2000 Presidential Election

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Recounting the 2000 Presidential Election
The movie Recount tells the story of the ballot controversy in Florida during the 2000 presidential election of George W. Bush vs. Al Gore. Recount was written by Danny Strong, directed by Jay Roach, and produced by Kevin Spacey. It is told from the from the perspective of Kevin Spacey as Ron Klain, one of Vice President Gore's lawyers. The film begins on November 7, 2000, the night of the presidential election. Florida is called for Governor Bush by all of the major news networks and Gore calls Bush to concede. However, a miscount involving a machine is discovered to be adding extra votes to Governor Bush's total and subtracting votes from Vice President Gore's total. The Associated Press was the only news outlet that had the correct numbers. Florida, with its 25 electoral votes,is too close to call and Gore retracts his concession.

After all the votes have been counted, Al Gore is still down by about 2000 votes in Florida. The law requires a mandatory recount if the total votes are closer than 0.05%. Votes for Gore and Bush were within .01%, triggering a recount. A machine recount of the votes closed the gap to 327 votes favoring Governor Bush. The Gore campaign sued to extend the recount deadline and asking for a hand recount of the four most liberal counties in Florida on the grounds that the voting machines could not correctly count the voter's intent. A previous court case in Florida held that ballots were required to be counted if it showed the voter's intent to vote.

Florida's Secretary of State for Florida,Katherine Harris, refuses to extend the deadline to recount votes. Ron Klain and the Gore campaign appealed to the Florida Supreme Court. The Court ruled that all votes must be recounted and accepted by December 12. After this ruling the Bush campaign appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled all hand recounts of votes in Florida had to stop immediately and that the Court would hear the case on December 11. The Supreme Court justices overturned the ruling of the Florida Supreme Court. Florida's 25 electoral votes were given to George W. Bush, and he became the 43rd president of the United States of America.

The voting system in the United States is based on the one person one vote concept. In the opening scene of the movie an elderly woman is obviously confused by the layout of the Florida ballot as she chooses a candidate and punches a hole in the ballot. When a person cannot understand how to vote, his or her right to be heard in the government is taken away. While the right to vote is not stated specifically in the constitution, three separate amendments address that the right to vote cannot be denied. For example Amendment 26 reads, “The right of citizens of the United States, who are eighteen years of age or older, to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of age” (US Constitution). The movie later reveals a situation in which 20,000 people are not allowed to vote because they have similar names to convicted felons. They are denied the right to vote.

The Electoral College was formed in Article 2 Section 1 of the United States Constitution for the election of a president. Popular vote was discarded because the population will likely vote for candidates from their own states, resulting in candidate's from states with the largest population to win the presidency. They did not think the population would be well informed about candidates from other states. The founding fathers developed the electoral college to create a balance. This movie demonstrated the importance of the electoral college as it required all of Florida's 25 electoral votes to give Bush the victory in the 2000 presidential election. Al Gore won the popular vote, marking only the third time in U.S. history that the runner-up won the popular vote but not the electoral vote (The Associated Press).

The film Recount is...
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