Fourth in a series At 11:30 in the morning on Friday, Nov. 17, Jason Unger, the lawyer in charge of monitoring absentee votes for the Bush forces in Florida, was in his Tallahassee office when he received a fax from a member of his team in Pensacola. The deadline for sending in ballots from overseas was midnight -- 10 days after the election -- and there were rumors that Vice President Gore planned on aggressively challenging them. A lawyer for Gore had outlined the strategy in a memo, and Unger now had a copy of it.

"Count every vote" was the Gore mantra, and it had been a powerful weapon in the war for public opinion between the two campaigns. But Gore needed to minimize the votes of thousands of predominantly Republican servicemen serving overseas, and Mark Herron, a Democratic lawyer, had laid out in detail the best way to disqualify any ballot that did not comply with the law. If no postmark, the memo said, then protest.

Bush's political operation had already sensed the opportunity that was unfolding before them. The night before, Dorrance Smith, a former ABC News executive working with the Bush forces in Florida, was driving back to his Tallahassee hotel when he got a call from Bill Kristol, editor of the conservative Weekly Standard magazine.

"Have you seen this military ballot story?" Kristol asked. "You ought to have someone look into it."

Smith got on the phone to Austin. Then he went over to the bar at the Doubletree Hotel, a media watering hole, to tell any reporters he could find about the story.

Now Unger had what amounted to a smoking gun. He took the memo to David Aufhauser, a Washington lawyer who was monitoring the overseas ballots, and it was quickly passed up the Bush chain of command -- to lawyers Benjamin Ginsberg and George J. Terwilliger III, campaign manager Joseph Allbaugh, James A. Baker III, Austin and then the press. By Friday afternoon, it was moving on the wires.

That night at the Texas governor's mansion, Montana Gov. Marc Racicot dined with George W. and Laura Bush, Richard B. and Lynne Cheney, and Bush campaign chairman Donald Evans. The youthful, little-known Racicot had become a pal and staunch supporter of Bush during the campaign. During the meal, Racicot pressed Bush to turn up the volume in Florida.

"He was appalled and amazed," Bush recalled. So, he added, "I told [communications director] Karen [Hughes] to put him out there."

For a week, Bush's forces had been collecting a laundry list of facts, stories and tall tales from the recounts -- everything from Bush ballots with the chads taped back in place to elderly counters needing flashlights to read punch cards in poorly lit rooms. On Saturday, they bundled everything into one explosive attack, delivered by Racicot, that condemned the whole recount process but especially singled out the Gore lawyers for having "gone to war . . . against the men and women who serve in our armed forces."

Bush's lawyers, meanwhile, compiled a list of names of sailors and airmen whose ballot envelopes had never been opened. They began e-mailing the list, looking for anyone willing to go on camera. "We found the wife of one guy and said, 'Did you know that your husband's ballot is being protested?' " Marty Fiorentino, a Bush lawyer, recalled. "Then we put her on 'Good Morning America.' "

The Gore forces watched in horror as Racicot, and a succession of other Bush surrogates, including Robert J. Dole, New York Gov. George Pataki and retired Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf, drove the day's news cycle. They decided they would fight back on the Sunday talk shows, and that Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman, Gore's running mate, would be their spokesman.

Saturday evening, the Gore team in Florida faxed documents to Washington to help Lieberman prepare for "Meet the Press." In a conference call, Ron Klain, the chief point man in Florida; strategist Michael Whouley; and Herron went over the talking points with him.

A flood of ballots had arrived in the last few days, suggesting that people were voting even after Election Day had passed. That's why postmarks were important. While it was true that military units overseas, especially ships, did not always postmark their mail, there was no way to tell, by looking at the outer envelope, whether a vote had come from a member of the military, or a businessman or a tourist.

But most of all, they said, this was war. Every vote mattered. Senior staff had been kept apprised every step of the way, and Herron's memo circulated at "the highest levels" of the Gore operation, one senior aide to the vice president said. This was not the time to get cold feet.

The next morning, everyone tuned in to watch host Tim Russert serve up the expected question.

Lieberman's answer was stunning. "If I was there, I would give the benefit of the doubt to ballots coming in from military personnel generally," he said. He commiserated with Florida's beleaguered elections officials. He urged them to "go back and take another look. Because, again, Al Gore and I don't want to ever be part of anything that would put an extra burden on the military personnel abroad who want to vote."

