Theresa LePore

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Theresa LePore is a former Supervisor of Elections for Palm Beach County, Florida. She designed the infamous "butterfly ballot" used in the 2000 presidential election.[1] This would lead the press to nickname her "Madame Butterfly". Following the controversial results of the 2000 election, she lost her re-election bid in September 2004 and left office in January 2005.


LePore grew up in Palm Beach County, attending Cardinal Newman High School in West Palm Beach, Palm Beach State College in Lake Worth and Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton.

She started her career in the Supervisor of Elections Office in 1971 as a file clerk. She quickly rose through the ranks and achieved the position of Chief Deputy Supervisor in the late 1970s. During the 1980s she also moonlighted as a ramp clerk at Palm Beach International Airport.

In 1996 LePore changed her political party registration to Democratic after deciding to run for the position of Supervisor of Elections.[2][3] She was elected as the Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections in November, 1996 and re-elected without opposition in November, 2000. In 2004 she lost re-election as Election Supervisor. Prior to the election she had changed her political party designation to independent.[4] After leaving the Supervisor of Elections Office in January, 2005, she was employed by the Palm Beach County State Attorney's Office for a short period, enabling her to receive her full pension from Palm Beach County.

She then worked at her alma mater, Cardinal Newman High School in West Palm Beach, Florida as director of development.[5] until January 2009.

LePore is (or was) a member of the following organizations:

  • American Society of Public Administration
  • The Election Center
  • Kiwanis of Flagler Sunrise
  • League of Women Voters
  • International Association of Clerks, Recorders, Election Officials and Treasurers
  • Women's Chamber of Commerce of the Palm Beaches
  • Florida State Association of Supervisors of Election. Theresa served terms as Secretary, Vice-President, and President of FSASE.
  • Executive Women of the Palm Beaches
  • The Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of PBC
  • Hispanic Human Resources Council
  • Girl Scouts of Southeast Florida

She is writing a book about the 2000 election and the butterfly ballot she designed.[6]

Election controversy[edit]

"Butterfly ballot" from Palm Beach County, 2000 election

In 2000, to accommodate the large number of presidential candidates eligible in Florida, LePore designed a staggered two-page format with candidate names on alternating sides of a central punch button column. Conservatives falsely commented that the same ballot was successfully used in the 1996 election; in fact, it had never been used in a Palm Beach County election among rival candidates for office.[7] In 2000, the confusing design led to an increased number of miscast votes in the presidential election (votes that would otherwise have been a decisive reversal) and consequently achieved notoriety.

A study by The Palm Beach Post speculated that voters confused by Palm Beach County's butterfly ballot cost Al Gore the presidency.[8]

Popular culture[edit]

In Jay Roach's Recount, LePore is played by Jayne Atkinson.


  1. ^ Tuchman, Gary (2001-01-05). "Ballot nightmare lingers for Palm Beach elections chief". Cable News Network.
  2. ^ LePore Loses Re-Election Bid Archived 2008-09-19 at the Wayback Machine from
  3. ^ "Elect Democrat Theresa Lepore As New Supervisor Of Elections". 1996-10-15. Retrieved 2018-03-30.
  4. ^ "Ocala Star-Banner - Google News Archive Search". Retrieved 15 November 2018.
  5. ^ "Victim Advocates, Fla. Diocese Urge Foley to Name Alleged Abuser". 2006-10-07. Retrieved 2018-03-30.
  6. ^ "Ex-elections chief LePore writing book about 2000 presidential election". Retrieved 15 November 2018.
  7. ^ Greenfield, Jeff (2001). "Oh, Waiter! One Order of Crow!". New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons. pp. 215–216.
  8. ^ "Newspaper: Butterfly ballot cost Gore White House". CNN. 2001-03-11.