2000 Election November 16, 2000 World News Tonight


>>>ON “WORLD NEWS TONIGHT” — THE FLORIDA SUPREME COURT SAYS RECOUNTING BALLOTS MAY CONTINUE. THERE ARE CRITICAL LEGAL DECISIONS AHEAD.>>>THE STRUGGLE AT THE COUNTY LEVEL — OUTRAGE ON ALL SIDES. LAWSUITS AND DEATH THREATS, TOO.>>>PRESIDENT CLINTON IS IN VIETNAM. WE’LL TAKE “A CLOSER LOOK” AT THE UGLY LEGACY OF AGENT ORANGE.>>>AND LISTEN TO ONE MAN’S VIEW OF THE ELECTORAL COLLEGE — ♪ WE ARE THE ELECTORAL COLLEGE ♪ ♪ WE NEVER DEAL IN KNOWLEDGE ♪ ♪ AND WHEN YOU CAST YOUR VOTE FOR BUSH OR GORE ♪>>THERE IS A GOOD EXPLANATION FOR THIS. CAPTIONS MADE POSSIBLE BY
THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION
AND ABC, INC.>>>GOOD EVENING. THERE WAS AN IMPORTANT LEGAL DECISION MADE IN FLORIDA TODAY. THE STATE SUPREME COURT IN A UNANIMOUS DECISION SAID THAT RECOUNTING BALLOTS BY HAND, IN THE LARGELY DEMOCRATIC COUNTIES, CAN PROCEED, AT LEAST FOR THE TIME BEING. HOW MUCH OF A SETBACK THIS IS FOR THE BUSH CAMPAIGN, WHICH SAYS THE MANUAL SYSTEM IS FLAWED. HOW MUCH OF AN ADVANTAGE THIS MAY PROVE TO THE GORE CAMPAIGN IS HARD TO DEFINE THIS EVENING. IT IS YET TO BE DECIDED WHETHER AN ADDITIONAL VOTES FOR EITHER WILL HAVE LEGAL STANDING IN THE FINAL TOTALS. IN OTHER WORDS, WHETHER THEY WILL MATTER AT THE END. WE FIRST GO TO ERIN HAYES, WHO IS IN TALLAHASSEE. ERIN?>>Reporter: PETER, THE SUPREME COURT’S DECISION MEANS THAT PALM BEACH COUNTY CAN CONTINUE THE MANUAL RECOUNT FOR NOW. BUT THAT DOESN’T NECESSARILY MEAN THAT WHAT PALM BEACH COUNTS IN THE COMING DAYS WILL EVER BE INCLUDED IN THE FLORIDA TALLY. THAT WAS PART OF A SEPARATE, IMPORTANT, FIGHT IN LOWER COURT TODAY.>>ONE NATION, UNDER GOD –>>Reporter: KATHERINE HARRIS IS AT THE HEART OF THAT FIGHT, AFTER HER DECISION TO HOLD FAST TO HER DEADLINE, REFUSE TO ACCEPT ANY MORE HAND-COUNTED VOTES. DEMOCRATS TODAY ASKED A CIRCUIT JUDGE TO FORCE HARRIS TO KEEP THE COUNTING DEADLINE OPEN.>>>>LLOW THIS TO GO AHEAD AT THIS POINT, FOR A REASONABLE TIME, WHAT REASONABLE TIME CAN BE DETERMINED BY THIS COURT.>>Reporter: DEMOCRATS SAID HARRIS VIOLATED THE JUDGE’S ORDER TO GIVE “DUE CONSIDERATION” TO LATE RETURNS BY MAKING HER DECISION WITHOUT EVEN SEEING THEM.>>ALL THOSE MATTERS INDICATED THIS WAS DECIDED LONG IN ADVANCE HOW SHE WAS GOING TO REACT.