US Elections: The Recount - Florida Now Holds the Key to the White House
Usborne, David, The Independent (London, England)
THE ANXIOUS eyes of America, and much of the world, were trained yesterday on the state of Florida, where officials ordered an emergency presidential election recount that will belatedly determine who will take the White House.
All across the Sunshine State, officials were recollating the ballot papers of about six million voters after first results suggested the Republican, George W Bush, had beaten Vice-President Al Gore in the highly contested state by a razor-thin margin of 1,784 votes.
At Wolfies' Coffee Shop in South Beach, Miami, the mood was defiantly pro-Gore. Its octogenarian owner, Joseph Nevel, suspected fraud, particularly in the absentee ballot. "If Gore has the stamina to demand an investigation of the absentee ballots, he has a very good chance of coming through," he insisted.
Eating a pastrami sandwich, Kim Gugliotta said the suspense was exhausting. A Gore supporter, she was convinced he had won Florida when she left home on Tuesday night, only to find the state was up in the air again when she returned at midnight. "I thought he had it, the networks led you to believe he had it. But then it was a huge let down. But, at the same time, isn't this exciting?"
It was still unclear when the outcome of the recount would be established. One election official suggested the process might not be finished until this afternoon, Florida time.
In the final weeks of the campaign, Florida emerged as a pivotal state for the candidates, where they were running in a battle for its rich trove of 25 electoral college votes. But bewildered Floridians were surely never prepared for the event where they alone would end up deciding who would get the keys to the White House.
The gravity of the situation was spelt out yesterday by Florida's Attorney General, Bob Butterworth. "We literally are not electing a governor and we are not electing a mayor," he said. "We are electing a president of the United States and as few as 200 votes could make the difference."
If the US felt confused yesterday, in Florida the mood was one of exasperation. Residents woke up to find newspaper headlines giving the race to Mr Bush. "BUSH WINS IT" blared the Miami Herald. But the television told them a different story, with the outcome still in the balance.
With officials exhausted by the events of Tuesday night, most of the 67 counties in the state only managed to …
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Publication information: Article title: US Elections: The Recount - Florida Now Holds the Key to the White House. Contributors: Usborne, David - Author. Newspaper title: The Independent (London, England). Publication date: November 9, 2000. Page number: 2. © 2009 The Independent - London. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All Rights Reserved.
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