RE: gore's speech

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From: Lisa Dusseault (
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 []
> 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
> votes split, with additional going to the marginal
> 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.


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