Herron had the experience of seeing himself hung out to dry. Lieberman was asked: Did he know anything about the person who wrote the controversial memo? No, he said.

This issue, one senior Gore strategist said later, was "where the warriors and the nonwarriors separated."

But Lieberman's view was shared by Sen. Bob Graham, Florida's senior Democrat, and state Attorney General Robert A. Butterworth, who both repudiated all or part of the absentee-ballot strategy.

Gore's team was so ground down that it did little to resist the next move by the other side, which Unger, the Bush lawyer, called his "Thanksgiving stuffing" operation. Unger's team of lawyers pushed the canvassing boards in strongly military counties to have the absentee ballots counted once again. He succeeded in 12 counties -- most of them heavily Republican, and half home to huge military bases. Bush picked up 176 net votes in the stuffing, mainly when boards agreed to ignore missing postmarks or missing absentee applications, which are required by Florida law.

The all-Republican canvassing board in Duval County, home to several large Navy air bases, initially threw out absentee ballots that were not dated or postmarked. It pained Rick Mullaney, a member of the board and son of a Navy man. And he didn't care much for the Gore lawyers' tactics, which he likened to "watching a criminal defense lawyer try to toss out the confession of a guilty man." But Florida law was the law, and the law said no postmark or date, no vote.

Then came the Florida Supreme Court's Nov. 21 decision -- the one that said that "hypertechnicalities" should not disqualify a ballot. And then the call from Lieberman and Butterworth to reconsider military ballots.

On Nov. 24, the board reconvened. Mullaney quoted Lieberman and asked Gore's lawyers what their position was. "They were in a box," Mullaney said. "Those lawyers were in a difficult position, and their attitude had completely changed."

Duval County counted the vast majority of ballots that had been excluded because of postmark issues, and almost all went for Bush. So after weeks of complaining about the unfairness of recounts, the Bush campaign had succeeded in obtaining one by simply convincing the canvassing boards that Florida law should be ignored because military personnel had rights protected by federal law.

The time would come when the margin between Bush and Gore dipped briefly to just 154 votes. Without his Thanksgiving stuffing, Bush would have fallen behind for the first time in the deadlock. Gore would have had a lead of 22 votes -- a lead that could have changed the entire public relations dynamic.

Big Hopes for the Big Three

If the approach by Gore's lawyers to absentee votes was essentially damage control, they saw Broward, Palm Beach and Miami-Dade counties -- the teeming, sunbaked and rather strange exurbia on the southeastern tip of Florida -- as places where they could pick up votes.

With Gore trailing by an almost unimaginably small margin, his team requested a hand recount of the ballots in those counties. Among the thousands of punch cards that registered no vote on the counting machines of southeast Florida, there were several thousand that bore discernible markings indicating a vote. Because this was the most strongly Democratic region in the state, the team felt Gore had at least a thousand-vote advantage over Bush in that pile -- maybe more.

But was it possible to get them counted in Gore's favor? That boiled down to two key issues: whether the ballots would be examined at all, and which marks would qualify as a vote. The second issue became the crux of the War for Florida.

Few people had paused to consider just how many things can happen when a pointed instrument strikes a perforated card. The square of paper can fall cleanly away -- a vote in anybody's book. Or the "chad," can dangle, it can swing, it can be barely pierced, or merely dimpled, or slightly scratched.

In the first hours of the deadlock, when information was scarce and rumors were legion, the Democrats hoped Palm Beach County might yield thousands of additional votes for Gore and turn the election all by itself. The infamous "butterfly ballot" -- along with about 29,000 ballots with too many punches or not enough -- suggested mass confusion in a county Gore had carried overwhelmingly.

But as Gore's lawyers examined their options, they concluded that no matter how unjust the Palm Beach voting seemed, there was no reasonable remedy. So they lowered their sights, and began to hope for perhaps a 500-vote gain in a hand count.

Gore believed that in Palm Beach he would be among friends. What he wanted from the canvassing board was speed and flexibility -- the fastest possible hand count using the broadest possible standards. But as soon as the counting started, it stalled, because of two conflicting opinions -- one from Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris and the other from Butterworth. Their dispute wound up in the Florida Supreme Court, and pretty much froze the action in Palm Beach for most of a week.

