Reno contemplates possible legal action

Thursday, September 12, 2002

MIAMI -- Janet Reno contemplated legal action Wednesday as she trailed political novice Bill McBride in Florida's Democratic gubernatorial primary, an election marked by problems reminiscent of the 2000 presidential election.

Counting continued in Miami-Dade and Broward counties Wednesday evening, south Florida strongholds for Reno, who trailed by just more than 11,000 votes. Counts also continued in Orange and Union counties.

With 99 percent of precincts reporting, McBride had 599,057 votes, or 44.6 percent, compared with Reno's 579,399 votes, or 43.7 percent. Miami Sen. Daryl Jones had 154,838 votes, or 11.5 percent.

Reno was concerned that election problems prevented hundreds of voters from casting ballots Tuesday in Miami-Dade. Several polling places opened late, others had computer problems that caused them to close for lengthy periods and some shut down early despite Gov. Jeb Bush's order that extended voting statewide for two hours.

The former U.S. attorney general met with her lawyers and advisers at her Miami Lakes campaign headquarters Wednesday to discuss her options, including whether to demand a recount or sue to overturn the results. A recount would be automatic if the difference is less than half a percent.

"At this point, I don't want to talk about it until I know what the circumstances are," Reno said of her options.

Her hopes rested on the final tallies from Broward and Miami-Dade counties, which have the most registered voters in the state.

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