Analysis suggests vote recount favored Bush
MIAMI, Florida (CNN) -- In a post-election analysis, The Miami Herald suggests that George W. Bush likely would have won the presidency outright if Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris had allowed South Florida counties to complete manual recounts before certifying last November's election.
The Herald, on its website and in a front-page story today, said that Democratic presidential candidate Al Gore would have not have gained enough votes in the recount of Miami-Dade County "undervote" ballots to overcome Bush's lead.
The Herald reported that its inspection of undervotes, done by a public accounting firm, used the broadest possible standard possible "to decide when a mark is a vote."
The Herald review suggested that Gore would have gained no more than 49 votes if a recount of Miami-Dade ballots had been allowed. "That would have been 140 too few to overcome Bush's lead, even when joined with Gore gains in Volusia, Palm Beach and Broward counties -- the three other counties where Gore had requested manual recounts," The Herald reported.
Latest in series of stories
Mark Siebel, The Herald's managing editor for news, said a team of up to 15 reporters and researchers had examined 10,644 disputed presidential ballots from those counties.
Monday's story by The Herald is the latest in a series of stories the newspaper has published examining the presidential vote in all 67 Florida counties.
Following the November election, Gore sought a recount in selected counties, saying thousands of ballots had never been counted. Republicans opposed that effort, saying the ballots had been counted by machines and some voters simply never made a clear selection for president.
Bush won the presidency five weeks after Election Day after the U.S. Supreme Court blocked Gore's efforts to have the disputed ballots counted by hand.
Other news organizations examine vote
A separate group of news organizations, including CNN, The New York Times and The Washington Post, have joined forces to retain a nonprofit research firm to conduct an inventory of Florida's uncounted presidential ballots.
The National Opinion Research Center, affiliated with the University of Chicago, will evaluate the ballots and classify the marks or lack of marks on each. The firm will not try to determine whether a ballot contains a "vote," but will only describe the marks.
The firm will look at roughly 180,000 ballots from throughout the state's 67 counties that did not register a presidential vote when they passed through machines. Those ballots includes both undervotes -- no vote for president -- and overvotes -- two or more votes for president.
Other news organizations that are part of the inventory effort include The Associated Press, The Wall Street Journal, the Palm Beach Post, the St. Petersburg Times and Tribune Publishing.
The center will train teams of three independent coders to classify each ballot based on the varying interpretations local canvassing boards have confronted in Florida in their efforts to count those ballots.
When the effort was announced, organizers said it should be completed by April. The results will be released to the public.
Miami Herald to publish story on Florida recount dispute
The Miami Herald
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