Counties count on against the clock

The Recount
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The controversy over manual recounts centred on the following four counties of the 67 in Florida, all on the east coast in the state's south and all of them heavily Democratic.

The controversy over manual recounts centred on the following four counties of the 67 in Florida, all on the east coast in the state's south and all of them heavily Democratic.

* Volusia: Workers managed to complete a recount by hand of all votes within minutes of the 5pm deadline set yesterday for final submission of results to state officials. It produced a new net gain for Al Gore of 98 votes. Concern had been raised in Volusia, which includes the resort town of Daytona Beach, after problems on election night with a faulty computer disc in a counting office. It lead police to seal off the area with crime tape until it was determined that the incident was one of computer error, not attempted fraud.

* Palm Beach: After concluding at the weekend a partial recount by hand of 1 per cent of the votes cast in its boundaries, the county decided last night to proceed with a hand tabulation of all the votes, starting early this morning. Some voters complained that they were confused by the lay-out of the county's infamous "butterfly ballots". They said they had voted mistakenly for the Reform candidate, Pat Buchanan. Some 19,000 ballots were thrown out because they had been double-punched. The Democratic Party has also gone to court to demand a looser standard in determining what should be counted as a vote.

* Broward: Also strongly Democratic, the county finally decided on Monday to resist pressure from the Democratic Party to embark on a general manual recount. But voters backed by the Democratic Party are suing to force it to have a manual recount. If they succeed, a manual tabulation could begin as early as this morning. Democrats said a partial recount already conducted found an extra five votes for Mr Gore that could translate into 500 new votes for him countywide.

* Miami-Dade: This county, incorporating Miami, contains 2.2 million voters, many Democrat, offset only by Republican-voting Cuban-Americans. The canvassing board decided to begin a hand-count of three precincts, which started last night, to see if a trend towards Mr Gore emerges. There have been allegations of irregularities in the county on election night, notably that minority groups, including African American and Haitians, were unable to vote because their names had vanished from voter rolls. The FBI is investigating claims that some party workers misled Haitians who cannot speak English into punching for George W Bush.

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