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Presidential recount starts in south Florida Monday, 18 December 2000 11:44 (ET)
Presidential recount starts in south Florida By LES KJOS
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla., Dec. 18 (UPI) -- As members of the Electoral College voted for president around the nation Monday, 15 organizations in south Florida began recounting ballots from the Nov. 7 election.
Among those counting were the Miami Herald, Los Angeles Times, the Wall Street Journal and the watchdog organization Judicial Watch. Members of the organizations are not allowed to handle the ballots.
"Only our employees allowed to touch the ballots. They hold them up and they look at them," said Mike Schotanus of the Broward County elections office.
Schotanus said the organizations were counting about 6,000 so-called undervotes Monday, and said nobody knew whether they would finish by the end of the day.
In Miami-Dade County, a recount of undervotes was expected to begin Monday, but plans were incomplete. At a court hearing Thursday, the Miami Herald was told to come up with a plan and another hearing was expected this week.
"There have been 22 requests for recounts," said Gisela Salas, of the Miami-Dade County elections office. "Nothing is firmed up yet, and it probably won't take place until next year."
In Palm Beach County, officials said the ballots have not been returned from the state capital of Tallahassee yet and plans for a recount are incomplete.
Last month, Judicial Watch looked at 630 ballots in Palm Beach County.
Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach Counties were the centers of the dispute over Florida's 25 electoral votes that eventually decided the election in favor of Republican Texas Gov. George W. Bush over Vice President Al Gore.
Several organizations planned recounts ballots in the entire state, but plans were still being made.
In Tampa, Fla., Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections Pam Iorio said she doubts that a statewide review will be conclusive.
"There is the feeling that if only hand counts had been allowed to continue, we would know the truth," Iorio told the Los Angeles Times. "But the truth is very elusive in this presidential race. And I think what we'll find is that the truth remains elusive." -- Copyright 2000 by United Press International. All rights reserved
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