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The Presidential Election of 2000 is the closet election in history. It took five

weeks to decide who would be the next president of the United States of America. On

December 12, 2000, the US Supreme Court ruled in a 5-4 vote to stop recounting the

undervotes. The decision reversed the ruling in Florida made by Florida?s Supreme Court.

The Florida justices Fred Lewis, Harry Anstead, Leander Shaw, Jr., Charles T. Wells,

Major Harding, Barbara Pariente, and Peggy Quince had voted 4-3 to recount all the

undervotes of Florida?s 67 counties. The U.S. Supreme Court overruled the Florida

Supreme Court and declared that the state?s ruling was unconstitutional. ?Under

federalism, the US Supreme Court can overrule state courts where issues of federal law

are involved? (Cohen 42). When the Florida Supreme Court decision violated the equal

rights provision of the US Constitution.

Gore and his legal team repealed to Florida Supreme Court because of Judge

Sanders. ? A plain outspoken, sharp-witted man who uses his folksiness as a shield, Sauls,

59, proved to be an important jurist in the legal feud over the presidency? (Roche). Judge

N. Sanders Sauls, the Leon County judge made the decision not to count the undervotes

in the election after listening to nine hours of argument and testimony.

?On Friday night, Gore told TIME that he was ?not all that surprised? by the state

Supreme Court decision rescuing him from the abyss? (Pooley 34). The Florida Supreme

Court had decided to recount the undervotes to make the election easier. It?s decision

delayed the election for more than a month. The election was delayed because of

undervotes being counted and then recounted. Undervotes are ballots that contain votes

in some races but not all. The undervotes raised attention because the election was really

close between Bush and Al Gore. Before the Florida?s Supreme Court ruling George W.

Bush was ahead with 537 votes. After the order from the court to recount 42,000

undervotes Bush?s lead dropped to 193 votes. The Election of 2000 became the most

controversial one is history because of the recounts. The nation was divided on whether

the ballots should have been recounted. Many of the ballots that were recounted were

paper punch cards. The machines that read the cards miss counted the votes because

many cards were not fully punched. Election officials never had to examine undervotes

therefore they did not have a uniform standard. There were no rules on how to count the

undervotes that were not fully punched. The paper that is punched out of the card is

called chad. On the ballots there was chad left hanging on the underside of the card.

The issue of chad was mainly in three counties: Miami-Dade, Palm Beach, and

Broward. Several thousand of the counties ballots were set aside because of chad. Some

of the ballots left an indention rather than a hole along side the candidates name. The

election officials did not know whether the voters were meaning to vote for the candidate

or changed his or her mind. ?The small, perforated, rectangular plug, or chad, remained

attached but profaning and is described as pregnant or increasingly, as merely dimpled?

(Bonger 1). During the recounts Broward county did not count dimpled chad.

Miami-Dade counted the dimpled chad as votes and Palm Beach counted some dimples,

but not all. All three counties counted one, two, three corners, hanging, and swinging

corner chads.

On December 9, 2000, just hours after the recounts of ballots in Miami-Dade,

Palm Beach, and Broward the US Supreme Court accepted Governor Bush?s plea to

temporarily stop the counting of votes. He wanted the counting to stop until they had an

new hearing. Bush got his new hearing on December 11th. The US Supreme Court heard

oral arguments on what became known as Bush vs. Gore. The justices voted 7-2 that the

Florida Supreme Court was unconstitutional in its decision to recount the votes. ?The

decision came shortly after 10 p.m. ET Tuesday, and its decision was deciphered live by

broadcasters and legal experts on national television? (Campbell ?End in Sight.? 2). The

ending result was the 5-4 vote that ruled over all and made George W. Bush the projected

president of the United States.


Borger, Julian. ?The chad debate-are dimples Gore?s best hope?? The Guardian 22

November 2000: 1-3

Campbell, Duncan. ?Gore fights ruling and the clock.? The Observer 3 December 2000:


Campbell, Julia. ?End in Sight.? ABCNEWS.com 13 December 2000: 1-5.

Carlson, Margaret. ?He ain?t Heavy. He?s my Brother.? TIME 11 December 2000: 56.

Cloud, John. ?May It Please The Court.? TIME 11 December 2000: 42-50.

Cohen, Adam. ?Supreme Contest.? TIME 18 December 2000: 42-46.

Gibbs, Nancy. ?A nightmare before Christmas?? TIME 18 December 2000: 28-31.

Perine, Keith. ?Supreme Court Rules for Bush.? YAHOO.COM 13 December 2000:


Pooley, Eric. ?Flipping the Script.? TIME 18 December 2000: 32-40.

Ripley, Amanda. ?Firecracker- or Bomb?? TIME 11 December 2000: 50

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