Bush Camp Not Surprised at Democrats' Plan to Contest Florida Election
The campaign of presidential candidate George W. Bush was not surprised by the Democrats' plan to contest Florida's election results, a lawyer for the Republicans said Friday.
"We are not terribly surprised by the decision," attorney Theodore Olson told ABC's Good Morning program, adding that the campaign of Democrats' White House candidate Al Gore was prepared to carry on "to the bitter end."
"That's their strategy. They say that they want their votes to be counted but these votes were counted ... a first time and a second time. They want to change the outcome," Olson added.
Gore's campaign legal advisor Ron Klain signaled late Thursday the Democrats were preparing a court challenge to the final tally of ballots cast in Florida, dragging out the legal fight for the presidency.
That challenge would likely come only after the counties' certified vote results are turned in at 5:00 pm (2200 GMT) Sunday. If the state election office does not open on that day, the deadline is 9:00 am (1400 GMT) Monday.
Klain, who said the Gore campaign would "certainly contest" the Miami-Dade County results if they are deemed incomplete, said the petition would be filed in a state court "as soon as possible" -- most likely Monday morning.
"While we regret the delay that it will cause, we obviously are going to press our case that there needs to be a full, fair and accurate tally of the votes here in Florida," said Klain.
The Gore camp was responding in the wake of a decision by Florida's Supreme Court earlier Thursday declining a filing by Gore that sought for the populous Miami-Dade county (650,000 votes) to restart its recount.
The county's canvassing board had halted its manual recount Wednesday, citing an inability to meet Sunday's deadline.
Democratic campaign lawyer David Boies told NBC's Today program Friday the Gore camp had accepted the Florida Supreme Court decision.
"What the Supreme Court said ... if there is a dispute with the local canvassing board, that dispute should be resolved as an election contest after the certification, as opposed to being resolved before certification," Boies explained.
"We thought it would be important and useful to have that resolved as promptly as possible, however we accept the ruling of the Supreme Court and we will follow the ruling they have laid out," he added -- TALLAHASSEE (AFP)
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