Florida also received an additional 2,411 overseas ballots after the 7 PM deadline on election day. Florida officials rejected these overseas ballots, mostly from members of the United States Armed Forces. By rejecting those ballots, Florida provided Gore a 202-vote lead in the state. The United States District Court for the Northern District of Florida on December 8, 2000, overturned these rejections and ordered that all federal write-in ballots previously rejected be counted. The effect of these additional overseas ballots provided Bush with a 537-vote lead in the state. The ruling also noted:
Service personnel give up many things when they enter the military, including the free exercise of some civil rights enjoyed by civilians at home. The sacrifice should not go beyond the surrender of rights that are incompatible with military duties. These men and women of our Armed Forces should be able to expect as much and no less, because of their induction into military service, than those of us who remain at home pursuing normal activities. It certainly would appear unnecessary that our soldiers and sailors and merchant marines must make a special effort to retain the right to vote.
The subsequent analysis revealed that black-majority precincts had three times as many rejected ballots as white precincts. "For minorities, the ballot survey found, a recount would not have redressed the inequities because most ballots were beyond retrieving. But a recount could have restored the votes of thousands of older voters whose dimpled and double-voted ballots were indecipherable to machines but would have been clear in a ballot-by-ballot review." The ballot review later conducted by a consortium of news organizations did not have access to these decisive ballots, which in many cases had disappeared and could not be produced.