Florida 2000
The re-count of ballots in Florida during the 2000 presidential election created a debate about the reliability of punch card ballots and precipitated a national crisis of public confidence in voting systems in general. Most previous national elections had sufficiently large margins of victory to mask any shortcomings of vote recording systems.
But a close presidential election race, misaligned ballot cards that allowed for off-center punches, and a confusing butterfly ballot design in one Florida county, stimulated public awareness and interest in the nation's vote-recording machinery.

Citizen ballot counters

Citizen ballot counters and observers examining Votomatic punch cards, Emergency Operations Center, West Palm Beach, Florida, November 2000. To conduct the re-count in Palm Beach County, citizens organized into teams of four. Each team included two Republican and two Democratic Party counters and observers. The magenta-colored card helps identify the holes in
the ballots.

Photo of Citizen ballot counters
Enlarge photo of Citizen ballot counters
Photo of Detail,  butterfly ballot
Enlarge photo of Detail,  butterfly ballot
Photo of Votomatic with "butterfly"  ballot
Enlarge photo of Votomatic with "butterfly"  ballot
Photo of Votomatic vote recorder
Enlarge photo of Votomatic vote recorder

Detail, butterfly ballot

Votomatic with butterfly ballot

Votomatic vote recorder

In an effort to keep the type on the ballot legible, Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections Theresa LePore enlarged what would normally have been a single page of presidential candidates to two pages. The two-page butterfly ballot led to voter confusion.

Judge Robert Rosenberg examining ballot

The close presidential contest between George W. Bush and Al Gore came down to a struggle over the Florida vote. In Florida, Bush led Gore by 537 votes out of six million votes cast. Gore asked for a recount of ballots by hand in four counties where his support was believed to be strong. Incompletely punched ballots that could not be counted by machine were attributed to
voter error.

Courtesy Associated Press

Magnifying glass

Magnifying glass used by Judge Robert Rosenberg to examine ballots during the hand re-count in Broward County, Florida.

Photo of Judge Robert Rosenberg examining ballot
Enlarge photo Judge Robert Rosenberg examining ballot
Photo of Magnifying glass
Enlarge photo of Magnifying glass
Photo of Bush v. Gore protesters
Enlarge photo of Bush v. Gore protesters

Bush v. Gore protesters

Protesters outside the U. S. Supreme Court during Bush v. Gore turned punch cards into symbols, December 11, 2000.