Bush Prepares for Transition

By DAVID ESPO
.c The Associated Press


George W. Bush took on the work, if not the title, of president-elect on Monday, meeting with a top aide to discuss a transition to the White House. Al Gore looked to the courts to keep his election challenge alive.

``We may just open our own transition office,'' said Andy Card, Bush's choice for White House chief of staff, as he arrived at the Texas state Capitol on the morning after the GOP ticket was certified the winner in Florida's make-or-break election.

The government agency responsible for securing official transition offices in Washington has said it won't yet turn the keys over to the Republicans. But Card said, ``We know how important it is to keep moving.''

Gore's lawyers said they were going to court in Tallahassee, the Florida capital, to object formally to the certification, taking a step known as a ``contest'' under state law. Republicans said Bush aides will aggressively fight Gore's contests in the counties targeted by the vice president: Palm Beach, Miami-Dade and Nassau.

``This is something that's too important to be decided in a partisan environment,'' David Boies, a Gore lawyer, said on NBC's ``Today'' show. ``This is something that ought to be decided by impartial judges.''

An overnight poll by ABC and The Washington Post found that 60 percent of those surveyed thought the vice president should concede. Thirty-five percent said he should not.

Gore himself was expected to speak publicly later in the day, and outline his reasons for continuing to challenge for the White House.

In the meantime, the Democrats' congressional leaders, Sen. Tom Daschle and Rep. Dick Gephardt, were flying to Florida to lend support to the vice president's decision to fight on.

Secretary of State Katherine Harris, a Bush partisan, certified the Texas governor the winner by 537 votes out of roughly 6 million cast. But Gore dispatched a phalanx of surrogates Sunday night to make clear he wasn't ready to concede.

``The integrity of our self-government is too important to cast into doubt,'' running mate Joseph Lieberman said, reflecting Democratic objections over the manual recounts in Miami-Dade, Palm Beach and Nassau counties.

Bush, the Texas governor, said Sunday night that Gore should give up the contest.

``If the vice president chooses to go forward, he is filing a contest to the outcome of the election,'' he said. ``And that is not the best route for America.''

One Democrat said Monday that Gore should probably give up. ``I have great doubts about whether it is wise ... for the vice president to continue to pursue and to contest the results in Florida,'' Robert Reich, former labor secretary, said on ABC's ``Good Morning America.''

Reich had endorsed Gore's rival in the primaries, Bill Bradley.

Bush and Lieberman made their comments Sunday night, shortly after Harris awarded the GOP ticket of Bush and Dick Cheney the 25 electoral votes they needed for victory in the race for the White House.

``On behalf of the state elections canvassing commission, and in accordance with the laws of the state of Florida, I hereby declare Governor George W. Bush the winner of Florida's 25 electoral votes,'' said Harris.

The remarks touched off a wave of noisy cheering from Bush supporters gathered outside the state government building where Harris and other members of the state canvassing board signed multiple copies of the official certification.

And within minutes, the two campaigns had plunged into a fresh round of maneuvering, as Democrats sought to build public support for continuing the struggle, and Republicans bid to close out the race for the White House.

``This has been a hard-fought election,'' Bush said in the state Capitol in Austin. ``But now that the votes are counted, it is time for the votes to count.''

He said he had asked Cheney to ``work with President Clinton's administration to open a transition office in Washington.'' He also said he had named Card to serve as his chief of staff.

It wasn't clear how fast Cheney could get an office up and running, though. Beth Newburger, a spokeswoman for the federal General Services Administration, said that ``as long as there is not an apparent winner, and the outcome is unclear, there's not much we can do.''

Lieberman went before the cameras within moments of Harris' certification. ``What is at issue here is nothing less than every American's simple, sacred right to vote,'' he said.

Referring to the ballots that were uncounted in various manual recounts, or else counted but rejected by Harris, he asked, ``How can we teach our children that every vote counts if we are not willing to make a good-faith effort to count every vote?''

But the Republicans countered that the votes have been counted - over and over and over - and Bush and Cheney emerged ahead each time.

``At some point, the law must prevail and the lawyers must go home. We have reached that point,'' said former Secretary of State James A. Baker III, speaking on Bush's behalf. Even so, he said Bush will not drop his case before the U.S. Supreme Court challenging the validity of manual recounts.

