CNTL# 10815004
FN dialog(R)File 638:Newsday/New York Newsday
CZ (c) 2002 Newsday Inc. All rights reserved.
AN 10815004

Title ELECTION 2000 / Palm Beach Story / Thousands line up to file complaints of miscounted votes

Newspaper name Newsday


Date - Friday November 10, 2000



Section heading NEWS

Page number A04

word Count 761

Dateline West Palm Beach, Fla. -

Lead paragraph Lined up outside a Gore campaign office to fill out
complaint slips, Bert and Edith Michaels said they don't care what it takes,

they want their votes for Democrat Al Gore to count.

"The whole process was confusing," said Edith Michaels, who fears she punched

her ballot twice, placing it among more than 19,000 ballots discarded for multiple presidential votes. "In New York, you go click, click, click. Down here you're punching holes."

With that complaint, the Michaelses, retired locksmiths from Williston Park,

have joined thousands of others here at ground zero of the presidential election that won't end.

Palm Beach County has become the focus of the world because of those 19,102 presidential ballots thrown out because voters punched more than one hole for a presidential candidate, and because of another 3,407 ballots-a strikingly high number-registering votes for Pat Buchanan.

Saying the design of the ballot was confusing, Democrats are collecting complaint slips to build their case for a new election for Palm Beach County's

more than 1 million residents.

At stake, say some, are 22,500 votes, out of nearly 500,000 cast in Palm Beach, in a state where fewer than 300 separate Gore and Republican George W.

Bush, according to an unofficial Associated Press count. Those votes could determine

whether Florida's 25 electoral votes will make Bush or Gore president.

Palm Beach County election authorities said they would not report the recount

figures by yesterday's deadline, but will start a new recount tomorrow.

At the Democrats' request, election officials have ordered that 1 percent of

the ballots be recounted by hand to determine whether there are enough irregularities to call for a painstaking hand recount of all the ballots. A complete machine recount requested by the Republicans also will be completed.

Leaving behind the grueling months of standard campaigning for votes, the two

sides are fighting it out in courtroom challenges and large street demonstrations played out before a growing crush of cameras and live television trucks.

By late yesterday, there were at least five lawsuits filed challenging the election in Palm Beach County. Lawrence J. Navarro, an attorney for Palm Beach

County election supervisor Theresa LePore, a Democrat who approved the controversial ballot, said he expected many more lawsuits.

Meanwhile, as most of the state's 67 counties finished their recounts and the

high-powered lawyers and strategists for both parties went to work in Tallahassee, people here turned out in the thousands for a noontime rally that

featured the Rev. Jesse Jackson.

Jammed into the sweaty confines of the concrete courtyard of the government complex in West Palm Beach, the crowd included Republicans but was mostly filled with Gore partisans.

"In a democracy, every vote must count," said Jackson, the civil rights leader

and onetime Democratic presidential candidate. "At this point we don't know who won the election because all votes have not been counted." But Republicans and Democrats disagreed sharply on how to make sure that everyone's vote counted.

Citing the presidential ballots thrown out for overvoting, Laura Barry, 39, a

social worker, called for a recount. "It's about getting the true voice of the

people," said the Gore supporter.

But Gregory Sell, an accountant and Bush supporter, countered with his own slogan: "Trust the vote." He said it was the fault of the people who punched

twice for not properly educating themselves, and that allowing a new vote would be giving them special privileges.

Palm Beach County Commissioner Mary McCarty, Bush's county chairwoman, went before cameras outside the federal courthouse to accuse the Democrats of seeking to win the election unfairly.

She said the county threw out 15,000 presidential ballots for the same problems in 1996, even though the county did not use the "butterfly ballot" design.

McCarty also complained that Democrats were crying foul too late, saying complaints about the ballot must be filed before the election.

But Democrats responded that Le- Pore had determined the ballot was too confusing before the polls closed on Tuesday.

Doug Hathaway, Gore campaign spokesman, said that on the afternoon of the election, state election officials sent a memo to all Palm Beach County workers as confusing as the ballot itself:

"ATTENTION POLL WORKERS. Please remind all voters coming in that they are only

to vote only for one (1) presidential candidate and that they are to punch the

hole next to the arrow next to the number next to the candidate they wish to

vote for."

Caption ap Photo - The Ballot in Palm Beach County: If you wanted to vote for Gore-Liberman, would you punch #4 or #5? Correct Answer: Punch #5