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Officials Sift Through Fla. Ballots

December 9, 2000

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) _ Election officials in Florida began combing tens of thousands of disputed ballots Saturday in a court-ordered hand recount to determine the state’s 25 electoral votes and the next president.

The Bush campaign immediately objected.

In Orange County, election workers began sorting through 275,000 ballots in search of 966 in which a presidential choice was not picked up in the machine counts.

``I hope you brought some reading material because it’s going to be a long couple of days,″ said Orange County elections supervisor Bill Cowles.

Other counties faced a similar sorting task before the actual hand recount began. However, many of the 64 counties had already separated the undercounted ballots from those in which a presidential choice was picked up in the machine counts.

``We’ll wrap it up today,″ Leon County Clerk of Court Dave Lang said in Tallahassee, where a sheriff’s van delivered the ballots to the county library to the recount. ``I would expect to be done in nine hours or so.″

Meanwhile, the Bush administration filed new objections to the recount proceeding as ordered Friday by a circuit judge upon instructions from Florida’s Supreme Court.

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