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Are Chads Democrats? An Analysis of the Florida Presidential Recount


  • Matthew I. Spiegel

    () (School of Management)


This paper presents the results from a statistical analysis of the first Florida recount. The findings indicate that it is highly unlikely that the relative increase in Gore's vote total can be explained by mechanical reading errors. Rather it appears partisan biases influenced the outcome. Estimates indicate that on average if a ballot's status changed from no vote to a vote, the chance that it went to Gore was about 15% higher than one would expect given his fraction of that county's vote. Overall then, controlling for each candidate's vote in a county and the type of ballot used, this paper estimates that Gore picked up 903 "too many" votes in the recount relative to what would have been expected by chance machine read errors. If humans influenced the results how did they do it? During the recount the ballots were put through the tabulating machines several times. However, machine readings tend to vary from run to run and this means humans, partisan humans, have to decide which of several tallies to report. Potentially, this discretion allowed the preferences of those conducting the recount to impact the reported totals.

Suggested Citation

  • Matthew I. Spiegel, 2000. "Are Chads Democrats? An Analysis of the Florida Presidential Recount," Yale School of Management Working Papers ysm169, Yale School of Management.
  • Handle: RePEc:ysm:somwrk:ysm169

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    JEL classification:

    • H0 - Public Economics - - General
    • K4 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior
    • D7 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making


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