Mr. Baker's proposal is basically a reiteration of the position taken yesterday by Florida's secretary of state. The secretary of state's position is wrong, we believe, and is about to be evaluated by a Florida state judge. The judge is about to rule on the secretary of state's position, and we are all awaiting the judge's ruling.
In short, there is nothing new in Mr. Baker's proposal. It simply repeats what the secretary of state has already said, and it does nothing to resolve this situation.
We continue to believe that the best way to achieve the speedy and correct count of votes is to allow Florida election officials to conduct the accurate hand counts that the law permits.
Mr. Baker also made two statements that are factually incorrect:
Mr. Baker wrongly asserted that Florida law imposes a 5 p.m. deadline. It does not. A Florida state judge will rule shortly on this very question.
Mr. Baker also wrongly said that hand recounts have occurred only in Democratic precincts. In fact, seven counties have done some form of hand counts, and Bush carried six of these counties. The counties selected by the Democrats for hand counts are counties where there appear to be significant numbers of undercounted votes and other anomalies.