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Friday, 10 November, 2000, 15:23 GMT
Jackson leads Florida re-vote protest
The Rev Jesse Jackson
Jesse Jackson shows off the "confusing" ballot
One of the United States' most powerful and eloquent orators, the civil rights leader Jesse Jackson, has taken the lead in demanding a new election in Florida's Palm Beach county.

He joins supporters of Democratic candidate Al Gore - from university students to elderly retirees - who believe that the ballot paper was confusing and potentially unfair.


It's not about black or white - it's about wrong or right

The Rev Jesse Jackson
More than 1,000 protesters chanted "Re-vote, re-vote" outside Palm Beach County offices on Thursday.

Some 19,000 ballots were thrown out because voters had spoilt their ballots by selecting more than one candidate for president.

Mistakes alleged

Democrats say that because of the layout of the ballot, some people voted for Reform Party candidate Pat Buchanan instead of Vice-President Gore, then realised their mistake and punched their ballot a second time.

Democratic rally
Democrats have been holding angry rallies
Mr Buchanan has said that his high vote count in largely Democratic Palm Beach County was unusual.

Mr Jackson, who has long fought against racial discrimination, said the issue was "not about black or white - it's about wrong or right."

He compared the West Palm Beach election to an automobile accident.

"There was a wreck in West Palm", he said.

Hand count

Palm Beach County has agreed to count ballots from three precincts by hand on Saturday.

Democrats have also asked for recounts in Broward, Volusia and Dade counties, which would include Miami.

Democrat and Republican protesters in Florida
Opposing views on the streets of West Palm Beech
Altogether the four disputed counties represent about 1.78 million votes, about a third of Florida's total.

In addition to marches and sit-ins, an online campaign is underway.

A chain e-mail urges recipients to write to Florida's Secretary of State to "demand a re-vote for the county of Palm Beach.

"Do you really want George Bush as your Commander in Chief?" the e-mail asks.

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