Gore Team Still Has a Plan to Win State Numbers Could Add Up If Courts Agree
WASHINGTON -- Al Gore believes he could yet be the nation's 43rd president if courts reopen the vote count in a handful of counties in Florida. The Democrats will contest these results in court as early as today.
Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris, a Republican and Bush campaigner, certified Bush's 537-vote lead and declared him the winner of the state's decisive 25 electoral votes -- even as the vice president vowed to challenge the results in state and federal courts.
"This is not some forlorn hope," said Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I. "This is not just acting out. They are, in fact, close to overcoming Gov. Bush's lead."
Indeed some Republicans fear election returns could yet be reversed.
"I'd be lying if I said I wasn't nervous," said Florida GOP Vice Chairman Jim Stelling regarding a Democratic challenge to returns from Seminole County.
Gore won the nation's popular vote on Nov. 7 by about 200,000 ballots out of more than 100 million cast, but stalled short of an electoral majority, with Florida's electors providing a winning margin to either candidate.
Rushing before TV cameras to wipe away pictures of GOP celebrations in Florida, Democratic vice presidential candidate Joseph Lieberman said: "This evening, the secretary of state of Florida has decided to certify what by any reasonable standard is an incomplete and inaccurate count of the votes cast in the state of Florida."
Gore knows his first order of business is to convince the public that there is good reason to continue legal fights and vote-counting.
That is why Lieberman rushed to deliver his remarks while Gore prepared for a major speech today outlining reasons for a continued battle.
If the courts allow, Democrats say they can reverse Bush's majority in Florida in this fashion:
-- Winning court approval to include final results from Palm Beach County where election officials showed Gore with a net gain of at least 180 votes. …