Chad (paper byproduct)

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(PD) Photo: US State Department
An election worker closely examines a Florida punch card ballot from the 2000 US Presidential election for signs of a hanging chad.

Chad is the name of the waste produced when holes are punched in paper or cardstock.[1][2] Chad resembles the confetti thrown to celebrate weddings or other special events.

There was great controversy after the United States Presidential elections of 2000, due to the use of automatic voting machines, that used punch cards ballots rather than paper ballots, and thus did not allow the voter to confirm their ballot had been properly marked, and did not allow for a proper audit trail.[1][2] Due to a mis-design of these ballots a disproportionately high number of the ballots had chad in the position for candidate Al Gore, where the chad had not been fully punched out.

Committees of officials were authorized to try to agree as to how many of these "hanging chads" (alternately "dimpled chads", "pregnant chads") should be counted as votes for Gore.[1][2]

After Gore's opponent, George W. Bush was confirmed President by the United States Supreme Court Douglas W. Jones, a Professor of Computer Science, and the curator of a punch card museum, took apart one of the controversial votomatic voting machines, and determined that the fault lay in the design of the ballots, and that all of the dimpled, pregnant and hanging chads should have counted as votes for Gore.[1][2]

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Douglas W. Jones. Chad -- From waste product to headline, University of Iowa, 2002. Retrieved on 2008-06-26. mirror
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Douglas W. Jones. Punched Cards: A brief illustrated technical history. University of Iowa Punched Card Collection. Retrieved on 2009-02-22. mirror

References