On Nov. 16, the state Supreme Court blessed the recounts, nudging the balky Palm Beachers along. But hand-counting a half-million or more ballots was a dismal, onerous undertaking. And the Bush team's purpose was clear: Stop the count. If it couldn't do that, it wanted the narrowest possible standard for defining a vote.

As Palm Beach began examining ballots again, Gore's advisers almost instantly saw that they weren't getting what they needed. With the approval of Ron Klain in Tallahassee, they took the canvassing board back to court -- one of a seemingly endless number of hearings before Judge Jose LaBarga over the proper standard for judging Palm Beach ballots.

Earlier, LaBarga had urged the board to consider all sorts of marks on ballots as possible indications of the "intent of the voter." But the Democrats felt Circuit Judge Charles E. Burton, chairman of the canvassing board, and Theresa LePore, the supervisor of elections, were ignoring him. Because there was no specific standard expressed in Florida law -- only the vague "intent of the voter" guideline -- LaBarga was unable to command that, say, dimpled chads be counted. He could only nudge and coax.

So for all the time spent in LaBarga's courtroom, discretion remained in the hands of the canvassing board. And its standard loosened only slightly.

As the deadlock wore on, Gore's team grew more and more frustrated. The vice president and his friends worked the phones constantly, soliciting information, puzzling out motives, seeking the pressure points that might influence the South Florida boards. They finally made a breakthrough in Broward County.

On Nov. 13, the Broward canvassing board had hand-counted a 1 percent sample of the county's ballots, and when this turned up no great irregularities, the board voted against a hand count of the county. The board started counting again after Butterworth issued his advisory opinion in favor of counting, but by the evening of Nov. 19, with more than 40 percent of the precincts counted, Gore had picked up only 79 net votes. At this rate, the Gore team would never get the 500 or more it was depending on from Broward County.

But that day, Andrew J. Meyers, an assistant county attorney who didn't usually advise the canvassing board, showed up at a board meeting with a Texas statute that provided for pierced chads, and even dimpled chads, to be counted if the board felt that was the voter's intention. Meyers, whose wife was helping the Gore legal team, suggested the board's members change their standard, which was to allow only hanging chads -- perforations hanging by just two corners.

They did. Not only that, they went back through the ballots already counted, and suddenly the votes poured in for Gore. Six days later, when the Broward effort wheezed to a stop, the canvassing board and its deputized counters had examined a half-million ballots, turning up 567 net votes for Gore.

The abrupt change in the counting standard there convinced Republicans that the fix was in. They came to view the Broward recount room as nothing less than a crime scene.

Disappointment in Miami-Dade

The third county in which the Gore forces sought a recount, Miami-Dade, was supposed to be a sort of insurance policy for the vice president. In the end, it was a big nail in his coffin.

In Miami-Dade, the election had been fairly close -- Gore won by about six percentage points. But the Miami undervotes appeared to be concentrated in pro-Gore precincts, so there was some hope that the county might yield at least 120 new votes for the vice president -- if they could get the ballots counted by a favorable standard.

The request for a hand count was made two days after the election on Nov. 7. The canvassing board took its time answering, waiting until Nov. 14 to consider the request. The canvassing board chairman, following Florida law, was a judge -- Lawrence D. King. The elections supervisor, David Leahy, was the board's second member. Like his counterparts in Broward and Palm Beach, Leahy was an experienced bureaucrat who opposed hand counts almost on principle. Another county judge, Myriam Lehr, a registered independent married to a prominent Republican, completed the roster.

A week after Election Day, the board convened to weigh Gore's request for a sample count. It met on the 18th floor of the Stephen P. Clark Government Center in downtown Miami. Leahy complained that the state law was screwy. If the goal of the sample was to decide on the need for a recount, the test precincts should reflect the whole county. Instead, the complaining candidate got to hand-pick the sample precincts. But Leahy ultimately joined the others in approving the test.

The counting began. Unlike Broward and Palm Beach, Miami-Dade made no provision for observers to sit. Lawyers for Gore and Bush stood for hours, peering over the shoulders of the board members as they, in turn, peered at the ballots.

At least 16 times, the board could not agree. At day's end, the sample produced a net gain of six votes for Gore. The board took a vote on whether to proceed. Again Leahy voted no. King voted yes. "Although six votes does not sound like a lot," he said, "it was six people that otherwise may have been disenfranchised." Everyone turned to Lehr, who quietly voted no.

