Are we sure Gore won popular vote in 2000?

Hi, I subscribed to the SDMB in order to avail myself of the search function, but found nothing, so here goes.

My mother insists that we simply don’t know who won the popular vote in 2000. She claims that many states don’t count absentee ballots when the margin of victory is large enough to render those ballots irrelevent.

Is there any truth to this? Are there states that have piles of absentee ballots sitting uncounted somewhere?

All states count absentee ballots. You mother is probably getting those mixed up with write-in ballots. Those are either not counted or only counted well after election day, since they take a lot of extra work. But the number of write-ins for Elmer Fudd or whoever makes no difference in whether Bush or Gore got the most votes.

It matters not if there are uncounted ballots lying about in some dusty forgotten file cabinet, or stuffed into someone’s underwear drawer.

The Federal Elections Commission web site has the final official tally, with Gore winning the popular vote.

Based on the election coverage I’ve seen, the absentee ballots are counted first, before the actual data comes in from the election-day polls, which is why early returns are broadcast instantly after polls are closed with 0% precincts reporting. Since absentee ballots are received early, there’s no reason not to count them early.
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There were several states when the margin of victory was SO small it was scary, but they did not have the EC votes to turn the tide like FL does. They did not have the exhaustive efforts to recount, recount again, then recount once more like the Sunshine State did.

NM - 286,417 Bush, 286,783 Gore, marin = 366
IA - 634,373 Bush, 638,517 Gore, margin = 4144

All elections of this magnitude have a margin of error. These states settled on a number and declared their case, but if they had undergone the review that FL did, the margins could have swung one way or the other. Hell, even in a state that had a strong victoty for a candidate, and swing of a few hundred thousand votes across the states to Bush would have erased the situation that the Electoral College allows, a victor without the plurality of votes.

As it stands, and to the level of review that these states took (NO review if a clear winner established) Gore had more votes, by over a half a million out of about 105 million votes, just not the RIGHT votes.

I think it is possible that what is being remembered are the military ballots, of which much was made of in Florida. Some of these do come in after the fact and it might happen that states don’t keep as close track of them as other absentee ballots.

However, Gore had a plurality of over half a million votes and there is no possibility that 600,000 military ballots could have gone uncounted.

To answer the original title of the OP - YES we are unequivocally sure of that. Whether certain states could have gone the other way under recounts or not remains unknown. However, nationwide, Gore garnered 50,999,897 votes while Bush received 50,456,002, a difference of over a half-million votes more for Gore than Bush, overall.

So, yes, Gore unquestionably won the national populate vote. However as we all know, that means absolutely nothing.