The Case of the Butterfly Ballot on the 2000 Presidential Election Essay Example
The Case of the Butterfly Ballot on the 2000 Presidential Election Essay Example

The Case of the Butterfly Ballot on the 2000 Presidential Election Essay Example

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  • Pages: 6 (1539 words)
  • Published: February 6, 2022
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Theresa LePore's case and the Butterfly Ballot ethics needed sensible decisions based heavily on relevant values, goals, and obtainable information. The political election that took place on November 7th, 2000 will keep haunting both the politicians and the citizens in the U.S (Montjoy & Slaton, 2005). The butterfly ballot that was designed by Theresa LePore, a retired election supervisor for Palm Beach County in Florida was intended to resolve the sole dilemma of fitting the ballot onto one page while upholding the font large enough in order to allow the aged citizens to read it.

The problems caused by the ballot were later realized to be far greater whereby it become a national disaster that sliced down the very framework of the 224-year-old U.S (Stillman, 2012). The butterfly ballot distorted the vote hence manipulating the voters into vot


ing for the unreserved candidate, that on the other hand impacted the exit polls, media reporting moreover affected voters in other time zones, and through the courts the whole exercise was void. It was a good idea for Theresa LePore to design the butterfly ballot in order to usher in a new technique that could be understood by the citizens, but it turned out to be the opposite of her expectations, and thus contributing horribly to chaos in the U.S.

This assignment will therefore focus on analyzing the butterfly ballot case regarding the November 7th, 2000 election that saw George W. Bush win the election, which involved chaotic incidences as a result of the lack of knowledge about the newly designed ballot box.


How the structure of American government impacted the 2000 presidential election

The presidential election of 2000 remains at bes

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as a paradox being the worst scandal of the American democracy. The democratic contestant Albert Gore won a large number of votes than his Republican opponent, but he ended up losing the presidency bid (Montjoy & Slaton, 2005). The result of all this relied greatly on the vote tally in Florida whereby a great figure of voters were denied the vote, confusing butterfly ballots were used, vote recounts were mishandled as well as manipulated. The last verdict regarding the election was made by a 5-4 majority of the unelected U.S Supreme Court that issued a tainted as well as an adherent ruling (Heppermann & Friedman, 2013). The American constitutional structure affected the situation faced by Theresa Lepore since it was not under her jurisdiction to design ballots for the election considering that she was part of the supervising team.

Every citizen in the U.S is aware that the Constitution provides that the President will be selected by an electoral college and not by a direct vote. The person who earns majority votes becomes the president. If no candidate gets the majority of electoral votes, the verdict lies under the 12th Amendment, which is then decided by the House of Representatives (Heppermann & Friedman, 2013).

Lepore had infringed the constitution by designing the butterfly ballot. The ballot thus violated the guarantee of the right to vote besides it was a denial of the voters’ rights of equal and vital protection of the laws (Montjoy & Slaton, 2005). This was due to some votes been counted by machine as others were counted by election officials who could have opted to credit some of them and discredit others. The potential

legal consequences to her, the agency, and the County for such infringement of the law could have entailed Lepore losing her job as the election supervisor, the agency should have been disbanded from conducting any government proceedings, and the County board of elections could have been reinstated again (Heppermann & Friedman, 2013).

How the administration of elections could be improved in the U.S

The administration of elections in the U.S is managed by state election boards as well as local supervisors. Therefore, voters all across the nation have uneven experiences with voter registration, resources at polling stations, and technology used to cast the votes. To avoid future incidences like the ones witnessed in the 2000 presidential elections, what a supervisor of elections should seek to make at the national, state, or county level that could make the election process run more smoothly is to ensure that he/she provides the required knowledge to the voters regarding the voting ballots. They should also push for earlier voting registration that should comprise of allowing citizens to registrar online (Heppermann & Friedman, 2013).

