November 8, 2000
One day after Election Tuesday, the first lawsuit (Fladell v. Palm Beach County Canv. Bd. (PBCCB) ), is filed in Florida by Palm Beach County voters who, alleging voter confusion over the
county's butterfly ballot, are
seeking to set aside all presidential votes in the county and order a new county-wide election. Defendants
include the PBCCB, Bush, Cheney, Gore, and Lieberman.
NAACP President Kweisi Mfume notifies Attorney
General Janet Reno of the reported irregularities and minority vote dilution African-American voters in
Florida may have encountered on election. He asks Reno to investigate the charges.
November 9, 2000
Concern by Florida voters and both parties grows over the controversial butterfly ballot. Palm Beach
County voters file more voter lawsuits by challenging the constitutionality of the ballot and the
presidential vote. U.S. Attorney General Reno attempts to defer to state officials over the legality
of the ballot.
see Rogers v. Election Canv. Comm'n of Florida
see Horowitz v. LePore
see Elkin v. LePore
November 10, 2000
The Democratic and Republican parties attempt to show distance from the controversy. Governor Bush tells
reporters he is making "low key" preparations for the White House in the midst of recount litigation.
November 11, 2000
On a Saturday, the Bush campaign files a federal lawsuit in
Miami (Siegel v. LePore) seeking
declaratory and injunctive relief to halt all manual recounts.
November 13, 2000
Palm Beach and Volusia County Canvassing Boards sue Florida Secretary of State
Katherine Harris to halt her just-announced 5:00 p.m. vote certification and recount
deadline. They want to gain time so they can continue their recounts of presidential ballots and
include the hand counted votes that Harris seeks to prohibit.
U.S. District Court Judge Middlebrook, holding that Florida's vote-counting process appeared to be
neutral without any necessity for federal intervention, denies the Bush campaign's request for
injunctive relief to halt a manual recount of Florida voters' ballots. Middlebrook concludes, "The
body of law is pretty pervasive that the federal courts ought to stay out of state elections."
November 14, 2000
The Palm Beach County Canvassing Board decides to continue manual recounts of presidential votes,
even though a state court judge in Tallahassee upholds Harris' previously announced 5:00 p.m. deadline
for counties to report ballot counts to the state. Leon County Judge Terry Lewis upholds Harris' 5:00 p.m.
deadline, but cautions that he will allow supplemental or corrected presidential vote totals after the
deadline and that Harris may use them if she
uses a "proper exercise
High-profile litigator David Boies joins the Gore campaign's legal team.
November 15, 2000
Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris sues in an effort to stop manual recounts.
The Bush campaign appeals the U.S. District Court decision denying injunctive relief to the 11th Circuit
Court of Appeals in Atlanta.
November 16, 2000
The Florida Supreme Court rejects the Republican Secretary of State's request to halt manual recounts and allows them to continue.
November 17, 2000
Judge Terry Lewis denies the Gore campaign's emergency motion to compel Republican Secretary of State Harris to comply with and enforce the court's earlier injunction.
The Gore campaign immediately appeals to the Florida Supreme Court and obtains a stay to enjoin Harris from certifying election recount. The court schedules oral argument at a Court hearing at 2:00 p.m. EST on Monday, November 20, 2000.
The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals rejects the Bush campaign's emergency appeal.
November 18-19, 2000
All parties in the Florida Supreme Court appeal file briefs
over the weekend.
November 20, 2000
The Florida Supreme Court listens to the parties' arguments on appeal.
A Florida circuit judge rules that "it is not legally possible to have a revote or a new election for
presidential electors in Florida" based upon voter confusion with, and constitutional challenges to,
the butterfly ballot.
November 21, 2000
At 9:45 p.m.,the Florida Supreme Court renders a unanimous decision, ordering that
manual recounts must be added to the final certified count of presidential votes by Florida
voters. The Court holds that a Florida law providing that the Secretary of State "shall" ignore
late returns, conflicts with another statute that says the Secretary "may" ignore returns. It
finds that "an accurate vote count is one of the essential foundations of our democracy." The
court makes clear that it wants to protect voters: "to allow the Secretary to summarily
disenfranchise innocent electors in an effort to punish dilatory Board members, as
she proposes...misses the constitutional mark."
November 22, 2000
Bush petitions the U.S. Supreme Court, seeking to have the decision of the Florida Supreme Court overruled. Oral arguments are scheduled for December 1st.
