Dear Fellow Political Buff,
I couldn't believe my eyes.
There they were -- the
Holy Grail of the Florida Election 2000 Recount.
Genuine Voting Machines from Palm Beach County, complete with hanging chads
and punch card ballots.
Four years earlier, I figured it would be easy to find a used voting machine
made famous by the Bush / Gore race of 2000. After all, I live in Florida.
Plus, I'm actively involved in local politics.
Instead, it took me almost
four years to find these artifacts of American history.
After the state legislature banned punchcard voting machines in
Florida, the Palm Beach County Supervisor of Election Office decided
to sell voting machines (and everything else including ballot boxes,
transfer cases, spare parts -- everything). And recently, the gentlemen
who originally acquired all of this equipment decided to sell. So I bought it.
All of it. And that's how I became the only source in the world of genuine
Palm Beach County voting machines from Election 2000.
Much to my wife's dismay, I lobbied to set up a voting machine in
our living room the day before we hosted a party of our friends.
And to my delight (and to my wife's complete surprise),
the voting machine was a huge hit.
As our guests entered the party, everyone commented on the voting machine,
and how cool it was that we personally owned one. The most popular question
of the party from our guests was
"How can I get one?"
A quick email to our recent party guests later, and the phone rang
off the hook. One friend wanted a voting machine for a
another as a
another as a
conversation piece in their living room;
another as a
gift to a school teacher;
another as a gift for a valued
client's office lobby.
And what's really neat is people's reaction when they receive
a voting machine as a gift. I've shipped a few as surprise gifts
(including one as a wedding gift to a political science graduate),
and the recipients' reaction are always the same --
just like a kid opening up gifts under the Christmas tree.
A very much appreciated, and long remembered gift.
These voting machines are going fast,
so order today, before I run out completely.
Or feel free to call me at (727) 776-8683 or email me at
if you have any questions before placing your order.
Below is the Associated Press story which was covered around the world:
Florida man lives among the chads of 2000 election
By Jessica Gresko, Associated Press Writer
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.
It's been eight years since the re-count of the 2000 Florida election,
but Jim Dobyns is still living with chads. One waited for him when he
went to clean the top of the microwave. He found another by the coffee
table. And when he was petting his cat recently he plucked one of the
manila-colored flakes from its fur.
Three years ago, Dobyns bought 1,200 Votomatic III voting machines, ones
used by Palm Beach County during that infamous election.
When the outcome of the presidential election hung on Florida's electoral
votes, it was Palm Beach's ballots and their hanging, pregnant and dimpled
chads that became the subject of scrutiny. Ultimately, Florida junked the
machines statewide in favor of new technology.
Dobyns, though, can't get rid of the chads, which have leaked out of the
machines and permanently into his life.
"I'll never get them out of the van," Dobyns said. "And I don't
want to get them out of the van because I see it and I think:
Dobyns, a political consultant, isn't the only one who thinks
the machines are cool. He has began selling the collapsable, briefcase-sized
Votomatics on eBay or through his Web site for up to $75, plus shipping.
Recently, he leased 26 as props to the HBO movie Recount, which was
about President Bush's White House-clinching 537-vote victory in Florida
over Al Gore. But his list of customers has also grown to include a
congressional staffer, an executive with the New York City bar association,
a few presidential libraries and a number of high school history teachers.
"I always like to say however you vote it always comes out Bush, and
then the heated debate starts from there," said Joe Raschke, a friend
of Dobyns' who lives in Chicago and who was given one of the machines
as a wedding gift.
Most of the machines, however, have gone to Democrats, Dobyns says, who are
still angry about the 2000 election and entranced by the machines. His wife,
Pam, explains it this way: the voting machines became the election's villain;
buying a machine is a way to control something Democrats couldn't.
Owners say they like having a piece of history and that the pieces are a
conversation starter, no matter what party someone belongs to. Chris Chiari, 34,
a Florida business consultant and Democrat, bought two of the machines last
summer -- one for an auction and the other to set up in his den. "I can
punch any hole I want. I own it," said Chiari, who voted by absentee ballot
in Palm Beach County in 2000.
Stephanie McCaffery, 30, who teaches geography and history in Tennessee, got
her machine, along with tube socks, as a Christmas gift last year. Her family
has since used it to mock-vote in a primary, though "with my mom, not so
secret those ballots," she said.
Though the machine is still at her mother's house in Florida, McCaffery, says
she'd eventually like to use it in her classroom, where
students have asked why the country doesn't just vote online. It's amazing
that something so low-tech could pick the United States' leader, she said,
and having the machine is like having a "historical souvenir."
Having a piece of history was what Dobyns was thinking, too, when he saw that
a local election office was disposing of the Votomatics for $5 each. Dobyns,
who lives on Florida's west coast, drove the hour and a half to the election
office and filled up his blue Dodge Caravan, twice. But Dobyns really wanted
what he calls the "Holy Grail of the 2000 election" -- the machines
from Palm Beach County.
In 2005, he got a lead on them. A man who bought them from the county was
selling his warehouse full of the machines. The eBay asking price: $12,000.
Dobyns went to inspect the warehouse. It was hot and dark -- Votomatics
stacked to the ceiling and the floor speckled with chads. He bought
These days, though, Dobyns' stock is getting low. He has about 50 to 60 machines
left, which he keeps in a storage facility near his home.
In May, Dobyns realized he'd been making a mistake. Every time he sold a
Votomatic, he gave away something for free: the chads left in the back of
the machine. How had he missed their value? He opened one machine and
scooped out the chads. He and his wife printed up certificates of authenticity
and sat down together to assemble Ziploc bags of chads.
At 10 chads per bag, Dobyns thinks he can make about 2,000. He hopes to sell
them for $20 each on eBay, though he may lower the price for the holidays.
He says he can't help but see opportunities in this election.
Barack Obama's campaign should be selling his ties after he has worn them,
he says. They'd make even more cash if they cut them up and sold them in
squares. And Sarah Palin? Dobyns thinks a lottery for the glasses she wore
during the vice presidential debate could generate $250,000. Oh, and "They
should be selling her hair," he said. "The hair you could actually
sell one strand at a time."
Dobyns doesn't know what will happen this year, what might be the "hanging chad
of 2008 in terms of merchandising and fundraising?"
"So that's what I'll be sitting there thinking about election night,"
Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
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I personally pack your order into a sturdy shipping carton, and ship it
to your door. Hanging Chads Display Cases are shipped via FedEx Ground.
All other items are shipping US Postal Service Priority Mail or First Class.
Shipments are usually delivered within 3 to 7 days, depending on your location.
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