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Key officials head law school conference on role of law, media, courts in 2000 presidential election

Published: February 12th, 2001

Category: News

Key participants in Florida’s protracted 2000 presidential election will participate in a one-day conference in Holland Hall Auditorium on Monday, Feb. 26, examining legal, political and media aspects of the contested balloting. The seminar, “FLORIDA ELECTION 2000: Insiders at the Intersection of Law, Politics and the Media,” is sponsored jointly by the law school, College of Journalism and Communications, and College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Among presentations scheduled are those from members of the legal teams for both Vice President Al Gore and President-elect George W. Bush, national media representatives, members of the Governor’s Elections Task force, state legislators and officials, and academicians. Interim Dean Jon Mills, coordinator of the session, said participants “will examine the unique intersection of law, politics and the media, and the role of each, in the unprecedented, ambiguous situation which dominated American life for more than 30 days following the November election.” Panel moderators in addition to Mills include UF Provost David Colburn, Professor Richard Scher of the UF department of political science, and Terry Hynes, dean of the UF College of Journalism and Communications. The conference, open to the public, will begin at 8 a.m. with a welcome by UF President Charles Young. Five panel sessions, with audience participation, are scheduled until conclusion at 4 p.m. Among major topics to be discussed:

• What caused Florida’s close vote outcome?

• What legal strategies were open to both candidates, how were they pursued – and with what goals in mind?

• How did legal issues and strategies intersect with political realities and media coverage to both enhance and limit options available to the two candidates?

• Are there steps Florida can take to improve its electoral process, make it more fair and reflective of public will, and — if necessary — more democratic than this one is perceived to have been?

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