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With the current uncertainty over who will become the next president of the United States, we are engaged in a moment in history that will not soon be forgotten. While emotions are running high, we would encourage all sides to remain calm as the electoral process runs its course. The recount of more than six million Florida votes should be completed this afternoon. Overseas absentee ballots should be tabulated over the next 10 days, and a hand count may then be held. Then, and only then, will we know for sure which candidate has won the state's popular vote and its 25 electors. We hope that both candidates and their partisans accept the result of this process and that concerns over the fairness and accuracy of Florida's electoral procedures are resolved in an expeditious manner. It is important that whoever wins, we acknowledge the legitimacy of the election and America's rule of law. Furthermore, the new president must recognize that while he has won the election, he has not captured a mandate to impose his will on a divided electorate. We would encourage whoever should win to make bipartisanship the hallmark of his administration, bringing members of the opposing party into his Cabinet and working constructively with congressional leaders of all stripes. The closeness of the race between Al Gore and George W. Bush nationally and in many key states is proof of the fact that every vote really does matter. We hope whoever emerges as the new president recognizes that fact, and makes our votes count for something.

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