Gore urges patience as lawyers push delay

by Wendy Yu | 11/14/00 6:00am

Vice President Al Gore urged the nation to be patient and suggested yesterday that the presidential election could be settled in days. At the same time, his lawyers continue to fight to stop the certification of Florida ballots scheduled for 5:00 p.m. today.

"While time is important, it is even more important that every vote is counted and counted accurately," he told reporters.

"Having enough patience to spend the days necessary to hear exactly what the American people have said is really the most important thing because that is what honors our Constitution and redeems the promise of our democracy," he said, in his first comments on the election outcome since last Wednesday.

While Gore spoke, his lawyers were persuading a federal judge to allow their requests for hand recounts to continue in several counties and to permit the new tallies to continue beyond 5p.m. today, despite Florida's secretary of state's commitment to the deadline voiced again yesterday.

"I would not want to win the presidency by a few votes cast in error or misinterpreted or not counted," Gore said. "And I don't think Governor Bush wants that either."

Also yesterday, Governor George W. Bush's campaign's efforts to pressure a Florida federal judge to halt manual recounts of the ballots failed, with the judge saying the election process should be decided by state courts.

Meanwhile, the New Hampshire secretary of state's office is investigating clerical errors that at one point tightened the state-wide presidential election by 1,000 votes and may affect some local races, a spokesperson told The Dartmouth yesterday.

In Nashua, the computer counted 1,746 votes for Republican candidate George W. Bush when the number of actual votes cast was only 746.

"It was an accident," the spokesperson said.

"We are double-checking some other numbers now," she continued, adding that while small discrepancies have emerged in other districts, they have been minor.

The official margin of victory for Bush is now 7,068, down from a high of 8,169 in the initial results, as election officials continue to re-examine county numbers, the Associated Press reported yesterday.

When asked if officials would look into possible mistakes in ballots cast in Hanover, the spokesperson said, "Not as far as we know."

Gore's campaign has not requested a recount, although 24 local requests have been made, mostly by state representative candidates.

The deadline for a request to recount votes was yesterday at 5 p.m.

Republican state representative candidate Bob Gienko '01, who was unsuccessful in his bid, said he did not ask for a recount.

"[The ballot controversy] highlights the fact that we usually have a president before every ballot is counted," assistant government professor Dean Spiliotes said, noting that a losing candidate typically concedes before all of the votes have been officially counted.

He said that New Hampshire is approximately the fifth closest state race, and its electoral votes would probably not matter greatly unless ballots in such tight states as Oregon, New Mexico, Wisconsin and Ohio are contested.