TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- After all the fiery speeches, constitutional debates, protests and tension, Republican leaders of the Florida Legislature signaled Wednesday that they are poised to extract themselves from the presidential election drama.
Senate President John McKay, expected to make the final decision, indicated that lawmakers no longer needed to directly appoint electors to safeguard Florida's vote for Gov. George W. Bush.
"With the (U.S. Supreme Court) ruling, it appears we have reached the point of finality," said McKay, a Republican. "We have successfully negotiated uncharted waters."
McKay seemed greatly relieved, but postponed a final determination until Thursday. He said he wanted to sift through several legal opinions and hear what vice president Al Gore had to say in his speech.
Sinking just as rapidly as the prospects of legislative intervention were the twin lawsuits over absentee ballot applications in Seminole and Martin counties. Lawyers for two democratic activists said Wednesday no further appeals would be filed and that they were giving up.
An appeal "would be a moot point now," said John T. Kennedy, an attorney in the Martin County case.
Even school children visiting the Capitol seemed to sense the end was near as they passed out homemade cards to politicians and reporters slumped in the hallways.
"Happy Holidays," said one card with cows and pigs on it from Kyle McKenzie of Buck Lake Elementary school. "I hope you go home soon."
That is exactly what many people in Tallahassee, especially state senators, have been hoping to do.
If McKay tables the measure, it won't go into effect and both chambers will adjourn.
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