hand recount, which continues in Florida -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: So, Bob, a setback for the Bush efforts. What would their recourse be now were they to want to appeal this appeals court ruling?
FRANKEN: Well, they could, of course, decide to take it to the U.S. Supreme Court. Justice Kennedy is the justice who handles this area. He could theoretically put on his own temporary restraining order.
What the judges here in the Circuit Court of Appeals are suggesting, however, is that they should rely on the rulings of the state Supreme Court, at least for now, the state Supreme Court.
WOODRUFF: All right, CNN's Bob Franken at the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta.
Well, now, let's bring in our correspondents who have been covering these two campaigns, Candy Crowley in Austin, Texas with the Bush camp, Chris Black here in Washington covering the Gore camp.
Candy, to you first, did the Bush people expect this outcome? I know the speculation has been that the federal courts would be reluctant to get involved and overturn what the state courts were doing.
CROWLEY: I think they weighed their chances about the way they were weighed in public, which is to say that this -- that federal courts are reluctant to get into state business, and elections being one of the primary ones as laid out in the Constitution. So, obviously, they knew that public opinion was out there, or that legal opinion was out there, and I would suspect that they concurred with it.
WOODRUFF: Candy -- and well, let me bring in Chris at this point. Chris, the other side of the coin here, did the Gore folks expect that the Bush people would not be successful in federal court?
BLACK: The Gore campaign lawyers said that this shot by the Republicans was the longest of long shots. Their brief, which was prepared under the direction of Professor Laurence Tribe of Harvard, who is one of the world's foremost -- the world's foremost constitutional expert, made a federalism argument, which was very ironic for those of us who know that it is Republicans typically that are always championing states' rights.
But they made an emphatic case and pretty compelling case on paper -- obviously, the court agreed -- that this was a matter for state courts, not the U.S. Supreme Court.
WOODRUFF: All right, CNN's Chris Black here in Washington. Candy Crowley in Austin. Thank you both.
Well, the recounts are happening in Florida, but they will affect the entire country. Up next, governors on both sides of the political fight with their views on what's happening in the sunshine state.
SHAW: The effects of the Florida recount are being felt far beyond the Sunshine State's boundaries, actually from sea to shining sea.
Joining us to talk about the impact are Michigan Republican Governor John Engler, he's live from Tampa and California Governor Gray Davis, a Democrat, standing by live in Los Angeles. We'll hear from him in just a minute.
First, John Engler in Tampa, you perhaps heard our man in Atlanta, Georgia, Bob Franken, reporting that the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals had denied Governor Bush's effort to stop the recount by hand of ballots in Florida and no doubt you are aware that the Florida Supreme Court has told the secretary of state not to certify the election results tomorrow and, furthermore, is will hear arguments at 2:00 p.m. Monday.
When you heard all that, what did you think?
GOV. JOHN ENGLER (R), MICHIGAN: Well, I guess I was more excited this morning when the circuit court said that the secretary of state acted within her discretion, and I think that is the specific issue that's before the Supreme Court or will be on Monday. And the Supreme Court probably rather prudently just said, look, we're going to get this anyway, let's let everybody come in and be heard.
I think they're going to support the secretary of state with her discretion. It's her call on this. She's been pretty clear that the state law, she believes, controls.
And at our governor's meeting today, it was interesting. Two of the Governor Graves and Taft, they're both former secretaries of state and they feel rather strongly that Secretary Harris has been given a bum rap and she really is doing a fine job under enormous pressure.
SHAW: How long is this going to last, in your judgment?
ENGLER: I think it will be over Monday now. I thought it would be over tomorrow but I think the Supreme Court just is saying, look, go ahead and finish up the absentee count and then we'll hear the arguments. And I think you will get a ruling from them that will support the secretary of state on Monday and then certification will take place at that moment.
I don't think the court's going to let four counties sort of throw Florida's election into doubt, reverse the result and, frankly, even change the outcome of a presidential election in only four Democrat counties.
SHAW: And Governor Engler, how is this playing out in your state? What are people in Michigan saying? What is there reaction?
ENGLER: They're weary. I think everyone is ready for the election to be over and we are starting to look forward. We've got our first snowstorm. I mean, we are ready to move ahead, and I think there is a sense that there needs to be finality. There is also a sense that it ought to be fair, but I don't think anyone looks at this business of holding up cards. It's a circus the way they're counting this.
