Hughes: Hand Counts Not 'Fair and Accurate'

Justin Torres | July 7, 2008 | 8:27pm EDT
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( - The Bush campaign has not made a decision on whether to appeal a federal judge's decision to allow manual recounts of Florida's ballots to continue, according to spokesperson Karen Hughes, who also called Vice President Al Gore's comments today "troubling" and designed to "overturn the results of this election."

Hughes made her comments to reporters in Austin, and called for Florida election officials to certify machine-counted returns and Florida's overseas ballots, due to be received this Friday.

"At this point almost a week after the election . . . all America wants a fair and accurate count of the vote in Florida," said Hughes. "We are increasingly convinced that the manual recount now underway in selected, heavily Democratic counties cannot produce that fair and accurate result."

Hughes said that hand recounts in four "pre-selected, heavily Democratic counties" were "both selective and subjective" and could not render an accurate count.

Hughes added, "It is increasingly clear that Vice President's camp simply wants to keep counting votes until they like the results."

Hughes' comments came the same day that a federal judge in Miami denied a motion filed by the Bush campaign to stop the hand recount of votes in four heavily Democratic counties.

U.S. District Judge Donald Middlebrooks (a Clinton appointee) indicated that he saw no reason to stop a hand count process that he said was proceeding efficiently.

The Bush campaign argued that the hand count in those four counties violates the 14th Amendment provisions for equal treatment of voters, by giving the votes from those four counties more weight than votes in counties where hand counts are not under way.

In response, the Florida State Democratic Party Sunday evening filed a 25-page legal response to the Republican suit, urging the judge not to interfere with the hand count now underway. The Democratic brief, filed electronically, argues that "this (disputed presidential election) is not a matter that belongs in the federal courts."

Laurence Tribe, a lawyer for the Gore campaign, spoke to reporters afterwards.

"They thought they could do a short cut around the state system . . . but I didn't think that would work," said Tribe. "Because their case is so obviously weak, they will lose" if the decision is appealed.

Tribe said he thought a revote should be considered.

Speaking to reporters after the motion was denied, Ted Olson, an attorney for the Bush campaign, indicated the campaign would make a decision on whether to appeal some time today.

Olson also indicated that they considered machine counts more fair than a hand recount.

"The machine does not care who wins the election; people do," he said.
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