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Note: If you believe that Ohio can flip to Kerry, this diary is meant for you.  If you think the election is over and the recount of Ohio is only good for focussing our attention on the process, I'd love it if you read it anyway, but be forewarned, this diary assumes Ohio can be flipped.

When Al Gore's team requested a recount of select counties in Florida after the 2000 election they made a mistake that, in hindsight, many believe cost Gore the Presidency.  If they had asked for a recount of the entire state, it undoubtedly would have played out differently in both the media and the courts.  The Republican team would have had more ground to cover and the SCOTUS would have been disenfranchising a much larger population. If we make the same mistake again, the next four years will cause many bleeding ulcers.

More below the fold . . .

Some of us believe fraud will be exposed. Some of us think there is a chance it might flip to Kerry. Some of us want to move on. But no matter where we stand, we now know that there will be a recount in Ohio and we need to be thinking (and indeed we are in many diaries) about how this is going to play out. We need to learn from Gore's mistakes and we need to realize that Ohio may be only the beginning of a long, drawn out battle.  Flipping Ohio doesn't necessarily give Kerry the win.

Let's assume Kerry wins Ohio.  Undoubtedly, the Republicans will challenge in court if possible.  But would they not also have the option to immediately counter with recounts in other states that are as close as Ohio.  Pennsylvania and Wisconsin come immediately to mind as being close Kerry States.  In fact, the spread in Pennsylvania is almost identical to the spread in Ohio.  Wisconsin is the one though.  If they had an automatic recount provision, which they don't, it would likely kick in as the margin is under one half of one percent.  Minnesota is probably safe, but close as well.  I haven't analyzed all of the electoral college scenarios yet, but if they flip any one of those states after a flip for Kerry in Ohio, we still lose.

This is why New Mexico, Nevada and Iowa are crucial and we should be hammering on any irregularities in these states and asking for recounts now.  Unless Rove knows that the courts are going to stop it, he can't rest on his laurels.  He may even need to call for recounts in other states preemptively as Ohio is likely to drag out longer than Wisconsin and PA and the window to ask for a recount will close.

Here is a table with the recount rules for every state, including time requirements.

http://www.electionline.org/site/docs/html/post-election_recount_-_contest_timetable.htm

Will Rove really leave it to an Ohio recount that may not be finished until well into December?  We don't know what Blackwell's strategy will be yet, but their strategy of running out the clock in Florida would leave them with no options if they ultimately lost Ohio.  We may have an advantage here.

To put it more simply, my concern is that Ohio flips, the Republicans counter with a recount in Wisconsin and flip that and we are back where we started.  If they call for a Wisconsin count early, it could even flip before we hear about Ohio and make the recount moot.

We need to analyze the timetable (and I am working on it, but I wanted to get this posted) and if necessary, call for preemptive recounts in the states that could bring the election back to Kerry.  New Mexico, Nevada and Iowa.  

I'm going to continue researching scenarios and as we get closer to knowing when certification will happen in each state I will post an update with a likely chronology of recount deadlines.  Right now it looks like PA will be certified Tuesday and New Mexico on the 23rd or so.  In New mexico you must file for a recount within 6 days of certification (see above link).  So we are looking at the 29th.  In PA the rules require filing within 2 days.  That will only give Rove until Thursday, which is probably too soon for him to show his hand.  They will need to focus on Wisconsin.  I am having trouble finding a projected certification date for Wisconsin and plan on calling the State Elections Board Monday morning.  While I have them on the phone, I'm going to ask if they have heard from Bush's legal team about a recount yet.

;-)

If we don't carefully plan this and the Ohio/Wisconsin scenario plays out, we won't have learned from Gore's mistakes, we will have repeated them on a much larger and more tragic scale.

We can't predict the future, particularly the next two months.  They will be full of twists and turns and we will be very sorry if we gave up somewhere that "didn't matter" and it ends up mattering.

Update [2004-11-15 20:7:42 by apotropaic]: I spoke with two people at the Wisconsin Board of Elections today and both went "on the record" that no presidential candidate has contacted them about doing a recount. They also were unwilling to provide an estimated date for certification, but said it would be done by the December 1st deadline.

Originally posted to apotropaic on Sun Nov 14, 2004 at 09:15 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  This is my first diary (4.00)
    And on reading it, it is a little more long-wiinded than I hoped.  But the main points are still clear.

    Advice is appreciated.

  •  Rove doesn't want ANY recounts... (none)
    ...it's no secret that recounts favor Democrats, since "spoiled" ballots are more likely to come from poor and minority districts with outdated election equipment.

    Just my opinion.

    Standing cool and composed before a million universes

    by pauldean on Sun Nov 14, 2004 at 09:19:07 AM PST

  •  Looks to me like (none)
    we've been able to rationally realize that a recount doesn't necessarily mean a Kerry win.  If the focus remains on the integrity of the voting process, machines, receipts, and counting, then this is good for Democracy.

    Let the repugs and Karl Rove be seen as challenging the right of people to have confidence in the election process.  This may be necessary to force people to wake up.

