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December 04, 2004

Memo to Washington State Democrats -- Give it Up!

The Washington Democratic Party has ponied up $700,000 to pay for a hand recount of all votes in Washington state. This money came from various sources, including John Kerry, who must have money left over that he was planning to spend on lawyers for his election.

I'm as blue as they come, but this is completely lame. First of all, why is the hand count more accurate? I picture some old guy sitting there saying "872,645...872,646...872,647..." Perhaps a bit of an exaggeration, but here's a couple of quotes from the article: "State elections information manager Paul Miller said that, alone, hand counts are likely less accurate." "Logan will do everything possible to make an accurate hand count, though he thinks manual counts are intrinsically less accurate, spokeswoman Egan said."

The original recount was more accurate because ballots that failed the machine scan were examined to see if the voter's intent was clear, and a substitute ballot was run through. But how is a hand recound any more accurate than that?

The interesting thing here is that a) the question "How many people voted for each candidate?" does have a definite single answer, and b) that answer is, as far as I can tell, completely impossible to determine. You could count ten times and you would get ten different answers. It's like trying to determine what color dinosaurs were. If you assume dinosaurs did exist, they had to be some color. And people can make educated guesses about what color they were, based on what we know about plants that existed then and planetary temperatures and surviving birds and lizards and whatnot. But in the end there is no way to really know what color dinosaurs were.

Anyway, try to imagine a scenario where the Democrats actually win the hand recount. How would people feel about the validity of elections then? Is this really worth it? Plus Democrats should keep in mind they they got lucky in 1996 and 2000 when the Republicans threw up unelectable candidates, allowing Gary Locke to win two terms as governor. Let the Republicans have one.

Sure, it's a bummer when your candidate loses by 42 votes. If 22 people had changed sides, you would have won. I'm sure at least 43 people forgot to vote, or didn't vote because their kids were sick, or couldn't find their polling place, or were unexpectedly out of town, or whatever. I'm sure at least 43 votes were just out-and-out paid for. But such is life!!

Posted by AdamBa at December 4, 2004 12:57 PM

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