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Residents divided on recount ruling

December 09, 2000

Residents divided on recount ruling



By MARLO BARNHART And DAN KULIN / Staff Writers


Tri-State residents interviewed Saturday for an informal survey had mixed reactions to the Florida Supreme Court decision Friday to recount ballots cast in the presidential election.

The recount was stayed later in the day by the U.S. Supreme Court pending a hearing this week.

In some instances people's opinions matched those of the candidates they voted for. Supporters of Democratic Vice President Al Gore were pleased with the decision, while those for Republican Texas Gov. George W. Bush were critical of the ruling.

"I'm for the guy who got all the popular votes, Gore. So the (Florida) Supreme Court made a good decision," said Bonnie Distad, 56, of Hagerstown.

"I'm a Democrat, so I liked the way it came out," said Robert Barger, 75, of Hagerstown.

George Knight, 69, of Hagerstown, agreed.

"It's what they should have done at the beginning," Knight said.

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"Now it looks like Gore has a great chance. Until yesterday it looked bleak for Gore," said Gene Jenkins, 39, who lives near Hagerstown and said he voted for the vice president.

Bush supporters Jeff and Angie Stone of Williamsport disagreed.

"I think they should have stopped the proceedings a long time ago," said Jeff Stone, 37.

"I was really disappointed when I read the paper this morning," said Angie Stone, 38.

Some who supported the Florida ruling aid the matter needs to be resolved soon.

Percy Johnson, 49, of Martinsburg, said he was pleased with the decision.

"I think it's the best thing to do," Johnson said. "We need to get this over with."

David Rife, 60, of Martinsburg, agreed.

"But if they can come up with a fair and impartial count, then I say go count them," Rife said.

"It was a good thing to let them count. Now, however they find it, they'll know for sure who will be president," said Dolores Fitzgerald, 71, of Waynesboro, Pa.

David Ross, 68, of Hagerstown, said the situation shows the strength of the country.

"Our form of government will get through these strains. ... In a way it's a testimony to the stability of democracy," Ross said.

Others said the Friday ruling creates more problems,

David Ross' wife, Joy, 66, said the judges "opened Pandora's Box."

Ralph Salvagno, 45, of Hagerstown, said the judges have pushed the situation "into the unknown."

"They opened up a can of worms," said Howard Kaylor, 73, of Hagerstown.

A recent transplant to Shepherdstown, W.Va., Bill Wilcox, 69, said perhaps it's time for America to go back to the old-fashioned way of voting - paper and pencils.

"Machines aren't infallible," Wilcox said, noting that West Virginia uses the same kind of voting punch card that has caused so much controversy in Florida.

Two possibilities came to Kenneth Boyles' mind as he pondered what might happen after the Florida's court's ruling.

"Standardized ballots could ease this problem in the future," Boyles, 47, of Martinsburg, said.

As to the current election controversy, Boyles said, "Throw it out and start all over again."

Janet Kegarise, 61, of Marlowe, W.Va., said, "I think they should just do Florida all over again from the beginning."

Her opinion was heartily supported by Leo Mussolino, 57, of Marlowe.

"It's a corrupt mess in Florida," he said. "I agree that they should just open it back up there."

Buck Kreps, 69, of Marlowe, went farther.

"The only way to get it right is for the whole country to vote all over again," Kreps said.

Employed by a Martinsburg law firm, Cindy Harden, 49, of Martinsburg said she hears a lot of conversations about the situation.

"My opinion is that it should play through ... every vote should count the same," Harden said.

Like many others, 21-year-old Josh Sowder of Martinsburg is getting frustrated with the situation.

"I just think it should be over. It's gone on too long already," Sowder said.

"Neither of them deserve to be president. They are a disgrace," said Chambersburg, Pa. resident Patricia Albrecht, who is in her 60s.

Pete Plummer, 70, of Williamsport, said "I think it's fixed. I think Gore will do anything to win."

Some called on Gore to give up.

Christy Keen, 43, of Greencastle, Pa., said, "I think the whole thing's stupid. ... They should have left it alone."

"Gore is just a sore loser," said Courtney Yocum, 19, of Greencastle, Pa.

Lee Smith, 21, of Hagerstown, "I think Gore lost and they should just leave it alone."

"I think Gore needs to accept that he lost and try again in four years. We need to accept what was already counted," said Penny Kline, 36, of Hagerstown.

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