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Election of 2000

Election of 2000


The U.S. Presidential Election of 2000 was one of the most controversial and contentious elections in American history. The election was fought between the Republican Party nominee George W. Bush and the Democratic Party nominee Al Gore, who was the incumbent Vice President at the time. The election results were ultimately decided by the Supreme Court, which intervened in a legal dispute over the recount of votes in Florida. In this article, we will explore the events and controversies surrounding the U.S Presidential Election of 2000.


The 2000 Presidential Election was held on November 7, 2000, and was the 54th quadrennial U.S Presidential Election. The election was between Republican Party nominee George W. Bush, who was Governor of Texas at the time, and Democratic Party nominee Al Gore, who was the incumbent Vice President. The election campaign was marked by fierce competition between the two candidates, with both engaged in intense debates and campaigning across the country in the final weeks leading up to the election.
The election was also notable for the high voter turnout, with over 105 million Americans voting. The election turnout was the highest since the 1968 Presidential Election.

Election Day

On Election Day, early exit polls suggested that Al Gore would win the election, leading to excitement among his supporters. However, as the polls closed, it became apparent that the race was too close to call, with both candidates neck-and-neck in several crucial swing states, including Florida.
As the night wore on, the networks began flip-flopping on their projections, with some initially calling Florida in favor of Al Gore, whereas others initially called it for George W. Bush. Ultimately, the outcome of the election rested on the results in Florida, with the candidates separated by only a few hundred votes.

Legal Challenges

The election outcome soon became the subject of a legal challenge, with the outcome in Florida being hotly contested. The first major legal challenge came from the Bush campaign, which argued that the recount process in Florida was inherently flawed and biased in favor of Al Gore. The Bush campaign filed several lawsuits in Florida courts to ensure that a fair and impartial recount process was established.
The Gore campaign also filed lawsuits, seeking to have invalid ballots counted and a manual recount of votes in some counties in Florida, where they believed there had been a significant number of undervotes (ballots where no candidate name was marked). The Florida courts initially agreed to allow a manual recount in four heavily Democratic (pro-Gore) counties, which soon became the focus of intense scrutiny and nationwide attention.

The Supreme Court Intervenes

The legal challenges surrounding the Florida recount led to a protracted legal battle between the two campaigns that ultimately went all the way to the Supreme Court. The central question before the Court was whether the Florida Supreme Court decision calling for a manual recount of votes in certain counties, primarily Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach, violated the U.S. Constitution’s “equal protection” clause and/or Article II, Section 1, Clause 2 of the Constitution.
On December 12, 2000, the Supreme Court ruled in Bush v. Gore that the recounting of undervotes in Florida must end, effectively making George W. Bush the winner of the 2000 Presidential Election. The Court’s decision was by a 5-4 vote, with the majority reasoning that manual recounts of the ballots were unconstitutional because they did not abide by the necessary equal protection standards in the selection of the votes.


The Supreme Court decision in Bush v. Gore was highly controversial, with many critics arguing that the Court had overstepped its boundaries and intervened in the election outcome. Additionally, the decision had a significant impact on American politics and the public’s trust in the Electoral College system.
Bush took office in January 2001 and served two terms as President, while Al Gore moved on to focus on environmental activism and global warming research, becoming a prominent advocate of reducing carbon emissions and generally promoting environmentally friendly policies.


The U.S. Presidential Election of 2000 was a highly contentious and controversial election, with the outcome ultimately decided by the Supreme Court in Bush v. Gore. The election highlighted the importance of every vote and the consequences of close electoral margins. Moreover, it exposed the flaws of the Electoral College system, which has now become a topic of ongoing debate and scrutiny. Nevertheless, the election of 2000 serves as a reminder of the importance of the democratic process and the necessity of ensuring fair and impartial voting systems that protect the sanctity of the American democratic system.

The election of 2000 between George W. Bush and Al Gore remains one of the most recent examples of a contended and unclear election to have cropped up.

In the election, Al Gore theoretically won the popular vote, while George W. Bush won the Presidency with 271 electoral votes, one more than was needed for an absolute majority and five more than Al Gore won. The real dispute surrounding the election erupted from determining where Florida’s 25 electoral votes would go, as the disposition of those 25 votes would determine the results of Bush vs. Gore.

Before Florida’s electoral votes had been tallied, the popular vote was already in Gore’s favor and so was the electoral vote at that point. Bush vs. Gore was already a clearly close race, not least because neither candidate had the necessary 270 votes for an absolute majority. New Mexico and Oregon, the last two states to be declared in the Bush vs. Gore contest before Florida, were both declared in favor of Gore, boosting Gore up to 266 votes. But the 25 votes of Florida were all that mattered to the race as a whole, as those 25 votes would determine the winner of the election.

The popular vote in Florida was incredibly close, and the counting of Florida’s votes was characterized by a consistent swinging back and forth between the two poles of the Bush vs. Gore race. At points, it looked as if Gore had won the race, only for more votes for Bush to be counted. At other times, it looked as if Bush vs. Gore had tipped in favor of Bush. This was towards the end of the counting process and Gore actually conceded to Bush.

But the popular vote in Florida was not over yet and the remaining counties that had not had their votes tabulated were all strongly Democratic. The disparity of votes between Gore and Bush shrank to about 300 votes in Florida, and then 900 votes with the addition of overseas military votes, in favor of Bush. This was after a State law mandated recount by machine because the popular vote in the State had been so close.

But Gore was not willing to let the Bush vs. Gore race end without a fight, not when it was clearly so close. He continually made requests that the popular vote of Florida be recounted by hand in four specific counties. The Florida Supreme Court had to make a decision on whether or not it would extend the deadlines to allow for a manual recount, even though Florida law clearly stipulated the deadlines for the counting of the popular vote.

As every Florida county raced to finish its recount, Palm Beach County, unfortunately, fell behind. When the deadline arrived, it had not finished and its partial recount results were therefore rejected. The Bush vs. Gore election looked to be going to Bush.
But Gore did not want to let the election go to Bush, not when the popular vote of Palm Beach County had not been counted.

Through a wide variety of court proceedings, Gore attempted to have the ballots recounted by December 12th, when electors had to be selected. Eventually, the Bush vs. Gore fight officially fell in favor of Bush, when Judge N. Sander Sauls ruled that Gore’s requests for a recount would not amount to any change in the election results and would simply be a waste of time.

There was still more debate to go on, as there had been some accusations of wrongdoing on the part of the Republican election. These election workers were accused of changing the results of the popular vote by illegally altering the absentee ballots sent in for those counties and even of removing applications for absentee ballots from the local offices. These motions all failed, however.

Additionally, Gore had appealed the decision of Judge Sauls to the Florida Supreme Court which, with only 4 days left, ordered the recount be conducted, but the United States Supreme Court put a hold on the recount and later decided that Gore could not receive a recount in his attempts to remedy the election problems. As such, the Bush vs. Gore race officially went to Bush, when Gore conceded on December 13th.

The election of 2000 stands out as one of the most problematic elections in American history, not least because of the dilemma of how to deal with a recount. Even today, many do still feel that the popular vote should have impacted more on the overall election process, as Gore did win the popular vote even as he lost the electoral vote. Many also believe there was much wrongdoing on the part of Republicans who adjusted the votes, even though such accusations have never been proven.

Indeed, those who did go back over the votes eventually found that no recount would have given Gore the votes he would have needed to win the Bush vs. Gore contest. But the election shows many of the problems in the Electoral College system, and the occurrence of the 2000 election allowed lawmakers to prepare for the eventuality that a similar situation should crop up again.