And Michigan, back in the -- 40 years ago in 1950 had a close election and, really, since that time we've had standards. And none of this would be allowed in Michigan to be done the way they're doing it in Florida. I feel bad for the Floridians because it is kind of embarrassing.
But, at the end of the day, the secretary of state is the chief election officer. She's kind of made her decision. She's put the timelines in place. And I think when the absentees are coming in tonight -- assuming Governor Bush wins them and I see he's crept up a little bit, but he's got to win those -- if he's got a positive margin, then I think he'll be the president-elect by sometime Monday when that certification is final.
SHAW: You'd better be careful. You're sitting in Tampa, Florida, and some Floridians might think you just bad-mouthed their voting process.
ENGLER: Well, I think they are a little embarrassed by it, too. At least, they're embarrassed by the efforts to come in after we've had a vote, after we've had a recount, to have third and fourth counts. And the process, this business of dimpled chads and pregnant chads and chads on the floor, and chads up in the air, I think we're about -- now we've got chad, you know, overload. So, I think that people are ready for this to be finished.
And the secretary of state, Ms. Harris, done a wonderful job under very tough circumstances, I think.
SHAW: Michigan Republican Governor John Engler, thanks very much.
Now, turning to California's Governor Gray Davis.
Action in Atlanta, Action in Tallahassee, your thoughts? GOV. GRAY DAVIS (D), CALIFORNIA: Well, I was happy to see the Supreme Court make the ruling it made today. And I think on two or three occasions, Bernie, they've made clear they want this recount to continue. And I have to believe on Monday they'll opine that they want the recount to be completed and counted before there's a final victor in Florida.
I don't think they're too happy with the way the secretary of state has been functioning. It appears to be there's a rush to judgment. Clearly there are some anomalies and irregularities that need to be looked into. Independently elected people at the county level have to make those judgments and in four or five cases they've decided to have a recount by hand. And one of the counties in northern Florida, the recount worked to the advantage of Governor Bush.
So, I think this story still has a ways to go, and I would be surprised if the Supreme Court on Monday decided to make a determination until the recount is completed, which I believe could occur within a matter of days.
SHAW: You know, you just criticized Katherine Harris, Florida's secretary of state. Republican Governor John Engler, in the interview just completed, defended her. To people outside where you are, outside the United States and around the world, whom should the viewer believe?
DAVIS: Well, they have to make up their own mind; but let me just make something clear, Bernie. This election does not belong to Governor Bush or Vice President Al Gore or to Governor Engler or myself or even the Secretary of State Harris, it belongs, in this case, to the people of Florida. And the people who took the time to vote are not asking too much when they say, my vote should count.
And I find it astounding that, in at least one county, somewhere between 6,000 and 10,000 people voted and, apparently, according to the machines, did not cast a vote for president. That's very unlikely. Usually the race at top of the ticket, in this case the race for president, is the reason people go to the polls. So I think reviewing those ballots to see if there isn't some indication of how the voter intended to vote for president will give meaning to the people who went to vote, and I have to believe, expressed a preference for the top office in the land: president.
SHAW: You're the governor of the state that has the most electoral votes, 54. What are Californians saying about the situation in Florida?
DAVIS: Well, under our process, Bernie, the absentee vote is not completed until 28 days after the election. About 1/3 of that has been counted and, by the way, the vice president's lead is actually growing.
So, while we are watching with interest, there is no sense of a rush to judgment. There is a sense that the process should play out, and I believe the situation is in good hands. I think the Supreme Court of Florida will make a wise determination on Monday and I'd be surprised if it's a final determination -- I'd be surprised if they don't wait to allow the hand counts to be completed and that those counts actually get totaled into the final count in Florida, and then we'll know who actually won Florida and, as it turns out, who won the presidency.
SHAW: California's Democratic Governor Gray Davis; thanks very much for joining us.
DAVIS: Thank you, sir.
SHAW: You're quite welcome, sir -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: Fascinating to hear from both of them.
WOODRUFF: Well, there's still much more ahead on this extended edition of INSIDE POLITICS, including updates from key Florida counties. Plus: the reliability of machine counts -- does removing the human factor make for more accurate results? And later:
WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Last week more than 100 million people voted for president. But the final outcome could depend on just one person.
