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When Chads are Created

After the second count of the 2000 Florida General Election, I saw an e-mail that pointed me to a web page. Since I cannot verify the facts, I must regard the following as a 3rd hand rumor. The web page was only up for a day before [political?] pressure forced its removal. Nevertheless, what follows makes sense and I suspect that it is probably true.

As I remember, what it said was that in several precincts in Miami there was a significant change in votes between the first and second electronic count. In these precincts, the first electronic count showed votes for Gore, Bush, Nader and 'none of the above' [i.e. no vote]. On the second electronic count, the votes for Gore were the sum of Gore and 'none of the above'. Then there were votes for Bush and Gore, and for Nader and Gore. In other words, someone must have pushed a rod through the 'Gore hole' in the entire deck of Hollerith cards for several precincts. I suspect that this process was the cause of 'chads'.

Assuming that the electronic tapes of the 2000 election were kept, it should be possible to verify what was posted on that web site, that all the Gore holes in several precincts were punched between the first and second electronic count.

I have worked with computers since 1965. I have punched thousands of punch cards. I have never had a problem with chads. But then, I punched the cards one card at a time. But when pushing a stylus through a particular hole alters an entire stack of cards, the chads do not push all the way through, but get stuck in the deck.

I have always trusted the votes collected on Hollerith cards because they are physical. They can be recounted. The counts can even be verified by human visual observation and counting. Electronic counts have no such verification. It is much too easy to change an electronic count.

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