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DECISION 2000 / AMERICA WAITS

Gore: 'It Is About Our Democracy'

November 16, 2000|Associated Press

Excerpts of remarks Wednesday by Vice President Al Gore about Florida's vote recount, as transcribed by eMediaMillWorks Inc.:

This has been an extraordinary eight days for the American people, and I wanted to speak with you briefly about how I believe we should conclude this election.

The campaign is over, but a test of our democracy is now underway. It is a test we must pass, and it is a test we will pass, with flying colors. . . . There is a simple reason that Florida law and the law in many other states calls for a careful check by real people of the machine results in elections like this one.

The reason? Machines can sometimes misread or fail to detect the way ballots are cast, and when there are serious doubts, checking the machine count with a careful hand count is accepted far and wide as the best way to know the true intentions of the voters.

We need a resolution that is fair and final. . . . And that is why I propose this evening a way to settle this matter with finality and justice in a period of days, not weeks.

First, we should complete hand counts already begun in Palm Beach County, [Miami-]Dade County and Broward County to determine the true intentions of the voters based on an objective evaluation of their ballots.

The results of this recount would, of course, be added to the present certified vote total and the overseas absentee vote total. If this happens, I will abide by the result, I will take no legal action to challenge the result, and I will not support any legal action to challenge the result.

I am also prepared, if Gov. [George W.] Bush prefers, to include in this recount all the counties in the entire state of Florida. I would also be willing to abide by that result and agree not to take any legal action to challenge that result. If there are no further interruptions to the process, we believe the count can be completed within seven days of the time it starts.

Now, second, I propose that Gov. Bush and I meet personally, one-on-one, as soon as possible, before the vote count is finished, not to negotiate, but to improve the tone of our dialogue in America. We should both call on all of our supporters to respect the outcome of this election, whatever it may be. . . . Shortly after the results are known, we should both come together for another meeting, to reaffirm our national unity. . . . I don't know what the final results will show, but I do know this is about much more than what happens to me or my opponent; it is about our democracy. My faith is in the people's will, in our Constitution and in our system of self-government.

Thank you, God bless you, and God bless America.

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