But after the Florida Supreme Court endorsed hand counts, Lehr changed her vote and Miami-Dade started examining its mountain of punch cards. The Miami board decided to begin its effort by running more than 650,000 ballots back through the counting machines, using a special program to separate out the cards that showed no presidential vote.

But it was slow going. On Sunday, Nov. 19, Miami officials entered the climate-controlled Tabulation Room on the 19th floor of the county building. Thirteen IBM punch-card counters stood in rows, bolted to the floor. The ballots were locked in blue metal file boxes along one wall. For seven straight hours they fed the cards into the machines and saw the undervotes pop out. At 5 p.m., they stopped, with more than 100 precincts unfinished.

On Monday, the count began. Leahy said he found it hard to line up tally teams because he didn't have home phone numbers for county employees, so the first day there were just 15 teams of two counters. By the next morning, though, they had their full complement of 25.

Why not more? Because no matter how many people counted ballots, there would always be a bottleneck in the process. Florida law required all disputed ballots to be judged by the three-member canvassing board.

"I was the first one of the canvassing board to look at each ballot," Leahy recalled. "I would look at it, tell the canvassing board what I saw, whether I thought it was a vote or not, and the party officials behind us were also looking over our shoulders, sometimes needing more time to look at it.

"Some were clear nonvotes, but there were other ones where you really had to examine them. Challenges were made. Those had to be recorded. We had to put a number on the back of the ballot. The court reporter had to record it. Those are the things that really take some time."

Though King tried constantly to limit objections, the board found it nearly impossible to move much faster than one ballot per minute -- 60 per hour. Twelve hours a day was about the limit of the board's endurance.

By the end of work Tuesday, 135 precincts had been manually counted, resulting in a net gain of 157 votes for Gore. It was slow going, but Leahy believed they could make their goal of finishing by Dec. 1. That night, the Florida Supreme Court ordered all hand counts completed by Nov. 26.

At 8 a.m. on Nov. 22, the Miami-Dade canvassing board met to consider its options. There were three choices, Leahy said. One was to keep counting as before. If they went 24 hours a day for four straight days, they might make it.

Alternative Two had been proposed earlier by the Gore team. The board could simply count the undervote ballots, approximately 10,750 of them. In this scenario, it would send the counting teams home and the canvassing board alone would scrutinize ballots.

Alternative Three was to stop the process.

When the idea of counting only the undervotes had come up several days earlier, King pronounced it illegal, but now he seemed amenable. Leahy said he thought the second option was the only one that would allow the board to make the deadline "with as accurate a count of the votes in the presidential election as humanly possible."

It was agreed.

Leahy had an idea to save time. Several days earlier, the county had started separating undervotes from the other ballots, but never finished the job. Why not move up to the Tabulation Room and start counting while the machines separated out the rest of the undervotes? (The board was required to supervise whenever the counting machines were running.) At 8:50 a.m., up the elevators they went.

That's when things began going wrong. Following the board to the 19th floor was a crowd of Republicans, upset that the proceedings were moving from the large public space on the 18th floor into the smaller, sealed space on the 19th. There were windows in the Tabulation Room, but access beyond the doors was limited. Reporters were also angry at the sudden shift, and circulated a petition threatening to sue the board if it didn't let them in the room.

Then the elevators began disgorging angry Republican protesters, 30 to 40 altogether. They were mostly young congressional staffers and other volunteers from Washington who had served as observers in the recount. Republicans had deployed volunteers with military efficiency in Florida, flying and busing them in, paying for hotels and food. At one point more than 700 were in the state.

'We are civic-minded people and we were there to observe the process and suddenly we weren't allowed to do that," said Layna McConkey, 31, a lobbyist and former Republican congressional staffer. The protest began with people chanting that the media should be allowed in. Quickly, chants of "Let them in" became "Let us in."

The board, meanwhile, had paused in the election office to discuss the new plan with party leaders. It began to hear muffled chants and scattered thuds as the protesters banged doors and pounded on windows. "Stop the count! Stop the fraud!" the protesters shouted.

The local Democratic Party chairman, Joe Geller, visited the elections office looking for a sample ballot. He had a theory about the large number of punches in hole No. 7 on Miami ballots. He wanted to run a little test to see if, by improperly inserting the card, he could make hole No. 7 line up with Gore's line, No. 6. Suddenly, a well-dressed Republican woman with a clipboard yelled: "He's stealing a ballot!"

