Meet The Chad's Dad

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CBS
Some of those in Florida straining to read little holes in computer cards are undoubtedly cursing whoever thought up this system.

His name is William Rouverol, and he still professes great faith in his invention, reports CBS News Correspondent John Blackstone.

"When used properly its faster and cheaper," says Rouverol, a retired professor of engineering.

It was in 1962 that Professor Rouverol drew up detailed plans for the Votomatic, which is still used by about a third of the nation's voters.

Rouverol says all the criticism of his invention has been "more instructive than painful. I love a problem." And he thinks he has a solution, though he refuses to share it until he gets a new set of plans to the patent office.

In fact, he says most of the problems in Florida shouldn't have happened in the first place.

Almost 40 years ago Rouverol and his partner designed and tested several tools to give just the right leverage for poking perfect holes in computer cards.

"Some people are timid and shy and so on," he says, "and they don't attack the stylus and the card vigorously."

They knew the really timid might leave just a bump on the card. But, says Rouverol, "Certainly we didn't call it a dimpled chad."

The fact is, for 35 years most people haven't heard of the chad, and Rouverol says the system has pretty much worked.

So don't blame the Votomatic for the mess in Florida, insists its creator. Blame the butterfly ballot.

"That led to all kinds of grief," he says, "and we could have predicted it."

To minimize confusion, the Votomatic was designed to show only one page at a time. Rouverol hopes to make his new machine so easy even election officials in Florida can use it.