Those pesky piles of chad.Byline: The Register-Guard
THEY'RE BAAAACK! The infamous Florida ballots are back in the news.
As required by federal law, the state kept the nearly 6 million punch-cards and the piles of chad for two years after the disputed and still controversial 2000 presidential election. The confetti-like pieces of chad are stowed in boxes, stacked on pallets and wrapped in plastic.
So the question facing Florida is: What now?
One elections official asked, probably not rhetorically: "How about a bonfire?" But historians, attorneys and political scientists are begging Florida to hold onto the ballots and other material related to the 2000 elections indefinitely. Florida should comply, if only out of self-interest: Academic, journalistic jour·nal·is·tic
Of, relating to, or characteristic of journalism or journalists.
journal·is and legal analysis of the 2000 voting promises to be a flourishing cottage industry cottage industry: see sweating system. in Florida for decades.
The Florida Division of Library and Information Services See Information Systems. has extended the federal deadline for preserving ballots until June 30. The state's secretary of state is asking the Florida Legislature The Florida Legislature is the state legislature of the U.S. state of Florida. The Florida Constitution mandates a bicameral state legislature with an upper house Florida Senate of 40 members and a lower Florida House of Representatives of 120 members. to decide what to do with the mounds of ballots and heaps of chad. County elections officials are saying they don't have the space to store the voluminous material from the 2000 election.
For those who may have forgotten, the punch-card ballots and their hanging, dimpled and pregnant chad Noun 1. pregnant chad - a chad that has been punched or dimpled but all four corners are still attached
dimple, dimpled chad
chad - a small piece of paper that is supposed to be removed when a hole is punched in a card or paper tape were, along with some minority Floridians wrongly being denied the right to vote in certain precincts pre·cinct
a. A subdivision or district of a city or town under the jurisdiction of or patrolled by a specific unit of its police force.
b. , at the center of the storm that engulfed the state when Al Gore Noun 1. Al Gore - Vice President of the United States under Bill Clinton (born in 1948)
Albert Gore Jr., Gore and George W. Bush finished in a near-tie in the contest for Florida's 25 electoral votes. The Florida Supreme Court ordered a manual recount of the ballots, but the U.S. Supreme Court, on a 5-4 vote, reversed the state court, in effect handing the state - and the presidency - to Bush.
The punch-card chad came to be the symbol of Florida's host of problems in that election. Counting machines couldn't or wouldn't count thousands of ballots in which a chad was not completely separated from the punch-card ballot.
Federal election reform legislation last year was supposed to contain funds for states and counties - including Oregon and Lane County - to rid themselves of punch-card ballots and their controversial chad. The funds, though authorized, were never appropriated.
The new federal budget, however, contains the funds and Oregon will receive some $7.3 million for various election-related functions - including $2.3 million to assist the seven Oregon counties Oregon County may refer to:
Before the money is released, however, the legislation requires states to create an "election fund" in which the federal money is to be placed. A bill creating such a fund is now before the Oregon Legislature, which should pass it as quickly as possible so this state won't have a Florida-like chad disaster.