>>Reporter: AND, THEY ARGUED, THE SECRETARY OF STATE HERSELF DELAYED THE RECOUNT, BY SENDING COUNTIES A LETTER MONDAY ADVISING THEY WERE NOT AUTHORIZED TO MANUALLY RECOUNT BALLOTS. THAT, DEMOCRATS CLAIM, PUT SOME COUNTIES INTO A PARALYZING LEGAL LIMBO, ALMOST ASSURING THEY WOULDN’T MEET THE DEADLINE. REPUBLICANS SHOT BACK, POINTING OUT THAT EVEN BEFORE THE LEGAL CONFUSION, SOME COUNTIES, LIKE PALM BEACH, WERE IN NO HURRY WITH THE HAND RECOUNT, EVEN TOOK DAYS OFF.>>THEY TOOK THURSDAY OFF. TOOK FRIDAY OFF, WORKED HARD ON SATURDAY AND TOOK SUNDAY OFF. THIS IS NOT A CASE WHERE THE CANVASING BOARDS MADE HERCULEAN EFFORTS TO MEET THE DEADLINE.>>Reporter: AT THE RATE PALM BEACH COUNTY HAS MOVED, ATTORNEYS FOR GOVERNOR BUSH SAID FINISHING THE MANUAL RECOUNT COULD TAKE US INTO DECEMBER OR BEYOND.>>AND THAT IS AN INTOLERABLE RESULT.>>Reporter: A DECISION IN THE CASE IS EXPECTED TOMORROW MORNING AT 10:00. UNTIL THEN, BOTH SIDES CONTINUE THE PUBLIC RELATIONS BATTLE OVER THE LEGITIMACY OVER THE EVER-MORE IMPORTANT HAND COUNT.>>HOW CAN A MANUAL RECOUNT BE ACCURATE WHEN THE BALLOTS THEMSELVES ARE CHANGING BEFORE OUR VERY EYES?>>OUR VIEW CONSISTENTLY HAS BEEN THAT THE VOTERS HAVE VOTED, AND THOSE VOTES SHOULD BE COUNTED.>>Reporter: WHAT JUDGE TERRY LEWIS WILL BASICALLY DECIDE TOMORROW IS WILL THE VOTES THAT PALM BEACH COUNTY IS NOW GOING TO COUNT BE OFFICIALLY INCLUDED IN THE FINAL TOTAL. PETER?>>THANKS VERY MUCH. ERIN HAYES IN TALLAHASSEE.>>>NOW, THIS QUESTION, WILL THE VOTES BE THERE FOR MR. GORE? EVER SINCE THIS CONTROVERSY BEGAN, THAT UNCERTAINTY HAS KEPT THE GORE AND THE BUSH CAMPAIGNS ON EDGE. BROWARD COUNTY IS IN MIDRECOUNT. PALM BEACH IS JUST BEGINNING. MIAMI/DADE WILL DECIDE TOMORROW WHETHER TO COUNT BY HAND. AS WE’VE SAID, THESE ARE ALL OVERWHELMINGLY DEMOCRATIC COUNTIES AND THERE IS TREMENDOUS PRESSURE AT THE COUNTY LEVEL. ONCE AGAIN, WE GO TO PALM BEACH AND ABC’S JACKIE JUDD. JACKIE?>>Reporter: PETER, THE RULING FROM THE STATE SUPREME COURT DID BREAK THE LOGJAM HERE IN PALM BEACH COUNTY. TEAMS OF COUNTERS, DEMOCRATIC AND REPUBLICAN OBSERVERS AND THE CANVAS COMMISSIONERS HAVE BEEN READY SINCE MONDAY TO BEGIN THE COUNTY-WIDE HAND COUNT OF SOME 460,000 BALLOTS.>>THE ORDER ALLOWS US TO BEGIN THE RECOUNTING PROCESS. THAT’S WHAT WE INTEND TO DO.