1 minute read

Bush v. Gore

Election Night

As daylight turned to twilight on the East Coast of the United States, it became evident that Florida's 25 electoral votes held the key to victory in the November 7, 2000, U.S. presidential race. Early returns combined with exit polling results indicated that Gore had a commanding lead in the state. By 8:00 P.M. EST, all of the major television networks projected that Gore had defeated Bush to become the nation's next president.

However, the polls had not yet closed in the Florida's panhandle, which is in the Central time zone. A few hours later, the lead swung to Bush, forcing the networks to retract their projections. By 2:15 EST, Bush appeared to have a decisive lead of about 50,000 votes, and all of the major networks were declaring Bush the winner. Gore even called Bush privately to concede. But while Gore was en route to Nashville, Tennessee, to make his public concession speech, Gore's aides informed him that Bush's lead had shrunk to a few thousands votes, at best. Gore immediately withdrew his concession, and the embarrassed networks announced the race was too close to call.

When the votes were finally tallied on November 8, minus the late-arriving overseas ballots, Bush was ahead of Gore by 1,784 votes, or less than .5 percent of the total number of votes tabulated for the U.S. presidency in Florida. Under Florida Election Law, a recount was automatic in these circumstances, unless Gore refused, which he did not. The recount was performed by machine and was designed to correct any errors in the first machine tabulation of the vote. On November 10 the first recount was complete. Bush's lead had dwindled to 327 votes.

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationFree Legal Encyclopedia: Bryan Treaties (Bryan Arbitration Treaties) to James Earl Carter Jr. - Further ReadingsBush v. Gore - Introduction, Election Night, The Controversy Begins, The U.s. Supreme Court Steps In