Eye On Boise

No chad left behind

Fourteen Idaho counties still use punch-card ballots, just like those involved in the infamous “hanging chads” controversy in Florida four years ago. They include Ada County, the state’s most-populated, along with North Idaho’s Shoshone and Latah counties, north-central Idaho’s Clearwater and Nez Perce counties and ritzy Blaine County of Sun Valley fame.
But all Idahoans have to do to avoid “hanging chads” – bits of punched-off ballot that don’t completely detach and could interfere with the counting of the vote – is follow the instructions.

Official instructions, posted on the Idaho Secretary of State’s Web site in its 2004 Voters Guide, show exactly how to vote on each type of ballot used in Idaho. Click on a punch-card county, and you’ll see step-by-step, illustrated instructions on how to insert the ballot into the holder, punch the ballot to vote, and how to record a write-in vote. Here’s the final step:

“After voting, withdraw the ballot card. Inspect it to be sure all holes are cleanly and completely punched out. Remove any loose chads as illustrated.”

The drawing shows a hand picking off a little hanging bit from the back of the ballot. That’s all it takes.

“Our ballots are clean. The people know what to do with ‘em,” Secretary of State Ben Ysursa said. “People, I think, are more cognizant than ever about pulling out their card and looking at it.”




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