Al Gore, Joe Lieberman
Reaction to Florida Supreme Court Decision in Palm Beach County Canvassing Board v. Harris
November 21, 2000
Good evening. The Florida Supreme Court has now spoken, and we will move forward now with a full, fair and accurate count of the ballots in question. I don't know what those ballots will show. I don't know whether Governor Bush or I will prevail. But we do know that our democracy is the winner tonight.
I firmly believe that the will of the people should prevail, and I am gratified that the court's decision will allow us to honor that simple constitutional principle.
The court wisely set a deadline for the conclusion of this counting in order to preserve a reasonable period to resolve any remaining questions. I want to thank the citizen volunteers, no matter their political party, also the public officials involved in the canvass -- all these people who have given enormous amounts of time in an extraordinary effort. They're doing their jobs diligently and seriously under difficult conditions. As Americans always do, they are rising to the occasion.
Now that we know the process will continue, I once again urge that Governor Bush and I meet to demonstrate the essential unity that keeps America strong and free. Together let us testify to the truth that our country is more important than victory. Both Governor Bush and I should also continue to urge our supporters to tone down their rhetoric and lift up our common respect for democracy. Some of my own supporters have emphasized the fact that we won the national popular vote, but our Constitution requires victory in the Electoral College. I completely disavow any effort to persuade electors to switch their support from the candidate to whom they are pledged. I will not accept the support of any elector pledged to Governor Bush.
Both Governor Bush and I should urge all our supporters to refrain from any comments, including comments on this evening's decision by the Florida Supreme Court, that could make it harder for us to come together as one nation when the process is completed.
Finally, because we now know that this process is going to take more time, I believe it's now appropriate for both of us to focus on the transition, to ensure that the new administration, whoever leads it, will be fully in place and fully prepared to lead. Our guiding principle must be what is good for our country. That means we ought to move forward with a process that respects our democracy. For in the end, what is important is not just to ensure a victory for one candidate, but to ensure our unity as one people, to honor our self-government and to respect and accept the freely expressed will of the people.
As Americans we all share the same hopes in the same land. We all have a stake in the strength of our union, and in that endeavor, there can be no losers, no matter what the outcome.
May God bless you and may God bless our country in this Thanksgiving week.