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Local politicians ponder Florida

Counts, automatic recounts, more recounts and even more hand recounts.

Tuesday, November 28, 2000

Counts, automatic recounts, more recounts and even more hand recounts.

That’s been the tasks for more than two weeks following the 21st century’s first General Election. Then, finally it came.

During a nationally televised conference late Sunday afternoon, Florida’s Secretary of State Katherine Harris certified the vote, calling George W. Bush the winner of Florida’s 25 electoral votes.

The secretary’s remarks touched off a wave of noisy cheering from Bush supporters gathered outside the state’s government building – a welcome sound, Republican commissioner-elect Jason Stephens said.

"I think it was obviously a close election but from the count to the automatic recount to the manual hand-recounts, Bush still came out a winner," he said. "I believe as many votes were counted as possible because it’s impossible to say you know you have 100 percent of the voters’ intention."

Stephens said that, statistically, many people in Florida didn’t vote on a presidential candidate of either party.

"I think they were not in either direction," he said. "Look at the local races, if you total up the 25,179 votes cast in Lawrence County, only 24,451 cast a vote for president. There were 728 voters that didn’t vote for a president that’s about 2 percent of the voters who didn’t vote."

Lawrence County Democrat party chairman Craig Allen said he disagrees with the Florida certification and believes Gore is exercising his right to contest the election.

"I don’t think she should have certified the election for either candidate until all the votes were counted," he said. "If, in fact, all the votes are not counted, (Gore) is doing the right thing. No one should be disenfranchised because their vote was not counted."

Allen said pending further court hearings, Bush could be the apparent winner.

"But, it’s not like either one has won by a great percentage," Allen said. "There’s never been an election this close and I think the public needs to be patient."

The democrat predicted the unique situation will pan out in the end.

"With a little patience, it’ll weigh itself out," he said. "Our grandparents survived a depression, world wars and we’ve put a man on the moon. Through it all, we were patient. I think, in the end, it will work itself out."

Stephens called this historic presidential election a time that sends a message to voters and politicians alike.

"I think this election shows that no matter which way you vote, your vote definitely makes a difference," he said. "Looking at the numbers, they just aren’t there for Vice President Gore. There comes a point when you have to set aside the personal ambition for the good of the country and the people."

"I don’t think she should have certified the election for either candidate until all the votes were counted," Lawrence County Democrat party chairman Craig Allen said. "If, in fact, all the votes are not counted, (Gore) is doing the right thing. No one should be disenfranchised because their vote was not counted."

Allen said pending further court hearings, Bush could be the apparent winner.

"But, it’s not like either one has won by a great percentage," Allen said. "There’s never been an election this close and I think the public needs to be patient."

The democrat predicted the situation will pan out in the end.

"With a little patience, it’ll weigh itself out," he said. "Our grandparents survived a depression, world wars and we’ve put a man on the moon. Through it all, we were patient. I think, in the end, it will work itself out."

Stephens called this historic presidential election a time that sends a message.

"I think this election shows that no matter which way you vote, your vote definitely makes a difference," he said. "Looking at the numbers, they just aren’t there for Vice President Gore. There comes a point when you have to set aside the personal ambition for the good of the country and the people."