The high court has set arguments in Washington on Friday.

The manual recounting proved as controversial at its end as it was at its beginning.

In Palm Beach County, members of the local canvassing board wrote Harris without success seeking an extension beyond a 5 p.m. Sunday deadline. They said that with a few more hours work, they could make it all the way through an estimated 10,000 ballots.

``The secretary of state has apparently decided to shut us down with approximately two hours to go,'' said Charles Burton, head of the county canvassing board.

Board members, who had been at work virtually around the clock since Saturday morning, paused briefly in their work to fax incomplete precinct-by-precinct totals to Harris' office. They then returned to their counting, completing the last of the questionable ballots later in the evening.

By then, Harris had rejected the incomplete count, saying they fail to comply with state law. She instead accepted results from the last machine count, on Nov. 14, a decision that deprived Gore of 180 votes he gained in the partial recount.

AP-NY-11-27-00 1153EST


Six in 10 Say Gore Should Concede

By WILL LESTER
.c The Associated Press


WASHINGTON (AP) - Six in 10 Americans, including a fourth of Al Gore supporters in a new poll, say it is time for the vice president to concede now that George W. Bush has been certified as the winner of Florida's 25 electoral votes.

Nonetheless, about six in 10 in the ABC News-Washington Post poll also said they would accept Gore as legitimately elected if he were to emerge as the president. More, almost eight in 10, say they would accept Bush as legitimately elected.

About 40 percent in the poll taken Sunday night said Gore should concede because the vote was fair, while almost 20 percent want him to quit because they ``want to get this over with.''

Gore's lawyers were going to court Monday in Tallahassee, the Florida capital, to object formally to the certification, a step known as a ``contest'' under state law. The vice president has been working to keep Democrats behind his appeal.

Almost six in 10 people say it's more important ``for this to end quickly'' than for each side to make its full arguments in court. That reflects partisan differences as much as impatience with the long fight: just over eight in 10 Bush supporters say it's more important for the race to end quickly and three in 10 Gore supporters.

Almost six in 10 overall say they would oppose the Florida legislature getting involved in the presidential race.

Those polled were about evenly divided on whether ``dimpled chad,'' ballots that were indented but not perforated, should be counted - a question at the heart of manual recounts in southeast Florida.

The national poll of 607 adults has an error margin of 4 percentage points. Such overnight polls provide a snapshot of the emotional reaction to an event like Sunday night's news that the Florida vote was certified. Such findings often hold up in polls taken over a longer time span, as well.

The increased sentiment that it is time for the presidential election to wrap up does not reflect a shift in feeling about who should be president. That was still split in this poll as it was on Election Day, with 43 percent saying they favor Bush and 42 percent favoring Gore.

AP-NY-11-27-00 1016EST

Bush Plans Transition to White House; Gore To Challenge
Florida Certifies Bush as Winner of Electoral Votes

By DAVID ESPO
.c The Associated Press

(Nov. 27) -- George W. Bush took on the work, if not the title, of president-elect on today, meeting with a top aide to discuss a transition to the White House. Al Gore looked to the courts to keep his election challenge alive.

''We may just open our own transition office,'' said Andy Card, Bush's choice for White House chief of staff, as he arrived at the Texas state Capitol on the morning after the GOP ticket was certified the winner in Florida's make-or-break election.

The government agency responsible for securing official transition offices in Washington has said it won't yet turn the keys over to the Republicans. But Card said, ''We know how important it is to keep moving.''

Gore's lawyers said they were going to court in Tallahassee, the Florida capital, to object formally to the certification, taking a step known as a ''contest'' under state law. Republicans said Bush aides will aggressively fight Gore's contests in the counties targeted by the vice president: Palm Beach, Miami-Dade and Nassau.

''This is something that's too important to be decided in a partisan environment,'' David Boies, a Gore lawyer, said on NBC's ''Today'' show. ''This is something that ought to be decided by impartial judges.''

An overnight poll by ABC and The Washington Post found that 60 percent of those surveyed thought the vice president should concede. Thirty-five percent said he should not.

Gore himself was expected to speak publicly later in the day, and outline his reasons for continuing to challenge for the White House.

In the meantime, the Democrats' congressional leaders, Sen. Tom Daschle and Rep. Dick Gephardt, were flying to Florida to lend support to the vice president's decision to fight on.

