An automatic recount was called under the state law of Florida, which reduced the vote margin from 1,784 to 327.(REUTERS)
An automatic recount was called under the state law of Florida, which reduced the vote margin from 1,784 to 327.(REUTERS)

US Election 2020: How was Florida recount during Bush candidacy different from Trump’s challenge?

Republican George W. Bush was pitted against Democratic Vice-President Al Gore when the controversy surrounding Florida election results erupted.
Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By hindustantimes.com | Edited by Kunal Gaurav
UPDATED ON NOV 13, 2020 07:27 PM IST

The administrator of the General Services Administration (GSA) is yet to “ascertain” Joe Biden Democrat as the winner of general elections, days after US media projected the Democrat as the next president of the United States. GSA’s reluctance to certify Biden as the winner has slowed the presidential transition and the federal agency has failed to provide an appropriate reason behind its decision.

A GSA spokesperson cited the precedent established after the 2000 election when legal tussle over the recount in Florida delayed the transition. The spokesperson said in a statement that the administrator will continue to “abide by, and fulfill, all requirements under the law and adhere to prior precedent established by the Clinton Administration in 2000.”

Also Read | What is GSA ‘ascertainment’ and how does it impact Biden-Harris transition team?

What happened in Florida recount?

Republican George W. Bush was pitted against Democratic Vice-President Al Gore when the controversy surrounding Florida election results erupted. The future of the two leaders rested on Florida, a decisive state which had 25 electoral votes. The United States witnessed a dramatic seesaw as US media networks initially called the results in favour of Al Gore, but later retracted it, saying it was too close to call.

The networks started calling the results in favour of Bush, however, the vote difference remained too thin. At one point, Gore even telephoned Bush to concede and then called him back to retract the concession. An automatic recount was called under the state law, which further reduced the vote margin from 1,784 to 327. Republican supporters protested in Miami over the recount process, leading to widespread debate. The controversy finally ended when the US Supreme Court ruled in Bush’s favour.

Also Read | Republican leaders who broke ranks with Trump to congratulate Biden

How was it different from the current situation?

The comparison of ongoing controversy with Florida recount could be misleading since it occurred for a single state, while President Donald Trump has challenged the results of several swing states. After the presidential elections in the year 2000, the two candidates were separated by a few hundred votes in Florida. In the latest general elections, the difference in votes remains in thousands.

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