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The Election of 2000

Overview

  • The 2000 presidential election pitted Republican George W. Bush against Democrat Al Gore.
  • Initial election returns showed that Gore had won the popular vote, but neither candidate had received the 270 electoral votes required to win the presidency.
  • The election hinged on results from the state of Florida, where the vote was so close as to require a recount.
  • The outcome of the election was ultimately decided by the US Supreme Court in Bush v. Gore. The court, in a 5-4 vote, ruled in favor of Bush.

The 2000 presidential campaign

In the 2000 presidential election, Republican George W. Bush, governor of Texas and son of former US president George H.W. Bush, ran against Democrat Al Gore, former senator and Bill Clinton’s vice president.

Both candidates focused primarily on domestic issues, such as economic growth, the federal budget surplus, health care, tax relief, and reform of social insurance and welfare programs, particularly Social Security and Medicare.

Results of the 2000 election

Gore won the popular vote by over half a million votes, but neither candidate had won the 270 electoral votes necessary for victory. It was Florida, with its 25 electoral votes, which would determine the outcome of the election.

Based on exit polls in Florida, the media declared Gore the winner, but as the actual votes were tallied, Bush appeared to take the lead. When 85 percent of the vote had been counted, networks declared Bush the winner.

Disputes arose over the reliability of election technology in Florida, with confusion over ballots that have names on both sides and “hanging chads” (punch card ballots that were only partially punched).

The result in Florida was so close that there was a statewide mandatory machine recount. The Gore campaign then requested that the disputed ballots in four counties be recounted by hand. The Florida Supreme Court extended the deadline for the recount and ordered a manual recount. The Bush campaign appealed the decision, and the US Supreme Court agreed to hear the case.

Bush v. Gore

The US Supreme Court ordered that the recount be stopped. Bush was awarded Florida’s electoral votes and declared the president-elect.

The Supreme Court decision in Bush v. Gore was controversial because the 5-4 vote was along partisan lines. Another point of controversy in the 2000 election was the fact that George W. Bush’s brother, Jeb Bush, was the governor of Florida at the time of the recount, although no evidence of wrongdoing surfaced.

The 2000 presidential election was the closest in the history of the US Electoral College and the first ever to be decided by the US Supreme Court.


Source: The Election of 2000
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