Federal Judge Refuses to Stop Hand Count

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Judge Refuses To Stop Handcount The Associated Press Monday, Nov. 13, 2000; 1:03 p.m. EST

MIAMI BB A federal judge on Monday refused to stop hand recounts in scattered counties in Florida, rejecting a Republican lawsuit.

U.S. District Judge Donald Middlebrooks said the question of halting recounts is not a matter for federal courts and properly belongs in state court.

"While I share a desire for finality, I do not believe it is served" by involving a federal court, he said after hearing arguments from lawyers representing George W. Bush and Vice President Al Gore.

The ruling, which Middlebrooks himself said was likely to be appealed by the Republicans, marked the latest turn in a presidential election now one week past the balloting with no end in sight.

The winner of Florida's 25 electoral votes stands to gain an Electoral College majority and become the nation's 43rd president.

Bush has a 388-vote lead in an unofficial tally by the AP, but Middlebrooks' ruling clears the way, temporarily at least, for either side to seek additional hand recounts that could affect the count.

-- This just in (throw@bush.out), November 13, 2000


Because of this ruling, isn't it going to be more than a little difficult to get a Federal judge to interfere in the STAT LAW that governs cut off time for certification of the vote. Gore just may have been out manuevered.

-- Nadine (nadine@hillsboro.net), November 13, 2000.

No. Florida's comissioner of elections does not have the final say in this matter. The Gore Camp can file a motion in state court to have the deadline extended. Since Bush lost this motion, he is the one out maneuvered because it leaves him little time to contest any other county. It would actually behoove him to support any local motion to extend the certification deadline.

More and More I have to wonder what the Bush camp is afraid we will discover.

-- FutureSHock (gray@matter.think), November 13, 2000.

I don't know that they are afraid. Gore's people are whailing like banashees because the votes have been impounded in New Mexico where Bush is now ahead. What is Gore afraid of?

-- Nadine (nadine@hillsboro.net), November 13, 2000.

>> I have to wonder what the Bush camp is afraid we will discover. <<

The unknown is much scarier to the Bush people than the known. They know that he survived the state-mandated recount by a few hundred votes. This margin is what they feel they must preserve and protect to the last ditch. Any further recount will have purely unknown consequences, no matter how wide or narrow its scope.

So, the Bush strategy == no more recounts anywhere for any reason. Period.

The Gore strategy is equally selfish. He is no more interested in a statewide recount than Bush is. He wants to recount only the places that give him the best statistical chance at victory.

As today's announcement by the Florida Secretary of State shows beyond a doubt, the Bush campaign will not scruple to use every weapon that falls to hand to prevent any further counting of votes in Florida. They couldn't prevent the first statewide recount. Having survived that, they are determined to nail down that number as the official result.

No question but that this one will be kicked into the courts several more times, now that Bush broke the ice by seeking the federal injunction. I expect that Gore's camp will seek judicial relief from the Secretary of State's decision before today is over.

The spin doctoring is getting more and more transparent as a mere afterthought. The hardball politics are getting impossible to disguise.

-- Brian McLaughlin (brianm@ims.com), November 13, 2000.

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