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The farce that is the US election has benefited at least one group. Traffic to the web site of the church of St Chad's in Lichfield has rocketed from four to over 300 hits a day since the start of the recount.

No, the US voters are not turning to God in their desperation; they just all want to know what a "chad" is so they are tapping it into their search engines - anything to explain the Bush&Gore fiasco.

It all started when the Washington Post remarked that St Chad could be the patron saint of elections. Then the church's site started appearing on political news sites and the traffic went through the roof.

In the church's online guest book one poor bloke, also called Chad, bemoans the confusion that sharing a name with the controversial bits of paper has brought into his life, but says that he has been helped by the church of St Chad.. "Your web site has restored some dignity to my name for me," he gushes.

Stephen Smith, a volunteer who maintains the web site for the church told The Guardian: "Normally we get one message every six weeks...We have had nine Chad related messages in one weekend." ®

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