Tags: Falling | Chads | Threaten | Florida | Bush | Total

Falling Chads Threaten Florida Bush Total

Wednesday, 15 November 2000 12:00 AM

The small specks of paper known as chads drop off the ballots as they are examined by recounters, thereby enabling the Democrat recounters to decide on their own who the voter, who invalidated the ballot by punching two holes, really intended to vote for and making the ballot valid, GOP lawyers charge.

"Chads were seen on the floor during the process," Benjamin Ginsberg, general counsel for the Bush campaign, wrote this week to Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections Theresa LePore, according to the Washington Times. "This produces further evidence that mishandling of the ballots, not voter intent, potentially was yielding new votes."

"There were chads all over the place," Reeve Bright, an attorney for the county's Republican Party told the Times. "The more people who handle them, the more that fall off. I told a computer operator that we ought to bag them all up and sell them on the Internet."

Mark Wallace, the lead Republican attorney monitoring the recount , yesterday attacked the hand count of 462,000 ballots set to begin this morning in Palm Beach County, warning that the ballots could suffer more damage.

"What will you do to preserve the sanctity of those ballots?" Mr. Wallace asked county canvassing board chairman Charles Burton during an afternoon meeting, according to the Times.

"The same thing we've always done," Burton snapped.

During Saturday's marathon 12-hour hand recount of 4,600 votes, the Times reports that "stacks of ballots were lined up on three long tables in a small conference room where 17 elections workers, observers and the three-member canvassing board gathered to find out if a total recount was needed. Ballots were stacked, they were held, they were waved about and they were grabbed."

"The chads have been in every room there has been a recount," Mr. Wallace said. "And to boil this down to which small paper rectangle is punched out is arcane."

"What we had is three Democrats holding up the card, flipping it around and passing it around. All kinds of people touched these so all kinds of things were happening to them."

More than 19,000 voters in this county had their votes set aside because of errors, cases in which either no candidate was selected or two were selected. The Times notes that is hardly uncommon. In 1996, 17,000 ballots were disqualified here.

Experts have warned that deliberate mishandling of ballots is a vote fraud tactic that has been used by Democrats in the past. They warn that enough misplaced chads could threaten Bush's tiny, 300-vote certified lead in the state.

Evidence such as counting room floors littered with fallen chads could be used by Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris to justify a refusal to accept hand recount totals submitted by the three counties now conducting them.

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The small specks of paper known as chads drop off the ballots as they are examined by recounters, thereby enabling the Democrat recounters to decide on their own who the voter, who invalidated the ballot by punching two holes, really intended to vote for and making the...
Falling,Chads,Threaten,Florida,Bush,Total
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2000-00-15
Wednesday, 15 November 2000 12:00 AM
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