Where Are They Now?: The hanging chad guy

Searching for ‘dimpled chads’ brought Florida judge unwanted fame

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Following the recount, the judge recalled, he “might have taken a day off.” He returned to his day job as a circuit court judge, declining interview requests from news networks and late-night talk shows while explaining that “after the game’s over, you don’t interview the umpire. You talk to the coach and the players.”

When the National Museum of American History asked Judge Rosenberg to donate a magnifying glass for a 2004 election exhibit, however, he happily complied. He also broke his silence, telling Smithsonian magazine that his wife jokes that he “should have done an ad for Visine.”

“Am I historical figure?” Judge Rosenberg said. “I don’t know. It’s a historic thing. I’m happy I did it. I never asked for it. Never wanted it. I have good, close friends on the Republican and Democratic sides.

“After it was over, both parties came to me and said I was decent and fair and honorable, and that they respected that. That’s what a judge is supposed to do. That’s my job.”

Today, he is still Judge Rosenberg. He plans to retire next year. He has three adult children and recently celebrated his 42nd wedding anniversary. He still has old sample ballots and chads — “Oh God, I have loads of those,” he said — which he sometimes donates to charity auctions.

The judge still has a magnifying glass, too. In fact, he keeps it in his office desk. Just in case.

“A few years ago I was elected president of a B’nai B’rith chapter of lawyers and judges down here,” he said. “I gave a speech, and afterward they gave me some kind of award.”

At that point, the judge continued, he pulled the magnifying glass out of his pocket and held it up to his face, recreating his well-known photo.

“I said, ‘Let me take a closer look,’” he said. “The people who remember [the recount] got a big laugh out of that.”

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