>>Reporter: MORE THAN 10,000 BALLOTS WERE CAST IN THIS COUNTY BUT COUNTED AS NO-VOTES IN THE MACHINE TABULATION. THOSE ARE THE BALLOTS THAT THE COMMISSIONERS WILL BE LOOKING AT MOST CLOSELY. IF THE PUNCH HOLES ARE MARKED OR DETACHED IN ANY WAY, THE BOARD MAY CHOOSE TO COUNT THOSE AT VOTES. IN A COUNTY AS DEMOCRATIC AS PALM BEACH, THE POTENTIAL FOR AL GORE TO PICK UP A SIGNIFICANT NUMBER OF VOTES IS STRONG. WHEN THE CANVAS BOARD SAMPLED 1% OF THE BALLOTS LAST WEEKEND, GORE HAD A NET GAIN OF 19 VOTES. BECAUSE OF THAT ARITHMETIC, REPUBLICANS, TONIGHT, WERE BITTERLY DISAPPOINTED. [ CHANTING ]>>Reporter: WHAT HAPPENS TO THIS LATEST COUNT, WHEN IT IS FINISHED, IS THE GREAT UNCERTAINTY. CANVAS CHAIRMAN BURTON SAID HE FULLY EXPECTS MORE LAWSUITS.>>WELL, I WOULD IMAGINE THAT’S GOING TO BE THE NEXT ROUND OF LITIGATION, BECAUSE WHETHER IT’S BROWARD OR PALM BEACH, WHATEVER COUNTY CONCLUDES FIRST AND SUBMITS THOSE VOTES, SECRETARY HARRIS HAS ALREADY INDICATED THAT SHE’S NOT GONNA ACCEPT THEM.>>Reporter: PETER, 30 TEAMS ARE GOING TO BE WORKING 14 HOURS A DAY. AT THAT PACE, OFFICIALS HERE SAY IT WILL TAKE SIX DAYS TO FINISH THIS JOB.>>THANKS SO MUCH, JACKIE. TALK ABOUT BEING UNDER THE MAGNIFYING GLASS.>>>THERE IS A SENSE FOR COUNTY OFFICIALS THIS IS THEIR 15 MINUTES. AT THE SAME TIME, A LOT OF TREPIDATION. IT GOES WITH A WORLDWIDE AUDIENCE AND ENORMOUS DECISION. THE OTHER COUNTY THAT IS COUNTING BY HAND RIGHT NOW IS BROWARD. ABC’S STEVE OSUNSAMI IS THERE.>>Reporter: JUST SO MANY PEOPLE — GORE PEOPLE, BUSH PEOPLE, MOSTLY OUT-OF-TOWNERS, ALL LOOKING OVER THE COLLECTIVE BROWARD COUNTY ELECTION OFFICIALS.>>WE WILL KEEP THE PRESSURE ON THIS BOARD TO LOSE THIS PROCESS AND SHUT IT DOWN.>>Reporter: TO STOP COUNTING, TO KEEP COUNTING.>>YOU KNOW WHAT? THERE’S A DIMPLE ON THREE.>>Reporter: THE THREE COUNTY OFFICERS IN THE HOT SEAT.>>I’M TRYING TO GIVE A PSYCHOLOGICAL BOOST HERE.>>Reporter: SAY THEY’RE TIRING FROM THE TUG-OF-WAR.>>WE ARE REALLY STRETCHING IT AS FAR AS THE STRESS LEVEL IS CONCERNED.>>Reporter: BUT LAWYERS FROM BOTH SIDES WON’T LET UP. LATE THIS AFTERNOON, YET ANOTHER LAWSUIT TO END THE HAND COUNT.>>ALL OF YOU ARE SUBPOENAED HERE TODAY. AND YOU’LL BE TESTIFYING AT THE HEARING TOMORROW.>>Reporter: BUSH SUPPORTERS COMPLAIN THE COUNTY SHOULD DO SOMETHING ABOUT THE LONE CHADS THAT MAY HAVE FALLEN OUT OF BALLOTS AND ONTO THE FLOOR.>>WE ARE STARTING TO SEE A DENIGRATION OF THE BALLOTS THEMSELVES. AND IT’S CAUSING THESE RESULTS TO BEGIN TO SKEW.>>Reporter: GORE SUPPORTERS COMPLAIN IT’S UNFAIR TO SUGGEST THEY HAVE INTIMIDATED THE ELECTION BOARD.