Secretary of State Katherine Harris, a Bush partisan, certified the Texas governor the winner by 537 votes out of roughly 6 million cast. But Gore dispatched a phalanx of surrogates Sunday night to make clear he wasn't ready to concede.

''The integrity of our self-government is too important to cast into doubt,'' running mate Joseph Lieberman said, reflecting Democratic objections over the manual recounts in Miami-Dade, Palm Beach and Nassau counties.

Bush, the Texas governor, said Sunday night that Gore should give up the contest.

''If the vice president chooses to go forward, he is filing a contest to the outcome of the election,'' he said. ''And that is not the best route for America.''

One Democrat said Monday that Gore should probably give up. ''I have great doubts about whether it is wise ... for the vice president to continue to pursue and to contest the results in Florida,'' Robert Reich, former labor secretary, said on ABC's ''Good Morning America.''

Reich had endorsed Gore's rival in the primaries, Bill Bradley.

Bush and Lieberman made their comments Sunday night, shortly after Harris awarded the GOP ticket of Bush and Dick Cheney the 25 electoral votes they needed for victory in the race for the White House.

''On behalf of the state elections canvassing commission, and in accordance with the laws of the state of Florida, I hereby declare Governor George W. Bush the winner of Florida's 25 electoral votes,'' said Harris.

The remarks touched off a wave of noisy cheering from Bush supporters gathered outside the state government building where Harris and other members of the state canvassing board signed multiple copies of the official certification.

And within minutes, the two campaigns had plunged into a fresh round of maneuvering, as Democrats sought to build public support for continuing the struggle, and Republicans bid to close out the race for the White House.

''This has been a hard-fought election,'' Bush said in the state Capitol in Austin. ''But now that the votes are counted, it is time for the votes to count.''

He said he had asked Cheney to ''work with President Clinton's administration to open a transition office in Washington.'' He also said he had named Card to serve as his chief of staff.

It wasn't clear how fast Cheney could get an office up and running, though. Beth Newburger, a spokeswoman for the federal General Services Administration, said that ''as long as there is not an apparent winner, and the outcome is unclear, there's not much we can do.''

Lieberman went before the cameras within moments of Harris' certification. ''What is at issue here is nothing less than every American's simple, sacred right to vote,'' he said.

Referring to the ballots that were uncounted in various manual recounts, or else counted but rejected by Harris, he asked, ''How can we teach our children that every vote counts if we are not willing to make a good-faith effort to count every vote?''

But the Republicans countered that the votes have been counted - over and over and over - and Bush and Cheney emerged ahead each time.

''At some point, the law must prevail and the lawyers must go home. We have reached that point,'' said former Secretary of State James A. Baker III, speaking on Bush's behalf. Even so, he said Bush will not drop his case before the U.S. Supreme Court challenging the validity of manual recounts.

The high court has set arguments in Washington on Friday.

The manual recounting proved as controversial at its end as it was at its beginning.

In Palm Beach County, members of the local canvassing board wrote Harris without success seeking an extension beyond a 5 p.m. Sunday deadline. They said that with a few more hours work, they could make it all the way through an estimated 10,000 ballots.

''The secretary of state has apparently decided to shut us down with approximately two hours to go,'' said Charles Burton, head of the county canvassing board.

Board members, who had been at work virtually around the clock since Saturday morning, paused briefly in their work to fax incomplete precinct-by-precinct totals to Harris' office. They then returned to their counting, completing the last of the questionable ballots later in the evening.

By then, Harris had rejected the incomplete count, saying they fail to comply with state law. She instead accepted results from the last machine count, on Nov. 14, a decision that deprived Gore of 180 votes he gained in the partial recount.

AP-NY-11-27-00 1153EST

Monday November 27 9:36 AM ET
Bush Prepares for Transition


By DAVID ESPO, AP Political Writer

George W. Bush is designing a transition to the White House, describing himself as ``honored and humbled'' after being certified the winner in Florida's razor-thin presidential election. Al Gore turned anew to the courts Monday to press his fight.

With weeks missed in preparing for an administration, Bush met Monday with his newly named White House chief of staff, Andy Card, in Austin, Texas.

Card said the Bush team may have to set up its own shop in Washington until the Clinton administration releases the $5.3 million set aside for the presidential transition.

