Florida Recount Essay, Research Paper
I AM NOT going to interfere with the U.S. Supreme Court, state Circuit Judge N. Sanders Sauls told lawyers from the bench Tuesday in Tallahassee.
Sauls said he understood the time pressures behind Gore s request that county clerks or judges immediately get to work counting about 13,000 disputed ballots by hand in Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties.
But he said he didn t believe a decision on whether there should be a hand recount at all was needed before Saturday, after election officials indicated that the counting process would take about five days.
Sauls said that if he decides to grant any recount, he wants it finished by Dec. 6 to give both sides enough time to appeal or contest it. That meant it was not absolutely necessary to start the recount before Saturday, Dec. 2, he said, and therefore he didn t need to decide before then.
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In the meantime, Sauls ordered county election officials to begin transporting the disputed ballots to Tallahassee so they will be ready if he orders a recount. He also scheduled a preliminary hearing for Thursday to examine the underlying legal questions at issue in Gore s motion.
RACING THE CLOCK
Citing the Dec. 12 deadline by which Florida must choose its representatives in the Electoral College, Gore attorney David Boies said after the hearing that he might go to a Florida appeals court to try to get a count started immediately because otherwise it could not be finished in time.
Gore s campaign is contesting the election, and it has asked Sauls to overturn Republican George W. Bush s officially certified 537-vote victory in Florida. Instead, Gore should be declared the winner and therefore president-elect, his lawyers say.
Gore argues that the 13,000 disputed ballots in Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties, which did not register votes for president during machine counts, have never been counted. He is also contesting the result in Nassau County, where election officials disregarded the results of a mandatory statewide machine recount, adding 51 votes to Bush s lead.
November 28 Al Gore accused George W. Bush of running out the clock. NBC s David Bloom reports.
Speaking to reporters in Washington before the hearing, Gore said his challenges must be resolved as soon as possible because the nation needs to be able to say there is no legitimate question of who won this election.
SUPREME COURT FILINGS
The U.S. Supreme Court is scheduled to hear arguments Friday on Bush s contention that no votes at all should have been recounted by hand in Florida after Nov. 14. Gore cut Bush s lead almost in half in a manual recount in Broward County and would have picked up more votes had Palm Beach County finished its manual recount on time.
Both presidential campaigns filed written arguments Tuesday outlining the cases they intend to make Friday when the court steps into the middle of a presidential election for the first time in American history.
Bush s brief asks the court to overturn the Florida Supreme Court s ruling last week that required Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris to accept hand-counted ballots after Nov. 14, the deadline she said was set by state law.