In 2000, approximately 180,000 ballots in Florida’s 67 counties were uncertified because they failed to register a “valid” vote for President. These ballots included those in which no vote was recorded (undervotes) and those in which people voted for more than one candidate (overvotes). NORC examined the undervotes and overvotes.
The goal of the project was not to declare a “winner,” but rather to carefully examine the ballots to assess the relative reliability of the three major types of ballot systems used in Florida. The intended result of this assessment was to help state legislatures, other decision-makers, and developers of ballot systems to work toward more reliable ballot systems in the future.
Original Mission Statement
The intent of NORC’s Florida ballot project is different from other Florida-vote-counting efforts in several crucial respects.
First, it is being undertaken by a research organization with an iron-clad reputation, developed over half a century, for nonpartisan data collection and analysis.
Second, the ballot examination includes not only the undervotes (ballots with no registered vote for president) but also the overvotes (ballots with more than one vote for president).
Third, the project does not identify “winners.” Its goal is to assess the reliability of the voting systems themselves, using the highest standards of scientific accuracy and reliability.
Every voting system yields slightly different results with each pass through the ballots. NORC is using the extent of this variation to assess the relative reliability of the different systems used in Florida. The results of this assessment will help state and local governments improve their ability to assess the will of the voters--by selecting systems that count ballots with a high degree of reliability.