The Election of 2000 - Part 2

As the election nears, i thought this would be a good time to finish up my in-depth look at the election of 2000. Part one is here: The Election of 2000 … H/t to http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0884144.html and uselectionatlas.org/INFORMATION/ARTICLES/pe2000timeline.php
  1. When most of the country woke up on Wednesday, November 8, they didn't expect to have no President-Elect. With the advances in modern technology, it was expected that the votes would be counted and the election would be called.
    In fact, most people went to sleep thinking there was a President-Elect, not knowing that the networks took back their call again
  2. The morning after the election, a full machine recount of all ballots in the state of Florida was called.
    This was due to Florida election code 102.141 … a full count is required when there is less than a 0.5% difference. In this case, the vote was 48.8 - 48.8. Less than 0.1%!
  3. Jeb Bush recused himself.
    Makes sense, although Katherine Harris should have as well, seeing as how she was he co-chair of Bush's Florida campaign
  4. On November 9, Pat Buchanan stated that he believes that most of the votes he got in Pall Beach county were supposed to be for Gore.
    This has been discussed since early on election night, as lots of elderly Jewish voters felt that they had made a mistake and voted for Buchanan
  5. As per Florida election law, Gore's legal team requests hand recounts in four counties - Palm Beach, Broward, Miami-Dade, and Volusia.
    These counties contained over 1.8 million votes, and were strong democrat areas.
  6. The butterfly ballot in Palm Beach created a lot of confusion. The candidates were on both sides, and if they weren't lined up right, it would be easy to make a mistake and vote for the wrong person.
    The county elections board said that they had to put it on both sides because the font would be too small if they put it all on one
  7. One of the central issues with hand recounts was the "chad". Florida used punchcard ballots. A voter is supposed to punch completely through the tiny perforated square, or chad.
    Some voters, especially those with arthritis or other bone issues may not be able to punch fully. Also, some older machines may have chads stuck in them, making it more difficult to completely punch through
  8. At it's core, the hand recount's main issue was that each of the counties had their own standards on what to count as a vote. Florida law states that if the intent of the voter was obvious, it should count even if the chad was attached
    There was no standard statewide, and it was tough to figure out the intent of the voter without being in the booth with them.
  9. The dimpled chad is one where the stylus has made a clear indentation. Some counties felt that a dimple was proof of intent.
    It is hard to tell the intent of the voter. Was the Chad dimpled because they couldn't push it through due to weak bones or was it because they changed their minds?
  10. The hanging chad was had the paper attached at one corner only.
    Would this be the most obvious example of intent? The perforation may just be too strong
  11. The swinging chad was attached on two adjacent corners.
    It's pretty obvious that they meant to push it in right? I mean, it's not the voter's fault that the stylus wasn't sharp enough … right?
  12. The tri-chad was attached at three of the four corners.
    This seems like they didn't intend to do it. Right? Or maybe the fact that they punched means that they were trying to vote for that candidate.
  13. Some also looked at pregnant chads. This was a deeper dimpled chad. It kept all four corners but was pierced.
    Seems like, with all of these different possibilities, the recount could have gone either way.
  14. On Saturday, November 11, Bush's team, led by former Secretary of State James Baker tries to get a federal injunction to stop the hand recounts. They feel that the different methods of each county election board violates equal protection and the fact that all votes should be considered equally.
    This was a bold move. Presidential elections are a State issue and the Bush team was turning it into a Federal issue.
  15. On November 12, Palm Beach county decides to do a hand recount of the entire county instead of the original plan of certain precincts. Volusia county also starts a hand recount of all of their ballots
    This was a win in the eyes of Gore's team, as they hoped some of these recounts would help find votes intended to be cast for him.
  16. On November 13, Katherine Harris announces that she will not postpone the November 14 deadline to certify the results of the election. This Florida state law is a lot earlier than the actual latest time to choose electors, over a month away.
    The law is murky, and there is leeway where the Secretary of State can postpone certification, but Harris argues that would only be because of an act of God.
  17. That night, a federal appeals judge rejects Bush's motion to stop all hand recounts. This will be appealed to a higher court, with Baker hoping to get it to the Supreme Court.
    Again, this states issue is being pushed around federal court.
  18. Finally that evening, Broward County votes not to do a hand recount. The next morning, Palm Beach officials vote to stop their recount until there is a clear legal decision on whether they can actually hand recount
    Seems like they could have just kept going while waiting for the decision
  19. Florida circuit court judge says that the November 14 deadline can be upheld, but the Secretary of State can consider allowing late submissions with good reason
    Gore appeals to the Florida Supreme Court.
