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2000-12-12

Florida Legislature Poised to Intervene in Presidential Battle

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Today, December 12, marks the deadline for states to pick their electors, and the Republican-led Florida Legislature is poised to pass a resolution to give the state’s 25 electoral votes for Bush if the US Supreme Court rules for a vote recount. [includes rush transcript]

Florida House and Senate committees approved resolutions yesterday to name slates of Republican electors, who would cast the state’s vote for Bush. The panels listened to conflicting presentations by constitutional scholars and then heard from private citizens who were just as sharply divided. The full House will vote today, and the Senate will vote tomorrow.

Guest:

  • Anne Gannon, Democratic Florida State legislator.

Transcript

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: Today, December 12, marks the deadline for states to pick their electors, and the Republican-led Florida legislature is poised to pass a resolution to give the state’s twenty-five electoral votes for Bush if the US Supreme Court rules for a vote recount.

Florida House and Senate committees approved resolutions yesterday to name slates of Republican electors, who would cast the state’s vote for Bush. The panels listened to conflicting presentations by constitutional scholars and then heard from private citizens who were just as sharply divided. The full House will vote today, the Senate tomorrow.

We’re joined by Anne Gannon, who is a Florida state legislator. She is Democratic. And she is joining us from Florida right now. Gannon’s own election in 1992 had to go to a partial hand recount when she lost by nineteen votes. But like many people running for state legislature, she did not have the money to pursue legal action to have a statewide recount.

Every day we’re speaking to different people in Florida, as well as constitutional scholars around the country. After we speak with Anne Gannon, we are going to have a debate on Leonard Peltier. We’ll be joined by his attorneys Jennifer Harbury and Bruce Ellison, as well as two FBI representatives, to talk about the case of the Native American activist. You are listening to Pacifica Radio’s Democracy Now!

And we turn now to Democratic state legislator, Anne Gannon, in Florida. Welcome to Democracy Now!

ANNE GANNON: Good morning.

AMY GOODMAN: So tell us what is happening right now with the legislature.

ANNE GANNON: Well, in about thirty minutes, we are getting ready to go into session. And the Florida House of Representatives is going to pass a joint concurrent resolution that appoints new electors. Even though they’re the same set of electors, they’re going to reappoint them through the legislative process. And then, you know, it’s our understanding if the Supreme Court actually rules on this case, we will recess and all the legal authorities in the speaker’s office and in the minority office will look at the decision. And if, in fact, they say, you know, it’s over, then there isn’t a reason to proceed with this. And if what they say is recount, then the House will move forward with this.

AMY GOODMAN: Tell us about the relationship between Jeb Bush, the governor, the Texas governor’s brother, the Florida governor, and the legislature and the leadership there.

ANNE GANNON: Well, the leadership in the House and Senate are both Republican, and they control the majorities in both houses. So the reason that they have chosen to do a concurrent resolution, which we believe is illegal to do, this kind of substantive legislation, is because they do not want the governor to have to sign the resolution.

AMY GOODMAN: Where do you think this is all going to go today and tomorrow?

ANNE GANNON: Well, I think if they proceed with this, that it will probably be another court challenge on whether the legislature has the authority to do this form of resolution.

AMY GOODMAN: And your own election in 1992?

ANNE GANNON: Oh, yes. In 1992, I was — I did run for the House and lost by originally twenty-one votes. And in the machine count, I picked up five votes. And then they did the required number of precincts, which was three at the time, by a hand count, and we actually attempted and tried to get them to do a recount of all the precincts. But unfortunately my campaign didn’t have the legal resources to be able to go to court and ask them to do that. And the canvassing board would not do it.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, I want to thank you very much for being with us, Anne Gannon, Florida state legislator speaking to us from Tallahassee.

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