Nevadans frustrated with presidential election process

LAS VEGAS - Call the marathon presidential election what you may - a waste of time, democracy in action, embarrassing. But to 75-year-old change attendant Nick Stratton, the whole process is just plain crooked.

And the U.S. Supreme Court?

''They're a bunch of crooks, too,'' Stratton said, sitting Wednesday in an empty video poker room at a Sav-On drugstore.

''After this election, I'm not going to vote anymore. I've voted since I was 21. ... My vote went to waste.''

As the presidential election appeared to have a winner Wednesday - Texas Republican Gov. George W. Bush - some Nevadans and tourists seemed so frustrated by the process that it didn't really matter that the end had come.

''At this point, I couldn't give a rat's ... who's president,'' Steve Williams, 33, said as he sat in his work van after installing lights at a video store.

''I think they both acted like kids and they both don't belong in political office,'' said Williams, a Kenner, La., resident in Las Vegas to help his company for a few weeks. ''It's embarrassing the United States. They could have had it recounted by now.''

Williams, a supporter of Vice President Al Gore, said one good lesson came from the process. ''I think Florida learned that they have to get themselves organized.''

Cozeene Triplett, 77, thought the recount in Florida should have been allowed to continue.

''I think it's ridiculous,'' Triplett said, in town from Peoria, Ariz., visiting his brother. ''I think the man with the most votes should win the election.

''I think his (Bush's) brother in Florida had something to do with it,'' he said of Republican Gov. Jeb Bush. ''I'm disgusted.''

In Reno, David Hammon, 48, a public defender from Mammoth Lakes, Calif., still thinks Gore won the election.

But now that it's over, Hammon, who described himself as a ''yellow-dog Democrat,'' said it's time for the country to move forward.

''Now that Bush is our president, we all have to get behind him,'' he said, walking in downtown Reno. ''This is America. So I hope Mr. Bush becomes the best president we ever had.''

Darrell Fowler, 69, a retired, native Reno resident, said he thought the election process was all right, ''I just think it went too long.''

Fowler, who said his politics leans toward conservative, was satisfied with the outcome and remained confident in the integrity of the U.S. Supreme Court.

''I think they did the best job they could,'' he said of the nation's high court.

He said he thought state courts were more prone to making decisions based on politics.

Cynthia Neenan, of Red Bluff, Calif., who is in Reno for an extended stay, is an admitted Bush supporter.

If the country learned anything, she said, it's that: ''We should take the results (after ballots are counted the first time) and not prolong the agony.''

''It had to come to an end and it was chaos in Florida,'' she said.

Back in Las Vegas, local resident Mike Hall had a solution to avoid the turmoil - he hasn't watched any of the election coverage.

''I hadn't really actually paid attention,'' he said, walking his two Shitzus with his two children Wednesday. ''I heard something about it.''

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