WOODRUFF: With the presidency undecided, our Bill Schneider elects the winner of the political play of the week.
WOODRUFF: Updating the presidential election standoff: A federal appeals court in Atlanta has refused to stop hand recounts of ballots in Florida. A second legal setback for George W. Bush's campaign in the past few hours.
Earlier, the Florida state Supreme Court blocked a final certification of presidential votes in that state, which the secretary of state in Florida had planned to go ahead with tomorrow. A hearing is scheduled at the Supreme Court in Florida for Monday to consider whether these controversial hand recounts should be included in the final tally as Al Gore requested.
The Democratic strongholds Broward and Palm Beach Counties are pressing on with full recounts and this evening, the Miami-Dade County elections commission voted to conduct a full hand recount there as well.
In Broward County, officials are expected to count their absentee ballots sometime tonight or tomorrow. Also today, a judge dismissed a Republican lawsuit and upheld the county's manual recount of all ballots in the presidential election.
Joining us once again from Fort Lauderdale on all this, CNN's Susan Candiotti -- Susan. CANDIOTTI: Hello, Judy. It has been a day of highs and lows for Republican attorneys and Democratic attorneys, who have spent much of this day in Broward County in court. Republicans failing in their attempt to stop the hand recount. So in the end, that hand recount is going on. Over my shoulder, they're continuing work; however, they will be spending shortly for the night.
However, at this hour the canvassing board here has now turned its attention to those overseas ballots. They were delivered here by sheriff's deputies from the courthouse in downtown Fort Lauderdale. These are punch card ballots, as you know. There are about 100 of them here in Broward County to be reviewed, not only by the canvassing board, but there are observers in their in a room out of your view right now.
There are observers from both the Republican and Democratic Party. They will not only be reviewing these ballots, but also will be checking the things like the postmark on them to make sure that they were mailed by Election Day in order for them to count.
So when they are through, and they expect that will take an hour or so, the results will be sent on to the secretary of state in Tallahassee. Now back to the recount, it does indeed continue despite and effort by the Republicans to try to stop it via a lawsuit that was filed in court today. They got an emergency hearing before a judge and asked that the trial be held today.
However, in the end after much debate, the judge said, what is the emergency? Let the hand recount go on. Afterwards we talked to both sides and you will hear from both sides, first the Republican attorney.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAM SCHEERER, GOP ATTORNEY: We tried our best to convince him that it is indeed an emergency, that the nation and the state is watching and he should have started the trial or we wanted him to start the trial. He didn't do it. He ruled. That's his job. Now our job is to consider what we need to do next.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LEONARD SAMUELS, DEMOCRATIC PARTY ATTORNEY: The significance is that the hand counts will go forward. Another Republican effort to stop them has failed. Seems like I'm in court every day on another Republican effort to stop the hand counts and thankfully they've all failed.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CANDIOTTI: And so you are looking at the hand recount going on. As I said, they're almost through for the night. That's what you're seeing here. These are not the overseas ballots. So far, the work that you see going on here, they've completed going over about 128 precincts of 609 here in Broward County with 38 additional votes for Vice President Gore.
And there was a hearing that wound up just a little while ago before another judge here in Broward County where Democrats were moving to try to get the judge to order that punch holes or pregnant pokes in those ballots could count, and the judge ruled that, he said that the canvassing board knows what the law is, and that no ballot should be excluded whether he said there is one hanging, two hanging or three hanging corners. He said you know what the law is, and if you make any mistakes I'll bring them back here and make you do it all over again.
Back to you, Judy.
WOODRUFF: All right, Susan Candiotti reporting from Broward County, Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Thanks a lot -- Bernie.
SHAW: I have a simple question to pose to you Jeff Greenfield, Bill Schneider. Both senior analysts, political analysts and to the Washington Bureau Chief Frank Sesno who because of the tightness here in another studio but in the same building. How long is this going to last? We heard Michigan governor John Engler indicate that he thinks that after those oral arguments are made before the Florida Supreme Court starting at 2:00 Monday afternoon that this thing is going to end relatively soon?
GREENFIELD: OK, I'm not sure if that's wish father to the thought.
Look, just -- let's just put one thing on the table, as I've mentioned earlier, there is a provision under Florida law that permits a losing party to contest an entire election. Now that doesn't mean that if Gore were to lose or somehow the votes were to be certified that he'd win that, but lawyers do not move quickly. They get paid by the hour, among other things, and this process is not built for speedy resolution.