  20. Harris announces that evening that from the recount of all counties, Bush beat Gore by 300 votes statewide.
    That's a crazy amount. Also, she is supposed to be considering late submissions.
  21. The next day, November 15, Broward county decides to do a full recount, switching positions from the previous week.
    Even though it's after the deadline …
  22. Palm Beach restarts their own full recount. A ruling by a state judge says that Palm Beach can use its own guidelines for be recount.
    This is part of where equal protection could be an issue. The same type of vote in one district may not be the same in a different one.
  23. Katherine Harris and the Bush camp petition the Florida Supreme Court to order the recounts to stop. Later that night the court denies the request.
    Not surprising, as the Florida Supreme Court leaned strongly liberal.
  24. Gore suggests a full hand recount of the entire state. He also suggests that he and Bush meet one on one. Neither idea is taken up by the Bush side.
    Good show of fair play by Gore, but he had to know the Bush group would never allow a full recount. They were hoping to run out the clock win injunctions and court battles.
  25. Katherine Harris, that evening, announces that she considered it, and will not accept any late submissions.
    She didn't really consider it, as the submissions weren't even submitted yet.
  26. The next day, November 16, the Bush team files paperwork with the federal appeals court in Atlanta to stop the recount.
    Gore's side obviously files as well to argue for the recounts.
  27. Gore's attorneys officially file an emergency motion in Florida that challenges the certification of the results
    They argue that the will of the people is still being counted and state law allows more time if needed.
  28. The Florida Supreme Court rules that palm beach county can continue their recount
    That's all they needed to jump back in and start counting again.
  29. November 17 starts with Gore losing his battle challenging the certification.
    A Leon county circuit judge said that Harris was allowed to reject late submissions.
  30. Later on, the Florida Supreme Court overturns that and orders that Katherine Harris cannot certify any results until further notice from the court.
    The recounts continue around the clock.
  31. The US court of appeals denies the Bush request to stop the recounts.
    This isn't really seen as a loss to the Bush team. They want to take this to the Supreme Court, so they needed to lose this to keep moving up the ladder.
  32. After hearing the Florida Supreme Court's order, Miami-Dade county changes its mind and decides to hand recount again.
    This is a predominantly democratic area, so this could help Gore.
  33. The overseas ballots are counted and Bush's lead extended to 930 votes, with him winning the majority of these ballots
    This was widely expected, as these are mostly ministry ballots that always lean republican.
  34. November 20, the Florida Supreme Court heard Palm Beach Canvassing Board v. Harris. They were trying to determine if Harris should accept hand counted ballots before being able to certify.
    So far, she has not been willing to.
  35. A Palm Beach county judge also rules that he has no authority to order a revote due to the butterfly ballot.
    Of course not. The Constitution states that everyone must vote on the same day.
  36. The next day, November 21, the Florida Supreme Court ruled unanimously that Harris has to accept and add any recount vote totals before she can certify the results. The deadline is set for Sunday, November 26, or Monday the 27th if the office is closed on the Sunday.
    This isn't a surprising decision, but it is a major one. The deadline is set now.
  37. November 22, Miami Dade again votes to stop the recount. A Palm beach judge also ruled that dimpled chads can be accepted, but only if the intent of the voter is clear.
    This is still a very hard thing to determine. Intent is nearly impossible unless you are with the person and they explain their intent.
  38. Bush files a certiorari in the US Supreme Court asking them to rule on the Florida supreme court's order.
    This will start to get the highest courts attention at this point.
  39. On November 23, Gore petitions the Florida Supreme Court to force Miami-Dade to start recounting again. They deny his petition.
    This was a quick decision, on thanksgiving!
  40. On November 24, the US Supreme Court agrees to hear arguments on bush's appeal of the earlier order forcing Harris to add recounts in before certifying.
    They set December 1 for oral arguments. This is a big deal. They are going to get involved in the state's handing of an election.
  41. Broward county finishes its recount.
    Just in the nick of time.
  42. Sunday, November 26, the Secretary of State decides to keep the office open, unlike every other Sunday. This will make the deadline 5pm Sunday instead of 8am Monday.
    Insanity. Why even make that an option?
