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Hanging Doors, Pregnant Chads And Dimples: Florida Recount Proceeding!

November 12, 2000

The hand recount of votes in three Florida counties is currently underway, as the result of the 2000 US Presidential election remains undecided.

In an extraordinary press conference today, a Florida official explained the difference between voting papers which have been hole-punched by voters. A paper with a complete hole is a valid vote and will have been correctly tallied by the vote-counting machines.

The Contentious 'Butterfly Ballot' Used In Palm Beach County, Florida

Some ballots, however, have the "chad" still hanging from the paper and may not have been correctly counted by the machines. These are known as "hanging doors" and will be counted as valid votes. A "swinging door" chad hangs by two corners and will also be counted. A "pregnant chad", where an indentation, but not a perforation, appears will not be counted.

The official talked of other ballot papers with "dimples". A dimple occurs when a voter has made contact with the paper sufficient to make a mark, but has not actually pushed the hole through the paper. How this differs from a pregnant chad is not clear to this observer!

The Bush campaign has lodged a legal action to prevent the hand recount and this will be heard by a judge on Monday. The Republicans argue that hand counting is less reliable than the use of machines, whereas the Democrats believe they will improve their tally because the machines did not register all of the hanging door ballots.

There is talk this weekend of recounts and legal challenges to the results in New Mexico, Wisconsin and Iowa, although it appears most likely that the final result will still hinge on Florida.

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