Status Report on Florida Recount Efforts
W A S H I N G T O N, March 12 -- To everything there is a season ... and for nearly every newspaper there is a recount.
President Bush's trip to Florida today comes amid a variety of recounting that is going on to determine "what really happened" on Election Day in the state.
The common denominator to all these efforts is that they are going back over ballots with the legally mandated assistance of county employees — but some are just looking at the undervotes (ballots that did not record a vote), others at just the overvotes (ballots that recorded more than one vote), and some at both kinds of votes.
Some of the efforts attempt to make definitive statements about what might have been. Others don't, choosing instead to simply categorize the different kinds of ballots.
The biggest recount effort is by a consortium of the leading national papers and some Florida outlets. The results of this effort are not expected for another month, at least.
What has caused some confusion is that some of the other efforts have released partial results — recount totals and analyses for certain counties, or groups of counties, or for only certain kinds of ballots (such as undervotes).
No one yet has announced full, statewide recount tallies, but those partial results announced so far have created small firestorms of "Bush would still have won" or "Gore would have won" news coverage reports.
For the real lowdown on where each recount effort stands, read on:
Palm Beach Post
The Post this weekend released the extent of its ongoing tabulations thus far, which found that Palm Beach County's overvotes (on its now-infamous "butterfly" ballots) "cost Al Gore about 6,600 votes, more than 10 times what he needed to overcome George W. Bush's slim lead in Florida and win the presidency." The Post also found Gore would have gained 784 votes in Palm Beach County had officials counted every punch-card ballot that had a hanging, pinholed or dimpled chad (the so-called "undervotes").
Back in January, the Post reported that if all the disputed ballots in Palm Beach County had been counted as votes, Gore would have picked up 682 votes, more than Bush's 537-vote statewide margin of victory.
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