The votes were counted on election night. GWB won despite the liberals in the news media erroneously calling Florida for Gore before the polls closed in the heavily conservative Florida panhandle.
The votes were re-counted in accordance with Florida law. GWB still won.
Then Algore asked for a hand re-count in certain heavily Democratic counties. And when it became obvious that GWB was still going to win election officials (Democrats) in these counties started making up their own criteria for deciding when a ballot was valid hoping to add enough bogus ballots to give Algore a win. When these Democrats realized that this process would take so long that they couldn't certify the election results in time to meet the deadline mandated by Florida law they sued Florida Secretary of State Harris to stop her from certifying the statewide election results in accordance with Florida law. The state supreme Court agreed with the Democrats and ordered the hand count to continue. Bush appealed this decision to the U.S. Supreme Court and that court ruled that the Florida supreme court's ruling violated both the Florida and U.S. Constitutions. Thus the hand recount had to stop.