Judge accepts dimpled ballots

By Salon Staff

Published November 23, 2000 8:21PM (EST)

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I find it completely ludicrous and unfathomable that votes that are merely dimpled and not penetrated at all may be counted under the guise of "voter intent." It seems likely, in my opinion, that the voter in question was going to vote for said candidate, but then decided, at the last minute, not to vote for anyone for president since they are all such lame individuals. That, too, is a vote -- but not for Gore or Bush or whomever. This scenario seems just as reasonable as the voter not pushing hard enough and also not realizing that they didn't push hard enough. How unbelievable is that?

-- Fred Warner

It is inconceivable to me that on a given ballot, a voter might be able to muster all of his strength to cleanly punch an indisputable hole at some point on his ballot, and yet, on the all-important presidential choice, be unable to do any more than make just a slight indentation in that same ballot.

-- David Schaechter

What has been overlooked by many observers is how these "pregnant" chad ballots came to be. While a small number could be the result of weak punching by the voter, it is far more likely that they were caused by a full catchbox. These catchboxes are simple attachments under the voter's console to prevent the chad from spilling to the floor. If properly emptied, there would not be a problem. But, late in the day, or during heavy voter turnout, poll workers would likely be inattentive to this routine task. This little box, crammed with chad, would act to prevent the chad from being pushed hard enough to separate from the card. A voter would have no knowledge of the problem unless he or she inspected each and every hole on the card before turning in their vote.

If you don't think this is possible, try an experiment in your own home or office. Take a three-hole punch and examine its bottom punched paper circle storage drawer after a lot of use. It gets so filled with the punched circles that the punch won't cut the paper after a while.

The same thing had to have happened in the voting booth. The volunteers either weren't properly trained to empty the catch boxes from time to time during the day, or they didn't follow instructions.

-- Luella Hanberry

Salon Staff

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2000 Elections