"They were yelling at me," Geller recalls, "crowding me, walking into me, practically tripping me, screaming in my face, threatening me."

Inside the Tabulation Room, everything started to break down. There was the ruckus. The angry news media. And, on top of it all, they were not getting through anything close to five ballots per minute. The members decided to break and reconvene at 10:30 on the 18th floor.

Democrats spoke of the "riot" or the "mob" in Miami; Republicans later scoffed at the idea that a group of clean-cut Hill staffers could intimidate the canvassing board. "I'm 5 foot 5, 120 pounds -- I don't think I look like a big thug," said McConkey, who was pictured in papers around the country next day shaking her fist with the other demonstrators.

Leahy said that in fact he was much more worried about the media complaints than the foyer protest. "If we hadn't relented," he reflected, "the media would have reported that we were making decisions behind closed doors."

Ron Klain liked to say a good day in Florida was a day you wake up and people are counting ballots. And this was the best morning so far. For the first time, all three South Florida counties were examining cards at the same time.

If this could just keep up, he thought, they would win. Gore would be ahead by the Sunday certification deadline. Klain figured Katherine Harris then would try to avoid certifying the result, and Klain would sue to force her. Bush would have very little time to contest the result.

As he walked out of his office in Tallahassee around lunch time, he glanced at the television screen. The Miami-Dade canvassing board was on CNN. He figured it was taped from an earlier meeting. He would have heard if the board was meeting now.

But it was live. The board was meeting, and suddenly it was not a good day in Florida anymore, not for Gore.

The three board members had split during their lunch break so no one could accuse them of violating Florida's open meeting law. Leahy went to his office, King went to the Xerox room and Lehr went to the storage room. County Attorney Murray Greenberg and his boss, Robert Ginsburg, came downstairs to consult with the members one by one. Leahy wanted to know whether there was any hope of a deadline extension from the state Supreme Court. "I was told . . . that was not going to happen," he said. Greenberg went upstairs and fell asleep in his chair.

When they reconvened at 1:30 p.m., they seemed to have lost hope. Circumstances, King said, had "somewhat changed." Leahy told his colleagues that there was simply too much work for the available time. The idea of counting on the 19th floor was not going to work -- people didn't trust the process.

King voted to stop counting. Leahy also voted no -- he had never been convinced a hand count was warranted in the first place. Lehr made it unanimous: "I would have loved to provide the people of Dade County with a vote, but that's the best I can do this morning."

For Gore, Bad Breaks -- or Betrayal?

Minutes after the Miami-Dade canvassing board shut down, Chris Korge's cell phone rang. It was Al Gore.

"Chris," Korge, a big-time Democratic fundraiser in Miami, recalls Gore saying. "Did Alex kill the recount?"

Alex Penelas is the mayor of Miami, an attractive young Cuban American Democrat whose star was so bright he was mentioned as a possible member of a Gore Cabinet. But that was before the fall of 1999, when a 6-year-old Cuban boy named Elian Gonzalez came to Florida and caused a political tidal wave in Miami that swept up everyone in its path. Ever since Elian, Penelas had kept his distance from Gore.

"No," Korge responded. "I think he's been trying to help you, and has made it clear that he would dedicate the county's resources to help the recount."

"Well, I'm hearing otherwise," the vice president said. Korge suggested that Gore talk to the mayor directly. A few minutes later, Gore reached Penelas at his office and asked what happened.

The elections supervisor was a bureaucrat, and just did not see how it was logistically possible to complete the count by Sunday at 5 p.m, the mayor explained. But Penelas wanted Gore to know he had assured the canvassing board that the county would provide all the resources to complete the count. He had issued a statement saying so. He was willing to issue another.

Gore thanked the mayor, adding that if the Miami ballots didn't get recounted, it was going to kill him.

But the call fueled the feeling Gore would have that Penelas, his erstwhile ally, had betrayed him. The vice president came away from the conversation with the impression that Penelas would issue a statement calling on the board to resume the recount. But Penelas, his aides insist, offered no such assurance.

Some people figured Penelas would help Gore's campaign after securing his own reelection in the September primaries. Instead, the young mayor took off for a 12-day junket in Spain. And when he returned, says Hialeah Mayor Raul Martinez, "Alex went AWOL."

