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Analysis indicates many Gore votes thrown out in Florida

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- An analysis of a portion of November's votes in Florida for president shows those for Al Gore were far more likely to be disqualified because of so-called overvoting than ballots cast for George W. Bush.

The Washington Post reviewed the computer records of 2.7 million votes in eight of Florida's most populous counties.

According to the newspaper, overvotes -- ballots that were thrown out because more than one candidate for president was selected -- were three times more likely to include Gore as one of the choices, rather than Bush. The eight counties reviewed included Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach.

The Washington Post found that in Palm Beach, 8,000 so-called butterfly ballots were thrown out because Gore and one of two other presidential candidates -- a candidate listed below Gore and another listed above Gore -- were selected.

Of those ballots, voters chose a Democrat in the Senate race 10-to-1.

Butterfly ballots are punch-style ballots that were used by Palm Beach County and that listed competing candidates on opposite pages, like a book. Many voters said they were confused by the way candidates were listed on the ballots and said the confusion may have caused them to vote for candidates they did not support.

Bush won Florida's valuable 25 electoral votes -- and the national electoral total-- by a margin of only 537 votes, according to certified results announced by Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris. That result was upheld by a 5-4 U.S. Supreme Court decision after a challenge mounted by Gore.

Although Bush won the presidency by winning the vote in the Electoral College 271 to 266, Gore won the national popular vote by 539,947 ballots.

The Washington Post analysis points to problems either with the way voters used voting devices or the devices themselves.

Although the newspaper did not review actual ballots, CNN and The Washington Post are part of a consortium of media organizations that will analyze Florida ballots disqualified for having more than one vote per race or having no vote at all. That analysis is to begin next month.


Saturday, January 27, 2001



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