Chad Veteran Offers His Two Cents

GOP Gov. Bob Taft of Ohio, against the backdrop of a chad-type ballot.
Texas Gov. George W. Bush should be allowed to begin a transition to the presidency, pick a Cabinet and set the tone for his administration now, Ohio Gov. Bob Taft said in the Republicans' weekly radio address Saturday.

"It would be irresponsible for Governor Bush to walk into the White House unprepared to assume the most difficult and demanding job in the world," Taft said in the tape-recorded speech.

Taft repeated the GOP contention that the election results in Florida have been fairly counted and recounts of the votes should end. Taft, who as secretary of state was Ohio's chief elections officer from 1990-98, said more counting would only "prolong a constitutional impasse that could prevent the timely transition of presidential power."
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Florida's strong open-government statutes mean we'll eventually know for sure who got the most votes in the state's presidential election -- and it might not be the person who gets sworn in.
One of Taft's rulings as secretary of state was cited in a brief filed in support of the Bush campaign's case in the U.S. Supreme Court. In 1994, Taft ruled that a bulging or indented ballot chad could represent a voter changing his or her mind and that it is "mere speculation" to use an indented chad to determine voter intent.

"What is needed in this overheated (presidential) contest is some common sense. To count a vote, there must be clear indication of a voter's intent. It cannot be guessed at or divined from an unclearly marked ballot," the governor said in his address.

Taft, the great-grandson of President (and Republican) William Howard Taft, was chosen to deliver the GOP response to President Clinton's weekly radio speech by Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore, chairman of the Republican Governors Association. It was his second such appearance in three months. On Sept. 9, he spoke about reading proficiency in elementarschools.

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