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On November 7 2000 American voters went to the polls to elect the 43rd president of the United States Ritualistically the nation watched that evening for the election returns The tallies for Democrat Albert Gore and Republican George W Bush teetered in the makings of a dead heat It soon became obvious that Florida would be the deciding factor Exit polling in the state showed Gore as the projected winner So at 749 PM NBC was the first station to forecast Gore as the winner of the state and the general election with the other stations soon following suit As the evening gave way to the night the state was put back up for grabs and then landed in the Bush column In the early hours of the morning the state was once again listed as undecided before finally having Bush hold a razor-thin advantage Florida law in this matter provided some odd provisions for closure First an automatic recount is invoked when elections are close This requires no intervention or agreement from political bodies but is rather part of the process of counting the votes Then there is a one-week protest phase before the vote is certified by Florida Secretary of State During this phase candidates may protest to each county where they have a dispute After certification begins the contest phase a legal proceeding in court that can result in ineligible votes being thrown out or a recount being ordered Here again candidates are contesting the tallies of the specific counties where they feel inadequacies The narrow margin of victory triggered by Florida statute an automatic recount After the recount an even closer margin declared Bush as the winner Gore refused to concede the election and proceeded with protests to specific counties This sparked a Bush protest in federal court to stop the recounts Soon both Florida state and United States federal courts were tied up with contests ranging from extension of
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