The Alan Sondheim Mail Archive

December 25, 2000


International News
Sunday, 24 December 2000,6903,415367,00.html
Ed Vulliamy in New York

As George W. Bush handed further key government posts to hardline
Republican right-wingers, an unofficial recount of votes in Florida
appeared to confirm that Bush lost the US presidential election.

Despite the decision by the US Supreme Court to halt the Florida recount in
the contested counties, American media organisations, includ ing Knight
Ridder - owner of the Miami Herald - have commissioned their own counts,
gaining access to the ballots under Freedom of Information legislation. The
result so far, with the recounting of so-called 'undervotes' in only one
county completed by Friday night, indicates that Al Gore is ahead by 140

Florida's 25 electoral college votes won Bush the presidency by two seats
last Monday after the Supreme Court refused to allow the counting of 45,000
discarded votes. But as the media recount was suspended for Christmas, the
votes so far tallied in Lake and Broward counties have Gore ahead in the
race for the pivotal state, and hence the White House.

Gore's lead is expected to soar when counting resumes in the New Year and
Miami votes are counted. In a separate exercise, the Miami Herald
commissioned a team of political analysts and pollsters to make a
statistical calculation based on projections of votes by county, concluding
that Gore won the state by 23,000.

The media initiative is likely to bedevil Bush in the weeks to come,
thickening the pall of illegitimacy that will hang over his inauguration on
20 January.

It has already led to a face-off between almost all the news media
organisations in the state and Bush's presidential team. In the most
extreme example of the Bush camp's desperation to avoid a recount, the new
director of the Environment Protection Agency, Christine Todd Whitman, has
proposed that the Florida ballots be sealed for 10 years.

Bush's spokesman Tucker Eskew dismissed the recount as 'mischief-making'
and 'inflaming public passions' while his brother, Florida governor Jeb
Bush, accused the papers of 'trying to rewrite history'.


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