Lest we forget: The Brooks Brothers' Riots.<
For my money, the turning point in 2000 was the Brooks Brothers Riot, when paid political aides invaded the Miami-Dade Election bureau and halted the recount through physical intimidation.
There's a foto of it:
On Nov. 19, 2000, (via Wiki) "Hundreds of "paid GOP crusaders" descended upon South Florida to protest the state's recounts, with at least half a dozen of the demonstrators at Miami-Dade paid by George W. Bush's recount committee. Several of these protesters were identified as Republican staffers and a number later went on to jobs in the Bush administration.
The "Brooks Brothers" name reinforces the allegation that the protesters, in corporate attire, sporting "Hermès ties" were astroturfing, as opposed to local citizens concerned about counting practices.
The demonstration was organized by Republican operatives, sometimes referred to as the "Brooks Brothers Brigade", to oppose the recount of 10,750 ballots during the Florida recount. The canvassers decided to move the counting process to a smaller room and restrict media access to 25 feet away while they continued. At this time, New York Rep. John Sweeney told an aide to "Shut it down." The demonstration turned violent, and according to the NY Times, "several people were trampled, punched or kicked when protesters tried to rush the doors outside the office of the Miami-Dade supervisor of elections. Sheriff's deputies restored order." DNC aide Luis Rosero was kicked and punched. Within two hours after the riot died down, the canvassing board unanimously voted to shut down the count, in part due to perceptions that the process wasn't open or fair, and in part because the court-mandated deadline was impossible to meet.