Tight race illustrates importance of votes

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 8, 2000

At press time Tuesday, Republican George W. Bush and Democratic Al Gore were running neck-and-neck on electoral votes with several states still too close to call.

&uot;I think it’s going to be real tight but all I can say is ‘go Gore,’&uot; said Beverly Merrill, member of the Adams County Democratic Executive Committee. Because the race it so close, it proves that each person’s vote counts, Merrill said.

&uot;It’s going to show how important you are to government,&uot; she said.

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Merrill said the close race also makes her take a closer look at the Electoral College.

&uot;Some of us are really stopping and paying more attention to the popular vote (as compared to) the electoral vote,&uot; Merrill said. But at the same time &uot;I just hope (Gore) gets to 270 first.&uot;

A candidate needs 270 electoral votes to win the presidency.

Larry Gardner, a Republican candidate who nailed down the local race for election commission early on, agreed that the electoral college needs to be examined,

&uot;It’s outdated,&uot; he said. &uot;It’s usefulness is gone.&uot;

As the president’s race went &uot;down to the wire&uot; Tuesday night Audrey Seale, chairman of Adams County Democratic Executive Committee said she hoped it would not lead to conflict over popular versus electoral vote.

&uot;I would hate to have to see a battle in Congress over this,&uot; she said. &uot;I’m hoping it will get decided at least maybe tomorrow or the next day.&uot;

Local Republican, including local party chairperson Pat Dickens, were also &uot;biting their nails&uot; as results remained unclear several hours after the polls closed.

&uot;When we got the earliest numbers, we thought we didn’t have a chance,&uot; Dickens said.

But Republicans were revived when the national media rescinded reports that Gore had won the critical state of Florida.

&uot;I’m far more optimistic than I was five hours ago,&uot; she said just after midnight.

Dickens was perhaps one of many Americans closely watching the television as she flipped channels between commentators.

&uot;I’m sitting here holding my breath,&uot; she said.

No matter the presidential winner, Dickens said she was pleased by the high voter turnout.

&uot;Everyone will go away from this a winner,&uot; she said. &uot;The only way you lose is if you didn’t vote.&uot;

Gardner joined the national media in declaring the presidential race &uot;too close to call.&uot;

&uot;I think I’m with about 40 or 50 million other people right now,&uot; Gardner said in the early morning hours.

&uot;Nobody expected it to be this close. We may not know the answer until tomorrow morning,&uot; he said late Tuesday night.

&uot;In the long run, I think the people won,&uot; he said.