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Florida Recounts Would Have Favored Bush

Under several scenarios examined by the consortium, and using a standard in which two of the three reviewers agreed on the markings on each ballot, Gore emerged with more votes than Bush.

The overvotes that could have provided the margin for Gore were on ballots where voters tried to be extra-clear in their choice and ended up nullifying the vote. They filled in the oval next to a candidate and then filled in the oval for "write-in" and wrote the same candidate's name again.

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White House Silent on Racial Controversy (The Washington Post, Jan 5, 2003)
Getting the Votes -- And the Kudos (The Washington Post, Jan 1, 2003)
Bush, Gore Campaign Costs Questioned (The Washington Post, Dec 11, 2002)
Mr. Resident (The Washington Post, Nov 17, 2002)
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Limited Review Favors Bush
Ballots and Race
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Those overvotes were rejected by machines, but some county officials examined those ballots on election night to reclaim the votes. Other counties, though, didn't check for those obvious votes. Gore had more than 500 of those votes in Lake County and more than 250 in Escambia, netting him gains of 172 and 157 votes against Bush in those counties.

The narrowest margin, according to the study, came under a scenario in which at least one corner of a chad was detached from punch-card ballots -- the prevailing standard across the state of Florida at the time -- or any mark on the optical scan ballots showing clear voter intent. In that case, the study showed Gore with 60 votes more than Bush.

Gore's margin grows under three other scenarios. Under the least-restrictive standard for interpreting voter intent, which counted all dimpled chads and any discernible optical mark (which in the case of optical ballots Florida's new election law now requires to be counted as votes), Gore had 107 more votes.

Gore's margin rose to 115 votes in the study under a tighter standard, calling for chads to be fully punched and a more restrictive interpretation of what constitutes a valid mark on optical scan ballots.

But this is one case where disagreements among the reviewers affected the outcome. Gore won under this scenario when two of the reviewers agree on the markings. Under a standard in which all three were required to agree, Bush won by 219 votes.

Gore's largest margin in a statewide recount involving all ballots comes under a scenario that sought to recreate the standards established by each of the counties in their recounts. In that case, Gore emerged with 171 more votes than Bush.

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