Intense security for crucial vote count waits on the ballot counters

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The Independent US

Florida had no choice yesterday but to institute the recount that kept all of America waiting for the outcome of the presidential race.

Florida had no choice yesterday but to institute the recount that kept all of America waiting for the outcome of the presidential race.

The difference between Al Gore and George W. Bush after the first count was estimated at 1,748 votes. That made the difference between the candidates' votes less than 0.5 per cent of all votes cast, the trigger point at which a recount is legally required.

While such a situation is extremely rare, rules are in place to ensure that the recount is done fairly and quickly. The outcome should be known by tonight at the latest.

There are 67 counting stations across Florida - one in each of its counties. Supervision of the recount operation was elaborate. In each county, a three-member canvassing board made up of a county judge, the chairman of the county commission and the local elections supervisor, watch as the recounts progress. The makeup of the canvassing board is supposed to insulate the process from politics.

In Tallahassee, the state capital, the results will finally be certified by Governor Jeb Bush, brother of the GOP nominee, Republican Secretary of State Katherine Harris and Clay Roberts, director of Florida's Division of Elections - also a Republican appointee. Representatives of both national parties were headed to the state. The Gore campaign said former Secretary of State Warren Christopher was in charge of their effort.

Both parties added that they had dispatched their own officials to each of the ballot stations also to watch over the workers.

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