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The Florida Recount: Miami-Dade County to Consider Only Machine 'Undervotes'Aired November 22, 2000 - 9:32 a.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: We're going to go to Frank Buckley, who I believe is on the line with us from Miami.
Frank, are you there?
FRANK BUCKLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes I am, Kyra. We've just completed a news conference here -- watch out William -- in front of the Miami-Dade Courthouse with members of the Republican Party here, including the -- one of the attorneys who argued the case, Miguel DeGrande (ph), as well as Congressman Lincoln Diaz-Balart. And we heard terms like, from Lincoln Diaz-Balart, he said this presidential election is being stolen in Miami-Dade County, Florida.
Congressman John Sweeney of New York also spoke and said that the -- he called the canvassing board the "thugs in that building." And he said that they were, quote, "here to hijack the presidency."
They are reacting to the information this morning that the Miami- Dade County Canvassing Board has changed its position. It is now going to be only considering the so-called "undervotes." That is, the 10,750 ballots in which it appeared as though voters did not vote for a president, according to the machine that kicked out their ballots. The machine kicked out their ballots and said there was no vote here.
Which means, effectively, that the work that has been taking place here over the past two days in which we've seen 25 teams of county workers going over individual ballots -- some 654,000 ballots in all is what they hoped to accomplish by December 1 -- as they went over each one of those ballots during the past couple of days, those ballots are now being effectively -- not thrown out, but they are saying, we're going to start from scratch.
So this is a very different position than the position that the Miami-Dade Canvassing Board had had previously. Which means that only the certified vote from election night, plus the undervote here in Miami-Dade County, will now count in terms of net gain for either George W. Bush or for Al Gore.
Republicans believe that this is a move that will favor, clearly, Al Gore. They feel this is unfair. So far, they are not saying if they will make any legal maneuvers to try to correct what they feel is an injustice -- Kyra. PHILLIPS: Frank, they mentioned something about the precincts also. They were concerned about maybe some discrimination within the precincts.
BUCKLEY: Yes, they believe that this is a violation of the Voting Rights Act. And I'll be honest with you, I didn't catch that part of the argument. I was distracted, trying to do three things at once. So I didn't get the full argument there. But the bottom line here is that the Republicans believe that they have been wronged.
They point to the fact that this canvassing board, this is essentially the third decision they've made regarding a recount. The first decision last week was not to conduct a recount. The second decision was to conduct a recount that involved both the -- not only the undercounts, but also all of the precincts. They were going to go precinct-by-precinct through 654,000 ballots. So that is where things stand.
One other additional note: There is a protest, we are told, taking place now on the 18th floor involving some of the Republican observers who have now been told they will not be needed anymore. So a very quickly developing story here in Miami-Dade County -- Kyra.
PHILLIPS: And, Frank, you're doing a great job gathering all the facts. Thanks so much. That's our Frank Buckley from Miami.
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