- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 15, 2002

MIAMI (AP) Workers waded through stacks of voting machines yesterday, pulling them out one by one in a search for uncounted votes from Florida's disputed Democratic primary.
At the same time, leading candidate Bill McBride was back on the campaign trail, saying it was time to get past the primary election fiasco and work on unseating Gov. Jeb Bush.
Mr. McBride spoke to a raucous crowd of about 200 chanting "Bill, Bill, Bill," at a Florida Education Association meeting in Orlando.
"What we've got is a party I think is ready to unite and party that's ready to get on with the business at hand, and the business at hand is defeating the current governor," Mr. McBride said.
But former U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno, who trailed Mr. McBride by 8,196 votes in unofficial totals from Tuesday's primary, said the business at hand is counting all the votes including thousands that may have been missed in her South Florida strongholds of Broward and Miami-Dade Counties.
"I just want the votes to be counted," Miss Reno said on NBC's "Today" show. "I'm happy to concede when the votes are there."
Miss Reno didn't fault Mr. McBride for starting to campaign against Mr. Bush, who has run negative campaign ads about Mr. McBride.
"If I were Bill, I'd be campaigning now," she said. "I'm not stopping anybody."
On Friday, state elections officials rejected Miss Reno's request for a statewide recount. But counties are allowed to amend the vote totals due Tuesday to the state, so any votes that are found before then can still count.
After Wednesday, candidates have 10 days to challenge the results in court, although Miss Reno has said she doesn't plan a lawsuit.
Instead, she is hoping that counties find votes that went uncounted because of technical problems Tuesday. So far, Miami-Dade County has found more than 1,800 such votes and is searching for perhaps thousands more.
In a dimly lit warehouse in Medley, about 25 workers searched through hundreds of stacked machines which look like hard-sided suitcases looking for equipment from precincts where totals have been questioned.
In some cases, the machines were mislabeled, further slowing the process. Workers had grabbed about 25 machines by yesterday morning and downloaded the voting information.
"We are relabeling as we go, so when I get the next list, it may be easier to find them," said Emil Phillips Jr., the county's assistant elections director in charge of systems.
Miami-Dade officials would not release details about their vote review until Tuesday, the state deadline.
In Broward County, workers were examining more than a dozen machines yesterday. Officials would not say how many they wanted to check.
Although Mr. McBride agreed that every vote should be counted, he said the Democrats should not get distracted with the election less than two months away.
"We've waited a hard couple of days, because what I wanted to do is to make sure that we didn't get out ahead of ourselves," he said. "We've got to start now, we've got to start today. We can't lose any more time."

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