Wall Street Journal falsehood: Bush would've won under every recount scenario


In a June 23 editorial, The Wall Street Journal erroneously stated, "[F]or the record, Mr. Bush won the last election under every single vote recount, including those painstakingly run by the media." The false claim came in response to comments by federal judge Guido Calabresi that "illegitimate acts" by the Supreme Court put George W. Bush into power.

However, Bush did not win "every single vote recount," according to a study conducted by the University of Chicago's National Opinion Research Center (NORC), as The Washington Post reported on November 12, 2001. The NORC study was organized by a consortium of news organizations that included both the Post and The Wall Street Journal. The researchers "examined all ballots that were initially rejected by voting machines" and then applied "different standards for determining voter intent and tallied results based on several scenarios that sought to approximate conditions on the ground in Florida."

The results: former Vice President Al Gore, not George W. Bush, emerged the winner under four scenarios.

According to the Post, when the recount tallied ballots in which "at least one corner of a chad was detached from punch-card ballots," Gore won Florida by 60 votes. "[U]nder the least-restrictive standard for interpreting voter intent, which counted all dimpled chads and any discernible optical mark (which in the case of optical ballots Florida's new election law now requires to be counted as votes)," the Post reported, "Gore had 107 more votes." One recount with a "more restrictive interpretation of what constitutes a valid mark on optical scan ballots" -- and in which chads had to be "fully punched" -- saw Gore win by 115 votes. And a recount that replicated "the standards established by each of the counties in their recounts" gave Gore 171 more votes than Bush.

2004 Elections
We've changed our commenting system to Disqus.
Instructions for signing up and claiming your comment history are located here.
Updated rules for commenting are here.