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Florida recount study: Bush still wins
CNN.com ^ | 11/11/01 | AP

Posted on 11/11/2001 6:05:12 PM PST by Nataku X

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A comprehensive study of the 2000 presidential election in Florida suggests that if the U.S. Supreme Court had allowed a statewide vote recount to proceed, Republican candidate George W. Bush would still have been elected president.

The National Opinion Research Center (NORC) at the University of Chicago conducted the six-month study for a consortium of eight news media companies, including CNN.

NORC dispatched an army of trained investigators to examine closely every rejected ballot in all 67 Florida counties, including handwritten and punch-card ballots. The NORC team of coders were able to examine about 99 percent of them, but county officials were unable to deliver as many as 2,200 problem ballots to NORC investigators. In addition, the uncertainties of human judgment, combined with some counties' inability to produce the same undervotes and overvotes that they saw last year, create a margin of error that makes the study instructive but not definitive in its findings.

As well as attempting to discern voter intent in ballots that might have been re-examined had the recount gone forward, the study also looked at the possible effect of poor ballot design, voter error and malfunctioning machines. That secondary analysis suggests that more Florida voters may have gone to the polls intending to vote for Democrat Al Gore but failed to cast a valid vote.

In releasing the report, the consortium said it is in no way trying to rewrite history or challenge the official result -- that Bush won Florida by 537 votes. Rather it is simply trying to bring some additional clarity to one of the most confusing chapters in U.S. politics.

Florida Supreme Court recount ruling

On December 12, 2000, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a Florida Supreme Court ruling ordering a full statewide hand recount of all undervotes not yet tallied. The U.S. Supreme Court action effectively ratified Florida election officials' determination that Bush won by a few hundred votes out of more than 6 million cast.

Using the NORC data, the media consortium examined what might have happened if the U.S. Supreme Court had not intervened. The Florida high court had ordered a recount of all undervotes that had not been counted by hand to that point. If that recount had proceeded under the standard that most local election officials said they would have used, the study found that Bush would have emerged with 493 more votes than Gore.

Gore's four-county strategy

Suppose that Gore got what he originally wanted -- a hand recount in heavily Democratic Broward, Palm Beach, Miami-Dade and Volusia counties. The study indicates that Gore would have picked up some additional support but still would have lost the election -- by a 225-vote margin statewide.

The news media consortium then tested a number of other hypothetical scenarios.

Use of Palm Beach County standard

Out of Palm Beach County emerged one of the least restrictive standards for determining a valid punch-card ballot. The county elections board determined that a chad hanging by up to two corners was valid and that a dimple or a chad detached in only one corner could also count if there were similar marks in other races on the same ballot. If that standard had been adopted statewide, the study shows a slim, 42-vote margin for Gore.

Inclusion of overvotes

In addition to undervotes, thousands of ballots in the Florida presidential election were invalidated because they had too many marks. This happened, for example, when a voter correctly marked a candidate and also wrote in that candidate's name. The consortium looked at what might have happened if a statewide recount had included these overvotes as well and found that Gore would have had a margin of fewer than 200 votes.

A county worker displays an optical scan ballot through a viewing window. The butterfly and caterpillar ballots

One of the most controversial aspects of the Florida election was the so-called butterfly ballot used in heavily Democratic Palm Beach County. Many voters came out of the polls saying they were confused by the ballot design.

According to the study, 5,277 voters made a clean punch for Gore and a clean punch for Reform Party nominee Pat Buchanan, candidates whose political philosophies are poles apart. An additional 1,650 voters made clean punches for Bush and Buchanan. If many of the Buchanan votes were in error brought on by a badly designed ballot, a CNN analysis found that Gore could have netted thousands of additional votes as compared with Bush.

Eighteen other counties used another confusing ballot design known as the "caterpillar" or "broken" ballot, where six or seven presidential candidates are listed in one column and the names of the remaining minor party candidates appeared at the top of a second one. According to the study, more than 15,000 people who voted for either Gore or Bush also selected one candidate in the second column, apparently thinking the second column represented a new race.

Had many of these voters not marked a minor candidate in the second column, Gore would have netted thousands of additional votes as compared with Bush.

However, the double votes on both butterfly and caterpillar ballots were clearly invalid under any interpretation of the law.

