BUSH v. GORE (2000)
The 2000 election was a virtual dead heat between Democratic nominee Al Gore and Republican nominee George W. Bush. Under the Electoral College system, votes from the undeclared state of Florida would decide the winner. After a number of complaints, it became clear that thousands of voters were disenfranchised due to problems with paper ballots (including the confusing “butterfly ballot”), antiquated machines and human error. A number of people were also disenfranchised because their names matched those on a so-called felon purge list. Several counties engaged in recounts to ascertain the true intent of voters. Republicans sued to stop the recount and the matter eventually made its way to the U.S. Supreme Court. On December 12, 2000, the Supreme Court issued a deeply divided ruling in the case Bush v. Gore, overturning the Florida Supreme Court’s call for a recount – and resulting in a sudden, dramatic end to the 2000 presidential contest in favor of Bush. The Court’s ruling triggered a renewed interest in voting and elections and led to adoption of the “Help America Vote Act,” which pushed states to update their voting equipment and bring to an end the era of the butterfly ballot.