St. Petersburg Times Online: Election 2000
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Election briefs

Compiled from Times wires

© St. Petersburg Times, published November 11, 2000

Democrats hired phone bank to warn Palm Beach voters

WASHINGTON -- Faced with a cliffhanger election, the Democratic Party directed a telemarketing firm on Election Night to begin calling thousands of voters in Palm Beach County to raise questions about a disputed ballot and urge them to contact election officials.

The Democratic National Committee paid Texas-based TeleQuest to make the calls -- while polls were open -- alerting voters in the heavily Democratic enclave of possible confusion with the ballots they cast.

"Some voters have encountered a problem today with punch-card ballots in Palm Beach County," the script for the call said. "These voters have said that they believe that they accidentally punched the wrong hole for the incorrect candidate.

"If you have already voted and think you may have punched the wrong hole for the incorrect candidate, you should return to the polls and request that the election officials write down your name so that this problem can be fixed."

The firm took the names and numbers of voters who said they might have cast an errant ballot, providing the Democratic Party a list of about 2,400 voters in the county who thought they might have misvoted.

Sen.-elect Clinton moving to end Electoral College

ALBANY, N.Y. -- Kicking off a victory tour of upstate New York on Friday, Sen.-elect Hillary Rodham Clinton called for elimination of the Electoral College.

She said she was ready to co-sponsor legislation seeking a constitutional amendment providing for popular election of the president.

"We are a very different country than we were 200 years ago," Clinton said. "I believe strongly that in a democracy, we should respect the will of the people, and to me, that means it's time to do away with the Electoral College and move to the popular election of our president."

Candidates work to stay above fight in Florida

The two candidates on Friday tried to at least give the appearance of being above the fray.

Taking a break in Austin, Texas, from planning what he hopes will be a transition to power, George W. Bush told reporters, "We will be prepared" to take office Jan. 20. He and his aides acknowledged that he can't claim victory before the overseas votes are counted and certified.

Despite the show of confidence, Bush said it's "a little early" for him to contact the outgoing Clinton administration about the mechanics of transition. He also tabled plans to resign as Texas governor and hand the reins to his Republican lieutenant governor during the transition.

For his part, Gore was at the vice president's residence in Washington, where he played touch football with his family.

He talked of winning, then added with a smile: "I'm talking about the touch football game."

The New York Times, citing aides to both men, reported that President Clinton called Gore on Friday morning, urging him to "hang in there" in his battle to win the presidency, but carefully avoided a detailed discussion of what strategy Gore should follow as he challenges the validity of the Florida results.

Bush wears bandage on face to cover boil

Bush sported a bandage Friday to cover an area above his right cheek which was treated for a boil.

"I got a little infection, just an infection," Bush said.

His communications director, Karen Hughes, said the Texas governor developed "some sort of boil" and had a doctor examine the red, inflamed area.

"We're not certain what caused it, maybe an ingrown hair," she said, adding, "It's not a pleasing sight. It's a large bump."

Lieberman says patience needed during vote count

WASHINGTON -- Democratic vice presidential candidate Joe Lieberman said Friday that uncertainty over the presidential race will probably continue through next week and said he didn't feel under pressure to concede.

"What we're about is making sure that the president who takes office is the one who got the most votes," Lieberman said in an interview with CBS Evening News.

He urged patience as recounts continue and Florida awaits a Nov. 17 deadline for ballots mailed in from overseas.

"I don't see any conclusion here before next Friday, when all of the votes will be in," Lieberman said. "Then, the judgment will be up to both of the campaigns" about what to do next. "I'm hopeful that by next Friday Al Gore and I will be ahead in Florida."

Lieberman ran simultaneously for vice president and for re-election to his Senate seat from Connecticut, a race he won. If Bush becomes president, Lieberman will return to the Senate.

Four other states might be gearing up for recounts

Besides Florida, four more states might see their presidential votes end with recounts.

In New Mexico, Gore had a lead of 6,825 votes over Bush, 269,773 to 262,948. But officials were withholding release of about 38,000 votes while they tried to find 252 missing ballots to clear up a discrepancy in their vote tally.

In Oregon, a recount might be required by a state law if the margin between Bush and Gore is less than one-fifth of 1 percent, or about 2,800 votes. With about 40,000 more votes to be counted, many in Republican-leaning areas, Gore led Bush by 8,485.

In Iowa, where Bush lost by fewer than 5,000 votes, Republican officials are exploring the possibility of requesting a recount.

In Wisconsin, where Bush lost by about 6,000 votes, a candidate may request a recount. The Bush camp said it is looking at that possibility.

CNN chairman: Congress shouldn't probe TV calls

TV networks are willing to own up to their mistakes in making premature victory declarations on Election Night, but it shouldn't be a subject for Congress to investigate, CNN chairman Tom Johnson said Friday.

A day earlier, Rep. Billy Tauzin, R-La., said he is planning to call network chiefs for a hearing on whether TV predictions depressed voter turnout.

"I don't think this requires oversight or government intervention," Johnson said. "I'm fully prepared to answer any questions that might exist from Congress or anybody. We made a mistake and we've got to make sure we don't have a repeat of this."

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