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Excerpts of the court hearing

By Times staff writer

© St. Petersburg Times, published November 21, 2000

"Public officials have a responsibility to count and recognize the votes of all Floridians who voted in this presidential election. Factors such as administrative inconvenience, expediency or the limitations of vote-reading machines pale in comparison to protecting the voting rights of our citizens."

-- Florida Deputy Attorney General Paul Hancock, representing Attorney General Bob Butterworth

"The court is certainly aware of the historic nature of this session and is aware that this is a matter of utmost and vital importance to our nation, our state and our world."

-- Chief Justice Charles Wells

"If you concluded that it was essential to avoid unfairness or some kind of overweighting of one county's vote over another county's vote, this court has within its equitable power to have a statewide recount, if you concluded that that was necessary."

-- David Boies, Gore campaign lawyer

"The court is being brought into something it need not be brought into. This is not a legal problem; this is a political problem. If the voting is certified, everyone can then proceed with a contest. The difficulty is the political problem that is created."

-- Joe Klock, Bush campaign lawyer

"And I would urge that the court not, after the election has been held, change the rules by which the election should be conducted.

". . . I just did want to bring the court's attention very quickly, if I could, to 3 USC, Section 7, which makes it clear that the federal courts -- federal law will not allow this court or the Florida Legislature to change the rules of the election after the election has taken place, to avoid precisely the evil I have been discussing, which is that there will be ad hoc decisionmaking that could be influenced by subjective or partisan concerns."

-- Michael Carvin, Bush campaign lawyer

"I'm not urging in any way that this court do anything that would imperil Florida's electoral votes."

-- David Boies, Gore campaign lawyer

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