Friday, January 28, 2005

Margin of Victory

It seems that the editors of the National Review have concluded that for any sort of legitimacy to come out of their still-being-disputed gubernatorial election, the residents of Washington State are going to have to take away the win from Democratic candidate Christine Gregoire (who after several rounds of recounting has a lead of about 120), and hold a statewide revote. As NRO puts it, Dino Rossi (the Republican candidate) should have to "prove that the number of ballots accounted for by fraud, error, or illegal votes exceeds Gregoire's margin of victory." Funny, I remember a slightly different brand of legal reasoning from the National Review the last time this issue came up.

Hypocrisy aside, there are some pretty good arguments to be made against revotes. The already over-litigated elections of today are going to look as straightforward as Pericles vs. Larry Flynt once losing candidates know that they can force a totally new vote by demonstrating some presumably subjective (I don't see how you could make this kind of thing scientific) standard of possible voter fraud in the first round. Short of self-evident, truly massive vote rigging a la Ukraine, it seems to me like revotes are more likely to harm than help the election process.

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