Cook County Clerk David Orr unveiled an animated ad campaign today that encourages voters to carefully examine their ballot cards and remove any loose paper chads on Election Day.
Carrying the slogan "Don’t Leave Us Hanging," the television and radio spots feature the partially punched-out paper pair "Chad and Dimples" who are left in a precarious spot – hanging from an improperly punched ballot card in danger of not getting counted. Luckily, they save the day by getting the attention of the voter who picks them from the ballot.
"We want voters to get the message that they need to closely check their ballots for hanging and dimpled chads before they leave the voting booth," Orr said. "Removing any loose chads is a quick and easy low-tech way to ensure an error-free ballot."
A 15-second television spot is scheduled to begin airing this week on Chicago-area TV stations and on city and suburban cable networks. Computer users can view the video on the Clerk’s election website www.voterinfonet.com.
Additionally, a 30-second radio spot has been distributed to area radio stations and print ads will run in Chicago and suburban newspapers leading up to Election Day.
"Chad and Dimples" posters will be displayed inside every polling place and the Clerk’s office will instruct all election judges to wear "Chad and Dimples" sticker buttons and encourage voters to check for chads before they issue ballots.
The Clerk’s office will also mail a voter instruction brochure featuring the animated characters to every voting household in suburban Cook County the week before the election.
Orr noted that voters have become well acquainted with chads and aware of the problems they can cause as a result of the 2000 presidential election in Florida where the outcome remained in doubt for several weeks as both sides argued over disputed chads.
Last year, Orr helped win a legal battle to activate new error-detection technology in Cook County that alerts voters to possible errors and gives them a "second chance" to fix mistakes. Election results from the 2002 primary election last March show that the new error-detection technology helped reduce the number of ballot errors.
The error-detection equipment informs the voter if an undervote or overvote is committed. However, when a voter commits an undervote, the machine – because of privacy concerns – cannot tell if the voter tried to punch out a chad that did not completely detach or if the voter deliberately chose to skip a race.
"The only way to be completely certain you did not commit an error is to closely examine your ballot in the polling booth after you vote and before you insert it into the vote tabulator," Orr said.
The "Chad and Dimples" campaign was created by the Chicago-area advertising team of Rob Janoff, who designed the Apple computer logo and created the Chad and Dimples characters, and John Geiger of Geiger Photography/Digital Imaging, who was in charge of production.