Limits of the study

The National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago study was commissioned by eight media companies -- The Associated Press, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, CNN, the St. Petersburg Times, Cox Newspapers, The Washington Post and the Tribune Co., which includes the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, the Orlando Sentinel and Baltimore Sun, as well as other papers.

A county worker displays a punch-card ballot to a NORC coder. NORC used experienced staff researchers to supervise and train a larger pool of investigators, who then fanned out across Florida and personally examined 175,010 ballots provided by local election officials. The investigators recorded exactly what they saw on each ballot but made no attempt to determine whether the vote should have been counted.

From there, the media consortium took over, analyzing the raw data produced by NORC and drawing conclusions for various hypothetical scenarios.

As with any large-scale study, the NORC data is subject to some important limitations.

NORC reported serious problems with record keeping at many local election offices. NORC relied on these offices to produce the rejected ballots, but county officials were unable to deliver as many as 2,200 problem ballots to NORC investigators.

Although trained to produce accurate, impartial reports, the NORC investigators are human and prone to human judgment and error. In particular, NORC discovered that male investigators were more likely to record marks on ballots than women. NORC also found a slight but statistically significant relationship between candidate marks and the investigators' party affiliation.

Most importantly, there is no guarantee that the judgments of the NORC investigators would have matched those of local election boards had the recount been permitted to proceed under any scenario.


TOPICS: Breaking News; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: floridarecount
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1 posted on 11/11/2001 6:05:12 PM PST by Nataku X
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To: Nakatu X; deport; xsmommy; Teacup
I guess they'll have to shut up now, huh?
2 posted on 11/11/2001 6:08:34 PM PST by Howlin
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To: Nakatu X
Didn't we see something very similar to this about 6 months ago?
3 posted on 11/11/2001 6:08:37 PM PST by Chi-townChief
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To: Nakatu X
Wonder if I'll still be seeing this headline when my 2-yr-old has kids.

Thanks for posting...at least CNN can finally admit what we've all known for a year.

4 posted on 11/11/2001 6:10:33 PM PST by Reagan's_Mom
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To: Howlin
We can dream, can't we?
5 posted on 11/11/2001 6:11:50 PM PST by Lizzy W
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To: Howlin
Democrats never shut-up. The news media can't. Or won't.
6 posted on 11/11/2001 6:11:50 PM PST by onyx
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To: Reagan's_Mom
DU kindergarten underground will not know how to handle this. I'd watch out for mass liberals ingesting purple kool-aid.
7 posted on 11/11/2001 6:11:50 PM PST by Texas Cornhusker
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To: Nakatu X
Wrong - Drudge has Gore the winner!

Does Gore being the "real" winner mean I can post again on the Free Republic?

8 posted on 11/11/2001 6:12:28 PM PST by Tuco-bad
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To: Tuco-bad
Hey Tuco-bad, you're breaking your promise again.

Since when did a liberal like you hold Drudge in higher authority over CNN? (Not that he isn't... but even a broken watch is right twice a day)

9 posted on 11/11/2001 6:14:28 PM PST by Nataku X
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To: Nakatu X
No way, no how could Gore have won the election. God stopped the cheating democrats from having their way. IMHO
10 posted on 11/11/2001 6:15:06 PM PST by BlueAngel
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To: Nakatu X
The DU Kiddies are more than likely going nuts over this one!!!
11 posted on 11/11/2001 6:16:18 PM PST by Trueblackman
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To: Nakatu X
Unequivocal finding of this study:

Democrat-run precincts had extremely high number of voting irregularities!


I wonder why that isn't the headline?

12 posted on 11/11/2001 6:16:39 PM PST by mrsmith
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To: Texas Cornhusker
They'll fall on their very old "Right-Wing Media Bias" line whenever something doesn't go their way... to them, Gore won by 100,000,000 votes...
13 posted on 11/11/2001 6:16:45 PM PST by Nataku X
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To: Nakatu X
Bump......
14 posted on 11/11/2001 6:16:51 PM PST by drq
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To: Nakatu X
Hey, I'm still fighting that 1960 election. How's that recount in Illinois coming? Nixon won that state, I tell you.
15 posted on 11/11/2001 6:17:06 PM PST by SamAdams76
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To: BlueAngel
Fmr. Governor Racicot is on CNN right now talking to Judy Woodrip about this.
16 posted on 11/11/2001 6:17:10 PM PST by esmith
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To: mrsmith
Everyone knows that only Democrats are too dumb to know how to punch a ballot. ;-)
17 posted on 11/11/2001 6:17:22 PM PST by Nataku X
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To: Texas Cornhusker
LOL...
18 posted on 11/11/2001 6:18:12 PM PST by summer
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To: Nakatu X
That title means CNN is VERY worried about the effect they'd receive if they used a headline like Drudge. Drudge isn't worried about ratings, but CNN looks like they're trying to play to the President's popularity.

