(Slip Opinion) Cite as: 531 U. S. ____ (2000) 1 NOTICE: This opinion is subject to formal revision before publication in the preliminary print of the United States Reports. Readers are requested to notify the Reporter of Decisions, Supreme Court of the United States, Wash- ington, D. C. 20543, of any typographical or other formal errors, in order that corrections may be made before the preliminary print goes to press. GEORGE W. BUSH, ET AL., PETITIONERS v. ON WRIT OF CERTIORARI TO THE FLORIDA SUPREME COURT On December 8, 2000, the Supreme Court of Florida ordered that the Circuit Court of Leon County tabulate by hand 9,000 ballots in Miami-Dade County. It also ordered the inclusion in the certified vote totals of 215 votes identi-fied in Palm Beach County and 168 votes identified in Miami-Dade County for Vice President Albert Gore, Jr., and Senator Joseph Lieberman, Democratic Candidates for President and Vice President. The Supreme Court noted that petitioner, Governor George W. Bush asserted that the net gain for Vice President Gore in Palm Beach County was 176 votes, and directed the Circuit Court to resolve that dispute on remand. ___ So. 2d, at ___ (slip op., at 4, n. 6).
The court further held that relief would require manual recounts in all Florida counties where so-called ?undervotes? had not been subject to manual tabu-lation. The court ordered all manual recounts to begin at once. Governor Bush and Richard Cheney, Republican Candidates for the Presidency and Vice Presidency, filed an emergency application for a stay of this mandate. On December 9, we granted the application, treated the appli-BUSH v. GORE cation as a petition for a writ of certiorari, and granted The proceedings leading to the present controversy are discussed in some detail in our opinion in Bush v. Palm Beach County Canvassing Bd., ante, p. ____ (per curiam) (Bush I).
... vote count. It was like their vote did not matter. Al Gore publicly surrendered after Supreme Court hearing of Al Gore vs. George Bush. After Bush ... In the Court hearing of Bush vs. Gore, the Supreme Court decision gave George Bush the presidency. ... Decision that declares a winner cannot be justified legally before every way of counting every vote ...
On November 8, 2000, the day following the Presidential election, the Florida Division of Elections reported that petitioner, Governor Bush, had received 2,909,135 votes, and respondent, Vice President Gore, had received 2,907,351 votes, a margin of 1,784 for Governor Bush. Because Governor Bush? s margin of victory was less than ?one-half of a percent . . . of the votes cast,? an automatic machine recount was conducted under ?102.141(4) of the election code, the results of which showed Governor Bush still winning the race but by a diminished margin. Vice President Gore then sought manual recounts in Volusia, Palm Beach, Broward, and Miami-Dade Counties, pursuant to Florida? s election protest provisions. Fla. Stat. ?102.166 (2000).
A dispute arose concerning the deadline for local county canvassing boards to submit their returns to the Secretary of State (Secretary).
The Secretary declined to waive the Novem-ber 14 deadline imposed by statute. ??102.111, 102.112. The Florida Supreme Court, however, set the deadline at November 26. We granted certiorari and vacated the Florida Supreme Court? s decision, finding considerable uncertainty as to the grounds on which it was based. Bush I, ante, at ___?___ (slip. op., at 6?7).
On December 11, the Florida Supreme Court issued a decision on re-mand reinstating that date. ___ So. 2d ___, ___ (slip op. at On November 26, the Florida Elections Canvassing Commission certified the results of the election and de-clared Governor Bush the winner of Florida? s 25 electoral votes. On November 27, Vice President Gore, pursuant to Florida? s contest provisions, filed a complaint in LeonCite as: 531 U. S. ____ (2000) 3 County Circuit Court contesting the certification. Fla. Stat. ?102.168 (2000).
He sought relief pursuant to ?102.168(3)(c), which provides that ?[r]eceipt of a number of illegal votes or rejection of a number of legal votes sufficient to change or place in doubt the result of the election? shall be grounds for a contest. The Circuit Court denied relief, stating that Vice President Gore failed to meet his burden of proof. He appealed to the First District Court of Appeal, which certified the matter to the Florida Accepting jurisdiction, the Florida Supreme Court af-firmed in part and reversed in part. Gore v. Harris, ___ So. 2d. ____ (2000).
... the certification of Florida presidential election results, on December 8, 2000 the Florida Supreme Court ordered that the Circuit Court in Leon County tabulate by hand ... County. It also ordered that every county in Florida must immediately begin manually recounting all 'under-votes' (ballots which did not indicate a vote for president ...
The court held that the Circuit Court had been correct to reject Vice President Gore? s challenge to the results certified in Nassau County and his challenge to the Palm Beach County Canvassing Board? s determina-tion that 3,300 ballots cast in that county were not, in the The Supreme Court held that Vice President Gore had satisfied his burden of proof under ?102.168(3)(c) with respect to his challenge to Miami-Dade County? s failure to tabulate, by manual count, 9,000 ballots on which the machines had failed to detect a vote for President (?under-votes?).
___ So. 2d., at ___ (slip. op., at 22?23).
Noting the closeness of the election, the Court explained that ?[o]n this record, there can be no question that there are legal votes within the 9,000 uncounted votes sufficient to place the results of this election in doubt.? Id., at ___ (slip. op., at 35).
A ?legal vote,? as determined by the Supreme Court, is ?one in which there is a ? clear indication of the intent of the voter. ? ? Id., at ____ (slip op., at 25).
The court therefore ordered a hand recount of the 9,000 ballots in Miami-Dade County. Observing that the contest provi-sions vest broad discretion in the circuit judge to ?provide any relief appropriate under such circumstances,? Fla. Stat. ?102.168(8) (2000), the Supreme Court further held