Following is a reported eyewitness account of the Florida recount.

It is written by a partisan Democrat, and is unverified, but sounds factual and seems to accurately represent the Democratic standpoint.

Unverified source:

Hello again,
Thought you'd like another update from the inside.  I spent much of Wed.
as the Palm Beach County Dem. Party observer in the recount room at the
Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections.  Also present were lawyers
and a staffer representing GWB, several lawyers representing Gore,
representatives of the Reform Party, the Fla. Democratic and Republican
Parties, the DNCC, US Rep. Clay Shaw and his Dem. challenger Elaine
Bloom (this race is still contested), a Dem. State Senator and a Dem.
State Representative from the County.

The recount was supposed to begin at 1:30, was delayed until 4:00 and
ended at 11:30.  Our role basically consisted of sitting in a cramped
room watching five staffers run stacks of puch card ballots through
counting machines. Pretty dull all in all until it was discovered that
one precinct had not been counted in full.  This resulted in a net gain
for Al of about 360 votes. The Bush boys lost their smug attitudes and
began huddling and whispering every few minutes.

The absentees came through for Al too.  When one votes at the polls in
Florida, they provide a punch instrument which, if used correctly,
completely perforates the ballot.  However, absentee voters often use a
pen or other implement which does not fully perforate the card.  This
was apparent to us from the fact that over 10,000 voters in the County,
about 2.2% of the overall turnout did not make any choice in the
Presidential race, but did vote in the US Senate or Congressional
races.  We theorized that many voters had partially perforated the card,
but the machines weren't reading them. The more times the ballots are
run through the counting machine, the more likely the loosened chits
fall off.

When the absentees were counted, 221 ballots that had previously
registered no vote now did show a vote in the Presidential race.   These
went overwhelmingly for Gore, leading to some whooping and high fiving
from our side.  The Bushies really lost it at this point and got a
little hostile with the staffers, which in turn elicited some harsh
responses from the assembled masses.

Gore's net gain in the County was 643.  Word from other counties is that
Gore closed the 1,700 deficit by over 1,200.  Only half of the counties
conducted their recounts on Wednesday.  The rest are on Thursday.

The bigger problem is that the ballot in Palm Beach County, which
differs in its layout from the ballots elsewhere in the State, is
illegal for several reasons.  Florida statutes specifically mandate the
precise layout of the ballot and the order of candidates.  The law was
not followed.  Bush's name was first, with Buchanan below him and Gore
third. This is completely improper, as well as the fact that the law
requires the names to be placed to the left with the punch holes to the
right of the candidates' names.  On this ballot, some names were on the
right and some on the left, with all of the punch holes in the middle. 
It was difficult to line up the name with the correct hole.

Moreover, 19,000 ballots were disqualified because they voted for two or
more candidates.  This is a direct result of the confusing layout of the
names on the ballot.  This represents over 4% of the total ballots.  It
was as high as 15% in some predominantly African-American precincts and
about 10% in some precincts with large numbers of Jewish retirees.  The
Gore vote in many of these precincts was over 90%.

This explains the networks' exit polling which reflected voters' belief
that they had voted for Gore, but in fact their ballots had been
disqualified. This led to the initial awarding of Florida to Gore.

Folks, the bottom line is that if the names on the ballot were properly
situated Gore would have had an additional 11-13,000 vote margin in this
County, and the election would be over.  We have done a precinct by
precinct analysis of where the disqualified votes came from.  By
attributing the same percentage of the vote Gore obtained in those
precincts to the disqualified ballots, Gore would be winning Florida by
at least 10,000 votes.  In other words, Gore has actually won the
election both in the popular vote and in the electoral vote, but he may
well still lose it.

You should also be aware that other large counties in the State
disqualified about one half of one percent of their ballots for casting
two or more votes in the Presidential race.  In Palm Beach County it was

Lastly, don't expect the recount to be over on Thursday, as the media is
stating.  Legal actions are underway.  The next question, will a judge
order a re-vote just in Palm Beach County with a new ballot?

Steven Meyer '86