political memorabilia collectors item election 2000 gore bush  florida vote ballot  chad recount  souvenirs

What is a chad?

political memorabilia collectors item election 2000 gore bush  florida vote ballot  chad recount  souvenirsWhat exactly is a Chad? In Florida, most of the counties with contested Election 2000 results used a keypunch voting machine. Cards like the infamous "butterfly ballot" are held in place next to a list of candidates. Voters use a little stylus to poke out certain holes on a card (like the one here on the right) to mark who they want to vote for. The tiny bits of paper left over from punching these cards are called "Chad"

Thirty-seven percent of all Americans use this punch card method. The machines only count votes when the Chad is pushed cleanly all the way through. In the election, the Democrats protested that some people meant to vote for Gore, but did not push their Chad out correctly. Their argument was that just because the machine can't read the vote, doesn't mean the vote should not be counted since the person intended their vote a certain way. The counter argument is basically that voters had instructions and if they did not vote property, their votes should not be counted because any human way of counting would be subjective.

florida chad bagThis left vote counting up for interpretation and led to confusion and court cases. For example, Palm Beach has worked under a 1990 rule saying at least one corner of a Chad must be dislodged for a ballot to count. But Democratic lawyer Dennis Newman said 557 "dimpled" ballots for Gore and 260 for Republican George W. Bush have been left out of the count. Dimpled ballots have an indentation, possibly showing a voter's intent to select a candidate.

Peering through ballot cards and holding them up to the light for a sunshine test, election workers in a handful of Florida's counties recounted votes by hand in order to determine the kinds of Chad was there, and if it counted as a vote.

These types of Chad have been referred to under various rulings:

These are all semiofficial designations that were actually used in the manual recounts. The basic rule is that a ballot with a pregnant (or dimpled) Chad is not counted, but a ballot with a hanging Chad, swinging Chad, or tri-chad is counted. Some of the controversy lay in the fact that in most cases ballots with the latter three Chad types would not have been counted by the machine method because the attached Chad would likely block the hole when the card was fed through.

PS the plural of Chad is "Chad" not chads

Salon has a funny Chad article and you can see a visual explanation of chads at http://www.chadmriden.com/election/

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