‘All I want for Christmas is to know who my president is’: Decision elicits surprise

Published 12:00 am Saturday, December 9, 2000

Local Republicans and Democrats alike said they were surprised by the Florida Supreme Court’s decision Friday to recount undercounted dimpled ballots in the state.

&uot;At one point, I had thought it was probably over, but with this news today, it’s still going,&uot; said Darryl Grennell, Adams County supervisor and active Democrat.

Still, Grennell said he believes the court made the right decision, considering the small margin of votes separating the two candidates.

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&uot;To me, with a count that close in Florida, I think it’s only proper,&uot; he said.

&uot;If I was running for president, I would want to make sure I was a legitimate president.&uot;

Joel Parker, a Republican living in Vidalia, La., said he believes the Florida court is biased toward Democrats and its decision was to be expected. &uot;They were the only ones that upheld Gore all along,&uot; he said. &uot;But it’s not over yet. They’ll appeal until they get their way.&uot;

Natchez Alderman Theodore &uot;Bubber&uot; West said he was surprised by the Florida news, especially the determination by an appeals court earlier in the day that the integrity of the election had not been compromised by discounting some ballots.

&uot;I think every vote counts and every vote should be counted,&uot; he said.

But, even with the legal victory for Gore, West said he believes both candidates’ possible positions as president have been weakened by the ordeal and that Americans are tiring of it.

Larry Gardner, who was recently elected to the Adams County Election Commission as a Republican, said he was surprised but that he had had some inkling of such an action after the U.S. Supreme Court returned the Florida high court’s ruling for clarification.

&uot;That kind of made me wonder,&uot; he said.

Gardner said he believes the Florida Supreme Court’s decision to overturn the circuit judge’s ruling was a cowardly move to remove pressure from the U.S Supreme Court.

&uot;They’re throwing the ball back in his court because they don’t want it in theirs,&uot; he said.

&uot;They should have made a decision instead of throwing it back into the lower court.&uot;

Also, Gardner said the court is asking Leon County Circuit Court Judge Sanders Saul to complete an impossible task by setting the Tuesday deadline for recounts.

Beverly Merrill, a member of the Adams County Democratic Executive Committee, said she feels sympathy for those people who will have to recount the ballots by hand.

&uot;I just cannot imagine what it must be like to go through all those punch cards,&uot; she said. &uot;I feel sorry for the workers, I really do.&uot;

Merrill said many of the complications in Florida could have been avoided with improved voter responsibility, more poll workers and clearer election laws. &uot;Hopefully, all 50 states are going to go back and take a close look at their election laws,&uot; she said.

Continuing to hold hope that the contest will be decided soon, Merrill said &uot;all I want for Christmas is to know who my president is.&uot;