Gore's problems in Miami were ironic because almost alone within the Clinton administration, he had been sympathetic to the idea that Elian should remain in America. The case, Gore argued -- in opposition to the administration -- should be handled in American family courts, not as an immigration matter.

Gore stuck to that view, despite the criticism it provoked from liberals in his own party. Indeed, his feelings had deepened during a car ride in early 2000 with Butterworth and his wife, Marta Prado Butterworth.

As they drove, Marta told Gore her own story of fleeing Castro when she was 7. "I felt such a sense of pain for this little boy should he have to return," she recalled. "I remember him [Gore] saying, 'What an incredible show of love -- this woman so loved her son that she went to the straits of the ocean to bring her child to freedom.' "

Then came the predawn raid to seize Elian, and all the fine points of Gore's anti-Castroism were washed away on a tide of rage. Ultimately, Gore's share of the Cuban vote was little more than half what Clinton had managed four years earlier.

In the days after the Miami-Dade canvassing board's decision, Gore would check in regularly with Democratic National Committee researchers, trying to identify the Republican congressional aides-turned-demonstrators who had helped shut the board down. One day he called Korge again to ask whether it was true that the Miami-Dade county manager, Merrett Stierheim, had resigned because he was upset with the recount.

No, said Korge, but Gore persisted.

"Mr. Vice President," Korge said, "just trust me on this."

Palm Beach or Bust

That left Palm Beach.

The members of the canvassing board took Thanksgiving off, and when they returned to work on Friday, they realized they were already far behind if they were going to meet the Nov. 26 deadline set by the Florida Supreme Court. There was a cold, hard bit of math at the core of the enterprise: No matter how fast the process went at the counting tables, every protested ballot had to be judged by the canvassing board. No matter how much work there was to do adjudicating disputes, those three people had to do it.

Gore's team complained because it felt the board was not counting enough ballots as votes. It believed Judge LaBarga favored a much more liberal standard. So it objected to every ballot that the board "missed," thus creating a record for a possible lawsuit. This, in turn, inspired the Republicans to object, as a defensive measure, to every uncounted dimple for Bush.

Images from the Palm Beach recount were beamed to millions of mystified Americans, who saw the board members holding ballots up to the light, peering at them, turning them this way and that. And many viewers agreed with Bush spokesman Tucker Eskew, who said: "You have dozens of cameras peering through the window, like parents of newborns. It is one ugly baby in that room."

With 13 hours left before the deadline, the board realized it might not be able to finish at all. At 12:30 Sunday -- 4 1/2 hours before the deadline -- Burton faxed a letter to Secretary of State Harris seeking an extension until 9 a.m. Monday. This was the back-up deadline allowed by the court in case the secretary of state's office was not open on Sunday.

But Harris's office most definitely was open. The board received a letter back from her holding firm to the deadline. So shortly before 5 p.m. the board faxed two sets of numbers to Harris. One was a hieroglyph containing the still-incomplete hand-count results. The other reflected the county's tallies before the hand count. Harris felt she had no choice but to certify the latter.

The board kept counting, just in case. Finally, at 7:06 p.m., almost exactly 19 days after the polls closed, the Palm Beach board finished counting.

Ultimately the Florida Supreme Court would find that Gore picked up 215 votes from the Palm Beach County hand count -- far fewer than what the Gore team believed he was entitled to. Gore wanted a more liberal counting standard that Dennis Newman, one of his lawyers, said would have netted him another 955 votes, more than enough to win Florida and the election.

"I believe that the board did a good job in being consistent in the standard they used," Newman said of the Palm Beach board. "They were just consistently wrong."

Burton was more philosophical.

"This has been an amazing experience," he said afterward. "This is democracy. . . . This was the best and worst of politics."

NEXT: Turning Point

Republican observer Ray Joiner III, right, and Democratic observer Ted Zelman, center, eyed military and overseas ballots in Naples.Democrats said a demonstration by Republicans helped shut down the recount in Miami-Dade, but the canvassing board said it was concerned the media would protest any count in private. Miami-Dade County begins a manual recount, one day after the election. It was considered friendly territory by Democrats: Al Gore carried the county by about six percentage points, and "undervotes" came mostly from pro-Gore precincts. For Charles E. Burton, second from left, and the rest of Palm Beach County's canvassing board, it was often a case of changing standards -- and deadlines. Gore hoped to pick up thousands more votes in the county, but ended with 215.