Leon County Circuit Judge N. Sanders Sauls said this morning he hoped to end the hearing by 9pm this evening, although that looked unlikely as the Bush team had yet to get to most of the 20 names on their witness list. The Gore legal team rested their case this afternoon after hearing from two witnesses.
One witness called by the Gore team, voting machine expert Kimball Brace, discussed the punch card systems used in Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties. Brace said a pile of punched paper inside the machine can cause “chad build-up,” preventing voters from punching all the way through a voting card.
Brace said such a build up could result in dimpled ballots — as could attempting to punch the card at a slight angle. Dimples are not picked up by vote count machinery.
Gore lawyers say problems like these have resulted in thousands of votes being discounted from Florida vote tallies.
Under cross-examination by Bush lawyers, Brace said simple handling of the ballots could also have created indentations.
Later in the day, statistician Nicolas Hengartner testified about the number of ballots likely to be added to each candidate’s totals by a manual recounting of the disputed votes. He said it was more statistically likely the number of undervotes in some Florida counties — ballots where no vote for president is recorded — occurred as a result of a problem with punchcard voting rather than by chance.
At 5:15 pm, the Bush legal team was examining its first witness, Judge Charles Burton of the Palm Beach Co. Canvassing Board.