Text: Florida Secretary of State
Declares Bush Winner
Sunday, November 26, 2000
Following is the transcript of the certification of presidential election
returns in Florida. Speakers: Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris, Florida
Election Canvassing Commission Member Bob Crawford, Florida State Elections
Director Clay Roberts.
KATHERINE HARRIS: Good evening.
Commissioner Bob Crawford, Director Clay Roberts, ladies and gentlemen, as
the state Elections Canvassing Commission, we're here today to certify the results
of the election that occurred November 7, 2000.
Because of the great interest in our actions, we are meeting publicly rather
than meeting individually, as has been our traditional practice.
Before we proceed, I wish, briefly, to review why we are here tonight. It
was and it remains my opinion that the appropriate deadlines for filing certified
returns in this election are those mandated by the legislature. And it remains
my opinion that the proper returns in this election are the returns that were
certified by those deadlines.
The Florida Supreme Court, however, disagrees. The court created a new schedule
for filing certifications and conducting election contests rather than implementing
the schedule enacted by the legislature, and that is the schedule that we're
Prior to certification, there's one matter I wish to discuss concerning the
returns. In accordance with the direction of the Supreme Court, my office accepted
amended returns until 5 p.m. today, and these amendments are reflected in the
statewide canvass returns, copies of which will be available.
Palm Beach County has submitted a document that purports to be an amended
return, but contains two different compilations of the presidential vote.
One set of numbers is identified as a partial--one set of numbers is identified
as partial manual recount that fails to comply with the provisions of Section
The other set of numbers is identified as the machine count required by law
in this election, and these numbers are identical to those that were certified
by the Palm Beach County canvassing board on November 14.
These latter numbers are the numbers included in the statewide canvass. Copies
of the Palm Beach County document are also--will also be made available.
(SIGNING OF CERTIFICATION DOCUMENTS)
The certified result in the presidential race in Florida is as follows: Governor
George W. Bush, 2,912,790; Vice President Al Gore, 2,912,253.
Accordingly, on behalf of the state Elections Canvassing Commission and in
accordance with the laws of the state of Florida, I hereby declare Governor
George W. Bush the winner of Florida's 25 electoral votes for the president
for the United States.
Mr. Crawford, would you like to address the audience?
CRAWFORD: Thank you, Madam Secretary. Let me first commend you on the
job that you and your office have done during these last almost three weeks
since the election.
This has been a tough election. It has not always been pretty. But we got
the job done, and we got it done right. People called me and say--particularly
from out of state--and say what's going on down in Florida, and I have to keep
reminding people, the only thing that's going on here is that we've got a razor-thin
election for the most important job in the world. And that's all it is. After
all the jokes, after all of the anguish, we've just got a close election. And
any state that had to go through this would've had the same problems, I think,
that we have had.
But I think it's over. It should be over. And maybe that's the important word
there, "should." You know, Yogi Berra once said, "It's not over till it's over."
Well, it's over, and we have a winner, and it's time to move on.
There's one thing that I am sure of and that is both sides have enough legal
talent to keep this tied up through Christmas. But one thing the lawyers can't
do for us and one thing the courts can't do for us: They can't bring this country
And while we have a winner tonight and we have a loser tonight, it's going
to take both of these gentlemen to bring this country together again, and I
hope we can get on with that work soon.
And I'm proud of the job that we've done here in the state.
HARRIS: Mr. Roberts?
ROBERTS: Thank you, Madam Secretary.
I would like to thank the 67 supervisors of elections in each county in the
state of Florida and their staffs for their dedication and professionalism and
fortitude in what will be recognize as the toughest election anybody has ever
or will ever face.
Finally, I would like to thank my staff for their devotion to duty and all
the support they provided to both myself and the office of the secretary of
HARRIS: Thank you.
Finally, I wish to recognize the tireless efforts of all of the elections
personnel throughout the state of Florida, and I commend them for a job well
done. I also wish to thank the thousands of people throughout the country who
have been such an encouragement to me and to my staff through their letters,
their faxes, their flowers and their e-mails. And I want to say especially,
I thank them for their prayers.
I'm confident that the Department of State has conducted itself with integrity
and independence. And I want to thank the employees of the Department of State
Finally, I wish to point out that our American democracy has triumphed once
again, and this is a victory in which we can all take a great deal of pride
and comfort. The true winner in the election is the rule of law. Thank you and
may God bless America.