2000’s VS TODAY

The 2020 election has brought many new surprises, but how does it compare to the 2000 election

Ben Whitlock

More stories from Ben Whitlock

December 28, 2020

Abby Landwehr

People wait in line at the Park County Fairgrounds to vote in the general election.

A common comparison among Donald Trump supporters is the 2000 election and the 2020 election. While no PHS students were alive to witness the 2000 election, they might have heard a lot about it in recent weeks.

The election of 2000 took place between the Democratic nominee, former Vice President Al Gore, and the Republican nominee, former U.S. President George W. Bush. Notably, Gore conceded to Bush in the early hours after election day, but retracted his concession an hour later. There was dispute over the results in Florida, and legal battles ensued.

“I was teaching in Pocatello, Idaho at Pocatello High School,” PHS english and history teacher Mrs. Tracy McArthur said. “I was teaching US History and senior english that year. I remember visiting with my Dad on an almost daily basis because he lived in Florida and that was the state doing the recount with the infamous hanging chads. I remember seeing it on the nightly news every day.”

It took a tense month to settle the disputes. The case eventually reached the Supreme Court, but not after progressing through lower courts.

Gore pushed for manual recounts in certain counties; Bush pushed back against them,” a USA Today article by justice correspondent Kristine Philips comparing the 2000 and 2020 elections said. “By December, the high court ruled 5-4 in Bush’s favor to stop the manual recounts. The final tally had Bush ahead by just 537 votes.” 

The voting process has progressed and evolved since 2000. This includes the efficiency of vote counting. In 2000, Florida used hanging chads to vote during the election.

I think it is important to get the recount done as soon as possible so the American people know who will be president for the next four years.”

— Mrs. McArthur

“There were punch-card ballots where the voters’ attempt to make their choice had only succeeded in detaching a portion of the perforated paper [hanging chads] or merely denting – rather than removing – the punch-out [dimpled chads],” Ron Elving said in an NPR article

As of Nov. 13, all 50 states have been called. With Georgia and North Carolina having been called around midday, The New York Times reported that the President-elect Joe Biden increased his margine with 306 total electoral votes. Incumbent President Donald Trump received 232 electoral votes.

President Trump has made claims of voter fraud in numerous states. Given the strong conservative leanings of the Supreme Court, many are hoping the election will be decided by the nine justices, like in the 2000 election.

“There’s not a lot of similarities,” Barry Richard, the attorney who represented Mr. Bush in the 2000 discrepancy, said in an AP news article titled Trump election challenge not same as 2000 Florida recount. “In 2000, there was clearly a problem with the defective ballots. Nobody was claiming fraud or improprieties. It was all about how we made sure everybody’s vote counted.”

Though Georgia still faces a mandatory recount in the days ahead, former Vice President Joe Biden has been projected as the winner of the 2020 election.

I am fine with the recounts when it is close (within a percentage point), we need to make sure it is right,” Mrs. McArthur said. “But I also think it needs to be done in a timely manner. I think it is important to get the recount done as soon as possible so the American people know who will be president for the next four years.”

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