|Saturday, October 18, 2003|
Florida's flawed election
Past Orlando Sentinel coverage of the effort to re-examine the 2000 presidential vote count, as well as other news stories related to this extraordinary event in our nation's history.
Exposing the Flaws -- The Final Report
Al Gore might be in the White House today if Florida election officials had heeded his mantra of "count every vote" during last year's painfully drawn-out presidential election. But the rushed and limited recount strategies his own lawyers pushed may have cost him the presidency. And the statewide hand count interrupted Dec. 9, 2000, by the U.S. Supreme Court would not have gone Gore's way, either.
Ironically, George W. Bush might have added almost 1,200 votes to his final winning margin had his legal team embraced the "dimpled chads" they spent so much time deriding.
These are among the findings of the most comprehensive study ever done of the 175,000 Florida ballots that for 36 days were the subject of intense and bitter debate from small-town courthouses to the U.S. Supreme Court. A consortium of major newspapers, including the Orlando Sentinel, paid an independent research group to meticulously compile a database of every uncounted Florida ballot that could be located.
Nine scenarios were used in the Florida ballot study. Below is a quick breakdown of the results, followed by Orlando Sentinel coverage of the recount project.
Vote count ends quietly
With President Bush's popularity riding a wartime high, politicians and people on the street greeted the latest review of Florida's bitterly divided presidential vote with a collective sigh.
Scrutiny of Harris' PC hard drives turns up no post-election politics
The dueling roles of Katherine Harris, chief vote-counter for the state of Florida and campaign partisan for President Bush, emerge from an exhaustive examination of thousands of computer files in her office.
Panel: Don't blame punch cards
Election Day should be a federal holiday, but states should not rush to retire the punch-card ballots that bedeviled Florida's presidential election, a commission chaired by former Presidents Carter and Ford will recommend today in Washington.
Katherine Harris will seek seat in Congress
Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris, who attracted worldwide attention during last year's disputed presidential election recount, is running for Congress, a top state Republican Party official said Tuesday.
Late overseas votes gave Bush win
Under intense pressure from Republicans in the closest presidential election in American history, Florida officials accepted hundreds of late-arriving absentee ballots from overseas that did not comply with state election laws, a six-month investigation by The New York Times has found.
Lieberman's words sank strategy
For many Democrats immersed in Florida's disputed presidential vote, there was no worse moment than the one Nov. 19, when Sen. Joseph Lieberman appeared on national television and said election officials should give the "benefit of the doubt" to military voters.
Domestic mail lag snuffs out 86 votes
Karen Randle put an extra stamp on the envelope containing her absentee vote for Al Gore, just to be on the safe side. She signed the oath on the envelope, had it properly witnessed and mailed it in Orlando on Nov. 2, five days before the election.
New system fumbles votes
Escambia County spent more than a half-million dollars on its state-of-the-art voting machines, which are exactly the kind that lawmakers last week mandated be used statewide to avoid a repeat of last year's election debacle.
Next election may work
On the final day of the session, the Legislature is poised to pass a sweeping election-reform package aimed at making sure that Florida never again holds the nation in suspense as it tries to count presidential ballots.
Trip to polls can be so difficult disabled often do not vote
Voting is a sacred right; it can also be a humiliation. Try it if you're blind or in a wheelchair. You can't punch a chad you don't see. Or read a ballot that reaches your chin when you roll up in a chair.
Ocoee recount parallels presidential vote
Ocoee found itself thrust into the election controversy late Wednesday when a final tally of results in a City Commission race was so close that a hand recount became mandatory.
Senate hearings focusing on election changes
Fixing voting machines to make them more accurate and voter-friendly will cost billions of dollars and will address only one aspect of the nation's flawed election system, the Senate was told today.
Orange election yields no problems
Bracing for the first Orange County election since last November's agonizing presidential vote, officials beefed up training for poll workers and plastered how-to instructions where voters couldn't miss them in Tuesday's city elections.
