have a tremendous impact on the world. Remember the infamous presidential election of 2000? With every state but Florida reporting, Al Gore led the popular vote and had 267 confirmed electoral votes to George W. Bush’s 245. Either candidate needed 270 electoral votes to win, which meant that Florida’s 25 electoral votes were the key to the presidency. The final result wouldn’t be known until more than a month past Election Day, though, both because the race in Florida was incredibly tight and because poor ballot design had resulted in a large number of voting errors. Confusing “butterfly ballots” in Palm Beach County apparently caused thousands of people to vote for Pat Buchanan instead of Al Gore, and thousands more punch-card ballots were disqualified because the paper “chad” that voters were supposed to punch out didn’t detach enough for automatic vote-tallying machines to read it. These controversies led to a series of recounts that eventually led to a Supreme Court judgment. When the dust settled, Bush was declared the winner in Florida by exactly 537 votes, although under other proposed tallying methods the vote could have been 171 in Gore’s favor instead. What’s amazing is that this confusion of butterfly ballots and hanging chads may not have been the deciding factor. These are legitimate examples of user-unfriendliness, the kind that a good ballot designer should have seen coming a mile away, but the shift in behavior that may have clinched the election could have been due to Bush’s name being at the top of the ballot. There was no diabolical reason behind this, or even partisan scheming. Ballot ordering varies wildly from state to state, probably because nobody considers it very important. Some list candidates alphabetically by name, others alphabetically by party, and still others list incumbents first. Only a handful of states rotate ballot order between precincts, ensuring that all candidates will be represented equally. In Florida, it was a regulation that the candidate who belongs to the current governor’s party will appear first on the ballot, and because the governor of Florida in 2000 was George W. Bush’s fellow Republican (and brother) Jeb Bush, George got top billing.