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Gore, announced on December 12, 2000, ended a statewide recount ordered by the Florida Supreme Court on December 8, effectively awarding Florida's votes to Bush and granting him the victory.Nationwide, this was the fourth presidential election in which the winner received fewer votes than his opponent.Candidates for the presidency typically seek the nomination of one of the political parties of the United States, in which case each party devises a method (such as a primary election) to choose the candidate the party deems best suited to run for the position.Traditionally, the primary elections are indirect elections where voters cast ballots for a slate of party delegates pledged to a particular candidate.This was also the first presidential election since Jimmy Carter's narrow victory in 1976, that a presidential candidate from either party would win a presidential election with fewer than 300 electoral votes, and the first time a Republican would win without breaking that amount since William Mc Kinley's victory in 1900.

The general election in November is also an indirect election, where voters cast ballots for a slate of members of the Electoral College; these electors in turn directly elect the President and Vice President.In contrast, according to Lance de Haven-Smith of Florida State University, based on "the definitive study of the uncounted ballots" (the Florida Ballot Project by NORC at the University of Chicago), if all the legally valid votes in Florida had been counted statewide, Gore would have been the winner, a conclusion de Haven-Smith calls "unambiguous and unavoidable." The Green Party gained widespread public attention during the 2000 presidential election when the ticket composed of Ralph Nader and Winona La Duke won 2.7% of the popular vote.Nader was vilified by some Democrats, who accused him of spoiling the election for Gore.President Bill Clinton, a Democrat and former Governor of Arkansas, was ineligible to seek reelection to a third term due to restrictions of the Twenty-second Amendment.In accordance with Section I of the Twentieth Amendment, his term expired at noon EST on January 20, 2001.

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This was the closest presidential election in the nation's history, with a .009% margin, 537 votes, separating the two candidates in the decisive state, Florida.

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