After the ballot confetti we now know as chad, the yellow Ryder truck that delivered ballots to a Tallahassee, Fla., court could be the most enduring symbol of this historic election. Now the Chad Chariot can be yours -- in an online auction.
"It's become a piece of history," said Allison Striegel of Budget Group, which owns the Ryder fleet. Since the truck's Nov. 30 voyage, Striegel said, the company has received so many offers to buy the truck and suggestions of museums to display it, Budget decided to put the 1999 Ford F350 on the Internet auction block. Proceeds will go to the American Red Cross.
As of Thursday afternoon, the top bid was $30,600 -- almost double the truck's book value.
"Does it come with the ballots?" one bidder inquired. "I want to count them."
No, Palm Beach County's 462,000 hole-punched cards and their attendant chads are not included. Nor are the four television helicopters that filmed the yellow truck as it cruised 430 miles from West Palm Beach to Tallahassee, or the 15 police and cars that formed a protective motorcade.
The ballots hit the turnpike at the order of Judge N. Sanders Sauls, who ruled Monday that there was no reason to re-examine the disputed ballots. Sauls never looked at Palm Beach's ballots -- nor 654,000 that were trucked from Miami-Dade County -- a fact at the core of Vice President Al Gore's appeal to the state Supreme Court.
Bidding on the truck ends next Thursday at http://auctions.yahoo.com. For now, the famous vehicle is sitting empty at a Ryder lot somewhere in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Striegel said, "I'd rather not disclose the exact location."
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