``We may just open our own transition office,'' Card, a former transportation secretary, told reporters. ``We know how important it is to keep moving.'' He said Bush ``is getting ready to be a great president.''

Not so fast, the Democrats insisted, after Secretary of State Katherine Harris, a Bush partisan, certified him the winner with a 537-vote margin over Gore out of some 6 million votes cast.

``The integrity of our self-government is too important to cast into doubt,'' said Gore's running mate, Joseph Lieberman, reflecting Democratic objections over the manual recounts in Miami-Dade, Palm Beach and Nassau counties.

Bush, the Texas governor, said Sunday night that Gore should give up the contest.

``If the vice president chooses to go forward, he is filing a contest to the outcome of the election,'' he said. ``And that is not the best route for America.''

Gore's lawyers were going to court Monday in Tallahassee, the Florida capital, to object formally to the certification, a step known as a ``contest'' under state law. Republicans said Bush aides will aggressively fight Gore's contests, but won't file any of their own outside the counties targeted by the vice president: Palm Beach, Miami-Dade and Nassau.

``This is something that's too important to be decided in a partisan environment,'' David Boies, a Gore lawyer, said Monday on NBC's ``Today'' show. ``This is something that ought to be decided by impartial judges.''

Gore was expected to speak on the contest later in the day.

One Democrat said Monday that Gore should probably give up. ``I have great doubts about whether it is wise ... for the vice president to continue to pursue and to contest the results in Florida,'' Robert Reich, former labor secretary, said on ABC's ``Good Morning America.''

Reich had endorsed Gore's rival in the primaries, Bill Bradley.

But Democrats in large measure were putting up a united front.

To lend support to Gore's continuing challenge, the top Democratic congressional leaders, Sen. Tom Daschle and Rep. Dick Gephardt, arranged to fly to Florida to speak on the vice president's behalf.

Bush and Lieberman spoke shortly after Harris awarded the GOP ticket of Bush and Dick Cheney the 25 electoral votes they needed for victory in the race for the White House.

``On behalf of the state elections canvassing commission, and in accordance with the laws of the state of Florida, I hereby declare Governor George W. Bush the winner of Florida's 25 electoral votes,'' said Harris.

The remarks touched off a wave of noisy cheering from Bush supporters gathered outside the state government building where Harris and other members of the state canvassing board signed multiple copies of the official certification.

And within minutes, the two campaigns had plunged into a fresh round of maneuvering, as Democrats sought to build public support for continuing the struggle, and Republicans bid to close out the race for the White House.

``This has been a hard-fought election,'' Bush said in the state Capitol in Austin. ``But now that the votes are counted, it is time for the votes to count.''

He said he had asked Cheney to ``work with President Clinton's administration to open a transition office in Washington.'' He also said he had named an aide, Andy Card, to serve as his chief of staff.

It wasn't clear how fast Cheney could get an office up and running, though. Beth Newburger, a spokeswoman for the federal General Services Administration, said that ``as long as there is not an apparent winner, and the outcome is unclear, there's not much we can do.''

Lieberman went before the cameras within moments of Harris' certification. ``What is at issue here is nothing less than every American's simple, sacred right to vote,'' he said.

Referring to the ballots that were uncounted in various manual recounts, or else counted but rejected by Harris, he asked, ``How can we teach our children that every vote counts if we are not willing to make a good-faith effort to count every vote?''

But the Republicans countered that the votes have been counted - over and over and over - and Bush and Cheney emerged ahead each time.

``At some point, the law must prevail and the lawyers must go home. We have reached that point,'' said former Secretary of State James A. Baker III, speaking on Bush's behalf. Even so, he said Bush will not drop his case before the U.S. Supreme Court challenging the validity of manual recounts.

The high court has set arguments in Washington on Friday.

A Washington Post-ABC News Poll taken Sunday night found that 60 percent of those surveyed said Gore should concede the election now that Bush has been certified, and 56 percent expressed at least some confidence the Florida vote count had been accurate. The telephone survey of 607 adults had a four-point margin error, plus or minus.

The manual recounting proved as controversial at its end as it was at its beginning.

In Palm Beach County, members of the local canvassing board wrote Harris without success seeking an extension beyond a 5 p.m. Sunday deadline. They said that with a few more hours work, they could make it all the way through an estimated 10,000 ballots.