>>IF WE WERE TO TRY TO EXERT PRESSURE ON THEM, I THINK IT WOULD BE THE WORST THING THAT WE COULD DO.>>Reporter: CLEARLY THE PRESSURE IS ON, AND BOTH CAMPAIGNS ARE HOPING FOR COURT DECISIONS IN THEIR FAVOR. THROUGH ALL THAT, THIS COUNTY’S ELECTION OFFICERS HOPE TO FINISH THEIR HAND COUNT BY MONDAY. STEVE OSUNSAMI, ABC NEWS, PLANTATION, FLORIDA.>>>WHEN WE COME BACK, THE LOOMING PROBLEMS WITH THE OVERSEAS BALLOTS.>>>AND LEADING A REVOLT IN THE ELECTORAL COLLEGE. IT HAS HAPPENED BEFORE.>>I WAS SORT OF HOPING TO START A REVOLUTION — FOR THOSE ELECTORS TO TRY TO SEE IF WE COULD SOMEHOW STICK A PIN INTO THAT AWFUL SYSTEM.>>>THE BUSH CAMPAIGN TODAY SAID IT WILL NOT ASK FOR A RECOUNT IN IOWA. MR. GORE WON IN IOWA BY 4,000 VOTES. THERE WASN’T MUCH CHANCE OF REVERSING THE OUTCOME. BY CONCEDING IOWA AND ITS SEVEN ELECTORAL VOTES, MR. BUSH IS PLACING HIS HOPES ALMOST ENTIRELY ON FLORIDA.>>>THE NEXT BIG MOMENT TO WATCH FOR COUNTY VOTES WILL BE LATE TOMORROW NIGHT OR MAYBE ON SATURDAY. THAT’S WHEN THE OVERSEAS BALLOTS WILL BE CERTIFIED, COUNTED AND ADDED TO THE CANDIDATE’S TOTAL. IT COULD BE A DEFINING MOMENT IN THE PRESIDENTIAL RACE. BUT AS IT HAS BEEN WITH SO MANY OTHER ISSUES WITH THE FLORIDA VOTE, THERE ARE PROBLEMS. HERE’S ABC’S LINDA DOUGLASS.>>Reporter: THE ABSENTEE BALLOTS FROM VOTERS WHO LIVE ABROAD ARE UNDER LOCK AND KEY IN EACH OF FLORIDA’S COUNTIES. 13,000 OVERSEAS BALLOTS WERE ALREADY COUNTED BEFORE ELECTION DAY. BUT THOSE ARRIVING SINCE THEN WON’T BE TALLIED UNTIL FRIDAY. STATE OFFICIALS EXPECT BETWEEN 2,000 TO 3,000 NEW VOTES. AND THEY ARE GETTING READY FOR ANOTHER HEADACHE, BECAUSE THE BALLOTS THAT HAVE COME IN SO FAR APPEAR TO BE RIDDLED WITH PROBLEMS.>>Debra Clark, Pinnelas County Election Board: I WANT TO INTERPRET THIS FOR THE DIFFERENT SITUATIONS THAT WE HAVE ALREADY ENCOUNTERED. OF THE BALLOTS THAT HAVE ARRIVED IN LEE COUNTY, HALF MAY NOT QUALIFY. IN MANY COUNTIES, EITHER THE VOTER DID NOT SIGN THE BALLOT ENVELOPE OR THE VOTE WAS NOT WITNESSED, AS REQUIRED BY LAW. AND THERE MAY BE A PROBLEM WITH THE POSTMARK. THE SECRETARY OF STATE SAYS THE BALLOTS CAN BE POSTMARKED AFTER ELECTION DAY IF THE VOTER SIGNED THE BALLOT BY NOVEMBER 7th. BUT –>>THE PROBLEM WITH THAT IS THAT THERE IS NO PLACE ON THE ABSENTEE ENVELOPE FOR A DATE. SO, IT WOULD BE A VERY RARE BALLOT THAT WOULD BE ACTUALLY DATED BY THE VOTER.