Florida Supreme Court Allows Recount to Go Forward

Justin Torres | July 7, 2008 | 8:27pm EDT
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(CNSNews.com) - In a brief interim ruling, the Florida Supreme Court allowed the electoral board of Palm Beach County, Fla., to go forward with a manual recount. However, the Court has not ruled on all of the issues at hand, including whether Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris is required to count the manual recounts toward final certification of the vote.

"There is no legal impediment to the recounts continuing," the Court said in an interim ruling in Palm Beach County v. Harris. "[The canvassing board is] authorized to proceed with the manual recount."

The canvassing board says it plans to begin the manual recount at 6:00 p.m. Thursday but was unable to indicate when it might be completed.

A decision is also expected tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. in a circuit court case in Tallahassee that has the potential to force Harris to accept manual recounts, something she has so far refused to do.

The Court's decision authorized officials in Palm Beach and Broward counties to recount ballots by hand. However, the decision did not say whether any votes counted in the manual recount can be added to Gore's certified totals.

Harris has vowed to certify the election after Friday at midnight, when overseas ballots are due to be received.

"We are obviously gratified by the unanimous ruling of the Florida Supreme Court," said Gore Campaign Chairman William Daley.

"The Supreme Court's clear and unambiguous ruling, that the counties are authorized to proceed with the manual recount, is a victory for everyone who wants to see the votes counted fully and fairly here in Florida," he added.

The Bush legal team discounted the importance of the ruling.

"As one who has practiced law for many years, I'd like to suggest you have just heard a superb example of the art of legal spin," said Bush advisor James Baker, commenting on Daley's analysis.

"Let's be real clear about this order," said Baker. "It was not a decision on the merits. . . . What the Court said was simply that there is no legal impediment to the recounts continuing. This decision does nothing more than preserve the status quo [which is] that state act pursuant to the law."

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