- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 20, 2000

Although hundreds of votes in Florida separated the fates of George W. Bush and Al Gore, more than 105 million Americans cast ballots in the presidential election.
Mr. Bush, who on Monday secured the Electoral College majority required to be the 43rd president, lost the nation's popular vote to Mr. Gore by 539,897 votes, according to a final vote tally compiled by a nonpartisan research group from state reports. Slightly more than half of 1 percent of the overall vote count separated them.
Mr. Gore got 50,996,064 votes, or 48.39 percent; Mr. Bush drew 50,456,167 votes, or 47.88 percent; Green Party candidate Ralph Nader had 2,864,810, or 2.72 percent; Reform Party nominee Pat Buchanan took 448,750, or 0.43 percent; and Libertarian Party candidate Harry Browne got 386,024, or 0.37 percent.
The remaining 34 vote-getters, including 13th-ranked "None of the Above," each drew less than one-tenth of 1 percent.
Nationwide, voter turnout was 105,380,929 ballots cast, or 51.2 percent of those eligible, said Curtis B. Gans, vice president and director of the Committee for the Study of the American Electorate, in releasing their final figures Monday.
That figure was up 2.2 percentage points from 1996 but was significantly lower than the 62.8 percent who voted in 1960, making the 2000 election among those with the lowest turnouts, he said.
Based on reports of total ballots cast in 34 states and the District of Columbia, there was an estimated undercount of 2.1 million ballots nationally, Mr. Gans said. The undercount includes those who did not vote for president but voted for other offices, as well as ballots that were discarded.
Among 16 so-called battleground states, turnout increased by an average of 3.4 percent compared with a 1.6 percent increase in other states. Ten states Arizona, Hawaii, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Montana, New Jersey, Oklahoma, South Dakota and Wyoming had lower turnout than in 1996.
"When you only have this much increase in turnout, it's not a good showing," Mr. Gans said. "Voter mobilization in those battleground states was probably responsible for the increase."
Five states Missouri, Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota and Wyoming had congressional or gubernatorial races in which voters cast more votes than they did in the presidential contest.
Mr. Gans attributed the long-term voter turnout decline to "a lower level of trust in our leadership than at any time."

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