You know, I think you can say January 21st in 2001 we'll have a new president. I think almost anything before that you are likely to be proven wrong.
SCHNEIDER: The politics of this enters into it, too. We saw for the first time a poll taken by our colleagues and friends at ABC news and "The Washington Post," in which a majority said that they want -- it is more important for this to be decided speedily, within the next week, people said, rather than -- that's more important than allowing each campaign to have its full day in court. And that's the first time we've really seen public patience say, for the first time, this is running out. We want to have this done within a week. That sort of suggests something like Thanksgiving.
Well, you know, each campaign, the political point here is not the same as the legal point. The Bush campaign would like it to be done as quickly as possible. The minute that the secretary of state or somebody says Bush is certified as the winner, they think it will all be over and the legal wrangling will be meaningless. What the Gore campaign is waiting to do is for that moment, when they have enough hand counts tabulated that they can stand up and say, hey, look, we just surpassed the Bush lead, which we'll probably know sometime over the weekend after they tabulate the overseas ballots. He had a lead of 612, we have a lead of 842. Then they'll claim the political advantage and make the argument all the rest of the machinations are attempts by the Gore campaign to steal the election from them.
SHAW: Frank Sesno.
SESNO: Bernie, I was talking to a prominent Democratic senator today, who like most brave souls here in Washington insisted on anonymity. And he observed that as far as he's concerned and others, mostly Democrats on Capitol Hill, there is some growing wariness about the clock. He put it quite bluntly. He said, look, Americans do not want to be watching politics on Thanksgiving Day. They want to be watching turkey or football. And so the clock is ticking.
Now that being said, a number of people who are close to the Gore campaign say, look, if the recount goes forward in these three counties and should the Bush campaign come back and say, OK, fine after all is said and done we want additional recounts ourselves, the Gore folks can't very likely stand in the way of that. So they want to get it over with and they see a way of doing that, and yet they acknowledge that it could take considerably more time.
WOODRUFF: And, Bill Schneider, when you talk about what the poll shows with regard to how much patience people have, counterbalanced against that, of course, is how strongly do people feel that there should be a complete, fair, thorough count, which is, of course, what the Gore people are arguing they have and that what the voters of Florida and the country deserve.
SCHNEIDER: Well, one surprise came out of the ABC News- "Washington Post" poll was that when they asked people what do you think is more accurate, a machine recount or a hand tabulation, you know what people said? A majority, 54-41, said a machine recount is more accurate than a hand recount, which of course is what the Gore -- sorry, the Bush campaign has been saying all along. OK, so then they said, would you be satisfied with a final vote announced? Would that be acceptable to you, including hand recounted ballots? Well, 71 percent said yes. Would they be satisfied with a vote without the hand-recounted ballots? Yes. Both of them would be OK.
SHAW: On that note when, we return the recounts in Palm Beach and a closer look at the fallibility of machine counts.
WOODRUFF: Pictures just a short time ago coming in to us from Austin, Texas, where Texas Governor George W. Bush returning to the governor's mansion from the University of Texas in Austin, where we are told he was doing a little working out, a little exercising.
Meantime, we are awaiting, just about 20 minutes from now in Tallahassee, the spokesman there for the Bush legal effort. Former Secretary of State Jim Baker, we are told, will appear before the cameras at just about 7:00 Eastern time. Of course, CNN will carry that live when it takes place.
The tedious process of manually recounting the ballots is now in its second day in heavily Democratic Palm Beach County. At the same time, a judge is considering the constitutionality of a revote in that county.
Joining us once again from West Palm Beach, Martin Savidge -- Martin.
SAVIDGE: And the judge is going to pick up arguments on this particular issue next week. So there is still some time to go before we get a final verdict on if, in fact, there could be a revote in this county, as if they haven't had enough to deal with already.
The hand recount is still under way here. Election workers inside the building are going well into their 10th hour today. They did eight hours last night. And we have just been told the outcome of the tallying of the absentee ballots. And the results for Palm Beach County only here show 13 votes for George W. Bush, 22 votes for Vice President Albert Gore and one vote for Ralph Nader. So those are the overseas absentee ballots as they were tallied up by elections officials a short time ago.
And as a result of them dealing with the absentee ballots, they had to bring the recount process to a halt since election officials had to focus on the absentees.
