Summary of the 2000 Presidential Election The 2000

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Summary of the 2000 Presidential Election

The 2000 presidential election 2000 election in florida was one of the closest in United States history. Candidates George Bush and Al Gore were locked in a tight battle the few months leading up to voting day. Most polls and surveys swung from one candidate to other depending on the day and how they showed at any given appearance. I dont believe either of them would have guessed that they would have to wait five weeks after the election before they knew who had won.

The battleground state of Florida is where all the drama would take place during those 5 weeks. In fact, the 2000 presidential election would be the first election since 1888 where one of the candidates would win the popular vote and the other would win the electoral voteTexas Governor George Bush trailed Vice President Al Gore in the Popular Vote by 500,000 votes while Gore trailed in the Electoral College by four votes 271-267. Also intriguing was that that the House of Representatives was nearly split (5 seat difference) and the Senate was split 50-50. Additionally, several states ended up with results that were decided by only a thousand or so votes. Those states include Iowa, Wisconsin, Oregon, New Hampshire, New Mexico and Florida.

Making the drama in Florida even more intriguing is the fact that the Governor of Florida at the time was George Bushs brothers Jeb Bush. Its important to note that Florida was one of the most campaigned states by both Bush and Gore throughout the election. A majority of the time the polls indicated that Gore was in the lead in Florida despite the fact that many pundits claiming that Jeb would help George carried the state, a state that carried with it 25 electoral votes. The media added to the drama as well when news networks started declaring Gore the winner in the late afternoon. Later that evening they started back-peddling and declared Bush the victor. Many of those same outlets would go on to name Bush the winner of the Presidency the same evening before having to retract their story once again.

There were over 6 million votes cast in Florida and Bush at the end of voting day led by a slim margin of approximately 1700 votes. Florida law requires a machine recount and after that was completed Bushs lead slipped to under 500. Vice President Al Gore filed a protest with the state and not too long after that he filed he filed an official contestation of the results via the Courts where he requested permission for Florida to do a hand recount of all counties in Florida that were primarily leftward leaning. Those counties included: Palm Beach, Broward, Miami Dade, and Volusia.

Voting irregularities were found in all of those counties and called into question the working conditions of the voting machines and the types of ballots that could be processed and possibly miss-counted by the machines. Palm Beach County used a punch card ballot where a voter used a stylus to mark their votes. This is where the famous hanging chad became so famous. These "chads," were the remnants of paper that is left hanging after the ballot was punched. Katherine Harris, Florida Secretary of State and a Republican who was also the co-chair of the Bush campaign in Florida. insisted on enforcing a Florida statute that set a deadline for certification of the results and would also question whether counties can conduct a hand recount. She also continued to block efforts of counties wanting to conduct a hand count. This led many Democrats to questions the motive of the Republican Secretary of State.

On two different occasions the Florida Supreme Court intervened to allow recounts to continue in certain counties, during the second ruling the Court almost approved a hand recount of the entire state of Florida. While the Court was deciding on the state-wade recount, Bush's lead had dropped to less than 200 votes. But due to a fast approaching deadline for Florida to declare the winners by December 12, the Florida Supreme Court voted 4-3 on December 8 that only counties that would be allowed a recount would be those deemed in the "undervotes" (ballots that machines could not read a presidential choice on) category.

Shortly after the Florida Supreme Court voted, the United States Supreme Court over-ruled them, citing the Constitutionality of counting only the undervotes and a lack of any processes in place to determine voter intent. The lack of standards by the state of Florida enabled several counties to use different voting procedures, which brought into question how the ballots were handled in each county and led them into a hot water with the Equal Protection Clause in the U.S. Constitution. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that the Florida Supreme Court must create a new option on how hand counts should be ran. The one issue with that ruling was that it came merely two hours before the names of the electoral voters had to be submitted, thus deeming any remedies a moot point.

The 5 justices would go on to argue that with the deadline being upon them, no more recounts could occur, and thus certified bush as the winner. Its important to note that Supreme Court was made up of 5 conservative leaning judges in favor of certifying Bush and 4 liberals against. This led many election experts to call in to question whether the December 12 deadline was absolutely the last date that votes could be certified, or if it could have been extended. Their argument was that the electors did not vote until December 18 anyways and in the past some states didn't even send their electors over until after said date and would be included when Congress read the vote later in January.

The problem is that it if it had not been certified on the 12th; we could have been headed for a Constitutional crisis because Congress would have had grounds to question the states electors.

At the end of the election, Gore won the popular vote, but lost the electoral vote to Bush, thus propelling the Governor of Texas into the White House. Almost every aspect of this election has been called into question since then. I am sure commoners and scholars alike will continue to debate the process and outcome for years to come.

For more information on the 2000 Presidential Election, please visit: