As President-elect George W. Bush puts the final touches on his Cabinet, the media recount of Florida ballots continues. And using the most liberal of estimates, Vice President Al Gore has now taken a narrow lead in the unofficial statewide tally.
According to the official certified tally, Bush beat Gore by 537 votes in Florida. But Gore gained 120 votes in an unofficial look at Hillsborough County's disputed presidential "undervotes" by the Tampa Tribune. A net total of 97 of the new Gore votes were from dimpled chads. Gore picked up 28 votes from ballots with various types of hanging chads. Bush had a net gain of 5 votes from 89 ballots that were clearly punched through but were not read by the machine. In a Dec. 30 article, the Tampa Tribune included the dimpled chads to come up with the total figure of Gore picking up 120 votes county-wide.
A recent recount of ballots in Lake County by the Orlando Sentinel gave Gore an additional 130 votes. Lake uses a computerized optical-scan system, so chad interpretations did not come into play.
If you add the 250 additional Gore votes from Lake and Hillsborough to the votes the Florida Supreme Court ruled should have been included in the final count -- 215 additional votes the vice president gained in Palm Beach County that were disallowed by Secretary of State Katherine Harris because they were late; plus 168 votes Gore picked up in the partial recount of heavily Democratic precincts in Miami-Dade, which were also disallowed -- Gore is ahead by 96 votes in Florida.
If you throw out the net 97-vote gain Gore received thanks to dimpled chad ballots in Hillsborough, Bush leads Gore by exactly 1 vote.
And the vote counting continues. The Miami Herald, Palm Beach Post and the Republican Party have begun a review of an estimated 20,000 ballots that were rejected by voting machines in Palm Beach County. A consortium involving the Washington Post, New York Times, Associated Press and Wall Street Journal is also in line to count the state's 40,000-plus undervotes, including those in Palm Beach. Further inspections are scheduled to examine ballots in a number of other counties including Alachua, Miami-Dade, Broward, Pasco, Santa Rosa, Osceola, Okaloosa and Highlands.
Here's the breakdown of the Tampa Tribune's recount in Hillsborough County. Salon will add county-by-county breakdowns of vote tallies as they become available.
Total undervotes: 5,533
No mark: 3,655
Punched clearly but not tallied by machine:
One corner detached:
Two corners detached:
Three corners detached:
Total Gore gain: 120