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Tallies of undervotes in different counties by a three-newspaper consortium suggest Gore would have won. The results:

The Orlando Sentinel's analysis indicates Al Gore would have netted 203 extra votes if Orange County had run a hand count of all the ballots that machines couldn't read. The paper, working with the Chicago Tribuneand the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, found that in 15 counties, a total of 1700 votes clearly marked for presidential candidates had been discarded. While all but one of the 15 counties went for Bush, the audit showed most of the disqualified votes would have gone to Gore, giving him a net gain of 366 votes.

The Palm Beach Post's investigation reveals that if dimpled ballots were counted, Gore would have gained 682 votes in that county alone.


Gale Norton, the New Bill Clinton
Monumental Missteps In what can only be viewed as a Clintonesque maneuver, Bush's Secretary of Interior Gale Norton was talking out of both sides of her mouth last week. First she told a Washington Postreporter she wasn't going to overturn any of Bill Clinton's 19 last-minute national monument designations, totaling more than 5 million acres. These designations—in theory—could protect that land from the mining or oil and gas development Bush has advocated. The very same day the Post
article appeared in Washington, a hotbed of environmental lobbying, Norton's spokesperson was saying something quite different in Denver, the base camp for oil, gas, mining, and other extractive industries. Cliff May told The Denver Post the D.C. paper had gone too far and that Norton had not yet formally made a decision on the Clinton monuments.

This is a game of smoke and mirrors. Just because the president designates an area a national monument doesn't necessarily stop or prevent future commercial activity within it. After the president makes the proclamation, an elaborate land-use study must be undertaken, resulting in a detailed list of restrictions. In the case of Utah's Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, which Clinton designated just before the 1996 election, the land-use plan wasn't completed for three years and ended up allowing existing coal mining and oil and gas development to continue. In the meantime, Conoco, which holds leases there, sought and was given permission to drill oil and gas wells.

Republicans on Capitol Hill are now laying the groundwork to curb the power of future presidents to protect vast tracts. Mike Simpson, a Republican congressman from Idaho, wants to sponsor legislation that would limit the life of a presidentially proclaimed monument to two years, unless Congress specifically approves the designation.


Additional reporting: Rouven Gueissaz & Adam Gray

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