Both Parties Looking to Ensure Fair Election

This is a partial transcript of "The Big Story With John Gibson," Oct. 24, 2004, that has been edited for clarity.

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JOHN KERRY, DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: You're reading in the newspapers about the possibilities of problems and this and that if you don't vote. Don't worry. I want you to turn out. I've put together the strongest legal team in the history of our efforts.


JOHN GIBSON, HOST: You have 10,000 lawyers.

The Democrats and Republicans trying to make sure the election is fair and square. Recruits will be stationed at some polling places to make sure every vote counts and every voter is qualified.

Joining me now to talk about that effort, former attorney for Al Gore (search) during the 2000 recount, Mitchell Berger (search). And a member of the RNC victory legal team, Brad Blakeman (search).

So just, both of you, Mitch and Brad, everybody's talking about the great potential for voter fraud and for trying to suppress the vote here. Brad, what are the Republicans worried about?

BRAD BLAKEMAN, RNC VICTORY LEGAL TEAM: Well, John, what we're worried about is what we've already seen, and that is — and you heard it from the candidate himself — we've amassed the largest legal team to go out there.

That's not what the American people want to hear. They want to hear that they can go out and vote and that their vote is going to determine who wins this election.

GIBSON: Yes, but Brad, there are people out there who are on your side. Do you have 10,000 lawyers, too, like Mitchell does?

BLAKEMAN: We have enough lawyers to match the Democrats in any kind of litigation they'll bring. And what the Democrats have said is they're going to start their lawsuits when they lose right at the get-go. The Republicans are talking about winning this at the ballot box.

GIBSON: OK. Mitchell, Mr. Berger, why do you need 10,000 lawyers?

MITCHELL BERGER, FORMER GORE RECOUNT ATTORNEY: Well, first of all, last time George Bush sued first. But second of all, in terms of what my colleagues are doing, is the best in terms of citizen democracy that's ever occurred.

They're going out there, they're making sure that if people are being turned away from the ballot box, as they were last time, and there's no reason to turn them away, that they're able to vote. That's all they're there to do.

The supervisors of elections in our state, as well as in Ohio — the "New York Times" indicated, by the way, that in Ohio there are more Republican lawyers being employed than Democratic lawyers.

GIBSON: There may be a reason why. There are some counties in Ohio that have 100 percent registration. Doesn't that make you suspicious?

BERGER: Well, look, voter fraud is not the problem in this country. Indeed, the only place where voter fraud occurred last time was along the panhandle where people voted in Alabama and Florida for George Bush.

The big problem in this country, as Mrs. Bush said on another cable network, is under participation. Almost 40 percent of the American public won't vote in this election. That's the big problem, not voter fraud. If our secretaries of state and supervisors of election would spend one-tenth on promoting people's voting of what they spend for voter fraud, we'd have larger turnouts.

GIBSON: ... is talking about Mom and apple pie here. Is that what's going on? Or is there nascent fraud waiting to happen?

BLAKEMAN: Look, it's already happening, John. Look what's happened in Ohio. There are 62 incidents where dead people are on the rolls. Mary Poppins is on the rolls. They've been paying people off in crack cocaine.

BERGER: One hundred twenty million people are going to vote in this election. One hundred twenty million.

BLAKEMAN: What Mitchell has to realize, this is the Help America Vote Act, not the Hinder America Vote Act. In the democratic playbook, there's a provision in there, that even if you don't see anything, allege things that are untoward against the Republicans. That's not what it's all about.

GIBSON: Ladies and gentlemen, I think you can see what's going to happen November 3rd. Let me thank Mitchell Berger and Brad Blakeman. Appreciate it, you guys. Punch gloves at the bell; get out there a nice, clean fight.

BERGER: Thank you, John.

BLAKEMAN: Thank you, John.

GIBSON: We'll see you in early November.

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