In 2000, the nation’s politics hung in the balance of a recount fight in Florida. George W. Bush had beaten Al Gore by a few hundred votes in the seminal swing state, and Democrats went all-in to reverse this result and hand the presidency to Gore. One of the lawyers hired by the Democrats during the recount fight was Mark Herron, how drafted a memo detailing how to disqualify military absentee ballots. (Memo is below.) His work had an immediate affect, as recalled by Bill Sammon in 2001:
The main battlegound was Duval County, home to more military families than any other county in Florida. Duval had more absentee ballots from overseas than any other county – 618 of 3,500 cast statewide. Five Gore lawyers showed up at the elections office at 9 a.m. Friday to disqualify as many of those ballots as possible.
Tom Bishop, one of the Republican lawyers, was incensed as he watched the Democrats, armed with the smoking-gun memo, blatantly go about disqualify large numbers of military ballots.
“They had their little cheat sheet they were using, and they objected on every single possible ground they could, no matter how spurious,” Bishop told Sammon. “It was so bad that there was rolling of the eyes by even some of the Democrats there who were watching their lawyers work.”