If anyone tells you they know who really won the 2000 Presidential Election, they’re lying to you, lying to themselves, or both. Technically, George W. Bush won Florida, and thus the presidency by 537 votes as per the final recount. But as anyone who was around for the comedy of errors and hanging chads remembers, that was a guess. Not only was it impossible to review punched ballots with any amount of consistency, but a controversial “butterfly” ballot design in Broward County led to a surprising amount of Jewish retirees voting for Pat Buchanan.
When an election is very, very, very close, we’re all just guessing. A combination of tabulation errors, questionable ballots, and odd ballot design will cause uncertainty. There’s the question of whether the certified votes were properly counted, whether the right votes were counted, and sometimes, whether, intentionally or not, ballots were designed in a way that hindered voters exercising their true preference.
We all agree to accept an eventual outcome because someone needs to win, and you can’t re-run a national election. Unless you’re in Israel, where they can apparently do this every couple of months. But they have fewer citizens than Los Angeles County. You definitely can’t have a re-do on a caucus or primary. There’s a schedule, and sending everyone back to Iowa would be ridiculous. Plus, it’s not the same on a re-do. The voters have a different set of information now. Continue reading “Too Close to Know”