Fla. AG: Count 'em!

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Monday November 20 3:54 PM ET Fla. AG Rules On Overseas Ballots

By BRENT KALLESTAD, Associated Press Writer

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - Democratic Attorney General Bob Butterworth sent a letter Monday to Florida counties, telling election officials they ``should count'' overseas ballots that bear no postmark.

The capitulation by Butterworth, an ally of Democrat Al Gore, could add votes for Republican George W. Bush, who stretched his lead over the vice president in the state to 930 votes after he won a greater percentage of overseas ballots in a count last Friday.

``No man or woman in military service to this nation should have his or her vote rejected solely due to the absence of a postmark,'' Butterworth said in the letter to the state's 67 county elections supervisors and other canvassing board members.

Democrats were criticized over the weekend for aggressively and successfully challenging ballots that had no Nov. 7 postmark as required from military outposts.

Butterworth directed county election officials to count overseas ballots if there is a postmark no later than the Election Day or if the ballot is signed and dated no later than the election date.

``Canvassing boards should count overseas ballots which are from qualified military electors and which bear no postmark if the ballot is signed and dated no later than the date of the election,'' he wrote.

Bush gained 1,380 votes among overseas absentee ballots compared to 750 for Gore, but the Republican nonetheless complained because some 1,000 overseas ballots were thrown out for lack of a postmark and other problems.

Butterworth's letter said his office `urges supervisors and canvassing boards to seek a clarifying opinion from the Secretary of State if they have any questions on this matter after review of the authorities cited in this letter.''

Gore campaign spokeswoman Jenny Backus said she had just seen Butterworth's letter and wouldn't immediately comment. The fourth-term Democratic attorney general served as Gore's state chairman in Florida.

The Bush campaign didn't immediately return a telephone call.

The Bush campaign and former U.S. military leaders had decried the rejection overseas military ballots in Florida because they lacked postmarks, charging a coordinated Democratic effort to get likely Bush votes thrown out in the tight race.

Last week, a Tallahassee attorney hired by the Democratic Party sent a five-page letter to other attorneys across the state with tips on challenging the validity of the overseas ballots, most coming from

Earlier this week, Mark Herron, a Tallahassee lawyer helping shepherd Democratic presidential election lawsuits through the local courts, sent a five-page letter to Democratic attorneys throughout Florida giving them tips on how to lodge protests against overseas ballots.

Fla. AG Rules On Overseas Ballots

-- Ain't Gonna Happen (Not Here Not@ever.com), November 20, 2000


Put a fork in Gore...he's done!

-- Ain't Gonna Happen (Not Here Not@ever.com), November 20, 2000.

...and just in time for Thanksgiving! :-)

-- Ain't Gonna Happen (Not Here Not@ever.com), November 20, 2000.

Slaps head and proclaims "SON OF A BUSH"

-- (shh@ohno.shit), November 20, 2000.

Bob Butterworth obviously believes he has a future in Florida politics and he is acting to preserve it. Good for him. At least this means that he pays attention to what people want.

By contrast, Katherine Harris appears to have no interest in continuing her (elective) political career. After Bush ends up in DC, I fully expect her to make the transition back to private life or else to step into some functionary role in Washington.

Maybe she'll nab an ambassadorship - except that payoff would be so crass and obvious that the only way she'd get it would be for Bush himself to overrule his political advisors and insist on it. Loyalty means a lot to the Bush family.

-- Brian McLaughlin (brianm@ims.com), November 20, 2000.


Another possible explanation is that both of these people recognize that Florida tends to be a republican state? I don't think the public is quite as detached as you imply, and both of them are reading the same handwriting on the wall.

Another possibility is that the recount swings, if allowed, will dwarf any absentee count. In that case, the postmark issue is moot, everything depends on the hand recounts, so it costs nothing to make political hay this way. I think this is a smart move from a PR standpoint, since it's basically irrelevant to the final determination.

-- Flint (flintc@mindspring.com), November 20, 2000.

As a Bush loyalist, I think Ms. Harris had already been tabbed for a cabinet position should Bush occupy the White House. I see her as possibly an Under Secretary of State, working for Colin Powell. This would have been decided prior to all of this nonsense in Florida. She has skills, this lady does, and could be a rising star on the national political scene. You will not find her kneeling down in the oval office.

-- I (h@ve.spoken), November 20, 2000.

Just what we need,another heiress on the political scene.I wish all these silver spooners would go find a yaght to play on and leave us the hell alone.

-- capnfun (capnfun1@excite.com), November 20, 2000.

Well Captain, you certainly seem to have a firm grasp on reality. Who said you can not have too much fun?

-- I (h@ve.spoken), November 20, 2000.

How do we know those people didn't hear about the election and then decide to turn in their votes afterwords?

-- (cheating@the.bush.way), November 20, 2000.

"I see her as possibly an Under Secretary of State, working for Colin Powell."

I see her as possibly under Shrub's desk, working on his "bushbaby".

-- Shrub (yeehaw@dat.feels.good!), November 20, 2000.


It sure as shit wasn't me.

-- capnfun (capnfun1@excite.com), November 21, 2000.

Iím grinning Cap- thanks.

-- I (h@ve.spoken), November 21, 2000.

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