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Record Group Number: 000151
Series/Collection Number: .S 1887
Creator: Florida. Office of Secretary of State.  --Office of General Counsel.
Title, Dates: Election 2000 litigation files, 2000-2001.
Amount: 7.00 cubic ft.
Medium Included:
Organization/Arrangement: Alphabetical by name of case.
Restrictions:
Terms Governing Use:
Biographical/Historical:   Before the polls were closed on Election Day, Tuesday, November 7, 2000, offices across the state of Florida received complaints about the confusing "butterfly" ballots used in some counties in the state.  Just before the polls were closed in the western Panhandle of Florida, some TV networks news programs announced that Albert Gore, Jr.  won Florida's electoral votes.  Within a few hours, the TV networks withdrew their projection and declared George Bush the winner. Soon after, the networks announced that it was too soon to determine who won the electoral votes.  Meanwhile, Al Gore telephoned George W. Bush and conceded, then called him back and withdrew his concession.  By the early morning hours of November 8, 2000, it was clear that it would take several days before the Florida Election Canvassing Commission could determine the winner of Florida's 21 electoral votes.


    In the following days, it was clear that the two major political parties would not agree on a system of hand counts.  A long, intense series of lawsuits were filled in the state.  Presidential Candidates Al Gore and George W. Bush, the Democrat and Republican Parties, Secretary of State Katherine Harris, as well as many private citizens and public organizations across the country filed lawsuits concerning several disputes related to the Presidential Election, including military absentee ballots, hand counts, and requests for a new election. The two major parties unofficially agreed to request the Court to decide the correct legal procedure for determining which candidates won Florida's electoral votes for the President and Vice-President of the United States.

    Most of these cases were dismissed as moot after the US Supreme Court Bush v. Gore decision.  Eventually, some cases were combined into the Bush v. Gore suit that reached the Florida Supreme Court and the United States Supreme Court for a final ruling.  The Florida Supreme Court ordered a state-wide count of undervotes to be included in the Secretary of State, Katherine Harris' certification of Florida's election returns.

    On December 12, 2000, in a 5-to-4 ruling, the US Supreme Court reversed the Florida Supreme Court's decision, stating that differing vote-counting standards from county to county and the lack of a single judicial officer to oversee the vote-counting violated the equal-protection clause of the United States Constitution. The next night, on December 13, 2000, Albert Gore conceded the election to George W. Bush.  While Albert Gore won the popular vote, he only received 267 electoral votes.  George W. Bush won Florida's 21 electoral votes, giving him 271.  Bush was inaugurated on January 21, 2001 as the 43rd President of the United States.

Summary:     This series contains legal instruments, court records, and correspondence related to 57 separate court cases concerning the controversial US Presidential Election of 2000.  Some of the larger cases include Bush v. Gore, Gore. v. Harris, and Jacobs v. The Seminole County Canvassing Board.  In Gore v. Harris, the Gore-Liberman Campagin filled suit requesting the Court order the Secretary of State to certify the hand counts conducted by the County Canvassing Boards in Palm Beach, Broward, Miami-Dade, and Voluisa counties.

 

    In Jacobs v. The Seminole County Canvassing Board, Harry Jacobs, a private citizen, filed suit against the Seminole County Canvassing Board to stop the county from including certain absentee ballots.  A similar case was filed against the Martin County Canvassing Board.  They alleged that the Supervisor of Elections in both counties directed Republican Party officials to correct errors on the ballots before Election Day.  Eventually, Albert Gore added his name as a plaintiff in some of these suits.  Several private citizens tried to file suit to force the canvassing boards to include these absentee ballots while other citizens filed suits to stop the manual counts in the counties that the Gore-Liberman campaign was disputing.  These include several suits against Theresa LePore, Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections.

    The majority of these records relate to cases filed by private citizens that include requesting the court to order a new election in the entire state; to order a recount of the entire state; to throw out absentee ballots from overseas military personnel that did not include a postmark; and to order the county canvassing boards to include the overseas military absentee ballots.  In Mike Green v. The Voter News Service, an Alabama citizen filed suit against the Voter News Service for prematurely declaring the wrong winners of Florida's electoral votes.  A few suits were filed alleging voter irregularities at the polling stations during Election Day.  In Willie Dickens v. State of Florida, Elections Canvassing Commission, Willie Dickens, an African American voter in Hillsborough County, Florida flled suit against the Florida Elections Canvassing Board.  He alleged that the poll workers would not allow him to vote because he did not have his voter's registration card with him, but that he did have another proper identification card.

Finding Aids: Folder listing available.
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Electronic Records Access:
Subject Access Fields: Bush, George W. 1946- (George Walker),
Gore, Albert, 1948-
Harris, Katherine, 1957-
Bush, Jeb
LePore, Theresa.
Florida. Circuit Court (15th Circuit : Palm Beach County)
Florida. Circuit Court (2nd Circuit : Leon County)
Palm Beach County (Fla.).  Circuit Court.
Leon County (Fla.).  Circuit Court.
Republican Party (Fla.)
Democratic Party (Fla.)
Presidents Election United States
Legal instruments. aat
Letters. aat
Electronic mail. aat
Leon County (Fla.)
Palm Beach County (Fla.)
Broward County (Fla.)
Miami-Dade County (Fla.)
Seminole County (Fla.)
Nassau County (Fla.)
Duval County (Fla.)
Added Entries Harris, Katherine, 1957-
Bush, Jeb