Election 2000 - Florida Secretary Of State Katherine Harris. Let the confusion begin!

Election 2000 – November 9, 2000 – Cliffhangers, Nailbiters, Hanging Chads.

Election 2000 - Katherine Harris.
Election 2000 – Florida Secretary Of State Katherine Harris. Let the confusion begin!

November 9, 2000 – News – reports – World News Roundup – CBS Radio – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –

November 9, 2000 – Election 2000 -two days after the polls closed, it was still up in the air. Margins were in the 10’s and hundreds – it was beyond razor-thin, it was a sure sign this President election, unlike all other elections in American history, was going to go to places it had never gone before. As one breathless Middle-School History teacher exclaimed to her 7th grade class “you will remember this election for the rest of your lives”. And maybe so, because Election 2000 became something of a benchmark for gauging how wide the gap in politics was becoming, how divisive our country would quickly become.

On this day, amid bulletins, reactions, spin and concern, ground Zero for this ball of confusion rested in Florida and, at least for a while, rested squarely on the shoulders of Florida Secretary Of State Katherine Harris.

On November 8, Florida Division of Elections staff prepared a press release for Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris that said overseas ballots must be “postmarked or signed and dated” by Election Day. It was never released. A count of the overseas ballots later boosted Bush’s margin to 930 votes. (According to a report by The New York Times, 680 of the accepted overseas ballots were received after the legal deadline, lacked required postmarks or a witness signature or address, or were unsigned or undated, cast after election day, from unregistered voters or voters not requesting ballots, or double-counted.)

Most of the post-electoral controversy revolved around Gore’s request for hand recounts in four counties (Broward, Miami-Dade, Palm Beach, and Volusia), as provided under Florida state law. Harris, who also co-chaired Bush’s Florida campaign, announced she would reject any revised totals from those counties if they were not turned in by 5 p.m. on November 14, the statutory deadline for amended returns. The Florida Supreme Court extended the deadline to November 26, a decision later vacated by the U.S. Supreme Court. Miami-Dade eventually halted its recount and resubmitted its original total to the state canvassing board, while Palm Beach County failed to meet the extended deadline, turning in its completed recount results at 7 p.m., which Harris rejected. And Election 2000 would burn itself into the national psyche for at least the next 22 years.

And that’s how it was going, this November 9, 2000 as reported by CBS Radio with reports, hourly newscasts and The World News Roundup: Late Edition.

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