The neck-and-neck race, however, continued well beyond election day, Nov. 7th. Results were so close that at different times on election night and into the early hours of Nov. 8, each of the candidates was declared the winner, later to be stripped of the title president-elect. Not until Dec. 13, 2000, 36 days after the election and the flurry of lawsuits, counter suits, appeals, and bitter partisan bickering, was George W. Bush declared the president-elect, prevailing over Vice President Al Gore in the electoral college by the narrowest of margins, 271–267.
Although Gore dominated the popular vote, the electoral college votes of three states remained too close to call in the days following the election: Oregon (7), New Mexico (5), and Florida (25). With Bush having won 246 electoral votes and Gore 255, the election hung on which of the candidates would win Florida's crucial 25 electoral votes. But on Nov. 11, after the mandatory machine recount in Florida revealed that Bush held the lead by only a few hundred votes, the election began its tortuous journey through various Florida county recounts and judicial system, ultimately ending in the U.S. Supreme Court.