Election turmoil resonates in Northwest

By GENE JOHNSON

Associated Press

SEATTLE — Here in the country’s opposite corner, where emotions aren’t running as high as they are in Florida, many Democrats on Friday were a picture of contradictions: eager but patient, muddled but hopeful that the process will work clearly.

They want the presidential election resolved fairly, but they’d rather not have it resolved in courts.

They want it determined by the will of the people, but they aren’t sure that’s what the recount in Florida will reveal.

Several Republicans, meanwhile, said that once the final tally is in, the election is over: no more counting, no more voting.

The Democrats’ ambivalence was evident as tourists John and Carolyn Ross, ages 59 and 60, of Ottumwa, Iowa, discussed the election while watching ferries cross Puget Sound. They said they voted for Gore but would support Bush if he wins.

"I just hope Mr. Gore keeps on getting to the bottom of things," Carolyn Ross said.

"Yeah, but it shouldn’t be dragged on forever, though," her husband added. "Realistically, if they recount, you’ve got to abide by what the recount is."

"But I also want Mr. Gore to be satisfied the results are accurate," Carolyn Ross said. "If he’s not satisfied, he should pursue it."

In Olympia, about two dozen Gore supporters staged a rally on the Capitol steps. Barbara Chadwick, 22, of Bellevue, and Erin Dziedzic, 22, of Issaquah, wrapped themselves in coats and scarves as they stood holding Gore-Lieberman signs.

They said they don’t want the election decided in the courts.

"I’m not comfortable with lawyers choosing who my president should be," Chadwick said.

Yet they want Gore to keep fighting, in court if necessary.

Several Republicans said that once the recount is complete, Gore should quit. They said taking a new vote because people didn’t pay attention to their ballots is unthinkable.

Dick Salvas, 56, is a registered Republican from Livermore, Calif., who voted for Bush. He was shopping at Seattle’s Pike Place Market with his wife Friday.

"If mistakes were made, mistakes were made, and you’ve got to live with them," Salvas said. "If it’s fraud, that’s different."

While many said they did not want the election to turn any uglier than it has, some said the situation can only be resolved in courts or by a new vote. Bob Van Bogart, 42, a manager at a parking garage in downtown Seattle, said he’s not convinced there was no chicanery in Florida.

"At first I was thinking these exit polls are just used to manipulate the outcome," Van Bogart said. "Now I’m thinking maybe the exit polls were accurate, and when they got down to counting the ballots, that’s where the distortion is."

Copyright ©2000 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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