It's been a tedious process, it's been a slow one. There have been errors, and it is not moving as quickly as election officials would like.
This is the chairman of the elections canvassing board, Charles Burton, who described what the problems have been like.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JUDGE CHARLES BURTON, PALM BEACH COUNTY CANVASSING BOARD: there's a couple of problems where we had agreed to allow each party more observers than we probably should have, because there's too much commotion running around, and it was getting late into the night, and I know one fellow dropped some ballots, and everybody was kind of hooting and hollering at him. So we agreed, fine, we'll just recount all of those and just put them back in and we'll deal with them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SAVIDGE: As we mentioned, they brought a halt to the hand recount as a result of dealing with the absentees, but we can tell you the progress they had made as of 4:00. They had counted the ballots from 39 precincts. There are 531 in Palm Beach County, and they had gone over roughly 32,000 ballots. There are another 430,000 ballots yet to go. So they do have their work cut out for them. They plan not go as late tonight as they did last night. They say that was simply too much for the election workers, volunteers, that are trying to do all the counting inside -- Judy and Bernie.
WOODRUFF: Martin, just quickly, are they giving you an update periodically as they go through the hand rerecount there in Palm Beach?
SAVIDGE: Well, that's been a subject of great discussion down here by the elections officials. The only update we've had is the one which they have said out of two precincts, only two precincts -- they've counted 39. But of only two precincts they can announce results from, they showed a net gain of one vote for George W. Bush.
Now, the reason that they cannot give us more results from other precincts is because of the tremendous problem they are having with these questionable ballots. There are ballots that are found by the vote counters, they are set aside, and must get the direct attention of the elections canvassing board.
There are so many of them that there is quite a backlog for the election canvassing board to look at. It was slowing down the whole process, so what they've decided to do now is have the counters set those aside. When the counters are done tonight, the canvassing board will step in and look at them after hours tonight to try to determine.
So only once the questionables are resolved can they clear a precinct and say, here are the results. So it's very slow in their reporting.
WOODRUFF: Sounds like a long weekend indeed in Palm Peach County.
SAVIDGE: It does.
WOODRUFF: Martin Savidge, thanks very much -- Bernie.
SHAW: George W. Bush and his allies oppose hand recounts of punch ballots because they say they are less accurate than machine tallies.
CNN's Brooks Jackson has an inside view of efforts to get a true vote count.
BROOKS JACKSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Is a machine count enough? The plain fact is punch-card reading machines routinely make small errors.
ROBERT SWARTZ, CEO, CARDAMATION CO., INC: It would be rare to have these types of cards fed through and have a large, large number of cards without there being some minor discrepancy.
JACKSON: Swartz's company provides punch-card equipment and services to universities and businesses, where he says multiple machine counts are routine and hand counts of cards are not uncommon.
SWARTZ: We make sure we run them through twice and compare the results for 100 percent accuracy. If we're getting a difference, we then examine the cards to find out what the problem is, whether it's the card reader's problems, something's jammed in there, or whatever.
JACKSON: If counting machines were perfect, you should get the same count every time a given batch of ballots is run through -- theoretically.
RICHARD SMOLKA, ELECTION ADMINISTRATION REPORTS: Theoretically you should, but you probably get a slight variation because all the chad are not clearly detached, so the reader may or may not see enough light or have enough -- may not be able to read what the voter did.
JACKSON: Smolka has covered vote-counting controversies for 30 years.
SMOLKA: We haven't found an infallible vote-counting method yet.
KIMBALL BRACE, ELECTION DATA SERVICES, INC: Machines are always suspect, and they can have problems to them. You need to have that double-check and cross-check of a hand count. That is allowed in almost every single state of the nation.
JACKSON: Would hand counting damage the cards? Not according to this expert...
SWARTZ: The cards are designed to be handled by people. That was the purpose when IBM developed these cards, and they're used for all sorts of purposes where they are handled by people.
JACKSON: Vendors of vote-counting equipment say accuracy can reach 100 percent, given proper maintenance and exacting procedures for handling ballots. But even a tiny error rate can make a critical difference.
(on camera): There were nearly 6 million votes counted for president in Florida. An error of only 1/100 of 1 percent would amount to 595 votes, enough to change the outcome.
(voice-over): And machines are all too human.
