What is a hanging Chad?


I first heard this term in How I Met Your Mother when Ted dressed up as a hanging Chad for Halloween. I tried to look it up & Google basically just said that it was a voting ballot that people used to punch holes out of. But I feel like I’m missing something.. in the show, they would make fun of Ted for wearing an outdated costume
& would tell him that “the hanging Chad reference
Is very old” & that most people wouldn’t understand it. Which signifies some sort of inside joke or understanding, but I don’t get it. please! Thank you!

In: 373

It was a controversy during the 2000 presidential election where ballots in Florida with hanging chads weren’t counted.

In major elections it is necessary to count a very large number of votes. Doing this manually is time consuming and expensive. One option to avoid this is to make machine-readable ballots. In this case a hole is punched out of a piece of paper corresponding to the preferred candidate. The machine can then see where the hole is and count the vote. A hanging chad occurs when the hole is not punched cleanly and leaves the offcut paper attached. The machine may read this incorrectly.

The 2000 US Presidential election (between Bush and Gore) was very close, and came down to a recount in Florida, which was using such a system. There was a legal case about how hanging chads should be counted, and the outcome of this legal case effectively decided the election.

So the reference to hanging chads was a reference to the 2000 election, which was presumably some time before the relevant episode aired/was set.

A hanging chad refers to a hole that isn’t all the way punched, leaving the punched part of the paper hanging, like a flap.

Picture an open trap door.

Ballots for the 2000 election were recounted numerous times, and it was really controversial. There were also pregnant chads and dimpled chads.

Kind of like when you’re using a Scantron and you don’t fill in the bubble all the way, so the system might read an error.

“Chads” are the pieces of paper removed when using a hole puncher. A “hanging chad” occurs when the piece does not fully separate. They were particularly notable in the 2000 US presidential election, in which some districts (especially in south Florida) used punch-card ballots. This made counting ballots difficult, since a ballot counting machine might not count a ballot where the hole is not fully punched. Neither Bush nor Gore had enough electoral votes to win without Florida (making it very important to know who won), and the vote was extremely close (so even a small error could change the outcome). Recounts (and arguments over what should count as a vote) continued until mid-December, when the Supreme Court stopped the recount with Bush ahead (in Florida) by 537 votes, giving him Florida’s electoral votes and therefore the presidency.

What was headline news for two months in late 2000 had become far less relevant by late 2005, nearly a year after another election had been held.

(FWIW, a post-election recount by the University of Chicago found that a recount of *all* of Florida’s ballots would have resulted in a Gore win. However, a statewide recount was not attempted; the Gore campaign only asked for recounts in four counties, and recounting only those counties would have still allowed Bush to win.)

When you use a hole-punch for paper, the little circle that gets punched out is called a ‘chad’. A “hanging chad” is one that doesn’t completely get separated from the paper.

This caused a problem in the 2000 US Presidential election, specifically in the state of Florida. We were still primary using paper ballots and mechanical voting machines at the time, which would punch out a hole to mark the selection on the ballot. It was deemed that a “hanging chad” was an incomplete ballot, and was not counted as a valid vote. There were thousands of them. Enough to affect the outcome of the election.