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Florida 2000
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Text: Sen. Lieberman Protests Certification
Sunday, November 26, 2000

Following is the transcript of Sen. Joseph Lieberman, Democratic nominee for vice president, reacting to Florida's certification of George W. Bush as winner of the presidential contest.

LIEBERMAN: Good evening.

From the beginning of this extraordinary period of time, Vice President Gore and I have asked only that the votes that were cast on Election Day be counted. This evening, the secretary of state of Florida has decided to certify what by any reasonable standard is an incomplete and inaccurate count of the votes cast in the state of Florida.

The secretary of state has even refused to accept the results of the count in Palm Beach County, which means that hundreds of votes that have already been identified for Governor Bush or Vice President Gore are being discarded.

In thousands of hours of work by hundreds of citizens of Florida, Republicans and Democrats and independents alike are being ignored. What is at issue here is nothing less than every American's simple, sacred right to vote.

How can we teach our children that every vote counts if we are not willing to make a good-faith effort to count every vote?

Because of our belief in the importance of these fundamental American principles, Vice President Gore and I have no choice but to contest these actions, as provided under Florida law and in accord with the decision of the Florida Supreme Court.

It is in our nation's interest that the winner in Florida is truly the person got the most votes.

As we have said all along, we do not know who will prevail, after a full and fair count of every legally cast ballot. But the integrity our self-government is too important to cast into doubt because votes that have been counted, or others that have not yet been counted and clearly should be, have unjustifiably been cast aside. That is why we seek the most complete and accurate count possible.

We have an obligation, not just to the 50 million Americans who cast their votes for Vice President Gore and me, but to every American who voted in this election. They all deserve a fair and just outcome that respects their participation and does not diminish the value of their votes.

And we have an obligation to uphold the Constitution we are sworn to uphold. The idea of "one person, one vote" is central to our system of government and must never be compromised.

We are now going through an unprecedented time in American history. The campaign is over. But what we do now will be as important to the future of our country as anything any of us did during the campaign.

We must proceed responsibly in a way that honors the rule of law and strengthens the institutions of our free society. We must show the world and teach our children that, even in this unparalleled time, America can and will fulfill its democratic values by demonstrating the patience to cast every vote--to count every vote that was cast.

We have an opportunity here and we have a responsibility to ensure that this election lifts up our democracy and respects every voter and every vote, no matter what the outcome. And that is precisely what Vice President Gore and I will seek to do in the days ahead.

Thank you very much.

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