Thinking “Inside” the (Election) Box

With Election Day coming up in November and everyone gearing up for next year’s presidential race, a thought popped into my head about the infamous Florida hanging chads during the Bush-Gore Race years ago. What if the Florida Election Board had installed an EXAIR product to blow the chads away as they were punched through the ballet? True, I do not think it would have resolved all the chads still hanging, but it might have blown enough away that there would have been less questionable votes. Although not really practical – air compressors at each booth?! – and likely not feasible or economical, it still is an interesting idea. Running with it a bit, what could they have used? EXAIR offers many different ways to accomplish blowoff. In this case, two options come to mind: air knife and safety air gun.

A standard air knife (dictated by budget, after all), the length of the ballet, could be installed on one the side of the election booth. As the chads are pushed through, the air would blow underneath to push them into a trough on the other side of the booth. Unobtrusive, easy, no mess.

The second option is the safety air gun. This is a bit more manual and would probably need to have the voters trained in use to insure privacy. The soft grip version is a definite; Florida has more senior citizens than any other state and comfort is a must. In this scenario, the voter would vote, then pick up the ballet and use the air gun to spray the chads off to one of the booth’s back corners were the chads would drop down into a collection chute to the rear underneath. I feel this method would not be quite as successful as the first, for a multitude of reasons – dexterity, blowing the ballet away, potentially messy, voter misconduct, etc.

In the years since, states have gotten away from using chad-type ballets. But if you are reading this and your state is still hanging and stuck with chads, you may want to suggest an EXAIR method of helping out in the next election. Just imagine the headline: “Compressed Air Decides Election!”

John Pinchek
Application Engineer
johnpinchek@exair.com
@EXAIR_JP

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