Saturday, December 11, 2004

Ballot Confusion Makes No Difference In The End

The Cleveland Plain Dealer ran a story explaining how it appears that a small number of votes (estimated at ~942) in 17 of 1,458 Cuyahoga county precincts appear to have been counted for an unintended candidate. This happened because voters used a punch card ballot meant for one precinct in a punch card voting machine for another precinct.

Because the order of the names listed on the ballot vary by precinct, this causes votes to be tallied for the wrong person. The problem was noticed because a larger than expected percentage of votes were cast for the candidates of the Constitution and Libertarian parties in 17 precincts.

Clearly a problem, and clearly something that needs to be addressed in the future. But would it have made a difference in the Ohio results? Absolutely not.

Even if every single vote for these two candidates in every single county in Ohio were added to Kerry's total, he still would have lost by over 92,000 votes. Throw in the votes for the 6 other candidates also on the ballot and we now have a tight race - with Kerry closing the gap to only 91,825.

I guess that's what happens when you win with more than 50% of the total votes cast, a concept the Democrats just aren't used to.