Jon E. Dougherty is a Missouri-based political science major, author, writer and columnist. Follow him on Twitter.
Lawyers for the campaign of Reform Party candidate Patrick J.
Buchanan have filed an appeal with Florida Secretary of State Katherine
Harris, asking her to deny certification of the results of manual
recounts of ballots in any county because Buchanan was not properly
advised before the recounts took place.
WorldNetDaily reported that the Reform candidate’s brother, attorney Thomas Buchanan, had filed a letter with three Florida counties, notifying them they were in violation of state law by not advising his client and brother that manual recounts of his ballots were taking place.
Florida state law, under § 102.166(4)(c), says that when a county canvassing board authorizes a manual recount, “the county canvassing board shall make a reasonable effort to notify each candidate whose race is being recounted at the time and place of such recount.”
“It is clear that this statutory provision requires you, or your representatives, to notify Mr. Buchanan of the manual recount taking place in your county,” the letter said.
Thomas Buchanan told WorldNetDaily that as of yesterday evening, none of the counties — Palm Beach, Broward or Volusia — had responded to his first letter. He said the Reform Party’s presidential campaign would seek a court injunction if the manual recounts were not stopped.
Also in his first letter, attorney Buchanan wrote, “subsection 7(a) of Fla. State. Ann. § 102.166 provides that the county canvassing board must include, when possible, members of at least two political parties in the manual recount process.” Though Republican and Democratic representatives are in Palm Beach to oversee the recounts, Buchanan, in his letter, said his Reform Party brother’s ballots “are at issue.”
In his letter to Harris, Buchanan provided information regarding the same state statutes and said that his candidate brother, “by this letter … requests that you and your office deny certification of any manual recounts of [the counties] because they have failed to follow the basic procedures regarding manual recounts in the state of Florida.”
Thomas Buchanan also told Harris he had sent letters to election supervisors in Broward, Palm Beach and Volusia counties “concerning this issue,” but so far “have not even received the courtesy of a reply.”
Palm Beach election officials yesterday decided once again to suspend a planned manual recount of ballots, but — at the request of the Gore campaign — Broward County officials decided to proceed with a manual recount of the 588,000 ballots cast by voters there.
Also yesterday, the Bush campaign petitioned a federal appeals court in Atlanta, which decided to hear its argument against allowing further Democratic-prompted recounts in Florida. At the same time, both campaigns appealed to the Florida Supreme Court to issue a ruling on the legality of permitting the hand recounts to continue.