Gore Lawyer Says Counting Every Vote 'Not Relevant' to Case

By Scott Hogenson | July 7, 2008 | 8:27 PM EDT

(CNSNews.com) - Vice President Al Gore and Senator Joseph Lieberman have spent much of their time since the November 7th election talking about how every vote counts, but that theme was lost on the vice president's lead attorney in Tallahassee, Florida Sunday, as closing arguments were heard in Gore's contest of the state's presidential election.

Just as lawyers for Gore and President-elect George W. Bush were scheduled to begin their closing arguments, a number of citizen "intervenors" asked to testify before Leon County Circuit Court Judge N. Sanders Sauls, who's expected to rule Monday morning on Gore's contest of the results.

But David Boies, Gore's lead counsel in the case, dismissed the testimony of citizens who were concerned that their ballot would not get the same treatment as those specified in Gore's action, saying they were "not relevant to a contest action," which Gore has undertaken to overturn the certified results.

However, Boies' questions about relevance did not prevent the testimony from being entered into the record. Matt Butler, a citizen in Collier County, Florida, testified that ordering the count of roughly 14,000 questionable ballots, as sought by Gore, "places my vote at a disadvantage. It makes my vote potentially worth less than the vote of someone else."

"I want the same rules applied to my vote as anybody else's vote in the state," said Butler.

Butler was one of a number of Florida residents who testified Sunday, explaining how the additional count sought by Gore would disenfranchise them and other Floridians. But the weight of their testimony is uncertain because it doesn't necessarily reflect directly on the case at hand.

Keith Temple, a Duvall County voter, testified that he voted for Bush November 7, but said he's received no certification that his vote was actually counted on Election Day and told the court that unless a hand count of ballots in Duvall County is conducted, he cannot be certain that his vote registered.

Gore is seeking additional, selective counts of ballots in three heavily Democratic Florida counties, but not in any of the state's remaining 64 counties, including Duvall.

A different story was told by Santa Rosa County voter Jeanette Seymour, who testified that early media reports on November 7 that indicated that Gore had won the state caused her to not vote.

Seymour said she was driving to the polls after work on Election Day when she heard on the radio that Gore was the winner, causing her to go home instead of voting.

"Because the media made a mistake and called the vote early, there's a lot of votes that were not counted, not just in my area, but the whole Panhandle of Florida," said Seymour. "It dilutes my vote."

Santa Rosa County is in that part of Florida that's on Central Standard Time, as opposed to Eastern Time, which is observed by most of the state, meaning early reports of a Gore victory came before all the polls had closed.

Further questions were raised by Panama City voter Theresa Cruce, who testified that, as a member of the military, she voted early for the November 7 election.

Cruce said "I do not know," if her ballot was tabulated because she's not certain whether anybody physically looked at her ballot, which is what Gore is arguing for.

Boies asked a number of the witnesses if they filed a contest regarding the election where they lived. The witnesses stated they had not.