Gore, Bush Teams Discuss Way to End Stalemate

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Tuesday November 14 3:16 AM ET

Gore, Bush Teams Discuss Way to End Stalemate -Paper


WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Al Gore is considering a proposal to end the stalemate over Florida's vote count that calls for George W. Bush to agree to a manual recount throughout the state and the Vice President would in turn renounce any further lawsuits, the Los Angeles Times said on Tuesday.

Citing Gore campaign aides, the Times said that under the approach being discussed, Gore would not join litigation challenging the ``butterfly ballot'' in Palm Beach County and would support efforts to recount the ballots by hand in all of Florida's 67 counties, rather than just the four Democratic-leaning counties his campaign has selected.

In return, Bush's campaign would drop its legal efforts to block the manual recount, the paper said.

Gore aides have already sounded out the Republican's team, which is apparently divided over the idea. One Bush aide said some people in the campaign have been discussing such a deal themselves, and that it could be a real option, the Times said.

But another aide said the Texan's campaign was unlikely to accept a statewide hand count because it would conflict with Bush's current position that manual counts are unreliable.

Still, Bush aides left the door open, presumably in case their attempts to stop the manual recounts should fail.

Next Few Days Will Be Key

Gore has not yet made such an offer to the Bush campaign, but a Gore adviser said the idea might become attractive to both sides if they reach a legal stalemate in the next few days, according to the Times.

Gore aides had no immediate comment early on Tuesday to the Times' report.

On Monday, Bush asked a federal judge to block the manual recounts under way in three counties where Democrats believe the Gore vote was undercounted, but the judge refused.

Victory nationwide for either Gore or Bush hangs on the disputed Florida ballot, which carries 25 electoral college votes.

Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris has set a 5 p.m. Tuesday deadline for county recounts to be completed, a deadline that would be too early for most of the manual recounts to meet.

Democrats have sued to prevent her from enforcing that cutoff. If that litigation is successful, both sides might need another alternative to resolve the dispute, the Gore official predicted.

``Assuming that the secretary of state is blocked in court, and assuming the federal injunction sought by Bush continues to be rejected by the courts, I think that is where the Bush people have to go,'' the Gore aide said.

It would require a change in position hard for the campaign to swallow, a Bush aide told the Times. ``We can't go to federal court saying this (manual recount) is a flawed system, and then turn around and say it's not so bad after all,'' the aide said. ''We've nailed our flag to the mast.''

According to the paper, a Republican close to the Bush camp said one factor that could attract them to such a deal is fear that the secretary of state's cut-off will be struck down by the Florida State Supreme Court, which is dominated by Democratic appointees.

Democrats like the strategy because they are confident that even a statewide manual recount would leapfrog Gore past Bush. ''We won the exit polls and we're ahead in our own polling in Florida, so we're reasonably confident a statewide recount would go our way,'' a lawyer advising the Gore team told the Times.

-- (hmm@hmm.hmm), November 14, 2000


Recounts have been suspended by the county commissioner by a 3 to 1 vote this morning in Florida. It seems the manual recounts had proceeded NOT in accordance with the law. (It had been decided to go ahead with the recount by a 2 to 1 vote prior to seeking advice from the board of elections - guess who voted to proceed, sorry editorial comment). After review of the law the judge decide to suspend the recounts awaiting concurrence from the DA's office. The law states that a recount (manual) can only be done if (IF) the machines have been found to be defective. Testing of the machines occured before and after each count and recount of the votes. Testing showed the machines were in proper working condition, therefore, manual counts cannot be done. (I think I hear taps being played for the Gore campaign now - sorry editorial comment)

-- Maria (anon@ymous.com), November 14, 2000.


I think you got this one a bit mixed up. ONE county asked for opinions on whether to do the recount. They asked both the woman who said yesterday that she wouldn't extend the deadline and the attorney general of Florida. The woman said her opinion was NOT to do it, and the attorney general said his opinion was TO do it, so now they're taking it to court for a third opinion.

-- Anita (Anita_S3@hotmail.com), November 14, 2000.

Anita, a conference held this morning with the county commissioner. I am not referring to the Sec of State decision. Late breaking news, not yesterday's news. A decision will be made at 10:30 on yesterday's news. Today's news deals with a law on recounts.

-- Maria (anon@ymous.com), November 14, 2000.

Anita, my comments were not on the deadline issue, they were on the legality of the recount itself.

-- Maria (anon@ymous.com), November 14, 2000.


I saw the same news conference you did this morning. I knew exactly what you were talking about.

-- Anita (Anita_S3@hotmail.com), November 14, 2000.

I'm confused :-(

-- Really Confused Person (kritter@adelphia.net), November 14, 2000.