>>Reporter: OFFICIALS AT THE CENTRAL POST OFFICE IN MIAMI ARE TRYING TO INTERCEPT SPECIALLY MARKED BALLOTS FROM MEMBERS OF THE MILITARY, REPUBLICANS INSIST THOSE VOTES WILL FAVOR GOVERNOR BUSH.>>WE KNOW THE MEMBERS OF THE MILITARY HAVE BEEN TRENDING IN THE REPUBLICAN COLUMN.>>Reporter: AL GORE’S RUNNING MATE SEEMS TO AGREE.>>HISTORY WOULD SHOW THAT THE OVERSEAS ABSENTEES PROBABLY DO GO TO THE REPUBLICAN CANDIDATE.>>Reporter: BUT DEMOCRATS WENT AFTEERSEAS VOTERS, TOO, FOCUSING MUCH OF THEIR EFFORT ON AMERICAN JEWS LIVING IN ISRAEL WHO WERE EXCITED ABOUT LIEBERMAN.>>PEOPLE CAME OVER TO ME AND SAID, “I HAVEN’T VOTED IN 20 YEARS. WE MUST VOTE THIS YEAR. PLEASE GET ME A BALLOT.”>>Reporter: AN ABC NEWS SURVEY FOUND THAT REPUBLICAN COUNTIES ARE GETTING MANY MORE OVERSEAS BALLOTS THAN DEMOCRATIC COUNTIES. BUT, LIKE EVERYTHING ELSE THAT HAS HAPPENED HERE, ACTUALLY COUNTING THOSE VOTES WON’T BE EASY. LINDA DOUGLASS, ABC NEWS, TALLAHASSEE.>>>WHEN WE COME BACK, WE’LL HAVE SOME OF THE DAY’S OTHER NEWS — INCLUDING THE NEW BULLET TRAIN FOR THE EAST COAST.>>>FINALLY FROM US THIS EVENING — THE FAITHLESS ELECTOR. THIS HAS NOT BEEN A GOOD SEASON FOR THE ELECTORAL COLLEGE. ANY NUMBER OF PUBLIC OPINION POLLS, INCLUDING OURS, FIND THAT 60% OF AMERICANS, MAYBE MORE, THINK THAT THIS MANNER OF ELECTING A PRESIDENT SHOULD BE REPLACED BY A POPULAR VOTE. WE VENTURE, WHICH IS ANOTHER WAY OF SAYING WE GUESS, THAT IT WILL NOT HAPPEN IN THE FORESEEABLE FUTURE. THERE HAVE BEEN ATTEMPTS TO ELIMINATE IT BEFORE. BUT THERE’S ALWAYS BEEN A GUERRILLA CAMPAIGN TO UNDERMINE IT, WHEN ONE IN THE ELECTORAL COLLEGE WILL NOT PLAY ALONG. ROBERT KRULWICH HAS FOUND HER.>>Reporter: MARGERETTE LEACH THINKS THE ELECTORAL COLLEGE IS A DANGEROUS INSTITUTION.>>I WAS JUST ADAMANT THAT IT BE ABOLISHED.>>Reporter: AND YET, ODDLY ENOUGH, BACK IN 1988, WHEN MICHAEL DUKAKIS WAS RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT, MARGERETTE WAS NAMED ONE OF THE SIX ELECTORS FROM WEST VIRGINIA.>>THERE I AM.>>Reporter: WELL, SHE’S BEHIND THAT HAND. WHEN HER CANDIDATE WON THE STATE, SHE DID GET TO GO TO THE STATE CAPITOL IN DECEMBER AND SAID TO THE OTHER FIVE ELECTORS, “LOOK, IT’S NOT GOING TO AFFECT THE ELECTION.” LET’S VOTE FOR SOMEONE WHO’S NOT DUKAKIS. THE CONSTITUTION SAYS WE CAN VOTE FOR ANYBODY.” AND THAT’S SO DANGEROUS, WE SHOULD LET PEOPLE KNOW. DID THEY ALL LOOK EXCITED AT THE PROSPECT OF RUNNING A LITTLE REVOLUTION WITH YOU?