Recounts Bring Us Closer Together

In the Washington gubernatorial race, Christine Gregoire has passed Dino Rossi in the hand recount for a 10-vote lead, which will probably grow when 700 votes that were improperly disqualified by one county are examined.

Whether Gregoire wins or Rossi overturns the count in court, the winner's going to have little legitimacy with half of the electorate. As this race and the Bush/Gore debacle demonstrate, this country can't handle photo-finish elections, because no one believes the recount process won't be gamed by one or both parties. (I'm gaming the process by describing Gregoire as the presumptive winner.)

Around 2.8 million people voted in Washington, so the next governor will sweep into office on a mandate that amounts to 1/300th of a percent.

This is no way to run a shining city upon a hill.

If we can't settle maddeningly close races with dueling pistols, there should be a threshold, such as 1/10th of one percent, that triggers a new 30-day registration period followed by a new vote. This would give the electorate a second chance to make up its collective mind and put an end to some recount lawsuits and grandstanding, because both sides would fear the second batch of voters.

Comments

The newest wrinkle in the Washington governor's race is that the district where they "found" those extra Democratic votes somehow has more votes than people who actually voted... (not registered, signed in as voters on election day and absentee).

Oops.

I think re-votes should include only the original slate of candidates and in a race with more than three candidates only those with 20% or more of the vote should make the cut for the re-vote. That would cut down on the dilution effect of tiny splinter parties in close elections.

As someone who volunteered for Rossi and supports a revote, I still think it's pretty much guaranteed that Gregoire is in now. Note that Democrat is incumbent (so still running things), and Dems control state house, senate, and courts. You could say that the "will of the people" is unclear in the sense that the margin for gov is too close to call conclusively; but OTOH the makeup of the rest of the state offices shows that the state is heavily Democrat. The fact that Rossi won the first two counts is just extraordinary, and I think very few repubs ever expected it. I still think Rossi would win a revote, but it's not as if the repubs have any sort of mandate in this state anyway and it would be difficult for Rossi to accomplish anything. Winning is winning, even if it relies on tiny margins and irregularities, but I don't think this is how we should win elections anyway. I think the repubs need to be fighting to change people's minds and build an actual margin that can withstand this stuff.

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