Tags: Judicial | Watch | Begins | Its | Own | Florida | Recount

Judicial Watch Begins Its Own Florida Recount

Monday, 27 November 2000 12:00 AM

Palm Beach Circuit Judge Jorge La Barga gave Judicial Watch access to count the votes. He cited a Florida state law that allows citizens to inspect ballots even after the certification deadline has passed.

Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris certified the election Sunday night, giving Florida's 25 electoral votes to Republican George W. Bush.

Judicial Watch officials say more than 400 citizens from around the country have volunteered to help the group count "disputed" and "other ballots" such as absentee military votes.

Johnson, Lambert and Co., a public accounting firm, will oversee Judicial Watch's effort because the group says the accounting firm has "expertise both in counting ballots and fraud."

Besides Palm Beach, Judicial Watch plans to conduct an independent analysis of disputed and other ballots throughout Florida.

Judicial Watch is best known for the legal challenges it has mounted against the Clinton administration. It has often represented individuals who say they have been harmed by Clinton or his White House. But the group's chairman says the Florida recount is not politically motivated.

"It is important that an independent group, nonpartisan in nature, provide certified numbers for the American people. The last few weeks have shown that one can't trust partisans on the ground to count the votes," Judicial Watch Chairman and General Counsel Larry Klayman said in a statement.

Klayman is in Florida on behalf of the effort and was not available for further comment.

Judicial Watch also will use, where feasible, statistical and accounting techniques to test the accuracy of the machine counts.

Despite the official certification by the state of Florida in favor of Bush, the group decided to go ahead with the recount anyway.

"Even though there was official certification of George W. Bush as the winner of Florida's electoral votes, Al Gore will contest this election. In this unusual circumstance, it becomes all the more necessary to have an independent, nonpartisan count.

"Judicial Watch will make its recount results available to the American public, the courts and others who require an independent measure of the voting in Florida," Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said in a statement.

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Palm Beach Circuit Judge Jorge La Barga gave Judicial Watch access to count the votes. He cited a Florida state law that allows citizens to inspect ballots even after the certification deadline has passed. Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris certified the election...
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2000-00-27
Monday, 27 November 2000 12:00 AM
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