Knight Of The Mind

I'll do my best to present a philosophical and generally conservative look at current events and life, the universe and everything. Readers are invited to take all that's posted herein with a grain of salt. or if they prefer, a grain of salt, a slice of lime and a shot of tequila.

Location: Alexandria, Virginia, United States

Greetings and welcome. My name is Steve, I'm 35 years old and I work for the US Army as an Operations Research Analyst. Hence my blog title Knight Of The Mind.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

A Modest Proposal - The 1% Rule

Election 2004 may very well still be a street fight at 3:45 in the morning. The polls are varied, but mostly close. Several 'battleground' states are seperated by 1 point or less. One any given day, 50 - 150 electoral votes are from states where the two candidates are within MOE for the most recent quoted poll.

This election may become EVEN WORSE than election 2000; a 269 to 269 Electoral College tie. Gary L. Gregg from NRO describes 6 ways this could happen.

  1. Scenario 1: All states vote the way they did in 2000 except the swing states of New Hampshire and West Virginia that both go to Kerry.
  2. Scenario 2: All other states vote as they did in 2000 except Colorado or Louisiana who vote for Kerry.
  3. Scenario 3: All other states vote as they did in 2000 except Colorado voters vote to split their vote and Kerry takes four of the nine electoral votes and Kerry is also able to win West Virginia.
  4. Scenario 4: All other states vote as they did in 2000 except Colorado voters vote to split their vote and Kerry takes five to Bush's four and Bush wins New Mexico.
  5. Scenario 5: All other states vote as they did in 2000 except Bush picks up Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, and New Mexico but Kerry picks up Colorado, Florida, and West Virginia.
  6. Scenario 6: All other states vote as they did in 2000 except Colorado and Arkansas vote for Kerry while Bush picks up New Mexico and Maine's 2nd Congressional District.

I hope these are mostly far-fetched exercises in recreational mathematics. However, they do point out a problem that the US does not have a consistantly applicable remedy for in the US Constitution. What happens when one of the two political parties feels like they were robbed and decides to haul in a band of lawyers and fight about it?

Here is my suggestion for preventing this problem from cropping up in 2008, when the two major parties duke it out again for all the marbles in the jar.

  1. Establish that any state in which the two leading candidates finish closer than 1% apart in the popular vote be subjected to automatic recount before their electors are allowed to cast their ballot.
  2. Require a Congressional Recount Board consisting of 3 Republicans and 3 Democrats to oversee all post-election recount efforts.
  3. Hire an independent accounting firm to verify all recounts and present a report demonstrating the fairness and validity of that recount.

This may not be perfect, but it would accomplish 2 things.

1) It would give everyone a feeling that the recount was a natural and fair legal procedure, rather than either party's attempt to wrest control of the process rather than live with a legitimate result.

2) It would standardize all recounts conducted and verify that they are thurough, truth-seeking audits, rather than partisan cherry-picking expeditions that only involve searching for votes in the bastions of one party's electoral strength.

For what it's worth, that's my two cents on how to make close elections fair contests rather than snotty lawyer fights. Perhaps by 2008, we will have a system similar to this in place to adjudicate close state vote totals.


As you may or may not already be aware, members of the Watcher's Council hold a vote every week on what they consider to be the most link-worthy pieces of writing around... per the Watcher's instructions, I am submitting one of my own posts for consideration in the upcoming nominations process.
Here is the most recent winning council post, here is the most recent winning non-council post, here is the list of results for the latest vote, and here is the initial posting of all the nominees that were voted on.

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