Presidential Election

By Avi Arditti

This is Steve Ember with the VOA Special English program IN THE NEWS.

A presidential campaign that gave Americans few exciting moments to remember has ended with an election no one will soon forget.

On Tuesday, almost one-hundred-million Americans voted either for the Republican candidate, George W. Bush, or the Democratic candidate, Al Gore. Incomplete results showed Vice President Gore had about two-hundred-thousand more votes than the Texas Governor. But a candidate for president needs two-hundred-seventy electoral votes to win under the nation's Electoral College system.

No winner has been declared yet because of the situation in Florida. The big southern state counted almost six-million votes on Election Day. Mr. Bush had slightly more votes than Mr. Gore. Then Florida had to count the votes over again. State law calls for a recount when the difference in votes between two candidates is less than one-half of one percent.

Florida has enough electoral votes to make either candidate the winner. Mr. Gore now is ahead in electoral votes. But a victory in Florida for Mr. Bush would give him two-hundred-seventy-one, enough for him to be elected president.

Florida counties have until Tuesday to send in the results of their recounts. On Friday, the Associated Press said its own unofficial count showed Mr. Bush with only three-hundred-twenty-seven more votes than Mr. Gore. However, Mr. Bush's lead in the official recount was higher than that.

In any case, Florida cannot give its final answer before next Friday. November seventeenth is the last day to count ballots mailed in by members of the military and other Florida citizens who live in other countries.

State recounts normally involve the governor. But the governor of Florida, Jeb Bush, said he would not be involved. That is because he is the brother of George W. Bush.

There are other issues in Florida. Some black people say election workers had made it hard for them to vote. And, in Palm Beach County, many supporters of Mr. Gore think they voted for Reform Party candidate Pat Buchanan by mistake.

The area is heavily Democratic. Yet Mr. Buchanan received a high number of votes. His name and Al Gore's name were listed side-by-side on the ballot. Democrats say the ballot design may have been illegal. Republicans say Democratic officials never objected. Some voters have taken legal action to demand a new vote in Palm Beach County.

Mr. Gore and Mr. Bush have former secretaries of state to represent them during the recount in Florida. Mr. Gore sent Warren Christopher. Mr. Bush sent James Baker. Friday, Mr. Baker accused the Gore campaign of trying to delay the election. He said the campaign should end for the good of the country and its standing in the world. Mr. Gore's campaign chief called the situation "democracy in action."

This VOA Special English program IN THE NEWS was written by Avi Arditti. This is Steve Ember.

Voice of America Special English