Every Vote Doesn’t Count

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Charles: To suggest that, because of the closeness of the Franken/Coleman senate race in Minnesota, a runoff election be held, is an admission of the fallacy that “every vote counts.” This same problem arose in New Hampshire a few years back. Recounts kept producing a different outcome, and so the state held another election to resolve the matter. When candidate “X” wins by 23 votes and, in the next recount, candidate “Y” prevails by 16 votes, there is no way – at least in major races – that one person’s vote will determine the final outcome. I have heard mathematicians state that the recounting of ballots – where hundreds of thousands have cast votes – will never produce the same numbers as before. Thus, an election in which one candidate gets 567,456 votes and his opponent garners only 567,455, will be too indeterminate for the political system.

With the exception of a mayor’s race in Mud Flats, Kansas, I am still awaiting being informed of any large-scale election (e.g., presidential, gubernatorial, senate or congressional race, etc.) in which the outcome was decided by one vote. This news may provide environmentalists with an incentive to stay home on election day, and stop wasting energy by driving to the polls.

10:45 pm on January 3, 2009