CHAPTER 3Who Won the 2000 Election: Bush or Gore?

The November 7, 2000 presidential election is still a controversial topic. On December 12, 2000, the U.S. Supreme Court declared Bush the winner, but the outcome is still a subject of great debate. By early morning November 8, Gore had locked in 255 electoral votes and Bush had locked in 246 electoral votes. Florida's 25 electoral votes were in doubt. Whoever won Florida would have the 270 electoral votes needed to become president. When the final vote was completed, Bush was ahead by 1,784 votes out of nearly 6 million total votes (a 0.03% margin—the smallest state percentage difference in U.S. history). Of course, a recount began. In counties with voting machines, the machine recount was completed on November 10 and Bush's margin shrank to a mere 327 votes. Then the fun and legal machinations began. Most of the controversy centered around the 61,000 undervotes (ballots in which legally you could not determine if the voter chose any presidential candidate) and the 113,000 overvotes (ballots on which it appeared that the voter selected more than one presidential candidate). Attempts to clarify the winner continued until December 12, 2000, when the Supreme Court decided in a controversial 5-4 decision (with the justices dividing along party lines) to stop the recount and declare Bush the winner of Florida's 25 electoral votes by 537 votes (a mere 0.01%). This decision was criticized on legal grounds (see Toobin, Jeffrey, Too ...

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