Five hundred thirty-seven votes.
That’s all that separated Democrat Al Gore and his Republican challenger George W. Bush when, on November 26, 2000, three weeks after Election Day, the state of Florida declared Bush the winner of its 25 electoral votes in the race for U.S. president.
After a wild election night on November 7, 2000, during which TV networks first called the key state of Florida for Gore, then for Bush, followed by a concession by Gore that was soon rescinded, the results for who would be the nation’s 43rd president were simply too close to call.
In the 36 days that followed, Americans learned Gore had won the popular vote by 543,895 votes. But it’s winning the Electoral College that counts. As accusations of fraud and voter suppression, calls for recounts and the filing of lawsuits ensued, the terms “hanging chads,” “dimpled chads” and “pregnant chads” became part of the lexicon.
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