Obviously they've wised up and know that this is a non story, especially from the aspect of Gore winning if you count all the illegal votes.

19 posted on 11/11/2001 6:19:53 PM PST by dawn53
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To: Reagan's_Mom
It will be interesting to see what headlines other newspapers use - some, I would guess, will NOT say "Bush Still Wins". I must admit, I never expected to see such a headline from the Clinton News Network. I am still holding my breath until I see all the other stories - especially They New York Slimes.
20 posted on 11/11/2001 6:20:50 PM PST by Wait4Truth
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To: summer
McAufull coming up on CNN with Judy Woodrip to explain the mistakes the Gore campaign and the democrats made. This should be good, blame it all on goofy.
21 posted on 11/11/2001 6:21:08 PM PST by esmith
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To: Wait4Truth
Democratic Underground spinning this as Gore won no matter what!! What a bunch of boneheads. Also Drudge looks like an idiot with his post!!!!!! This whole thing is Ancient History. However over at DU they are still trying to figure out how the South Actually won the Civil War
22 posted on 11/11/2001 6:23:02 PM PST by shoedog
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Comment #23 Removed by Moderator

To: Nakatu X
Generalisimo Francisco Franco is still dead, and so is AlGore.
24 posted on 11/11/2001 6:23:47 PM PST by Yankee
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To: Nakatu X
Is it just me or does anybody else wonder if Drudge even read this report before he posted his headlines this evening?!
25 posted on 11/11/2001 6:24:08 PM PST by Lady In Blue
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To: dawn53
I believe that the biggest lead of any scenario (at least when applied consistently to all counties) Gore has was "under 200"... according to the article...

There are an estimated 700 military ballots that were not counted (but were ordered to--they didn't have much point in counting those since Bush already had won by then).

To have a <200 vote lead for Gore in a ridiculously liberal scenario, without the military ballots, and declare Gore "really won" is nothing short of stupid. If Gore had really won by 30,000 or so, well, that is another story...

26 posted on 11/11/2001 6:24:24 PM PST by Nataku X
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To: esmith
The DNC Chair always sounds like an idiot. I'm sorry. But he does.
27 posted on 11/11/2001 6:24:41 PM PST by summer
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To: Nakatu X
There were 2,200 unaccounted for ballots - and there was no mention of the disputed overseas absentee ballots. Given the margins stated in the story, ANY conclusions are meaningless.
28 posted on 11/11/2001 6:24:52 PM PST by fhayek
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To: Tuco-bad
...Drudge has Gore the winner! ...

Drudge has always had a bug up his butt as far as Bush is concerned, I always consider the source.

29 posted on 11/11/2001 6:26:48 PM PST by Protect the Bill of Rights
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To: Lady In Blue
Technically Drudge was correct, he just used a misleading headline. The article mentions a 40-ish victory for Gore in one scenario and >200 lead for Gore in another scenario.

Drudge was just generating traffic and controversy... in other words, doing his job...

30 posted on 11/11/2001 6:26:59 PM PST by Nataku X
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To: Nakatu X
The cup is half full, the cup is half empty. Who cares?

President Bush is holding the cup, and Gore's ignored, and I'll drink to that.

31 posted on 11/11/2001 6:27:33 PM PST by jerod
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To: esmith
McAWFULL, spin, spin, blab, blab, blab, We found in the last 2 elections in NJ and Va. the repubs cheated, counted votes while dems were not there, told people they had to have drivers license. First I have heard of that. Eat crow you ba$tard.
32 posted on 11/11/2001 6:27:57 PM PST by esmith
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To: esmith
I missed Gov Racicot! What did he say and what did Judy say? When I saw your post, I tuned in and saw terry mcauliffe. Yuck!
33 posted on 11/11/2001 6:29:29 PM PST by Wait4Truth
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To: Yankee
Generalissimo Francisco Franco is still dead, and so is AlGore.

