Dimpled Chad Day is observed on January 4 of every year in memory of the infamous punched card voting ballot. A chad is a small piece of paper that’s punched and removed when a hole is made in cardboard via a machine or with the force of hand. When the chad is not removed completely, though, it is called a dimpled chad. These unremoved chads brought the entire country to its knees on the eve of the 2000 presidential election. Revisit this great national spectacle as we remember the chad and the havoc it wreaked.
History of Dimpled Chad Day
The dimpled chads have an undeniable foothold in American politics. Brought into practice in the 1960s, the punched card voting system was one of the most prevalent methods of voting in the 20th century. But its fate had certainly run its course in the year 2000.
The 2000 presidential election was fought between George W. Bush (R-FL) and Al Gore (D-TN). As the day came to an end on November 7, 2000, all leading news channels called the election in favor of Gore. But the state of Florida was yet to declare a winner, with Bush leading the count by a few hundred votes.
More than 30 Florida counties used the Votomatic-style punched card ballots to register the votes. But as expected, many ballots weren’t properly punched. Thousands of voter rolls were discarded because of the dimpled chads, i.e. when a fragment of paper gets stuck to the cardboard even after being punched out. Because of the close count, Gore demanded an automatic machine recount, which was appealed by Bush in the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court, of course, stopped the recount and declared Bush the winner, a month and six days after the election.
Being one of the oldest functioning democracies in the world, the U.S. has certainly seen its fair share of election mishaps. We grew up listening to stories about John F. Kennedy vs. Richard Nixon’s hotly contested tally, and about how the “Chicago Tribune” incorrectly listed “Dewey Defeats Truman” — it’s almost a meme at this point.
The congress assembled on January 6, 2001, to declare Bush the official winner of the 2000 presidential election, which might be the reason why January 4 is reserved for the national condemnation of the notorious punched card ballots.
Dimpled Chad Day timeline
White tax-paying men cast their first-ever votes by shouting the name of candidates out loud.
Australian paper ballots are adopted in the states of New York and Massachusetts.
Congress adopts the lever-operated automatic booth voting machine, invented by Jacob H. Myers.
The punched card voting system is adopted across the U.S., with companies like I.B.M. pushing for the computerized tally of votes.
Dimpled Chad Day FAQs
Is pregnant chad different from dimpled chad?
Pregnant and dimpled chads are the same thing, in which the chads stay attached to the ballot at all four corners, even after the action of punching. A slight indentation is all they bear, which isn’t enough for the voting card to be counted.
Who won the 2000 presidential election?
The ruling by the Supreme Court that shut down the official recount of Florida resulted in George Bush’s victory by a mere 537 votes. But, experts have concluded the results of the recount wouldn’t have necessarily made Al Gore the winner. So, we really can’t say who won the 2000 presidential election based on the vote count.
Are punched card ballots still used in the voting process?
The Florida Election Reform Act of 2001 abolished punched card voting in all 67 counties of Florida. This Act also authorized the use of scanner voting and touch-screen voting as the only viable methods of registering votes in every election thereon.
How To Celebrate Dimpled Chad Day
Watch a documentary
From documentaries to live-action movies, there is tons of material available online to help you revisit the memories of the 2000 election. Gather your family for a meal with a side of some great American political drama.
Organize a debate night
One of the best things about the U.S. elections is our live debates, a privilege not many democracies enjoy. On January 4, organize a debate night and discuss the local issues that concern your community.
Register to volunteer in the local elections
There is more to politics than the quadrennial presidential election. Election offices all around the country need help with voter rolls, registration, census, and more. This Dimpled Chad Day, celebrate our elections productively.
5 Insane Facts About The American Elections That’ll Blow Your Mind Away
One nation, 50 election rules
From registering voters to counting votes, the election rules differ vastly for all 50 U.S. states.
It’s a luxury often taken for granted
Amongst all developed countries, the U.S. has the lowest voting rate, with just 60% of the population participating.
It’s a long affair
A single U.S. presidential election cycle lasts around 600 days, a ridiculously long time span compared to any other democracy.
It’s expensive, so expensive
Approximately $14 billion were spent on the 2020 presidential election, making it the most expensive electoral process in human history.
It’s a capitalist enterprise
The entire U.S. electoral process is a huge revenue stream for advertisers, merchandisers, and political consultants.
Why We Love Dimpled Chad Day
2000 was historic
Dimpled Chad Day educates a new generation of Americans who weren’t old enough to witness the turmoil of the 2000 presidential election. The month-long wait that led to the climactic intervention of the Supreme Court is a great story to pass down.
2000 2.0 must be avoided
2000 bore witness to a ton of unprecedented events. Experts have also concluded the lapse of intelligence that occurred during the month-long period allegedly led to the 9/11 attack. We can never let history repeat itself.
2000 ruined the great chad reputation
Punched card voting was notoriously denounced after the 2000 debacle, and dimpled chads were rejected. On January 4, we come together to absolve these innocent actors of the crimeless condemnation they received from the Florida Elections Commission.
Dimpled Chad Day dates