``The secretary of state has apparently decided to shut us down with approximately two hours to go,'' said Charles Burton, head of the county canvassing board.

Board members, who had been at work virtually around the clock since Saturday morning, paused briefly in their work to fax incomplete precinct-by-precinct totals to Harris' office. They then returned to their counting, completing the last of the questionable ballots later in the evening.

By then, Harris had rejected the incomplete count, saying they fail to comply with state law. She instead accepted results from the last machine count, on Nov. 14, a decision that deprived Gore of 180 votes he gained in the partial recount.



Exclusive: Recount Observers Tell NewsMax.com of Democrat Fraud
NewsMax.com
Monday, Nov. 27, 2000
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Ballot observers have found one outrageous case after another of tampered ballots, miscounts and bias in the recount in Democrat-dominated Broward County, NewsMax.com learned in exclusive interviews over the holiday weekend.

"If there’s anyone who really believes that the ballot recounts are objective and fair, I’m ready to sell him the Brooklyn Bridge," one Republican recount observer told NewsMax.com.


Among the questionable and outright fraudulent practices that witnesses noted in the recount of presidential votes:

Tampered Ballots

• Numerous absentee ballots had the chad for George W. Bush Scotch-taped back in and the chad for Al Gore punched out.

"We were told there were about 80 such absentee ballots," an observer told NewsMax.com. "The Broward County Canvassing Board's justification for allowing these votes – that voters obviously just changed their minds – might be understandable for the isolated case, but not for 80.

"These Scotch-taped ballots are a shining example of a corrupt process. These ballots can be tampered with after they left the hands of the voters, and the Broward County Canvassing Board is all too happy to count them as Gore votes."


• Chads were dislodged from ballots shaken by county workers during the counting.

On one such occasion, for example, a county ballot counter predicted that a hanging chad on a ballot would fall off if he were to shake the ballot. He then shook it, knocking off the chad. That ballot was subsequently identified as a Gore vote.

• One Republican observer collected more than 75 chads from the table and floor in the area where ballots were being inspected and counted.

While that observer was trying to collect the chads from the table before a lunch break, the counting supervisor ordered him to leave the chads – and leave the room.

• Writing and ink blots, indications of tampering, were found on ballots.

Miscounts

• There were attempts to count 75 Gore ballots as 100.

During the final counting, four stacks of 25 ballots each were supposed to be stacked crossways into stacks of 100 votes. But on at least one instance, four stacks containing only 75 Gore votes each were originally counted as if they were four stacks of 100 ballots, a miscount of 100 votes in favor of Gore.

The Republican ballot observer who saw and objected to this error – leading to its correction – was then kicked out of the room at the Broward County Emergency Operations Center.


• County ballot counters also were observed placing Bush ballots in the Gore pile.

At one counting table, a counter repeatedly put ballots that had been identified as votes for Bush onto the Gore pile. On no occasion was he observed placing a ballot identified as a Gore vote onto the Bush pile.

Also, he continuously watched the wall-mounted televisions. Several times the other counter at the table told him to pay attention to the ballot inspection and counting. He replied, "I’m giving it as much attention as it deserves."

A recount observer said, "It’s important to understand that most of the county workers were professional and fair in carrying out their duties, but it’s a shame that a few bad eggs can make the whole room stink."



Bias and Collusion

• Democrat observers were under instruction to challenge ballots even where it was clear there was no vote cast for president.

Ballots with no presidential votes punched provide a significant opportunity for tampering. A Gore chad could later be dislodged or punched and then counted as a Gore vote.



• A Broward recount supervisor was even overheard accepting pro-Gore instructions from a Broward County Canvassing Board attorney.

The board attorney told the recount supervisor to "err on the side of giving it to us," a witness told NewsMax.com.

The Broward supervisor then reversed his earlier instructions and told the ballot observers to feel free to challenge no-vote ballots.

• On one occasion two Broward counters were observed showing each other their voter registration cards and identifying themselves as Democrats, as if they were members of the correct club.

• On other occasions county workers were observed demonstrating for Gore.



These are the sort of Democrat practices that helped Gore "gain" hundreds of votes from the Broward County recount.


"It’s hard to believe that the leader of the free world would be determined by these kinds of cheap tricks," one ballot observer told NewsMax.com.

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