Brooks Jackson, CNN, Washington.
WOODRUFF: Indeed. Up next, the latest developments from Miami- Dade County.
SHAW: In Miami-Dade County, the canvassing board this afternoon voted to conduct a recount after Democrats appealed an earlier decision. Joining us with more, CNN's Charles Zewe -- Charles. CHARLES ZEWE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Bernie, it's a big boost for Vice President Al Gore's hopes of becoming president. The Miami-Dade canvassing board here, this afternoon, as you just said, reversed itself and voted to recount by hand all 654,000 votes cast here on Election Day.
Democrats contend they, on a recount, could get more than 300 votes from a recount, and they hope that happens now. Democrats' lawyers today arguing before the three-member panel that there is a secret among more than 10,750 under-votes -- votes in which the ballot wishes of the voters was not recorded on the ballots themselves -- that there's a secret there among those 10,750 under-votes that could well hold the key to the election.
Attorney Steven Zack (ph) for the Democrats declaring before the board, the public has a right to know the truth about what happened in this election. Bob Martinez, a former U.S. attorney here, arguing for the Republicans, said that this was all illegal, that there was no compelling reason to go back and recount all of the votes. Nonetheless, the three-member panel, Judge Lawrence King, speaking for the majority said that, with the entire election possibly hinging on the votes that could come out of Miami-Dade County, that the American public and the voters of Miami needed to know how their votes were cast and what was the true outcome of this election.
King, along with Judge Miriam Laer (ph) voted for recounting all of the ballots. But, interestingly enough, David Lehe (ph), the other member of the panel, an elections expert for 30 years, voted against -- said, he saw no compelling reason to go through an entire recount here.
In reaction, Republican officials say they don't know yet what they will do. Bob Martinez, for the Republicans, says this will plunge the entire matter into chaos. He says he's worried about the potential for mistakes and for some, what he called, behind-the-scenes foolishness and possibly throwing ballots toward Vice President Gore.
Again, they will meet here in the morning at about 9:00 to decide how they'll go about this process. Elections board officials here in Miami are saying it could take 28 to 30 days, a month, to count all 654,000 ballots. Now, right now, upstairs in the building where I'm standing, they're preparing to count those overseas mail-in ballots, 307 of them.
But there's a development there: A Republican observer of the process says that the staff, the elections board staff is recommending that 212 of those ballots -- including 110 federal write-in ballots, be thrown out, disqualified for technical reasons. Not a proper signature. No post mark. No witness listed on the outside of the ballot.
So we will learn shortly what the vote total is from those overseas ballot. right now, a big challenge, though, to almost two- thirds of them -- Bernie.
SHAW: Charles Zewe. Thanks very much -- Judy. WOODRUFF: And up next on INSIDE POLITICS, one man, one vote. Bill Schneider elects a "Political Play of the Week."
SHAW: To our CNN viewers around the world, you are looking at a room in Tallahassee, Florida where very, very shortly, in a matter of moment, former Secretary of State James Baker, Governor George Bush's legal spokesman on the ground in contested Florida, will be making a statement. CNN is standing by to carry it live.
The legal, the political volleys keep coming so quickly in this despite over Florida's presidential vote that it is difficult to keep any kind of score. But looking at the week overall, our Bill Schneider does see a success story -- Bill.
SCHNEIDER: Bernie, last week more than 100 million people voted for president. It seems like a year ago. But the final outcome could just depend on one person. Such awesome power deserves attention and, maybe, the "Political Play of the Week" as well.
SCHNEIDER (voice-over): Who is this woman? She's Katherine Harris, a wealthy Florida citrus heiress who once had the job of exhorting patrons of a musical revue in Sarasota to jump out of their seats and dance like chickens.
Apparently she was very good at it because she subsequently got elected to the state Senate and, when her close friend Jeb Bush won the governorship in 1998, she was elected secretary of state. That means she has the job of certifying the all-important Florida vote tally.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KATHERINE HARRIS, FLORIDA SECRETARY OF STATE: Know this: We will continue to perform our responsibilities and this process with all due speed, but with the determination to ensure the full accuracy and independence of this process.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHNEIDER: Know this too, said angry Democrats. Harris served as Florida co-chair of the George W. Bush campaign for president.
MARILYN LENARD, PRESIDENT, FLORIDA AFL-CIO: Her actions border on the immoral. She has campaigned for Governor Bush since New Hampshire.
