- The Washington Times - Monday, November 12, 2001

The media group's recount of the Florida presidential ballots released yesterday is the latest in a series of analyses that promise to make the Bush-Gore election the most studied in U.S. history.
The report presented the findings from a monthslong review of roughly 175,000 ballots that either didn't register as votes for president or registered as votes for more than one candidate when they were run through the counting machines on Election Night.
The recount was sponsored by the Associated Press; CNN; the Tribune Co., publisher of a chain of papers including the Chicago Tribune and the Los Angeles Times, and five other newspapers the New York Times, The Washington Post, the Palm Beach Post, the St. Petersburg Times and the Wall Street Journal.
The ballot examination was conducted by the National Opinion Research Center, a nonprofit survey affiliate of the University of Chicago.
Results of the recount had been scheduled for release in early September. But release was put off after the September 11 attacks, because, as one writer noted, the attacks relegated the 2000 election fight to a footnote in history. Other reports said the group wished to avoid raising controversy during a period of national unity.
Ballot reviews before these latest results and aside from the official, government vote recounts in many of Florida's 67 counties included:
USA Today, the Miami Herald and the Herald's parent Knight Ridder hired an accounting firm to scrutinize each of 61,195 then-available "undervotes," or ballots that registered for no candidate.
The three-month, $500,000 study was conducted to show who would have won the election if the Supreme Court had not halted the recounts ordered by the Florida Supreme Court in early December.
The review found that Mr. Bush would have retained his slim victory margin. However, if the counters were generous in awarding dubious ballots, Mr. Bush's victory margin would have increased.
The accounting firm of Johnson, Lambert & Co. conducted an independent audit of ballots in six Florida counties. The result: a net gain of 116 votes for Mr. Bush.
The Palm Beach Post reviewed 10,600 undervotes cast in Miami-Dade County balloting.
The state-certified vote in Miami-Dade had given Al Gore 328,808 votes and Mr. Bush 289,533. The Post's reviewers concluded that Mr. Bush should have been given 251 additional votes and Mr. Gore 245.
Several Florida newspapers joined the Miami Herald and USA Today to conduct a review of 176,000 ballots that the counting machines had rejected Nov. 8, 2000. The examination counted more than 111,000 votes that had been cast aside because they seemed to contain votes for more than one candidate.
If the most stringent standard were applied when counting these rejected ballots, Mr. Bush would have won again, this time by 407 votes.
If the most permissive standard were applied, Mr. Gore would have won by 332 votes.


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