Something's rotten in the state of Denmark

Thursday, December 02, 2004

BREAKING NEWS: Provisional count done, Kerry +17,977; Total Ohio Bush margin +118, 506

The results are in, and done, with the Ohio provisional ballots.

Current "additional" vote count:
Bush +61,505
Kerry +79,482

Difference: Kerry+17,977

As of November 20, the vote totals were:

11477 of 11477 precincts - 100 percent

George W. Bush (i) 2,796,147 - 51 percent

 John F. Kerry 2,659,664 - 49 percent

for a margin on November 20 of 136,483.

Update: Oops. We originally thought that the glitch of 3,893 votes due to a faulty machine in Franklin County had not been factored in yet to these totals. But according to that Ohio Voter Suppression site, the 3,893 votes were factored into the totals for the provisional ballots for Franklin County.

Now factor in Kerry's margin in the provisionals, and now the difference between Kerry and Bush, for all those who were betting the over/under, is 118,506 votes. (The estimated number of ballots that did not register any vote for President, due to error or otherwise, in Ohio was 93,000.)

And with all the provisionals added and amended,

2,853,759 Bush
2,735,253 Kerry

(I unfortunately don't have the information for votes that the provisional ballots gave the third party candidates... and from what we're seeing in Cleveland, some of those numbers might be a little off, anyway.) I'd guess that about 30,000 or so people voted for a third party candidate, but we'll get those numbers soon.

But out of those people who cast a vote for either Bush or Kerry, 5,589,012, Bush received .5106 percent -- almost exactly 51% of those ballots. Meaning Kerry won .4894 -- almost exactly 49%.

I won't lie to you. 118,506 is a big number. But so was 4,000 from one little precinct, the extra votes a machine tacked on to Bush. And when a vote meant for Kerry went to Bush -- well, cut that margin down by two votes. But in all seriousness, the chances of Kerry pulling off Ohio are mathematically slim, slim, slim at best.

But that's not what this is about.

This is about the vote, the sanctity of our franchise, and the very real threats that exist to our confidence in it. If anything, this week's events in the Ukraine should remind us to take our elections and their results and the validation of those results incredibly seriously. I believe some things are worth the cost of a few hundred thousand dollars. The sanctity of our elections being one of them.

A hand recount will now determine how many of the 93,000 "undervotes" actually showed a clear sign indicating preference of a Presidential candidate -- in Florida 2000, about 7% of the undervote were determined to show indication, but in other recounts, it's grown to 20%. Let every vote be counted.

A hand recount will also determine whether there were any other tabulation glitches like that in Franklin County, and also help to shed light on whether there was anything off with the Warren County lockdown.

A hand recount might explain what in God's name happened in these Cleveland precincts.

And more than anything, a hand recount will give a country where in 2004 20% of voters think the President was not elected legitimately -- not 2000, folks, 2004 -- much-needed faith in the security and sanctity of our voting system.

Let the manual recounts begin!