  43. Palm beach asks for a short extension, but Harris refuses. They miss the deadline by an hour and a half. Harris denies the request.
    What was that about every vote being counted?
  44. That evening, Katherine Harris certifies theBush as the winner. The final tally was 2,912,790 - 2,912,253. Bush won the state by 537 votes.
    Out of a state of nearly 6 million votes. This is why it is so dangerous for people who don't vote because they think their votes don't matter.
  45. Finally, that evening, Jeb Bush signs off on the final tally, officially giving his brother Florida's 25 electoral votes.
    And the presidency … except that it didn't.
  46. Al Gore files an action challenging the election results in Florida state court. The case is given to Judge Sanders Sauls.
    The argument is that all the votes should be accepted, since the actual deadline for electors to be picked is December 12, and the palm beach recount should have been included in the total.
  47. Judge Sauls demands the disputed ballots as well as balloting machinery from Palm Beach and Miami Dade to be brought to his courtroom.
    There are more than 450,000 ballots delivered.
  48. On December 1, the Florida Supreme Court rejected a motion to start counting the disputed ballots easily.
    This is one of two big decisions that day.
  49. The Florida Supreme Court also upheld a lower courts decision that the butterfly ballot was not overly complicated
    This was a surprise, as even Pat Buchanan himself said he didn't think most of the people who voted for him meant to
  50. The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals agrees to take on two cases involving hand counting that Bush and Gore have added their names to.
    Bush's argument is that hand recounts are unconstitutional because it violates the equal protection clause.
  51. On December 4, the US Supreme Court remanded the Florida Supreme Court's decision that forced Katherine Harris to accept late deadlines
    The SCOTUS wanted clarification on why the Florida Supreme Court would force her to accept it when it was past the legal deadline
  52. Also that day, Judge Sauls ruled that no further recounts were necessary. He also refused to overturn the certified results.
    This was pretty much expected to happen, but all of these cases had to happen to move up the ladder of appeals
  53. On December 6, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals denied the Bush camp's appeal to have the manual recounts thrown out completely.
    It's still very interesting that a state's matter is being argued in federal court …
  54. December 7 has the Florida Supreme Court hearing an appeal of Judge Sauls' decision from Gore's team
    It is getting closer and closer to the deadline for states to choose their electors …
  55. On December 8, the Florida Supreme Court decides to reverse Judge Sauls' decision. They immediately order a complete statewide hand recount of all under votes
    It was a close 4-3 decision from the Democratic leaning Florida Supreme Court
  56. Bush petitions the Florida Supreme Court, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, and the Supreme Court of the United States for an injunction to stop the recounts.
    This is the last chance for both candidates.
  57. On December 9, The Florida Supreme Court and the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals deny Bush's request for a stay.
    This leads to the final showdown …
  58. That same day, the US Supreme Court narrowly decides, 5-4, to immediately stop the recounts.
    There is a question of why they stopped them. They could have had oral arguments while the recounts were happening, and then decided what to do.
  59. Oral arguments are heard on December 11.
    The stakes are extremely high and no one really knows how the SCOTUS will rule
  60. On December 12, the SCOTUS issues a 7-2 per curium that basically overturns the Florida Supreme Court's decision to start full manual recounts. They cite constitutional issues, as there is no clear rules that every recount follows. They would need to come up with statewide rules on chads and the like.
    This is a good point. Every vote should be counted the same way.
  61. A much closer 5-4 decision comes on what to do about this issue. The majority states that there is not enough time to create rules and do a full recount, as there are only a few hours until the December 12th deadline passes.
    Basically, they aren't saying that there shouldn't be a recount. They're just saying there's no time.
  62. This ruling, although not directly declaring a winner, takes away any chance to have a recount that would be considered constitutional before time runs out.
    The vote went along ideological lines.
  63. The four dissenting justices questioned why the date of December 12 is so rigid. It is in the US code, but there is no reason it can't be changed in order to find out the will of the people.
    But again, those are dissenting opinions, which don't really mean anything other than to console those who don't like the decision
  64. Justice Ginsberg wrote in her dissent, “the Court’s conclusion that a constitutionally adequate recount is impractical is a prophecy the Court’s own judgment will not allow to be tested. Such an untested prophecy should not decide the Presidency of the United States.”
    Strong words. Basically, why are we taking the will of the voter sway just to rush to an arbitrary deadline
  65. December 13, Al Gore concedes and George W Bush accepts the nomination.
    We all know what happens next .…