The Green Papers: News

Election notes posted on home page
Tuesday, December 5, 2000

Wednesday 6 December 2000: A trial begins in Leon County Circuit Court (Judge Nikki Clark) where a Democratic voter in Seminole County seeks to invalidate nearly 4,700 (out of nearly 15,000) absentee ballots cast in that county. This suit claims that Republican activists were allowed- by a county election official- to fill out required information on ballots from registered Republicans which had been mailed in without that missing information. On Monday 27 November, the Seminole County Circuit Court conducted a preliminary hearing regarding this lawsuit, after which it was moved to Leon County Circuit Court as a "contest" under 102.168. The Gore camp has distanced itself from this particular case (as it, too, has asked that all votes- including any possibly disputed absentee ballots, such as those in Seminole County- be counted in Florida. (A court in Martin County will be hearing a similar case on Wednesday.)

Monday 4 December 2000 - The U.S. Supreme Court has vacated the Florida Supreme Court ruling which extended the Florida vote certification deadline. The court has remanded the case back to the Florida Supreme Court, that is, the Florida Supreme Court must reconsider its previous decision.   Text of Supreme Court Ruling   Text of Friday 1 December 2000 Arguments

Monday 5 December 2000: Attorneys for the Gore and Bush campaigns have until 3 PM EST (2000 UTC) to submit briefs to the Florida Supreme Court which must now clarify its decision to that extend the Florida deadline for certifying election results.

On 24 November the United States Supreme Court agreed to hear the Bush campaign's appeal of the Florida Supreme Court's ruling of 21 November. Oral arguments begin Friday 1 December. The appeal is based on the Bush camp's contention that the Florida Supreme Court ruling [dated 21 November, remember!] violates 3 U.S.C. 5 which requires that any controversy on the state level prior to the date Electors must be certified [12 December this year] must be settled "by laws enacted prior to the day fixed for the appointment of the electors" [i.e., 7 November]; the Gore counterargument- besides one arguing that this issue should be determined solely by the Florida courts [as the 21 November ruling solely involves Florida state election law]- would be that 3 U.S.C. 5 also states- immediately after that statute requires the controversy to be determined at the state level "at least six days before the time fixed for the meeting of the electors" [12 December this year]- that "such determination" be "made pursuant to such law so existing on said day" [12 December, not the law as it was on 7 November as the Bush camp alleges]. Supreme Court Justices

Tuesday 5 December 2000 - The Florida Supreme Court has established a deadline of Wednesday 6 December 2000 Noon EST (1700 UTC) for the Gore and Bush campaigns to provide briefs regarding Gore's appeal of the decision made by Leon County Circuit Court Judge N. Sanders Sauls to NOT order a hand recount in Palm Beach and Miami-Dade counties. Oral arguments are set for Thursday 7 December 2000 10 AM EST (1500 UTC).

Monday 4 December 2000 - Leon County Circuit Court Judge N. Sanders Sauls has ruled NOT to order a hand recount in Palm Beach and Miami-Dade counties. The suit was filed by the Gore campaign in an attempt to contest the Florida certified results. Text of Ruling

Saturday 2 December- the Leon County Circuit Court is to hold an "omnibus hearing" on all issues involved in the "contest" against the certified Election results in Florida (declaring Governor George W. Bush of Texas the winner of that State's 25 Electoral Votes) brought on behalf of the presidential candidacy of Vice President Al Gore. The Gore camp is bringing a "contest" under Florida statute 102.168 against the certified results of Sunday 26 November in Leon County Circuit Court, which 102.168 places as the proper forum for an initial "contest" hearing in such a multi-county "contest". [appeal from the Leon County Circuit Court would normally be had to the 1st District Court of Appeal in Tallahassee, Florida; however, this issue clearly would be eligible for direct appeal to the Florida Supreme Court (the State's court of last resort), bypassing the District Court of Appeal (the court of intermediate appeal in Florida)].
The Gore camp is basing their "contest" on 6 basic issues in 3 counties:


  • that Dade County, by suspending its countywide manual recount, had not disposed of some 10,000 disputed ballots that had never been counted at all.
  • that Dade County, even before suspending its countywide manual recount, had already counted 388 ballots (which gave Gore a +157 net) which were not included in that county's 26 November certification.


  • that the county illegally replaced a canvassing board member with someone who was not eligible, under Florida law, to serve on that board and that the newly constituted board then held a "snap" meeting (that is, one without proper public notice given aforehand) in which they decided to reject the preliminary machine recount they had already certified back on 9 November with the original raw tally immediately resulting from the 7 November election itself (without any recount)- this gave Bush a +51 net in relation to previous numbers coming out of the county... the Gore camp claims that ignoring the results of the original mechanical recount violates the provisions of Florida election law requiring an automatic statewide recount (including in, of course, Nassau County)

Palm Beach:

  • that the denial of an extension for the manual recount in this county to 9 A.M. EST (1400 UTC), 27 November (which the Gore camp sees as an "alternative" to the 5 P.M. EST (2200 UTC), 26 November deadline in the Florida Supreme Court's ruling of 21 November) led to a significant number of ballots not having being counted as Palm Beach County raced to meet the earlier deadline. (Palm Beach County had given Gore a net +215 after they had completed the county's manual recount come the early evening of 26 November, a few hours after that day's deadline for counties to submit final returns)
  • related to the above: that the refusal of the Florida Secretary of State to include any of the manually recounted returns from Palm Beach County submitted by 5 P.M. EST (2200 UTC), 26 November in her 26 November certification (as per the 21 November Florida Supreme Court decision) also led to significant number of ballots not being counted.
  • that the differences in the methodology used to count "dimpled" ballots in Palm Beach County from that in, say, Broward County next door led to many votes in Palm Beach County not being counted that would have been counted in Broward County.