State's elections flaws taken to task
After a testy debate, a majority of the U.S. Civil Rights Commission concluded Friday that Florida's election last year was marred by "significant and distressing" barriers that discouraged qualified voters from casting ballots.
Election reformers agree to act quickly but get off to slow start
Members of a key Senate committee discussing election reform Friday generally agreed on updating the state's election machinery and laws.
Orange tally nets 203 votes for Gore
Al Gore would have gained more than 200 extra votes if Orange County had conducted a hand recount of all its ballots that machines could not read after the Nov. 7 election. Results of a new hand count released Friday by Orange County election officials, and an Orlando Sentinel examination of rejected ballots, found clear presidential votes on 799 ballots for which counting machines had detected no vote or votes for multiple candidates.
Language could have tripped up some voters
More than 200 potential ballots for Al Gore were thrown out in Osceola County last Nov. 7 because voters may have confused the last name of Gore running mate Joe Lieberman with the "Libertarian" party label for the next candidate listed.
NAACP will meet with Orange voters
NAACP lawyers will be in Orlando today to meet with Orange County voters who experienced problems casting ballots in last November's election.
Poll workers blew votes
Al Gore lost Florida -- and thus the presidency -- by just 537 votes. But he may have lost 60 or more of those precious votes because of poll-worker errors in a single, heavily Democratic precinct in a county heralded for its reliable voting system.
Poll workers must learn jobs at 3-hour class
Even the state�s most reliable voting system is only as good as the workers who run it.
Touch-screen voting takes hit
Those touch-screen voting machines with computer brains have been held up as the gold standard of voting reliability -- especially when compared with the antique punch-card systems that introduced "hanging chad" to a stunned nation.
Ballots still present literacy test
The people who set voting rules, who design ballots and who supervise elections live in the literate world.
Small counties wasted more than 1,700 votes
Thousands of potential presidential votes were lost in Florida's most error-prone counties because of confusing ballot designs, inconsistent counting methods or because elections officials simply never looked at ballots that were rejected by machines.
Some had 1 from 'column A,' 1 from 'column B'
Everyone thought Monica was Bill Clinton's problem. But she might have cost Al Gore the presidency instead.
Lake erred by tossing write-ins
On election night, Lake County's canvassing board decided that a presidential ballot with two marks for the same candidate -- one by the name, the other a write-in -- was trash.
What's a vote? It varies by county
The rules for counting ballots vary so widely in Florida that an identical ballot counts as a vote in one county and is tossed out in another.
How the ballot review was done
The goal wasn't to simulate conditions of a recount but to document what was on ballots that weren't counted. The Orlando Sentinel-led review of more than 15,000 problem ballots in 15 counties is one of many news media efforts under way to analyze what happened in Florida on Election Day.
Officials attend editors' meeting
The Florida Supreme Court kept the presidential election going. The Florida Legislature tried to stop it. And the Florida governor sat by and watched as his state's incredibly close election delayed his brother's win of the White House.
Media alliance to examine ballots
A consortium of the nation's major news organizations Tuesday announced an unprecedented joint effort to re-examine the 180,000 uncounted Florida ballots that proved so contentious during the 2000 presidential election.
Gore would have gained votes
An inspection of more than 6,000 discarded presidential ballots in Lake County on Monday revealed that Vice President Al Gore lost a net 130 votes that were clearly his even in a conservative GOP bastion that President-elect Bush dominated as a whole.
Governor chides media for recount of ballots
Gov. Jeb Bush on Tuesday questioned the value of efforts by the Orlando Sentinel and other news organizations to study some of the 180,000 ballots cast statewide Nov. 7 but not counted as votes in the presidential race.
Voting-machine glitches hurt Gore in Seminole
Even in the Republican bastion of Seminole County, a hand recount of all presidential ballots may have helped Al Gore instead of George W. Bush, a ballot review indicates.
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