SCHNEIDER: But this woman is not easily intimidated. On Tuesday, the court said she could announce the vote count. She did.
HARRIS: Governor George Bush, 2,910,492. Vice president Al Gore, 2,910,192. SCHNEIDER: The court also said she could consider amending those results to allow for hand recounted ballots in some counties. She did.
HARRIS: I'm requiring a written statement of the facts and circumstances that would cause these counties to believe that a change should be made before the final certification of the statewide vote. This written statement is due in our office by 2:00 p.m. tomorrow.
SCHNEIDER: That had the gore campaign sputtering with anger.
WILLIAM DALEY, GORE CAMPAIGN CHAIRMAN: Unfortunate and inexplicable.
Arbitrary and rather questionable proposals.
A rash and a precipitous action.
SCHNEIDER: Republicans were cautious about defending Harris. It's in their interest for her to look like a responsible public official, not a partisan. Though she was clearly playing for sympathy.
KLOCK: Katherine Harris is someone who's been caught in the headlights of history.
SCHNEIDER: On Wednesday night, shortly after Al Gore came out to offer Bush a deal, Harris pulled the rug out from under the vice president.
HARRIS: It is my duty under Florida law to exercise my discretion in denying these requested amendments.
SCHNEIDER: A breathtaking decision: no hand recounts.
CROWD: We support Harris! We support Harris!
SCHNEIDER: Bush supporters think she's a hero and are filling her office with flowers. Democrats are concerned that whenever Harris comes out and announces a final vote count, it will be regarded by voters as over. That is why they have gone to court to stop her. But for how long? This is exciting. It is also the political play of the week.
SCHNEIDER: As it happens, Florida's new constitution abolishes her job as an elected office in two years. But if Governor Bush becomes president -- that's George W. Bush -- she may have a political future. And if Gore becomes president, we'll she can always go back to the chicken dance.
Do you know how to do the chicken dance?
SHAW: I know how to do the chicken.
SCHNEIDER: If we had more time, I would show you.
WOODRUFF: In fullness of time, we would like to see that, Bernie.
SHAW: OK, good exercise.
Well, please stay with us. We are expecting a statement from Governor Bush's spokesman, former Secretary of State James Baker, very shortly. They said 7:00 p.m. Eastern. That's two minutes from now. We'll see. We'll be here. We'll bring you that from Tallahassee as soon as it happens and more of our coverage of "The Florida Recount" after this commercial break. Back in a moment.
SHAW: We are waiting for Bush legal representative, former Secretary of State James Baker to speak to reporters in Tallahassee and there's a lot for him comment on at this hour.
Most recently, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta rejected the Bush camp's request to stop the hand recount of ballots in Florida. That ruling came down just hours after the Florida Supreme Court blocked a final certification of the state's presidential vote which had been expected tomorrow. The state high court will hold a hearing Monday afternoon on whether hand recounts still underway can be included in Florida's final vote total.
This evening, Miami-Dade County election officials reversed themselves and voted to conduct a full manual recount. Hand recounts also are continuing in the Democratic strongholds of Palm Beach and Broward Counties.
Vice president Al Gore is supporting those recounts, believing they will help him win Florida and the presidency. Governor Bush's unofficial lead in Florida has climbed beyond the 300 vote mark, according to a partial tally conducted by the Associated Press of overseas absentee ballots which still are being counted this evening -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: And I believe now we want to go down to Deborah Feyerick who is in Tallahassee. Debbie, you've been watching these developments on this remarkable day. Another remarkable day. You want to bring us up to date from down there?
FEYERICK: Absolutely. Well, as you mentioned earlier we are waiting for a press conference from James Baker. He was supposed to start at 7:00 on the nose and he's usually very prompt, but we are actually now being told it'll be about two minutes away, so he is indeed pretty close to time. Earlier we had been told that he was stuck in traffic. Remember, there's a very big football game down here, so getting around is not as easy as it usually is.
To bring you up to date, again the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals denying an emergency petition -- the Republican request for a recount. Also here in the Florida Supreme Court, a big -- at least win for the Democrats. They -- determining that they are going hear the case on appeals. And that is good for the Democrats. The Republicans still waiting to hear what that's going to mean for them.
