Tuesday, December 5, 2006

Human v. Machine

If a recount is granted, the lawyers will go to battle on how to do it. One method (manual) could favor Republicans, the other (machine) could help Democrats.

There's nothing in state or county statutes that says how a recount should be done. A Court of Common Pleas judge will hear their arguments and decide.

The Inquirer, via the Count, reported this morning on the teenytiny vote margin and the role played by optical scan machines in the soap opera.

"I would say this is very close to a 50-50 shot that this will be reversed," said Stephen Ansolabehere, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology political science professor and member of the CalTech/MIT Voting Technology Project.

You can read the whole story here. http://www.philly.com/mld/inquirer/16164903.htm

1 comment:

Jim said...

I fail to see how a manual recount favors one party over another, unless you guess that one party's voters were more sloppy than the other's in terms of how they marked the optical scan ballots. If voters fill in the spaces correctly, the machine almost always gets it right. Where votes might be uncovered is where a voter marked the ballot too lightly or marked outside the active area being scanned. Can we presume more Republican voters did this?

What a manual recount will be is slow and contentious, which is undoubtedly part of the Republican plan. If McIlvaine Smith is not seated by the time the legislature convenes, Perzel and his Republicans stand a better chance of holding onto power.

Meanwhile, we will be treated to a scene reminiscent of Florida's hanging chads, where teams of election officials and party representatives argue ballot by ballot over whether a mark is dark enough to count or how close to the scanned oval is close enough. Do you think they'll use rulers or calipers?

This might be great for The Count, as it will be fodder for the blog, but it won't be so great for the rest of us.