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Newspapers complete Florida recount

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  1. Freedom of Information
From the Spring 2001 issue of The News Media & The Law, page 43.

From the Spring 2001 issue of The News Media & The Law, page 43.

The Miami Herald and USA Today paired up to complete a recount of 64,248 undervotes and tallied their results because open records law in Florida provides public access to the ballots. (See, News Media & the Law, Winter 2001)

George W. Bush officially won in the Sunshine State by 537 votes.

The two newspapers recounted the undervotes (ballots discarded and no vote counted) using four distinct methods. In three of the four methods, George W. Bush emerged the victor.

Method 1

Any mark for a candidate: Bush gains 1,128: Bush wins by 1,665

Method 2

Clean, hanging, dimpled: Bush gains 347: Bush wins by 884

Method 3

Clean, hanging: Bush gains 174: Bush wins by 363

Method 4

Clean punches only: Gore gains 540: Gore wins by 3


Hanging: the paper was detached on at least two corners

Dimpled: the paper was poked or indented, but not completely torn

Clean punch: a properly cast vote where the chad is completely punctured


The media recount excluded three counties — Broward, Palm Beach and Valusia — and part of a fourth — Miami-Dade. The recount also excluded the results from three additional counties — Escambia, Manatee and Madison — that completed the state court-mandated recount before the U.S. Supreme Court halted that effort. In addition, ballots reviewed in Hamilton County were not included because officials there said they had no undervotes at the time of the court rulings. In total, the newspapers recounted the ballots from 59 counties.