That's the quote of the evening for me. lol

34 posted on 11/11/2001 6:29:33 PM PST by PianoMan
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To: Tuco-bad
Only a moron or a liar would say that Gore was the real winner after witnessing the election 2000 fiasco...perhaps drugs could be blamed, or mental illness, but that's it. Sorry.
35 posted on 11/11/2001 6:30:05 PM PST by Ragtime Cowgirl
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To: innocentbystander
ABC is doing the same thing, stating "Bush still wins."
36 posted on 11/11/2001 6:30:41 PM PST by dawn53
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To: fhayek
How does the - repeal the Motor Voter Bill - stand?
37 posted on 11/11/2001 6:31:28 PM PST by malia
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38 posted on 11/11/2001 6:31:45 PM PST by Bubba_Leroy
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To: shoedog
Democratic Underground can take a hike! They probably make up 2% of the population, if that. I honestly believe that hillary runs the two main RAT web sites through these radical and irrational leftists. Pathetic.
39 posted on 11/11/2001 6:32:20 PM PST by Wait4Truth
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To: Nakatu X
Well, I guess this means it's time for the Dims to get back to the old re-counting tables. If at first you don't succeed, try, try, try.......

I wonder how many times those ballots can be counted before the paper disintegrates back into wood pulp. I suppose we'll eventually find out if they keep coming up with Gore as a LOSER.

40 posted on 11/11/2001 6:32:27 PM PST by epow
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To: Nakatu X
Remember the Titanic. Only democRats lost their lives, Republicans were smart enough to "follow the arrows" to the lifeboats.
41 posted on 11/11/2001 6:32:33 PM PST by zip
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To: esmith
He will run with this, and the media will lap it up. Of course, Demoncrat cheating will be ignored.
42 posted on 11/11/2001 6:32:34 PM PST by hchutch
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To: summer
The DNC Chair always sounds like an idiot. I'm sorry. But he does.

I'd say anal orifice, actually. :)

Honestly, whenever I hear McAuliffe or read a quote from him, I invariably say "What a jerk!" even before I know it is McAuliffe speaking.

43 posted on 11/11/2001 6:32:55 PM PST by AmishDude
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To: Howlin
Well Judy is having a hard time accepting it right now. She's trying to find some soltice in the recount by spinning questions to elicit answers she would like to hear. She did report both the WH and Gore statements.
44 posted on 11/11/2001 6:33:29 PM PST by deport
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To: innocentbystander
What did Fox say? Have they already discussed this and I missed it? I had turned my TV off because I didn't think I could bear hearing what would be said. I am quite stunned at CNN's headline - wow.
45 posted on 11/11/2001 6:34:29 PM PST by Wait4Truth
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To: deport
Where is Judy talking?
46 posted on 11/11/2001 6:34:41 PM PST by Howlin
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To: AmishDude
Heard McAuliffe say that in New Jersey they were actually trying to make people show driver's license in order to vote. He said that was illegal.

Not in my state, you have to show photo ID plus voter ID card in order to vote.

Sounds like New Jersey and any other state that doesn't use photo ID could be "fraud city."

47 posted on 11/11/2001 6:35:24 PM PST by dawn53
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To: Lady In Blue
Is it just me or does anybody else wonder if Drudge even read this report before he posted his headlines this evening?!

Drudge has been anti Bush for months, NO surprize here.

48 posted on 11/11/2001 6:36:12 PM PST by zip
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Sorry, I just was channel surfing and only saw the end of the Gov. stating how hard they had worked and knew they were right. Woodrip asked McAwfull if he was going to stop saying Gore won, and he said he only said it in order to get voting reform and we should all sign up for John Conyers idea of reform. That will be the day when anybody signs up for any reform by conyers.
49 posted on 11/11/2001 6:36:37 PM PST by esmith
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To: Trueblackman
yes they are, I went over right after reading drudge's article saying gore won and they were beside themselves and making fun of freepers. Now they're all confused and blaming the right wing media??????

all I can say is: BWAAAHAHA

50 posted on 11/11/2001 6:38:19 PM PST by knak
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