Saturday, November 11, 2000,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Bush camp asks Gore to concede defeat

WASHINGTON, Nov 10 (PTI) — Republican George W. Bush’s lead over Democrat Vice-President Al Gore has been pegged at 327 votes after a final unofficial recount in Florida, prompting the Bush camp to ask Mr Gore to concede defeat but the outcome of the US presidential election will not be known till next week as several thousand postal ballots are expected from abroad.

Meanwhile, news reports said a court in Palm Beach had ordered a freeze on the recount process in the county pending a hearing next week on alleged irregularities that could hurt Mr Gore.

Three days after the voting, the election to the White House was mired in uncertainty facing legal challenges and the world yet to know as to who is the next incumbent.

The unofficial count by the Associated Press (AP) county-by-county slightly boosted Mr Bush’s tally after earlier counts had showed the margin as 225 votes.

“The recount showed Bush won Florida,” Mr Bush’s communication director Karen Hughes claimed in a statement in Austin, Texas, asking Mr Gore to concede.

The Gore camp hit back, saying that contrary to claims by the rival side, “this election is not over”.

“Again we want the true and accurate will of the people to prevail and that means the legal system to run its course. If at the end of that process, George Bush is the victor, we will respect that result,” Gore campaign chairman William Daley said in a statement.

As the world awaited the outcome of last Tuesday’s election, Florida’s Secretary of State Katherine Harris announced at the end of final recount in 53 of the 67 counties that the margin between the two contenders was 1784 votes with Mr Bush securing 29,09,661 against Mr Gore’s 29,07,877 popular votes. Nearly six million votes were cast in Florida. In the first count on Tuesday, Mr Bush led Mr Gore by 1700 votes.

However, the AP's tally from all the 67 Florida counties showed Mr Bush securing 29,10,198 votes against Mr Gore’s 29,09,871.

Ms Harris said it could be as late as next Tuesday before the state certified the counting of votes from all counties and it could take up to November 17 to tabulate postal votes cast by Floridans overseas.

In the turbulent election, Mr Gore has secured 260 of the necessary 270 Electoral College votes to become President while Mr Bush has picked up 246.

Florida’s 25 electoral votes will decide who will be the next President.

AP adds: An automatic recount was called because Mr Bush led Mr Gore by less than one-half of 1 per cent. The recount was conducted by all six county election departments. Each county reports its result to Tallahassee, where they are compiled and certified.

In response to the Gore campaign’s request for a manual recount, Palm Beach county agreed to hand-count ballots in three precincts tomorrow.

In addition, the board in Broward county was to meet to discuss the request for a manual recount there.

Meanwhile, eight lawsuits challenging the results were filed in state or federal courts, including six in Palm Beach county and two in Tallahassee, where race discrimination was alleged.

Allegations of voting improprieties surfaced late on Tuesday and throughout Wednesday, ranging from missing and confusing ballots to problems with tabulations and voter intimidation.

In Palm Beach and Osceola counties, Democratic Party lawyers and voters said ballots were confusing because of their configuration. Officials in the heavily Democratic Palm Beach county announced that 19,120 ballots in the presidential race were tossed out before they

were tossed out before they were counted because more than one candidate was picked.

Democratic Party officials and hundreds of voters complained that, in the Palm Beach ballots, voters punched holes in the middle of the ballot, while candidates were alternately listed to the left and then the right.

Some Gore supporters in Palm Beach county said they feared they mistakenly voted for Reform Party candidate Pat Buchanan. Mr Gore carried the county by more than 110,000 votes, but the 3,407 votes for Mr Buchanan were by far the most of any Florida county, and almost 20 per cent of his total vote in the state.

“My guess is that I probably got some votes down there that don’t belong to me and I don’t feel good about that,” Mr Buchanan told CNN.

Angry supporters of Gore protested outside of an election office in Palm Beach county.

Rabbi Richard Yellin said that when it dawned on several in the Jewish community that they might have voted incorrectly, “people started crying.” Mr Buchanan’s remarks about World War ii and West Asia have been criticised by many Jews as anti-Semitic.

Republicans noted that the ballot was approved by Democrat Theresa Lepore, the county supervisor of elections.

Former US Secretary of State James A. Baker iii, dispatched by Mr Bush to oversee the Republican monitoring team in Florida, angrily said that Palm Beach county voters’ rights were upheld, even if their ballots were thrown out.

Home | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Editorial |
Business | Sport | World | Mailbag | In Spotlight | Chandigarh Tribune | Ludhiana Tribune
50 years of Independence | Tercentenary Celebrations |
120 Years of Trust | Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |