Supreme Court calls for recount
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DECEMBER 8, 2000

In a 4-3 ruling, the Florida Supreme Court today overturned in part a lower court decision which denied Vice President Al Gore a manual recount of some 14,000 disputed ballots.

The court has ordered an immediate recount of at least 9,000 ballots from heavily Democratic Miami-Dade County. The court ordered the certification of a number of Gore votes that dwindle Bush's lead in the state from 537 to 154 votes.

Secretary of State Katherine Harris had declined to include those votes in her revised certification on November 14.

Additionally, they said any county which had not done a manual recount of undervotes could do so and would have their results included in the state's certification.

The court laid out a standard to count any disputed ballots. Votes should be counted where there a clear intent can be determined, a standard defined by the legislature.

The ruling is a dramatic victory for Gore after receiving bad news just hours earlier. In cases not brought by Gore, but which could have helped him, two Florida judges had declined to throw out about 25,000 absentee ballots from Martin and Seminole Counties.

In those cases, Judges Nikki Clark, for Seminole, and Terry Lewis, for Martin, said that while voter irregularities existed, "neither the sanctity of the ballots nor the integrity of the election had been compromised."

The Democrat lawyers who brought the case promised an appeal, stating that the ballots should have been thrown out because they were not legal. Bush lawyers, however, cheered the ruling, labelling the challenge a "hypertechnical" one.

They might not be as happy now, however. Bush plans an appeal to the United States Supreme Court and is expected to request a preliminary injunction, seeing to stop the recounts.

At the same time, Gore isn't necessarily out of danger, either. Although the Florida Supreme Court ruling helps Gore, the state Legislature convened a special session today to discuss choosing the state's electors.

The state must choose its 25 electors by December 12 to guarantee that they will not be ignored by the Electoral College, who will meet on December 18. The Republican-controlled Legislature is anticipated to give the state to Bush.

But state Senator Daniel Webster, a Republican, said today that lawmakers would watch the the results of the pending recounts before acting. Webster said they would meet again next week.

Loud cheers and boos could be heard when the Florida Supreme Court's spokesman read the ruling.

Get the Florida Supreme Court Ruling:
Gore v. Harris, et. al. (Fl Sup Ct No SC00-2431 November 2000)

Get the Martin, Seminole Rulings:
Jacobs v. Seminole County Canvassing Board
 Taylor et. al. v. Martin Canvassing Board

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