November 23, 2000
Vice President Gore and the Florida Democratic Party file their own petition, opposing Bush's request for the Supreme Court to decide the case, arguing there is no federal question at issue for the Court to decide.
Florida's Supreme Court denies Gore's petition to order Miami-Dade County to resume their manual ballot recount.
November 24, 2000
In a historic decision, the U.S. Supreme Court grants certiorari and decides
to hear Bush's appeal of the Florida Supreme Court's November 21st decision. The country's highest
court declines, however, to hear Bush's appeal of denials, by the Eleventh Circuit and the U.S.
District Court in Miami, of the Republican presidential candidate's request for a temporary
restraining order and injunction prohibiting any state-ordered manual recount of presidential ballots.
Attorneys in consolidated class action cases for Florida voters challenging the election
results and the constitutionality of the butterfly ballots, file emergency appeals to the
Florida Supreme Court, arguing that trial courts have the legal authority to order new
presidential elections in Florida.
November 26, 2000
Florida Secretary of State Harris certifies George W. Bush as the Florida voters' choice for
President, rejecting Palm Beach County Canvassing Board amended recounts.
The Gore legal team announces that it will head to court the following day to contest the certification.
November 27, 2000
Gore and Lieberman commence a new lawsuit by filing a complaint
and a request for an emergency hearing, contesting the Secretary of State's recount,
in Leon County, Florida. The judge refuses to begin an immediate recount.
CNN makes a special application to broadcast ad televise oral arguments of the
Bush v. Palm Beach County Canv. Bd. Litigation.
November 28, 2000
Bush, Gore, the Florida Secretary of State, and the Palm Beach County Canvassing Board file
legal briefs with the Court outlining their respective arguments to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Leon County Circuit Court Judge N. Sanders Sauls is assigned by the Court to preside over Gore's
election certification litigation.
The Gore legal team makes emergency applications to commence a recount and impound votes in
Miami-Dad and Palm Beach Counties. The Court orders the parties to file "proffers" from
witnesses in support of their arguments.
November 29, 2000
Leon County Judge Sanders orders that 1.16 Florida voter ballots from Miami-Dade and Palm Beach
Counties be sent to Tallahassee, Florida for a possible recount.
The NAACP says that it intends to litigate in Florida on behalf of minority voters who contend
that voting irregularities plagued African-American voters in the state.
They're charging that voters were unlawfully turned away from polls by sheriff's deputies,
improperly stricken from voter rolls, or turned away by other means.
November 30, 2000
All parties to the U.S. Supreme Court litigation file reply briefs to oppose the arguments of the other parties.
The Florida legislature considers holding a special session to name a new slate of Florida presidential electors for the electoral college.
December 1, 2000
The U.S. Supreme Court hears oral arguments from all parties in the case of Bush v. Palm Beach County Canv. Bd. (No. 00-836), as throngs of protesters exercise their First Amendment rights outside the Court, shouting support for their favorite presidential candidates.
December 4, 2000
The U.S. Supreme Court sets aside the Florida ruling, reasoning that there was considerable uncertainty as to the grounds for the Florida Supreme Court's decision.
In Florida, Gore's plea for a recount of the undervote is rejected by the trial court. Lawyers for both Bush and Gore had spent most of the weekend in court arguing the case.
Immediately after the ruling, Gore's legal team filed a notice of appeal asking Florida's First District Court of Appeal to certify the case to the Florida Supreme Court.
December 5, 2000
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit listens to oral arguments on Bush's plea to stop the
manual recounts. The request for an injunction had been rejected by the U.S. District Court.
December 6, 2000
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit affirms the lower court decision and denies Bush's request for an injunction to stop the recounts.
December 8, 2000
The Florida Supreme Court overturns the trial court decision that rejected Gore's plea for a recount of the undervote in certain Florida counties.
A recount of the undervotes is ordered to begin immediately. Bush's legal team announces it will appeal the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Lawsuits which sought to disqualify thousands of absentee ballots in Seminole and Martin Counties are rejected.
December 9, 2000
The U.S. Supreme Court stays the Florida recount. Oral arguments are scheduled for Monday, December 11th.
December 12, 2000
The U.S. Supreme Court reverses the Florida Supreme Court with a 7-2 decision.
All of the documents from the Florida
lawsuits can be viewed here.