At 5:54 a.m. on Nov. 8, 2000, CNN’s top anchors signed off after more than 13 straight hours of election coverage that had seen multiple incorrect calls on the winner of the presidency. “Folks,” political analyst Jeff Greenfield quipped, “in the year 2004, please, could you make up your minds a little more conclusively? Because I think we can’t take another election like this one.”
What followed was a crisis that tested the US election system like little had before. The parties warred bitterly over ambiguous ballots in Florida and vote-counting rules. The race for the presidency ultimately came down to fewer than 600 votes and was decided by the US Supreme Court in a deeply controversial ruling that made George W. Bush president.