(Slip Opinion) Cite as: 531 U. S. ____ (2000) 1NOTICE: This opinion is subject to formal revision before publication in the preliminary print of the United States Reports. Readers are requested to notify the Reporter of Decisions, Supreme Court of the United States, Wash- ington, D. C. 20543, of any typographical or other formal errors, in order that corrections may be made before the preliminary print goes to press.
GEORGE W. BUSH, ET AL. , PETITIONERS v. ON WRIT OF CERTIORARI TO THE FLORIDA SUPREME COURTOn December 8, 2000, the Supreme Court of Floridaordered that the Circuit Court of Leon County tabulate byhand 9,000 ballots in Miami-Dade County.
It also orderedthe inclusion in the certified vote totals of 215 votes identi-fiedin Palm Beach County and 168 votes identified inMiami-Dade County for Vice President Albert Gore, Jr. ,and Senator Joseph Lieberman, Democratic Candidatesfor President and Vice President. The Supreme Courtnoted that petitioner, Governor George W. Bush assertedthat the net gain for Vice President Gore in Palm BeachCounty was 176 votes, and directed the Circuit Court toresolve that dispute on remand. ___ So. 2d, at ___ (slipop.Order now
, at 4, n. 6). The court further held that relief wouldrequire manual recounts in all Florida counties where so-calledundervotes had not been subject to manual tabu-lation. The court ordered all manual recounts to begin atonce. Governor Bush and Richard Cheney, RepublicanCandidates for the Presidency and Vice Presidency, filedan emergency application for a stay of this mandate.
OnDecember 9, we granted the application, treated the appli-BUSH v. GOREcation as a petition for a writ of certiorari, and grantedThe proceedings leading to the present controversy arediscussed in some detail in our opinion in Bush v. PalmBeach County Canvassing Bd. , ante, p. ____ (per curiam)(Bush I). On November 8, 2000, the day following thePresidential election, the Florida Division of Electionsreported that petitioner, Governor Bush, had received2,909,135 votes, and respondent, Vice President Gore, hadreceived 2,907,351 votes, a margin of 1,784 for GovernorBush.
Because Governor Bush s margin of victory wasless than one-half of a percent . . . of the votes cast, anautomatic machine recount was conducted under102.
141(4) of the election code, the results of whichshowed Governor Bush still winning the race but by adiminished margin. Vice President Gore then soughtmanual recounts in Volusia, Palm Beach, Broward, andMiami-Dade Counties, pursuant to Florida s electionprotest provisions. Fla. Stat.
102. 166 (2000). A disputearose concerning the deadline for local county canvassingboards to submit their returns to the Secretary of State(Secretary). The Secretary declined to waive the Novem-ber14 deadline imposed by statute. 102.
111, 102. 112. The Florida Supreme Court, however, set the deadline atNovember 26. We granted certiorari and vacated theFlorida Supreme Court s decision, finding considerableuncertainty as to the grounds on which it was based. Bush I, ante, at ______ (slip.
op. , at 67). On December11, the Florida Supreme Court issued a decision on re-mandreinstating that date. ___ So. 2d ___, ___ (slip op. atOn November 26, the Florida Elections CanvassingCommission certified the results of the election and de-claredGovernor Bush the winner of Florida s 25 electoralvotes.
On November 27, Vice President Gore, pursuant toFlorida s contest provisions, filed a complaint in LeonCite as: 531 U. S. ____ (2000) 3County Circuit Court contesting the certification. Fla.
Stat. 102. 168 (2000). He sought relief pursuant to102. 168(3)(c), which provides that receipt of a numberof illegal votes or rejection of a number of legal votessufficient to change or place in doubt the result of theelection shall be grounds for a contest.
The Circuit Courtdenied relief, stating that Vice President Gore failed tomeet his burden of proof. He appealed to the First DistrictCourt of Appeal, which certified the matter to the FloridaAccepting jurisdiction, the Florida Supreme Court af-firmedin part and reversed in part. Gore v. Harris, ___So. 2d.
____ (2000). The court held that the Circuit Courthad been correct to reject Vice President Gore s challengeto the results certified in Nassau County and his challengeto the Palm Beach County Canvassing Board s determina-tionthat 3,300 ballots cast in that county were not, in theThe Supreme Court held that Vice President Gore hadsatisfied his burden of proof under 102. 168(3)(c) withrespect to his challenge to Miami-Dade County s failure totabulate, by manual count, 9,000 ballots on which themachines had failed to detect a vote for President (under-votes). ___ So. 2d.
, at ___ (slip. op. , at 2223). Notingthe closeness of the election, the Court explained that onthis record, there can be no question that there are legalvotes within the 9,000 uncounted votes sufficient to placethe results of this election in doubt.
Id. , at ___ (slip. op. ,at 35).
A legal vote, as determined by the SupremeCourt, is one in which there is a clear indication of theintent of the voter. Id. , at ____ (slip op. , at 25). Thecourt therefore ordered a hand recount of the 9,000 ballotsin Miami-Dade County.
Observing that the contest provi-sionsvest broad discretion in the circuit judge to provideany relief appropriate under such circumstances, Fla. Stat. 102.168(8) (2000), the Supreme Court further heldBibliography: