St. Petersburg Times Online: Election 2000
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All around the county, the election is the word

Some are dismayed, some are impatient, some are suspicious. But everyone agrees on the topic of the day.


© St. Petersburg Times, published November 9, 2000

It was true of the bowlers at the Spring Hill Lanes and the diners at Nellie's Restaurant.

It was true of the shoppers outside the Sears department store in the Coastal Way Shopping Center and with the people greeting visitors at Weeki Wachee Spring.

People in Hernando County went on with their lives Wednesday. But it was clear that the unfinished business of Tuesday's presidential election was at the forefront of their minds and conversations.

There were conspiracy theories about fraud and gripes about the Electoral College. There was general amazement that in the computer age the results were taking so long. Above all, there were people with bleary eyes after a long night spent watching televised returns.

At the bowling alley, transplanted New Yorkers mulled the results as they prepared for their Wednesday afternoon game. Several voted for George W. Bush. None were thrilled with the idea that nobody knows who America's next president will be.

Anthony Igneri, 70, said it stinks. Michael Figliuolo, 80, was worried the voting irregularities in South Florida were the product of "a little flimflamming." Sal Dantone, a 74-year-old retired baker, couldn't help but think Al Gore was robbed. "A lot of bad things are going on," Dantone said.

At Nellie's Restaurant in Weeki Wachee, Leo and Nancy Chenell talked politics over lunch with their friends, Ann and Jim Augustine. All four are retirees, ranging in age from 73 to 92, who live in the High Point community and are avid Gore supporters.

Nancy Chenell, 84, went to bed with the race still up in the air at 9:30 p.m. Tuesday. But her curiosity wouldn't let her rest. She rose to check the TV news at midnight, 3 a.m. and 4 a.m.

"I was really, really upset. I knew it was going to be close. But not that close," Chenell said. "If they say Bush won Florida, it's not right."

If George W. Bush wins Florida, he should be grateful that the two newest grandchildren of Donna and James Keaton were born before Election Day.

The Keatons, a retired couple who live in Brookridge, were in Indianapolis until last week, determined to be there for the birth of their newest grandbabies.

They had made no provision for using absentee ballots. Had the babies been later arrivals, the Keatons might not have returned to Florida before Election Day.

But the last of the two babies arrived on Halloween, enabling the Keatons to return to Florida in time to vote for Bush. "I am glad we did," Mrs. Keaton said. "Our votes might make the difference."

At Weeki Wachee Spring, two mermaid shows and a routine slate of river cruises drew only a light crowd. It gave Carol Vigneault and Nancy Paxton, who work at the attraction's front gate, time to talk about the election.

"I think whoever wins the popular vote should get it," Paxton said. "But that's not the way the government works." As it looked Wednesday, Vice President Al Gore appears to have won the popular vote. But the odds were stacked against him prevailing in the Electoral College given the likelihood that Bush would collect Florida's 25 electoral votes.

Alfred McKethan, a former banker and business leader and who for many years was Hernando County's most influential power broker, says this presidential election is the most exciting in his 92 years.

McKethan, a Gore supporter, said he has long questioned the logic of the Electoral College system. Maybe now, he said, the nation will rethink its election process. Despite all the uncertainty surrounding Florida's vote, McKethan is confident there will be a valid result. "I think that the recount will be properly handled and will be correct," he said.

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From the Times election desk


  • Recount begins as world watches
  • What a difference 12 hours makes
  • Voters statewide say they had poll troubles
  • Why the networks' call kept changing
  • Tired eyes watch over recount
  • Media rechecking their crystal balls
  • Wall Street joins nation in long wait
  • Election mania has everyone talking, waiting
  • Remarks by George W. Bush, Al Gore on the election returns
  • The victor must earn legitimacy by uniting
  • A Rather long night
  • Inside the Electoral College
  • Overseas ballots suddenly crucial
  • Presidential results
  • Election results
  • U.S. Senate winners
  • Governor winners
  • Election briefs
  • U.S. House winners
  • State

  • A night the Bushes won't forget
  • Funding for train mystifies officials
  • Capitol leaders predict less partisan session
  • Disclosure's role debated
  • Pinellas

  • Gore vote says GOP has edge, not a lock, in Pinellas County
  • Three recounts needed in fire district race
  • Vote shocks senior center's fans
  • Hillsborough

  • Gore won city; Bush swept the suburbs
  • Tired eyes watch over recount
  • House District 60 race won by smallest margin
  • Easterling says knocking on doors helped her win
  • To their regret, non-voters learn: It matters
  • So much to count, so little time
  • Pasco

  • Decision on sheriff brings prayers, tears
  • Cannon became his 'own worst enemy'
  • Recount gives a new name to fatigue: Chad
  • Cannon has only himself to blame for his downfall
  • Two new commissioners aren't passive
  • Hernando

  • Democrats: New force in Hernando
  • Voters discard politics of race in picking elections supervisor
  • All around the county, the election is the word
  • Recount dominates day after elections
  • Citrus

  • Citrus first in state to give results
  • Hickey hopes to mend rifts
  • Republicans fare well with Citrus voters
  • Recount blurs result in Crystal River race
  • Collector, appraiser victors are grateful
  • Election results
  • Votes hit close to home for these two
  • Activist was wild card in race
  • Results leave many befuddled
  • Council races hinged on past contretemps

  • From the AP
    national wire
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  • 'Partial Birth' Abortion Ban Passes House