Segments in this Video

2000 Election (04:16)


America experienced an economic boom during Bill Clinton's presidency. It was a major part of Al Gore' campaign in 2000 against George W. Bush. Both sides realized the Hispanic vote in Florida would decide the winner.

November 11, 1999: 362 Days Until the Election (02:08)

Cuba Americans controlled most of Florida's political power. Miami-Dade County Mayor Alex Penelas was rumored to be picked as Gore's running mate.

November 25, 1999: 348 Days Until the Election (06:54)

On Thanksgiving 1999, Elian Gonzalez, a five-year-old from Cuba, was found in the ocean near Miami. The custody battle between his American and Cuban relatives became a political issue. Armando Gutierrez, a Cuban American political strategist in Florida, became involved in the case.

January 10, 2000: 302 Days Until the Election (01:22)

Judge Rosa Rodriguez ordered that Elian Gonzalez stay in America. Gutierrez worked on Rodriguez's campaign and acted as the spokesmen for Elian's family in Miami.

January 12, 2000: 300 Days Until the Election (08:27)

Attorney General Janet Reno, a Miami native, ruled the Elian case would be decided in federal court. Elian became a symbol of American freedom and was used for political purposes. It became an issue for the presidential candidates.

March 27, 2000: 225 Days Until the Election (03:04)

Penelas gave a speech against Reno's decision to let the federal court decided Elian's custody. It led to demonstrations and protests from the Cuban American population in Miami.

April 7, 2000: 214 Days Until the Election (02:34)

Appearing on "Nightline" with Reno, Penelas walked back what he said about Miami not supporting Reno's decision. It left many Cuban Americans feeling betrayed.

April 13, 2000: 208 Days Until the Election (01:09)

Reno went to negotiate with Elian's Miami relatives but did not get a resolution. Elian's family said he would only be taken away "by force."

April 22, 2000: 199 Days Until the Election (05:18)

Federal agents forcibly removed Elian from his relatives' home, sparking days of protests from the Cuban American population. The Clinton-Gore Administration was blamed for Elian's return. Cuban Americans began to support Bush as a method of revenge.

September 6, 2000: 62 Days Until the Election (01:24)

Penelas was re-elected as mayor of Miami. He began working with Gore to win back the Cuban American vote in Florida.

October 18, 2000: 20 Days Until the Election (02:45)

Gore flew to Florida for a campaign event with Cuban American governmental leaders. Gore expected Penelas' endorsement, but Penelas skipped the event.

November 5, 2000: 2 Days Until the Election (02:12)

Florida has been a key swing state since the 1920s. Bush used how Clinton and Gore handled the Elian case to his advantage. Both candidates stopped in South Florida the day before the election.

November 7, 2000: Election Day (08:48)

Florida was called for both candidates on election night. After it was called for Bush, Gore announced he would concede but then did not. A recount started.

November 8, 2000: 1 Day After the Election (08:39)

The Electoral College vote was still too close to call the next morning, but Gore won the popular vote. Gore and Bush needed Florida's 25 Electoral votes to win. Florida Sectary of State Katherine Harris was a co-chair of Bush's campaign; both sides sent in teams to oversee the recount.

November 14, 2000: 7 Days After the Election (03:44)

Gore's main contention was ballots in Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties that had no votes for president. There were flaws in the electronic voting machines and outdated punch card systems, which led to "hanging chads."

November 15, 2000: 8 Days After the Election (03:29)

Gore called for a hand recount, but Bush fought against it. The final decision was up to the Miami-Dade Canvassing Board, an obscure board of low-level officials. They initially did not start the recount.

November 17, 2000: 10 Days After the Election (00:43)

The Canvassing Board decided to start a hand recount. The action was seen as a victory for the Gore campaign.

November 20, 2000: 13 Days After the Election (07:25)

Bush filed a lawsuit to stop the recount in the Florida Supreme Court. The Bush campaign organized protests using Cuban American radio. Many citizens felt betray by Gore over Elian's case.

November 21, 2000: 14 Days After the Election (01:29)

The Florida Supreme Court ruled in favor of the recount, but gave it a five-day deadline. The Canvassing Board had planned on finishing in 10 days.

November 22, 2000: 15 Days After the Election (15:56)

The Canvassing Board determined more than 10,000 votes would need to be reviewed individually. Republicans organized demonstrators to storm the recount center and demand a stop to the recount. Penelas refused to get involved and the Canvassing Board voted to stop the hand recount.

December 8, 2000: 31 Days After the Election (01:26)

Gore won an appeal in the Florida Supreme Court and all counties had to do a recount. Bush took the case to the United States Supreme Court and the recount was stopped again.

December 12, 2000: 35 Days After the Election (08:41)

A 5-4 vote in the U.S. Supreme Court halted the recount. Bush was in the lead by 537 votes. He received Florida's Electoral College votes and won the presidency. About 10,000 ballots were never counted.

Credits: "537 Votes" (01:31)

Credits: "537 Votes"

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537 Votes

3-Year Streaming Price: $199.95



A gobsmacking look back at how the wildly contested 2000 Presidential election came down to 537 votes. Sometimes, not every vote counts. From Emmy®-winning director Billy Corben and Oscar®-winning executive producer Adam McKay (HBO’s Succession), 537 Votes chronicles the political machinations that led to the unprecedented, contested outcome of the 2000 presidential election. Driven by compelling interviews with key insiders and a wealth of archival footage, the high-octane feature documentary examines the events leading up to – and after – Election Day in 2000, when a chaotic voter recount in the swing state of Florida resulted in then-Texas Governor George W. Bush winning the presidency by a razor-thin margin. Shedding new light on this fateful episode in electoral politics, the film looks beyond the headlines of undervotes, recounts, and hanging chads to reveal the players and politicos locked in a strategic battle to determine the future of the United States. Bringing humor and verve to this harrowing, unforgettable moment, 537 Votes ultimately serves as a cautionary tale for those still questioning whether their vote matters.

Length: 104 minutes

Item#: BVL215646

Copyright date: ©2020

Closed Captioned

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Only available in USA and Canada.