Election 2000 & Bush v. Gore
   
Introduction
 

Whose Votes Count More?

The results of the 2000 Presidential election may forever be marred in controversy. Investigations by journalists and others have revealed improprieties in the election process in Florida. Issues relating to voters being improperly disqualified from voting, defective voting machines, the famous "Butterfly Ballot" and "pregnant chads" that skewed voting results. People's understanding, or lack of how the Electoral College works also compounds problems.

Our class discussion will focus on the outcome of the US Supreme Court decision Bush v. Gore that stemmed from the Florida election results. It was this Court decision that stopped the counting of ballots along with other actions. The Supreme Court's decision in Bush v. Gore decided the outcome of the election before the United States Senate validated the results from the Electoral College.

Having secured Florida's electoral votes gave Governor George W. Bush the win over then Vice President Al Gore. Because Bush won Florida he beat Gore despite having fewer popular votes across the country.

after coming to an understanding of how presidental elections work and what happened in Florida in 2000, the class must now decide is why people have accepted the Supreme Court decision in Bush v. Gore?

Tasks
 

Step A: Fact Finding Mission: What were the laws and events leading up to the 2000 Election?

Use the Resources below to help you answer the following questions:

Answer the following questions in a new Microsoft Word document;

  1. In your words describe how the Electoral College works.

  2. Why did the Founding Fathers create the Electoral College? (Read and analyze the first four paragraphs of Federalist Paper 68 by Alexander Hamilton)


  3. What was Alexander Hamilton's intent? What fears did he have about common people voting?

Step B: Research what happened in Florida. Use the Resources below to help you answer the following questions:

In the same MS Word document you answered the questions to Step A in. Use the Resources below to help you answer the following questions:

  1. What voting rights do felons have? How do they differ from state to state?


  2. Read the first paragraph of the 14th Amendment and expalin what it means to you?


  3. Write a summary describing how people were disqualified from voting in Florida before the November 2000 election. Click here if you need help writing a summary.

 

Step C: Learning about the Supreme Court Decision Bush v. Gore.

Read an Article from The Nation Magazine by Vincent Bugliosi, None Dare Call it Treason

Write a short essay after reading Bugliosi's article. Your essay should include the following points;

  • According to Bugliosi, what were the motivations of the majority of the Supreme Court in Bush v. Gore?
  • How was the 14th Amendment's Equal Protect clause interpreted in Bush v. Gore?
  • How was the process of the electoral college altered?


  • What do you think of Vincent Bugliosi's views?
    • Are his views of the events in Florida and the Supreme Court's decision in Bush v. Gore correct? Exlpain.
    • Should he be as angry as he is? Exlpain.
    • Do you agree with him or not? Exlpain.

(You may want to review the questions above and anwser these questions as you read the article - - think of it as creating an outline to your first draft.)

Task D: Read Read an Article from The Nation Magazine by Vincent Bugliosi, None Dare Call it Treason and answer the following questions:

  1. According to Bugliosi, what were the motivations of the majority of the Supreme Court in Bush v. Gore? (Paragraphs 1, 18)
  2. How did the Supreme Court use the 14th Amendment to justify its decision? (Paragraphs 3-5, 8, 9, 17, 19a, 30, 31)


  3. Beyond political motivations, what personal reasons did some of the Justices have for ruling the way they did? (Paragraphs 19)


  4. How was the process of the electoral college altered? (Paragraphs 24 - 28)


  5. Why does Bugliosi believe that the five Supreme Court Justices who wrote the majority opinion in Bush v Gore are criminals? (Paragraphs 6, 9, 14, 17 - 25, 31)


Task E: Prepare an interview with Vincent Bugliosi about his article, None Dare Call it Treason.

  • Pretend you are a televison talk show host and your are going to interview Vincent Bugliosi about his article, None Dare Call it Treason. What will you ask him?


  • Develop a list of questions to ask Vincent Bugliosi about his article.

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George W. Bush

 

Al Gore

Chief Justice William Rehnquist

Justice Antonin Scalia

Alexander Hamilton

Click to enlarge map

 

Extra Credit

Create a poster-sized chart detailing how the Electoral College Works. Feel free to make references to the 2000 Election.

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Process
 

Things to think about for this assignment

  • “Does your vote count?”


  • Can you take a position on the electoral college? Do you think it is a good thing or should it be abandoned?


  • Why did Americans accept the Supreme Court's decision?

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Resources
 

How the Election works

Ben's Guide to the Electoral College

How does the Electoral College Work

The Electoral College

Founding Fathers defend the Electoral College: Federalist Paper No. 68 by Alexander Hamilton.

A critique of the Alexander Hamilton and the Electoral College.

The 14th Amendment and the Equal Protection Clause

Felony Disenfranchisement Laws in the United States

Who didn't vote in Florida (You MUST read to read all four pages of this article)

Article from The Nation Magazine by Vincent Bugliosi

Profiles of each Supreme Court Justice

Listing of short articles detailing the events of Election 2000

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Florida

State nickname: the Sunshine State.
Total area: 59,928 sq mi,
Population (2000): 15,982,378.
Population by race, origin (1997): white non-Hispanic 69.2%; white Hispanic 13.3%; black (including Hispanic) 15.4%; American Indian/Eskimo/Aleut 0.4%; Asian/Pacific Islander 1.7%.
Natural increase rate/1,000 population (1995): 2.5 (avg. 6.0).
Gross domestic (state) product (1996): U.S.$360,500,000,000 (US$25,000 per capita).
Land use (1992): federal land 11.1%; non-federal land 88.9%, of which forest 36.2%, cropland 8.8%, pasture 12.8%, rangeland 10.1%, urban and built-up areas 13.6%, other 7.4%.
Exports by state (1997): US$23,234,000,000; percent of national total 3.77%.

Florida Governor Jeb Bush

  Evaluation (How will you be graded for this assignment?)
 

The following must be demonstrated in your work:

  • An understanding of the basic mechanisms of
    the United States electoral and representational system.
  • Knowledge of the events that lead up to the Bush Inauguration
  • Explain clearly why people take issue with Bush v. Gore.
  • Demonstrate an ability to discuss the ramifications of Bush v. Gore.

Check grading rubric

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Questions to Conclude this Assignment
 

What role does the media play in elections?

Does our vote count?

Are there circumstances that would justify not voting or leaving the country as a form of political protest?

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Standards
 

State Standards 5.2 and 5.3, National Standards III and V

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  Updated: 05/13/04