Case: The 2000 Presidential Election The presidential election of 2000 was an extremely close one…

Case: The 2000 Presidential Election

The presidential election of 2000 was an extremely close one between then-Vice President Al Gore and George W. Bush. Ultimately, because of the way presidents are elected in the United States, the winner of the election came down to whoever would be the winner of the popular vote in the state of Florida. When we cast our votes in a presidential election, we do not actually vote for any of the presidential candidates, but rather vote for an elector who pledges to vote for a particular candidate. Those electors ultimately cast their votes, called electoral votes, in the real election that occurs well after what we think of as Election Day. Each state has as many electors as it has representatives in Congress–two for its two senators and one for each member of the House of Representatives. All the states except Maine and Nebraska appoint their electors for the winner of the popular vote in the state. Hence, the winner of the popular vote in Florida would win all twenty-five of Florida’s electoral votes, and that would decide the winner. The vote in Florida was so close that it was difficult to tell, even days afterwards, who had won. On election night, television news anchors declared Gore the winner, then Bush, then declared the election too close to call. At one point, Al Gore actually called George W. Bush to concede, but then retracted his concession. The political pundits were in no better position to determine the results than was the news media. Ultimately, the U.S. Supreme Court became involved. One of its decisions effectively decided the election with certainty and on December 13, 2000, over a month after election night, Al Gore conceded to George W. Bush in a televised speech. George W. Bush had won the election in Florida, and hence the nation, by 537 votes. Technology played a significant role in both the reporting of the results by the news media and in some of the problems with counting the vote. We shall look at each of these issues.

The news media uses statistical models and exit polls to predict the result of an election. We are all familiar with the map where the states are all colored gray until a winner is declared and then it usually becomes red or blue depending on the party of the winning candidate. Frequently, winners are declared when only a small portion of the actual vote has been counted; until the election of 2000, the media was almost always right when they declared a winner. In the 2000 election, however, a number of factors caused the projections of the news stations to be inaccurate. Every major news network made bad projections on that night until eventually all networks called the election as undecided. Although there were a number of factors contributing to the confusion and incorrect reporting, here we will focus only on the technological issues. In particular, we consider the problems with the punch card technology used in Florida and its apparent failure to correctly record all of the votes cast.

On election night in Florida in the 2000 election, the discrepancy between exit polls and the actual reported count was particularly large. One reason was that many ballots were declared invalid. In Florida, voters used a small pin to punch a hole in a card in the right place to indicate their preferred candidate. The hole is a little square piece of the card, called a chad, that is attached at its four corners. When a voter pushes a voting pin into the indicated place for his or her candidate, the chad is detached, allowing a laser to later scan the card and record the vote. If the voter does not punch the card firmly, the chad may not detach fully and the card reader cannot record a vote for that ballot.

When election night ended in what was essentially a tie, a manual recount was started. There were many problems with the recount, in part because Florida law did not specify an objective criterion for declaring a ballot valid, but rather indicated that hand recounts should count ballots whenever it was possible discern “the voter’s intent.” There was no clear consensus as to what constituted a reasonable way to do that. For example, if a chad was detached at three of the four corners, it seems reasonable that the voter had intended to punch out that chad. If, on the other hand, a chad still had all four corners attached but there was an indentation in the chad, should that indicate a voter’s intention to punch that chad? Eventually, the contention over what ballots would be recounted and how they should be counted resulted in a legal battle that involved a number of court cases, some in the Florida Supreme Court and some in the United States Supreme Court. The final decision that settled the matter was issued on December 12, when the court ruled that the manual recounts ordered by the Florida Supreme Court violated the equal protection clause of the United States Constitution because the standard was too vague and would lead to inconsistent counts in different districts. The following day, Al Gore conceded the election.

Place your order
(550 words)

Approximate price: $22

Calculate the price of your order

550 words
We'll send you the first draft for approval by September 11, 2018 at 10:52 AM
Total price:
The price is based on these factors:
Academic level
Number of pages
Basic features
  • Free title page and bibliography
  • Unlimited revisions
  • Plagiarism-free guarantee
  • Money-back guarantee
  • 24/7 support
On-demand options
  • Writer’s samples
  • Part-by-part delivery
  • Overnight delivery
  • Copies of used sources
  • Expert Proofreading
Paper format
  • 275 words per page
  • 12 pt Arial/Times New Roman
  • Double line spacing
  • Any citation style (APA, MLA, Chicago/Turabian, Harvard)

Our guarantees

Delivering a high-quality product at a reasonable price is not enough anymore.
That’s why we have developed 5 beneficial guarantees that will make your experience with our service enjoyable, easy, and safe.

Money-back guarantee

You have to be 100% sure of the quality of your product to give a money-back guarantee. This describes us perfectly. Make sure that this guarantee is totally transparent.

Read more

Zero-plagiarism guarantee

Each paper is composed from scratch, according to your instructions. It is then checked by our plagiarism-detection software. There is no gap where plagiarism could squeeze in.

Read more

Free-revision policy

Thanks to our free revisions, there is no way for you to be unsatisfied. We will work on your paper until you are completely happy with the result.

Read more

Privacy policy

Your email is safe, as we store it according to international data protection rules. Your bank details are secure, as we use only reliable payment systems.

Read more

Fair-cooperation guarantee

By sending us your money, you buy the service we provide. Check out our terms and conditions if you prefer business talks to be laid out in official language.

Read more
error: Content is protected !!