Moreover, a better method of voting should be improvised in all the states so that challenges are not encountered in the voting process such as what occurred in the presidential election in the year 2000 in Florida (Stillman, 2012). Election supervisors should push for the use of improvised technologies that compare registration lists across state lines as well as allowing purges of disqualified voters. Election supervisors should ensure the privacy of the secret ballot as well as safeguard it against coerced voting. The challenges with moreover the probability of success for accomplishing every change can thus be great.

Use of

the trending technology in the voting process

If the conventional voting system has to be transformed a lot of challenges will be on the receiving end of the process. Considering that some individuals are illiterate in the society, a technology-based process of voting will cost the government in making the procedure known to the people. Furthermore, the new process can portray lack of transparency, secrecy of the ballot, consequences in the occurrence of the equipment malfunction. It is also critically essential that the electronic voting as well as counting systems are put into practice in a manner that they does not infringe the core electoral standards.

Are there ways that Palm Beach County might have been able to collaborate with nonprofit or for-profit organizations to better manage the challenges it faced in administering the presidential election?

The dilemma that the Palm Beach County faced did not require collaboration or rely on any non-profit or for-profit agencies because the national government could have effortlessly manage every step of the electoral procedure (Denhardt & Denhardt, 2000). Besides, the critical problem that County experienced during the presidential elections was the butterfly ballots that were used. The challenges that arose afterward were as a result of the election’s supervisors not considering educating the voters on how to use them in the voting process. The election board as well puts across adequate workforce to man moreover ensured that the election procedure was well conducted and therefore incorporation of a non-profit or a for-profit organization could have contributed heavily to several blame (Denhardt & Denhardt, 2000).

Assessing Theresa LoPere’s Actions using the APSA Code of Ethics

As a public administer serving the government, Theresa LoPere did

not indeed act ethically. Ethics is a subjective matter whereby someone holding a public service office should consider making good decisions, and not to make the citizens lack confidence in the government. Therefore, evaluating her actions using the ASPA code of ethics, it is palpable that she did not act and make the right rulings as a public service employee (Denhardt & Denhardt, 2000). She did not uphold the constitution as well as the law as required of her, but she only did what she thought could gratify her state. In the issue of promoting democracy, she did not act to embrace active engagement in governance and make the citizens recognize the butterfly ballots so that they could vote for their preferred candidates (Montjoy & Slaton, 2005).
Among the four ethical reasoning approaches, LePore followed the character-based or virtue-based approach whereby she was driven by her personal interests (Garofalo & Geuras, 1999). As a public servant, Theresa’s ethical responsibilities should have been extended beyond her individual concerns.

In conclusion, the butterfly ballot skewed votes in Palm Beach County extensively that the U.S. citizens still have never come to draw any conclusions regarding the 2000 presidential election. Through invalid exit polls, legislative partisanship, and false reporting, the election will be forever in question all because of the butterfly ballots. Several studies indicate that Albert Gore could have won the election if the over votes had been counted accordingly and an equivalent amount showing that trying to decipher the intent of the voter is improbable hence denouncing Bush as the winner. If it were not for the butterfly ballots, things could have turned out differently. The butterfly ballot controversy

sent the entire nation into a downward spiral thus leaving individuals grasping for the truth they could not find.


  1. Denhardt, R. & Denhardt, J. (2000). The New Public Service: Serving Rather than Steering.
    Public Administration Review, 60(6), 549-559.< 3352.00117>
  2. Garofalo, C., D.(1999). Ethics in the public service: The moral mind at work. Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press
  3. Heppermann, C. & Friedman, R. (2013). Bush v. Gore. Minneapolis, MN: ABDO Pub.
  4. Montjoy, R. S., & Slaton, C. D. (2005). The case of the butterfly ballot. In R. J. Stillman II (Ed.), Public administration: Cases and concepts (pp. 515-523). Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin Company.
  5. Stillman, R. (2012). Public administration. Boston, Mass.: Houghton Mifflin.
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