Gore contests results in 3 Florida counties


Associated Press

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Al Gore challenged Florida’s now-certified presidential election in court today, his lawyers disputing an outcome that left him merely 537 votes short of George W. Bush.

Gore’s lawyers challenged the results from Palm Beach, Miami-Dade and Nassau counties in a filing early this afternoon, hoping their last-ditch effort can overcome the margin for Bush that Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris, a Bush supporter, certified for him Sunday night.

Harris accorded Florida’s 25 electoral votes to Bush, a step that will give him the presidency if it holds up.

“This is something that’s too important to be decided in a partisan environment,” Gore attorney David Boies said today on NBC. “This is something that ought to be decided by impartial judges.”

To that end, Gore planned to contest Harris’ certification in Tallahassee, and also to challenge the outcomes in Palm Beach, Nassau and Miami-Dade counties.

Separately, a lawsuit over Palm Beach County’s “butterfly ballot” was being sent to the state Supreme Court today. Some Democrats complained the ballot was so confusing that they mistakenly cast votes for Pat Buchanan instead of Gore. They are seeking a new election in the county.

Also, a case scheduled for a court in Seminole County northeast of Orlando, on allegations by a Democratic attorney that Republicans tampered with absentee ballot applications, was being moved today to Tallahassee

Boies said earlier his team was undecided about whether to make the Seminole complaint part of its contest. The parties agreed to have the case, naming Harris as a defendant, heard in Tallahassee.

Democrats want some 4,700 disputed ballots thrown out. At issue was a decision by Seminole elections chief Sandra Goard, a Republican, to let two GOP workers add voter identification numbers to absentee ballot applications where voters had failed to put them.

In Atlanta, Bush lawyers sought to put oral arguments on hold in a case they brought before a federal court against Florida’s manual recounts.

With the counting finished and attention being drawn to the coming Supreme Court hearing, the lawyers asked the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in a motion today to delay oral arguments until early next week. The arguments had been scheduled for Wednesday.

This week’s grand finale is likely to be Friday’s hearing before the U.S. Supreme Court on a Bush appeal against the hand counts.

Still, Bush adviser James A. Baker III said Sunday it was time for all legal contests to end.

“I don’t believe the people of America want this election turned over to lawyers and court contests,” he said. “At some point, the law must prevail and the lawyers must go home. We have reached that point.”

Bush’s lawyers have 10 days to respond to Gore’s challenge against the certification but probably would file papers much sooner than that. The law allows for an “immediate hearing” on all election contests, including witnesses and evidence.

Gore’s running mate, Joseph Lieberman, defended a court challenge.

“What is at issue here is nothing less than every American’s simple, sacred right to vote,” Lieberman said Sunday.

Lieberman suggested that Harris’ refusal to count partial returns from Palm Beach County shortchanged its voters.

Charles Burton, chairman of the Palm Beach canvassing board, called Harris’ action “a slap in the face” to county workers who labored hard to finish the hand recount.

One Bush adviser, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the GOP camp would not be filing a contest of its own, but he indicated that answers would be filed to the Gore litigation. And he said the Bush forces did not intend to abandon their Supreme Court suit.

The Rev. Jesse Jackson said Sunday a coalition of civil rights organizations intends to file a lawsuit on behalf of disenfranchised voters in Florida under the Civil Rights Act.

In an interview, Jackson criticized the Justice Department and Florida Gov. Jeb Bush – the Texas governor’s brother – saying more needs to be done to stop protests that intimidate minority voters, and to ensure that no voters are disenfranchised in that state.

Boies said one of his first actions would be to petition for counting thousands of votes he said were never tallied.

“Until these votes are counted, this election cannot be over,” Boies said. “There are thousands of votes that haven’t been counted once.”

The Bush camp said those ballots were not ignored, but probably represented 10,000 voters who purposely left their choice for president blank while voting in other races.

In Nassau County, Democrats are seeking use of the recounted total, which would give Gore 51 more votes.

In Miami-Dade, Boies wants a count of the 10,000 votes he said could not be read by a voting machine and were not hand-counted.

In Palm Beach, the Gore lawyers want to include recounted votes. In addition, they might challenge the results of the butterfly ballots.

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

Talk to us

More in Local News

FILE - A sign hangs at a Taco Bell on May 23, 2014, in Mount Lebanon, Pa. Declaring a mission to liberate "Taco Tuesday" for all, Taco Bell asked U.S. regulators Tuesday, May 16, 2023, to force Wyoming-based Taco John's to abandon its longstanding claim to the trademark. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, File)
Hepatitis A confirmed in Taco Bell worker in Everett, Lake Stevens

The health department sent out a public alert for diners at two Taco Bells on May 22 or 23.

VOLLI’s Director of Food & Beverage Kevin Aiello outside of the business on Friday, May 19, 2023 in Marysville, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Coming soon to Marysville: indoor pickleball, games, drinks

“We’re very confident this will be not just a hit, but a smash hit,” says co-owner Allan Jones, who is in the fun industry.

Detectives: Unresponsive baby was exposed to fentanyl at Everett hotel

An 11-month-old boy lost consciousness Tuesday afternoon. Later, the infant and a twin sibling both tested positive for fentanyl.

Cassie Franklin (left) and Nick Harper (right)
Report: No wrongdoing in Everett mayor’s romance with deputy mayor

An attorney hired by the city found no misuse of public funds. Texts between the two last year, however, were not saved on their personal phones.

Firearm discovered by TSA officers at Paine Field Thursday morning, May 11, 2023, during routine X-ray screening at the security checkpoint. (Transportation Security Administration)
3 guns caught by TSA at Paine Field this month — all loaded

Simple travel advice: Unpack before you pack to make sure there’s not a gun in your carry-on.

Heavy traffic northbound on 1-5 in Everett, Washington on August 31, 2022.  (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
To beat the rush this Memorial Day weekend, go early or late

AAA projects busy airports, ferries and roads over the holiday weekend this year, though still below pre-pandemic counts.

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Snohomish in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
Troopers: DUI crash leaves 1 in critical condition in Maltby

A drunken driver, 34, was arrested after her pickup rear-ended another truck late Tuesday, injuring a Snohomish man, 28.

Housing Hope CEO Donna Moulton raises her hand in celebration of the groundbreaking of the Housing Hope Madrona Highlands on Tuesday, May 23, 2023 in Edmonds, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
$30M affordable housing project to start construction soon in Edmonds

Once built, dozens of families who are either homeless or in poverty will move in and receive social and work services.

Smoke comes out of the roof of ReMyx'd, a restaurant on Smokey Point Drive, on Sunday, May 28, 2023, in Arlington, WA. (IAFF Local 3438)
Fire damages Arlington bar that received death threats

Arlington Police say initial indications are that fire at ReMyx’d does not appear to be intentionally set.

Most Read