Then Anita, you know that I'm not talking about anyone's opinion here. I'm talking about the law for manual recounts. Pretty clear, a manual recount can be done when the machine is defective. The decision to move ahead with the manual recounts was made prior to seeking advice on the law. The recount has been suspended because of the law. I'll reiterate this is separate from the deadline issue ("the woman who said yesterday that she wouldn't extend the deadline" BTW, that's the Sec of State, Harris) Now they have found the applicable law. Only if the machines aren't working, do they do a manual recount.

-- Maria (anon@ymous.com), November 14, 2000.

"But another aide said the Texan's campaign was unlikely to accept a statewide hand count because it would conflict with Bush's current position that manual counts are unreliable."


But another aide said the Texan's campaign was unlikely to accept a statewide hand count because it might prove that Gore received more votes than Bush.

-- Let's be honest, folks! (bush@league.net), November 14, 2000.


The elections board in Palm Beach County, Fla., decided 2-1 to suspend its manual count. The board acted hours before a state judge was due to rule on a request by Democrats to extend a 5 p.m. deadline for recounts.

But disregard the paper of record. Maria knows better.

-- More distortion from Maria (bush@league.com), November 14, 2000.

Florida Attorney-General's Advisory Legal Opinion that the manual recount is legal


-- (also@see.this), November 14, 2000.

Perhaps Maria should read this. But don't expect her to. She'll keep hopping around the board blurting out nonsense about "the law clearly states," and "I saw the news conference on TV!"

"The opinion ignores the plain language of the statute which refers not to an error in the vote tabulation system but to an error in the vote tabulation. The Legislature has used the terms "vote tabulation system" and "automatic tabulating equipment" elsewhere in section 102.166, Florida Statutes, when it intended to refer to the system rather than the vote count. Yet the division, by reading "vote tabulation" and "vote tabulation system" as synonymous, blurs the distinctions that the Legislature clearly delineated in section 102.166.[3]

"The error in vote tabulation might be caused by a mechanical malfunction in the operation of the vote counting system, but the error might also result from the failure of a properly functioning mechanical system to discern the choices of the voters as revealed by the ballots. The fact that both possibilities are contemplated is evidenced by section 102.166(7) and (8), Florida Statutes. While subsection (8) addresses verification of tabulation software, subsection (7) provides procedures for an examination of the ballot by the canvassing board and counting teams to determine the voter's intent.

"The division's opinion, without authority or support, effectively nullifies the language of section 102.166(7), Florida Statutes. Nothing in subsection (7) limits its application to the recount of all ballots. Rather, the procedures for a manual recount in subsection (7) equally apply to the initial sampling manual recount authorized in section 102.166(4)(d)."

-- More distortions from Maria (bush@league.net), November 14, 2000.

IMHO, the Bush campaign has painted itself into an unenviable corner with regard to resolving the vote in Florida. By clinging to the results of the initial state-mandated recount and by not requesting its own version of selective manual recounts to offset those of the Gore campaign, they became irreversibly tied to a strategy of blocking Gore from counting Florida votes.

In pursuit of their goal of blocking Gore's selective recounts, they have made strong statements they may not be able to live down, if the courts go against them. The public is interested in seeing the process through. But they need to see progress or they will become more and more restless and dissatisfied.

In this case, making progress toward a conclusion consists of successively blocking different avenues of action until only one avenue remains. At that point, we all join hands and walk down the one remaining avenue to its end. Lack of progress consists in opening more and more avenues of possibility.

From the point of view of the candidates, as each avenue closes, they will see their room for manuever diminishing. They will see their hopes of victory slipping away. They will be heavily tempted to open new avenues, to regain some room for manuever. This way leads madness.

As it stands, Florida is still a toss-up. Even if Gore's tactics succeed to the greatest degree possible and he gets manual recounts in all 4 contested counties, he may yet lose by an eyelash as the final few overseas votes trickle in. That's where I would like to see both candidates draw the line. At Florida, win, lose or draw.

If Gore can get someone to confess to pre-marking ballots for Bush before next Monday, I could see taking that case to court, since it would be an outrageous, clear and undeniable fraud. The whole country would stand behind him on that. Short of that, even if Bush takes Florida by only 6 votes, Gore should shake Bush's hand, wish him luck (he'll need it) and walk away.

-- Brian McLaughlin (brianm@ims.com), November 14, 2000.

Looks like Republicans aren't interested in a state-wide recount...

From ABCNews. . .

Baker rejected another proposal floated by the Los Angeles Times, that both campaigns would accept a hand recount of all of Florida.

"The idea that youBre going to have a manual recount of all of the state of Florida is crazy," he said.

-- (hmm@hmm.hmm), November 14, 2000.

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