Over the weekend, they will be filing different papers. They've got to get their case in. They've got to lay everything out so that the judge knows ahead of time what it is that they're going to be talking about. They'll file more papers on Sunday and then there's a hearing on Monday with oral arguments and each side has about an hour to present their case.
We are just checking the door just to make sure that he doesn't want walk in while we're still talking but there looks to be a little activity and I see the secretary, so we're going to sit down and let him go to the podium.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Ladies and gentlemen, as he did this morning, Secretary Baker has a brief statement for you, but because his statement relates to pending litigation that is going to be argued on Monday, he will not be taking your questions this evening.
JAMES BAKER, BUSH CAMPAIGN OBSERVER: Good evening, ladies and gentlemen.
As the Florida Supreme Court stated in this recently issued order, the court's action is designed to maintain the status quo until its hearing on Monday.
The court issued an order that neither side requested. Nevertheless, its action is not an order on the merits of the case. We remain confident that, for all of the reasons discussed by the trial court in its two opinions, the Supreme Court will find that the secretary of state properly exercised her discretion and followed the law.
In addition, while we are disappointed, of course, that the federal Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit decided not to step into the dispute at this time, that is while it is before the Florida courts, they specifically noted that we are free to return to the federal courts to present our constitutional challenges to the selective and subjective manual recount process at an appropriate time in the future.
Thank you very much.
SHAW: James Baker, former secretary of state of the United States, and one of the legal representatives for Texas Governor George Bush, making a very brief statement. A former assistant of his, Margaret Tuttweiler (ph), indicated to reporters that he would not take any questions because of legal pending matters.
Basically, the secretary of state said that he, Governor Bush remained confident that the Florida state Supreme Court will find that Secretary of State Katherine Harris properly exercised discretion and followed the law. And you heard him allude to the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, the 11th circuit in Atlanta. Earlier this afternoon, that court denied Governor Bush's effort to stop the recount by hand of Florida ballots. Mr. Baker saying -- Mr. Baker saying that we are disappointed. And Bill Schneider? SCHNEIDER: They are.
They are. He was trying to put the best face on this disappointing news. If yesterday was bad news for the Gore campaign, today was bad news for the Bush campaign, because this matter is being stretched out.
They were hoping that the secretary of state would be allowed to come out, Katherine Harris, and announce the final vote tally, and they were expecting that vote tally to show Governor Bush in the lead in Florida -- and that would be the final certified vote -- tomorrow.
We may know the total, but she cannot come out and make a final certified vote tomorrow. The state Supreme Court has delayed that.
He said, correctly, that this is not an order on the merits. They haven't decided on the merits of whether she must change her mind and include the hand-counted ballots or not. The court didn't do anything about that. All they was we must wait until we have a hearing from both sides.
But of course, that plays into the hands of the Gore campaign, which wants to extend this as long as possible so that more of those ballots are hand-counted.
SHAW: Charles Bierbauer, who covers the Supreme Court here in Washington for CNN, is also joining us. Charles, there are several legal cases in the air between now and Monday afternoon. Certainly the lawyers for both sides are going to be scrambling to get ready to go before those seven justices in Tallahassee.
CHARLES BIERBAUER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: They'll have two hours, an hour for each side, to present the case to the Florida state Supreme Court. And it's very interesting in this 11th Circuit ruling today, which only denies an emergency injunction to stop the hand counting, that it says that the 11th Circuit, a federal court, considers for now the state court in Florida to be quite adequate to protect the federal interests in this matter, that there is no concern at this point for the federal courts to get any further involved, although they will consider the merits of the Republican argument at a time later.
And in fact, as Bill Schneider just notes, neither of these courts -- neither the 11th Circuit nor the Florida state Supreme Court at this point -- has addressed the merits of this argument. We've had a lot of procedural rulings so far.
Counts can continue, counts may go ahead, and in the case of the Florida appeals court earlier, that the state secretary had acted within the province of her office. But we do not have final decisions on anything.
SHAW: OK. Thank you, Charles Bierbauer, and our thanks to our CNN senior political analyst Bill Schneider, Judy Woodruff, Jeff Greenfield. Now, that concludes our special coverage of the recount in Florida. Remember, tonight at 10:00 p.m. Eastern, a one-hour special report on the recount in Florida.
I'm Bernard Shaw in Washington. After this commercial break, we will join MONEYLINE, in progress. Thank you for joining us.
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