>>THEY DIDN’T LOOK EAGER TO DO IT.>>Reporter: BUT LITTLE DID SHE KNOW THAT THE GUY WHO WAS ABOUT TO SWEAR THEM IN, SECRETARY OF STATE KEN HECHLER, ALSO HATED THE ELECTORAL COLLEGE. IN FACT, HE’D EVEN COMPOSED A FIGHT SONG AGAINST IT. ♪ WE ARE THE ELECTORAL COLLEGE WE NEVER DEAL IN KNOWLEDGE ♪>>Reporter: KEN, WHEN HE WAS A CONGRESSMAN, TRIED TO ABOLISH THIS INSTITUTION. AND THOUGH MARGERETTE DIDN’T KNOW THIS, HE ALSO HAD GONE TO SOME OF THE ELECTORS AND SAID, PLEASE, PROTEST. ♪ “RAH” FOR THE ELECTORAL COLLEGE A USELESS RELIC OF THE PAST ♪>>Reporter: BUT KEN COULDN’T CONVINCE ANYONE TO DO ANYTHING DANGEROUS. OF COURSE, HE DIDN’T KNOW ABOUT MARGERETTE. WHEN THEY GAVE YOU THE BALLOT FOR PRESIDENT, WHAT DID YOU WRITE DOWN?>>LLOYD BENTSEN.>>Reporter: AND THEN WHEN THEY GAVE YOU THE BALLOT FOR VICE PRESIDENT, WHAT DID YOU WRITE DOWN?>>MICHAEL DUKAKIS.>>THIS CAUSED SOME SURPRISE.>>Reporter: KEN, BECAUSE THIS IS A SECRET BALLOT, THOUGHT, “WOW. SOMEBODY’S A REBEL.” BUT WHO? HE FIGURED IT WAS MAYBE THIS WOMAN — LUCILLE MEADOWS. SO, HE GAVE HER A SIGNAL. DID YOU GIVE A LITTLE WINK OR A CONSPIRATORIAL SMILE TOWARDS HER, DO YOU THINK?>>I DID SORT OF WINK AT HER.>>HE THINKS LUCILLE DID THIS. HE THINKS SHE LISTENED TO HIM, AND SHE DID THIS.>>Reporter: AND NOW, LUCILLE IS THE PRIME SUSPECT. THAT’S NOT FAIR. MARGERETTE HAD NO CHOICE.>>SO, I ADMITTED THAT IT WAS I.>>Reporter: BUT ONCE SHE CONFESSED, INSTEAD OF BEING CALLED A TRAITOR, THE SECRETARY OF STATE CONGRATULATED HER.>>I THOUGHT THIS WAS A WONDERFUL THING SHE HAD DONE.>>Reporter: SO DID HER CO-ELECTORS, AND MARGERETTE LEACH, AFTER THAT VOTE, WAS ELECTED TO THE STATE LEGISLATURE — FIVE TIMES. SO, EVEN THOUGH HER PROTEST IN EFFECT MISREPRESENTED 100,000 WEST VIRGINIAN VOTES, IT WORKED. SO, NOTHING HAPPENED TO YOU?>>NOTHING HAPPENED TO ME.>>Reporter: ROBERT KRULWICH, ABC NEWS.>>JUST THINK HOW THE BUSH AND THE GORE CAMPAIGNS MUST THINK ABOUT THAT STORY TONIGHT.>>>THAT’S OUR REPORT ON “WORLD NEWS TONIGHT.”>>>THERE WILL BE AN INTERVIEW WITH DICK CHENEY ON “PRIMETIME THURSDAY.”>>>THEY WILL TAKE UP THE RECOUNT AGAIN ON “NIGHTLINE.” AS ALWAYS, YOU CAN SEE IT ALL ON ABCNEWS.COM.>>>I’M PETER JENNINGS. HAVE A GOOD NIGHT. — Captions by VITAC —
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