Lawyers involved in the 2000 Bush v. Gore election fight said the legal battle forming over this year’s presidential election stands in contrast to what took place 20 years ago, when the outcome turned on several hundred votes in a single state.
That clash ultimately led to the U.S. Supreme Court’s intervention in Florida’s manual recount effort and Republican George W. Bush prevailing over Democrat Al Gore.
“We are nowhere close to the perfect storm that was 2000,” said Jack Young, who served as Mr. Gore’s recount attorney.
In 2000, the election hinged on 537 votes in Florida, a must-have state for either candidate to pass the threshold of 270 electoral votes. In 2020, President-elect Joe Biden is ahead by tens of thousands of votes in several contested battleground states, and President Trump would need significant legal wins in more than one state to alter the result.
Barry Richard, an election lawyer who served as a lead attorney for Mr. Bush in Florida, said the 2000 legal challenges revolved around ballot designs, antiquated voting equipment and inefficient state statutes.
“Both sides acknowledged the ballots were defective and that many had been rejected by ballot-reading machines that probably shouldn’t have been,” he said. The issue was how to correct it. Officials spent weeks reviewing each ballot by hand.