The 2000 US General Election: Overview and Effects

The 2000 US General Election: Overview and Effects

Overview of the 2000 US Election

The 2000 U.S. presidential election is considered the most controversial election in American History. This is because it was the first time in over a century; the winners of the electoral and popular votes were different (Weisberg & Wilcox, 2004). The election between Al Gore and George W. Bush attracted global attention based on how the election turned out in 2000. Al Gore was voted for by over half a million more votes than his Republican counterpart. In this election, Republican George Bush and Democrat Al Gore won 48% of the popular vote. Further, Al Gore garnered 266 electoral votes, the highest vote obtained by any losing candidate in the country's history. Under the constitutional guidelines, the legal victory would be based on the candidate who won the 25 electoral votes in Florida. In this case, George Bush won the election with a one majority vote in the Electoral College despite his loss of the popular vote.

The controversy surrounding this election made it a memorable political event. Despite that Albert Gore lost the presidency in the Electoral College by a 271-267 count, this election was challenged in court. According to Pomper (2001), with the final tie-breaker dependent on Florida counts, many individuals were suspicious about the outcome. This is because, in Florida, the minority voters were denied the vote, the ballots were inaccurate, and recounts were manipulated and mismanaged (Pomper, 2001). Hence, the nation's fate was not done by the voters but rather a 5-4 majority of the unelected U.S. Supreme Court.

Effects of the 2000 U.S. Election

Following this highly contested election, the decision made on this day would affect the nation's progress in the subsequent years. Presently, the effects of the 2000 U.S. elections have influenced the U.S. election system.

1.    Election Law Reforms

The 2000 presidential election was identified as the most expensive and the longest within the Nation's History. It exposed the flaws that characterize the election system in the country. The disagreements that characterized this election period highlighted the benefits of election reforms to eliminate future challenges. These are reforms that will primarily focus on the modernization of voting machines and ballots. According to Christian (2002), a butterfly ballot was used in Florida, leading to confusion and mismatch. In the post-Bush v. Gore era, changes are evident in the ballot design and voting equipment used on Election Day. Presently, voting across the nation is done on the same to synchronize the process. With advanced technology, more precautions have been enforced to ensure the validity of the cast votes.

2.    Counting and recounting

This election triggered the conversation on recounts based on the experience people had during the process. It was mandatory to have a legal framework that dictates how the recounts are conducted in the country. Over the years, legislators have used their resources to ensure that recounts are conducted deliberately and under the supervision of election officials, journalists, and election observers. For instance, in Wisconsin, a recount done in 2016 identified a few regions where the machine failed to read some ballots since the voters used the wrong pens to mark their choices (Ansolabehere, Burden, Mayer & Stewart, 2018). Thus, this was a display of the intentional approach to the exercise.

3.    Campaign Dynamics

In any election, the campaign process displays how the candidates present themselves to the public. In this regard, aspects related to character and presentation are evident during the campaign period. The majority of candidates will avoid any controversial issues because of the fear of offending voters. Bush had a skillful campaign team, but this didn't have a direct influence on the elections. The success of the process depends on the candidates' ability to convince the voters. Over the years, the presidential candidates have embraced the same approach. The majority will focus on pertinent issues that directly affect the welfare of the people. Based on the 2000 U.S. election, campaign dynamics dictate how much will be achieved in the future.

4.    Partisanship

The involvement of Supreme Court judges in the election process was detrimental to the reputation of the courts. Further, this event exposed how partisanship affects the progress of the country. In the 2000 presidential elections, one party won the popular vote while the other party won the electoral vote. This signified the basis of partisanship primarily based on the role of the Electoral College in the election. The divisions evident between Republicans and Democrats continue to affect American democracy. In the 21st century, partisan allegiances are influential in affecting the family, community, and social dynamics.

5.    The legitimacy of the Electoral Process

The election outcome was the source of controversy, with the citizens doubting the legitimacy of the election. It was evident that the safety and integrity of the process would be instrumental in future elections. The art of politics is based on its ability to influence change and promote permanent opportunities in the community (Pomper, 2001). This is an aspect that was not evident in the 2000 elections since the representatives were focused on the party interests. Based on this election, it became evident that voters were concerned about accuracy and completion. In this regard, the events of the 2000 election have, over the years, triggered government officials to focus on streamlining the election process. This has been possible due to the presence of technology, and citizens focused on the nation's progress.

The 2000 U.S. election effects have been influential on the changes that have been experienced over the years in the USA. The confusion and lack of transparency needed to be eliminated in subsequent elections. Despite that, there have been substantial changes; more resources should be dispersed to protect the integrity of the process. The 2020 presidential elections will be a representation of the progress of the electoral system over the years.  


Ansolabehere, S., Burden, B. C., Mayer, K. R., & Stewart III, C. (2018). Learning from Recounts. Election Law Journal: Rules, Politics, and Policy, 17(2), 100-116.

Christian, J. K. (2002). Election Reform in the Wake of the 2000 Presidential Election. Senior Thesis Projects, 1993-2002, 84.

Pomper, G. M. (2001). The 2000 presidential election: Why Gore lost. Political Science Quarterly, 116(2), 201-223.

Weisberg, H. F., & Wilcox, C. (2004). Models of voting in presidential elections: the 2000 US election. Stanford University Press.


Published on: 20 Aug 2020

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