# RE: gore's speech

From: Lisa Dusseault (lisa@xythos.com)
Date: Tue Nov 28 2000 - 10:31:57 PST

A sensible idea from the perspective of math/statistics but perhaps not from
the POV of actually running an election...

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Rahul Dave [mailto:rahul@reno.cis.upenn.edu]
> Subject: Re: gore's speech
>
> In the future there ought to be a pre-decided percent difference, based on
> measuring equipment, and mock-election experiments to say that an election
> in county X is a tie if the difference is within N votes.
>
> And by some weighted process this needs to be extended to the
> state as thats what really matters.
>
> If there is a tie a state ought to be dropped or the electoral college
> winner(13-bush, 12 gore)
> That sounds fair but
> Uh-oh I just killed the constitution.
>

Not really, the constitution only says that the states decide how to
allocate votes. If FLA decided to allocate votes as you suggest, this would
be perfectly constitutional, AFAIK.

But I fear this would cause twice as many "close races". Let's say the
margin of error is defined to be 2%, for each candidate. That is, for any
candidate, their votes might be overcounted or undercounted by up to 2%.
Any difference up to 4% between the votes for the top two candidates would
fall in this margin. So if A got 47.9% and B got 44.1%, your formula would
call that a "tie", but I'm sure A would argue for a recount so that A would
get all the votes instead of just half. Or if A got 48.5% and B got 43.5%,
B would certainly argue for a recount in order to get at least half the
votes instead of none. The same thing would happen if A and B were
reversed. We'd still get political wrangling for recounts, just more often
and for lower stakes.

lisa

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