In 2000, Broward and Palm Beach counties each played central roles in the presidential race between George W. Bush and Al Gore.
At the time, both counties used punch card ballots — voters poked out chads, leaving tiny holes in their ballots representing their candidates. Some didn’t press hard enough, leaving hanging or dimpled chads that had to be examined by hand, a long and tiresome process.
But Palm Beach was also the home to the infamous “butterfly ballot” that many Democrats believe cost Gore the election. The county’s then-elections supervisor, Democrat Theresa LePore, wanted to make the 10 presidential candidates’ names bigger on the ballot so senior citizens could read them. Instead of listing them in one column, she broke the names into two columns. In the left were Bush, Gore and four minor party candidates — six lines in total. On the right were five lines — four minor party candidates and a space for a write-in.
That meant there was no candidate opposite Bush, but to the right of Gore was the ultra-conservative Reform Party candidate Pat Buchanan, who got 3,407 votes in the county — many of them probably intended for Gore, analysts said.