The long fought battle for the White House in the 2000 election came to an end 15-years-ago today. On December 13, 2000, Al Gore conceded the presidential election to George W. Bush. The presidential election of 2000 was historic in the fact that the winner was not determined by a Supreme Court verdict and weeks of legal battles by both parties. Al Gore was the sitting Vice President of the United States and gave his concession speech from his office.
“I accept the finality of the outcome, which will be ratified next Monday in the Electoral College. And tonight, for the sake of our unity as a people and the strength of our democracy, I offer my concession.”
Going into election night, political experts predicted that the race for president was going to be very hard to project. Early in the night, Al Gore was projected to win Florida by all the major news networks. Their projection of Gore as the winner was based on the use of exit polling. As the night went on, it was apparent that the exit polling was incorrect. The networks took back their statement and listed Florida as too close to call. While the votes in Florida were still being counted, the electoral map was filling up with the wins for each candidate. Bush had a total of 246 electoral votes while Gore had 255. Whoever was declared the winner of Florida’s 25 electoral votes was going to become the 43rd United States President.
The second projected winner of Florida came in the middle of the night. With 85 percent of the votes counted, George Bush was declared the winner of Florida, and the election. The margin of votes between Bush and Gore at the time was approximately 100,000. The outstanding 15 percent of votes left to be counted were votes in counties with a dense democratic population. The second retraction of the results in Florida came just before sunrise when it was determined that only 2,000 votes separated Bush and Gore. This triggered a law in which a mandatory recount which gave Bush a lead of only 300 votes.
The recounting was done by machine, and due to the small amount of votes that separated the two, Al Gore insisted that a recount be done by hand but only in the counties that were highly democratic. The recount in the county of Palm Beach did not meet the deadline set by the Florida Supreme Court and the board of elections certified the results of Florida in favor of George Bush. Gore fought the election result. The Florida Supreme Court became involved and demanded that a recount be done of the votes that were rejected by the automatic machine counters. The United States Supreme Court overruled the Florida Supreme Court.
The election of 2000 also restarted the debate of the electoral college system that is used to elect the United States President. Because he won Florida, George Bush had 271 electoral votes. The number of votes needed to win is 270. Al Gore ended up with 266 electoral votes, but controversy was created when it came out that Al Gore actually had won the popular vote of the country. In the popular vote, George Bush had 50,456,002 votes while Gore had 50,999,897. The man who won the majority of the votes of the people did not become president.
What do you remember most from the 2000 election between Al Gore and George Bush?
[Image Via AP Photo/Ed Reinke, File]