Monday 4 December 2000 - The Florida legislature is considering a special session to consider issues surrounding Florida's 25 Presidential electors. (Federal law requires that the electors be named no later than Tuesday 12 December.)

Friday 1 December 2000 PM - The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals has agreed to hear a Bush case based on the Constitutionality of hand counts.


Sunday 26 November 2000 7:35 PM EST (0035 UTC 27 November): Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris- with the approval of the State Election Canvassing Board- has certified the vote for President in FLORIDA as follows:
Bush: 2,912,790
Gore: 2,912,253
Bush wins Florida by 537 votes
George W. Bush, thus, wins all 25 of Florida's Electoral Votes and the Presidency

The tally of 2,912,790 vs. 2,912,253 does NOT, of course, include Palm Beach County's manual recounts nor does it include any of Dade County's partial pre-suspension manual recount except for those votes that were part of the original 3 precinct sample prior to the beginning of the abortive countywide manual recount in Miami-Dade; it also does not include Nassau County's automatic machine recount certified back on 14 November... these issues, among others, will be the basis of Gore's "contest" of the above certification under Florida statue 102.168.


Monday, November 27, 2000
It is now time for Al Gore to bow out gracefully

Friday, November 24, 2000
The innate propriety of the Florida Supreme Court ruling of 21 November 2000

Wednesday, November 22, 2000
The Election 2000 battle in Florida escalates

States with close races (all figures below are unofficial and/or incomplete):
  • FLORIDA (25 electoral votes): Recounts: Bush has been formally certified the winner as of 7:35 P.M. EST, 26 November (0035 UTC, 27 November) by 537 votes (see above).
  • NEW MEXICO (5 electoral votes) Gore certified winner by 0.07%: Certified results show Gore leads by 483 votes out of some 571,000 cast. Amended returns from Roosevelt County, filed after certification, would decrease Gore's lead to 368 votes. Candidates have until Friday 8 December to ask for a recount.
  • OREGON (7 electoral votes) Gore certified winner by 0.3%.

Popular vote [includes Florida certification of 26 November]:
(national margin 348,245 for Gore)
Gore: 50,141,451
Bush: 49,793,206

Close HOUSE Races

  • Minnesota CD 2 - Friday 17 November - Republican Mark Kennedy leads Democratic Congressman David Minge by 155 votes. Reports state Minge will seek a recount.
  • New Jersey CD 12- Wednesday 29 November - former Republican Congressman Dick Zimmer has asked that the recount he had requested re: this race be suspended and he has formally conceded; Congressman Rush Holt has, thus, been declared re-elected.


Constitutional provisions for the election of the President and Vice-President
Federal Law governing the election of a President and Vice-President
Florida General Election Statutes

Next steps:

  • Links to Legal Sites
    Supreme Court of Florida - Presidential Election Cases
    Eleventh Circuit Published Opinions
    Florida Election Law (Chapter 102)
    Leon County Clerk of Courts
  • As of Monday 27 November- The Bush camp has filed law suits in the separate Circuit Courts of Hillsborough County (13th Judicial Circuit in its entirety), Okaloosa County (part of the 1st Judicial Circuit), Orange County(part of the 9th Judicial Circuit) and Polk County (part of the 10th Judicial Circuit) against said counties in an attempt to get these counties to reinstate and count previously rejected "military" overseas ballots. The Gore camp has not offered opposition as regards this case (as it, too, has asked that all votes- including any previously rejected "military" overseas ballots, such as those in the above 4 counties- be counted in Florida; note that these counties are NOT included in the Gore camp's "contest" under 102.168, noted above).
    (any appeals would be had: from Okaloosa County to the 1st District Court of Appeal in Tallahassee; from Hillsborough and Polk Counties to the 2nd District Court of Appeal in Lakeland; from Orange County to the 5th District Court of Appeal in Daytona Beach... all with, of course, the option of direct appeal to the Florida Supreme Court). Florida Attorney General's Fact Sheet Regarding Overseas Absentee Ballots
  • The Florida Supreme Court has- as of 9:45 P.M. EST, 21 November [0245 UTC, 22 November]- reversed the orders of the trial courts below and has mandated that amended certifications from the counties still outstanding (meaning the manual recounts in progress) MUST be accepted by the Florida Department of State if received from the counties by 5 PM EST [2200 UTC], Sunday 26 November OR 9 AM EST [1400 UTC], Monday 27 November- whichever time is most convenient for the State offices to be open to receive same... see the downloadable complete text of the Court's opinion: Text of the Florida Supreme Court Ruling (Requires Adobe® Acrobat® Reader™)This ruling has been appealed by the Bush camp to the U.S. Supreme Court as noted below:

    The United States Supreme Court- on 24 November- rejected an expedited appeal from the 11th Circuit in Atlanta re: the original Bush campaign suit- based on 14th Amendment to the Federal Constitution "equal protection" grounds- originally heard in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida back on 13 November seeking an injunction against the manual recounts on the same 14th Amendment "equal protection" grounds. This case remains in the hands of the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in which oral argument is scheduled for Wednesday 29 November: however, as of 11 A.M. EST (1600 UTC), Monday 27 November, the Bush camp has asked for a delay in oral argument until Tuesday 5 December, as they wish to see how the U.S. Supreme Court handles the Bush camp's appeal of the Florida Supreme Court's 21 November ruling noted above... the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals is expected to announce- around 3 P.M. EST (2000 UTC), Monday 27 November- whether they have accepted the Bush camp's request for a delay in proceedings in this case: the dicey legal/constitutional issue is whether this case is now moot (as manual recounts from both Broward and Volusia Counties were included in the 26 November official Florida certification noted above on this home page).

Additional Notes...

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