Chad Hangover

By Dean

C hads can be dimpled if the stylus penetrates only partially. If the voter did not apply sufficient pressure to the stylus, the chad it will not come apart from the card, and we will have a chad hangover.

A pregnant chad will result if none of the corners of the chad template come apart, but there is an indication that the stylus was indeed pressed, but not with sufficient pressure.

A chad that has come loose on any one of the sides will indicate that the voter did not apply sufficient pressure to remove all four corners, but enough pressure to remove some of them. Any removed corner will indicate the voter's intent was to vote for the candidate.

More important than the chad separation is the machine sort, which will separate votes that have never been counted from those that have.

To separate to votes, a machine must not be able to shine a laser light beam across the chad template. This will normally happen with pregnant chads, but not with those with some degree of separation. If the separation is enough to trigger the laser CCD pixel matrix with enough light, then the vote will be sorted into the counted bin, even though it may have only a partial chad break, and was in fact not counted by the first pass.

The question is what is the sensibility of each of the voting machines to the laser light shining on the pixel CCD of the card reader? If the laser light must fill the entire chad template, then only full chad removals will not be discarded into the undervote bin. However, it may well be that the CCD is programmed to accept any light within he template matrix to register the vote.

In other words, the same machines must be used in both the post election pass, and the separation sorts, in order to insure the same CCD sensibility is programmed into them.

What if the chads that were pregnant then lose their chads, by handling the cards and fanning them, (a common practice by card operators)? Then, the chads will shine some laser light onto the CCD matrix, and the card will register as having voted for one of the candidates, which was not the case on the first pass.

In my opinion, these problems do not allow for a full and complete count of the Florida election of 2000 - ever, and therefore the election results are indeterminate. The Florida Legislature must deal with this event and solve it post haste, by allocating a parity of electoral votes to each candidate. I would not unduly worry about precedent, since this is the last election where these old mechanical machines will be used.

December 12, 2000

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