  •  Love the post, DO recommend but . . . (4.00)
    it has been discussed, and I agree, that by using the term 're-count' we fall into a possible GOP trap --- 're-counts' have been framed as lib, cry-baby, tin-hat puling . . . possibly already demonized . . . ;-(

    WE WANT AUDITs IN THESE STATES

    this implies not only re-counting, but considring other factors --- voter supression, deception etc . . . you smart Kossacks get it right?

    LET THE AUDITS BEGIN!!!!

    'It tastes like ... burning. ' -- Ralph Wiggum

    by trippinsf on Sun Nov 14, 2004 at 09:29:43 AM PST

  •  I have been over this too (none)
    I thought the same and then settled on the thought that Rove doesn't want recounts.

    First, it would take away the "mandate" theory by actually including all of the votes they can discard through spoilage, provisional and absentee ballots.
    Second, as the post above says -- recounts usually favor Democrats.

    I too have wondered if the cabal is thinking about Pennsylvania. Currently it seems not, but who knows.

    There are several BBV requests to examine the op-scan ballots in Fla, questions in NM, one county each in GA and AZ and the entire state of NV.
    Also, pending recounts in NH and OH make this whole thing start to look fishy. Add to that the 33K votes in UT, posted elsewhere in diary and the only thing for Rove to do in order to look impartial is to call for recounts everywhere. Bring 'em on.

    I think it's more important to know who really won, don't you? I personally am willing to let the chips fall where they may.

  •  NM recount? (none)
    Why don't you give us a chance to finish the count, before you call for a recount?  Right now (Sun. am) Bush's lead is down to 5331 and the final count isn't expected until Nov. 23.

    Plus, any recounting has to go back to the counties, which is where the hanky-panky, if any, will have occurred.  

    don't always believe what you think

    by claude on Sun Nov 14, 2004 at 09:44:09 AM PST

    •  Absolutely (none)
      I mention the 23rd in the diary and of course you are right.  NM is the closest of the three states.  But if Wisconsin flipped, we would need Nevada or Iowa as well to take the EC.

      Take a pill or talk

      by apotropaic on Sun Nov 14, 2004 at 10:23:23 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  In Ohio (none)
    They seem to be trying to disqualify as many votes as possible still.  There was the hassle about the birthdates not being filled in on forms for provisional ballots.  The lawyers fought it and the Judge told Blackwell that he couldn't disqualify them simply because the form wasn't completely filled out.  That's a very distilled version of what happened.  The interesting thing is how litle news coverage this is getting.  I live in the state and I only get snippets here and there, mostly from online  sources like here.  The reports you get in the papers are all one sided affairs around here (central ohio).  The dispatch actually had an article about Blackwell doing a conference call to make sure the local boards of elections weren't using the birth date issue to disqualify provisional ballots, but all written from the angle like Blackwell just came up with it himself.  Absolutely no mention of the court case at all.

    I don't think a recount was something they were planning for in Ohio.  So as I said I think they are trying to get the first vote count down as low as possible before the recount happens.

    Now where will they go from here.  Well I think they are trying to run out the clock.  Blackwell is dragging his feet and the END date to start doing things is so far when Blackwell starts the local boards on their tasks.  I think their goal is to push everything so close to the meeting of the Electoral College that they can sue to stop the recount using the Bush v Gore decision as a reason for the courts to end it early.

    This is why the New Hampshire recount is interesting.  I personally wouldn't have thought of it, but the exit polls were off there as well.  It's small and should be able to be done quickly.  If the vote comes out drastically different from the original totals then I think a tidal wave might be coming.  If they come out extremely close to the original results then we will be fighting the clock with blackwell.

  •  Gore's "mistake" (none)
    If [Gore's team] had asked for a recount of the entire state, it undoubtedly would have played out differently in both the media and the courts.

    And Gore's team would have, except that Florida law didn't allow for it! They needed evidence of "problems" in each county where they wanted a recount. Fortunately, Ohio law is different.

    Admittedly, they never explained that adequately in the media.

    "Did I say 500 tons of sarin and 25,000 liters of anthrax? I meant 'weapons of mass destruction-related program activities.'"

    by Mathwiz on Mon Nov 15, 2004 at 02:17:18 PM PST

  •  Wisconsin (none)
    No touchscreen systems, except in Pestigo (pop ~4500).  No punchcard.Most of the State used Optical Scan, some rural municipalities handcounted paper.

    The Elections Board is multipartisan. 4 Dem, 3GOP, 1 Lbertarian, 1 appointed by the Chief Justice, technically nonpartisan, leans D.

    There's discussion in the Badnarik camp of a limited recount.

    The iffiest numbers I'm seeing are in heavily Republican suburbs of mmilwaukee, where turnout is claimed at up to 97% of eligible voters.

    From past experience, I consider the process here clean. If anything, a full recount would up Kerry's numbers.

    Your Blunder War is showing.

    by ben masel on Tue Nov 16, 2004 at 04:05:01 AM PST

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