Recount of Florida undervotes confirms Bush victory
MIAMI, Florida (CNN) -- If a recount of Florida's votes in the close presidential election last year had been allowed to proceed by the United States Supreme Court, Republican George W. Bush would still have won the White House, a Miami newspaper reports.
The Miami Herald conducted a comprehensive review of 64,248 ballots in all 67 Florida counties. Their count showed that Bush's razor-thin margin of 537 votes would have tripled to 1,655 votes if counted according to standards advocated by his Democratic rival Al Gore.
"In the end, I think we probably confirmed that President Bush should have been president of the United States," said Mark Seibel, the paper's managing editor. "I think that it was worthwhile because so many people had questions about how the ballots had been handled and how the process had worked."
Ironically, a tougher standard of counting only cleanly punched ballots advocated by many Republicans would have resulted in a Gore lead of just three votes, the newspaper reported.
The Herald's review also discovered that canvassing boards in Palm Beach and Broward counties threw out hundreds of ballots that had marks that were no different from ballots deemed to be valid. The paper concluded that Gore would be in the White House today if those ballots had been counted.
The Herald's experts began counting the undervotes -- ballots without presidential votes detected by counting machines -- on December 18, 2000. They concluded their work on March 13.
CNN Miami Bureau Chief John Zarrella contributed to this story.
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