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The BBC's Nick Bryant
"About two thirds of Americans now think that Al Gore should concede"
 real 56k

Thursday, 30 November, 2000, 01:28 GMT
Defiant Gore fights on
Bush campaign lawyer Barry Richard and Gore campaign lawyer David Boies
The two sides are locked in a labyrinthine legal battle
Democrat Al Gore has said the US presidency is still within his reach, even as opinion polls show that a majority of Americans now view his Republican rival, George W Bush, as the winner.

Dismissing concerns that public sentiment is turning against him, Mr Gore said in an interview with NBC television: "I believe we are going to win this election. I think the law is so clear in Florida that the votes are going to have to be counted."

Al Gore
Gore: Says recounts will produce a fair result
But he gave himself only an even chance of prevailing in the key state's bitter legal contest over disputed ballots - upon which the outcome of the entire White House race rests.

In another development, a judge in Florida has ruled that one million votes from the presidential election are to be moved to the state capital, Tallahassee, in advance of a court hearing on Saturday which will determine whether votes should be recounted by hand.

On Tuesday, the judge in the circuit court in Talahassee agreed to a request from Al Gore's lawyers to have 14,000 disputed ballots from Miami Dade and Palm Beach brought to Talahassee.

But a day later, in response to a petition from George W Bush's team, the court ordered that all the votes from the two counties will be moved under police protection to the state capital - causing a further delay which is unlikely to please the Gore camp.

With less than two weeks before the deadline for the contest to be decided, lawyers for both candidates have filed papers with the federal Supreme Court in Washington, which on Friday will hear arguments about whether or not it should intervene in the dispute.

Will we count all the votes or not?

Al Gore
Lawyers for Mr Bush are calling for the court to back the Texas governor's victory in Florida, where he won by a margin of fewer than 600 votes, while the Gore team says the case does not belong in a federal court.

On Tuesday, Mr Bush rejected a renewed appeal from his rival for Republicans to drop their objections to recounts.

Disputed ballots

Florida result
Bush: 2,912,790
Gore: 2,912,253
Bush majority: 537
Nearly six million votes cast
The question of whether manual recounts should be allowed lies at the heart of the dispute.

The Gore camp wants some 14,000 disputed Florida ballots to be recounted by hand as quickly as possible, in order to meet the 12 December deadline when Florida must certify its votes.

Legal battle
US Supreme Court to hear Republican appeal against Florida hand recounts
Democrats contesting tally from three counties - Palm Beach, Miami-Dade and Nassau
Republican lawsuits against five Florida counties over rejection of overseas ballots
Mr Gore's hopes received a setback on Tuesday when a Florida circuit court judge scheduled a hearing for Saturday to decide whether vote recounts should go ahead in the crucial counties of Miami-Dade and Palm Beach.

The Gore campaign had asked the court to order an immediate recount.

With the vote tally throughout Florida already so close, the vice-president's team hopes a recount in these counties will produce enough Gore votes to swing the state-wide result in his direction - and with it the presidency.

Cabinet in waiting

As Mr Gore pursues efforts to court public opinion, Governor Bush has been assembling his cabinet, although he has so far stopped short of calling himself president-elect.

George W Bush
Bush: Accuses Gore of changing the rules
He has already set up a transitional team, headed by vice-presidential running mate Dick Cheney.

And his campaign team has moved its operations from the Bush headquarters in Texas, to be closer to the centre of federal government in Washington.

Mr Cheney is seeking private capital to finance the work, after what he called the "regrettable" refusal of the civil service administration to release funds.

The civil service has also refused to give the keys of the transition offices to the Republican team, on the grounds that - three weeks after the vote - there is still no clear presidential winner.

  • 1 Dec: US Supreme Court to hear Republican appeal against Florida recounts
  • 6 Dec: Deadline for New Mexico recount
  • Early Dec deadline for Oregon recount

  • 12 Dec: Deadline for Florida to certify its votes. Electoral college votes with or without Florida
  • 18 Dec: Electoral college meets in each state. The winner needs at least 270 electoral college votes.

  • 6 Jan: Congress counts electoral college votes. If no winner, House of Representatives chooses president and Senate vice-president
  • 20 Jan: Inauguration Day. If no president chosen, House speaker is acting president

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See also:

28 Nov 00 | Americas
Bush's cabinet in waiting
27 Nov 00 | Middle East
Gaddafi offers US election advice
27 Nov 00 | Americas
Press fed up with election saga
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