The Hanging Chad

views updated


Punched cards and the ability of tabulating machines to record accurate voting results came into question during the 2000 U.S. presidential election, which ultimately saw Vice President Al Gore lose to Texas Governor George W. Bush. The race came down to who would get the electoral votes in Florida. The race was so close that people's attention turned to those stacks of ballots that were not counted because the voter failed to punch through the holes on the card cleanly. Such failed punches were called a "hanging chad" or a "pregnant chad." Efforts were made to review punched cards manually and see if a determination could be made regarding the voters' intent. Ultimately, the problems associated with hanging chads led some election officials to consider alternative voting methods, including computer touch-screen ballots.