Statement by Bush spokesman Ari Fleischer on Palm Beach County

Published November 9, 2000 7:56PM (EST)

New information has come to our attention that puts in perspective the results of the vote in Palm Beach County. Palm Beach County is a Pat Buchanan stronghold and that's why Pat Buchanan received 3,407 votes there.

According to the Florida Department of State, 16,695 voters in Palm Beach County are registered to the Independent Party, the Reform Party, or the American Reform Party, an increase of 110 percent since the 1996 presidential election. Throughout the rest of Florida, the registration increase for these parties was roughly 38 percent. In contrast, in neighboring Broward County, only 476 voters are registered to these parties.

In addition, in the 1996 presidential election, 14,872 ballots were invalidated for double counting in Palm Beach County, a figure comparable to the number of ballots dismissed this year, considering this year's higher turnout.

Given these facts, what happened on Election Night in Palm Beach County -- a county whose elections are run by a Democrat -- is an understandable event. The Democrats who are politicizing and distorting these routine and predictable events risk doing our democracy a disservice. Throughout this process, it's important that no party to this election act in a precipitous manner or distort an existing voting pattern in an effort to misinform the public. Our nation will be best served by a responsible approach to this recount. This recount will be watched around the world. Its outcome should not only serve as a testament to the strength of our democracy, but also a reflection of how each candidate deals with a matter of the utmost national importance.

We remain confident that Governor Bush will win Florida and become the elected President of the United States.

By Salon Staff

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