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Why We Might Not Have a Presidential Winner on Election Night
National Journal ^ | 10/26/2012 | Alex Roarty

Posted on 10/26/2012 7:35:34 AM PDT by SeekAndFind

Two presidential campaigns are underway: One to win on Election Day, the other to win after it.

President Obama and Mitt Romney are each preparing for recounts, confusion over voter-eligibility rules, and even the chance of a tie in the Electoral College. A close election, as this one will almost certainly be, means all three scenarios are on the table.

In 2000, it took until Dec. 12 for lawyers and courts to settle on a White House winner. Here are three ways this year’s presidential battle could last long past Nov. 6:

RECOUNTS

Florida’s infamous 2000 presidential recount is the first thing that comes to mind when talk turns to a possible recount. And election experts in the Sunshine State want people to know things have changed in the last 12 years.

The state’s recount rules are now far more clear and explicit, and less vulnerable to charges of political maneuvering. Instead of recounting individual counties, recounts are now conducted statewide in cases of a winner beating an opponent by half of a percentage point or less. The trigger is automatic.

All voting booths also now use paper ballots, eliminating the possibility of the infamous “hanging chad” that plagued the contest between George W. Bush and Al Gore.

“We’ve got 12 years of successful elections under our belt in Florida since we were in the spotlight,” said Stephen Rosenthal, Obama’s general counsel in the state.

This time around, observers looking for a drawn-out election should focus on the Buckeye State. Ohio orders a recount if the margin between the top two candidates is within one-fourth of a percentage point of the total votes cast.

But such a recount would begin only after the election results are certified in each individual county — and the deadline for that is 21 days after Nov. 6. The secretary of state would then need to certify the results, which a spokesman indicated would take a few additional days. In other words, it could take until December before a recount in Ohio even begins.

Candidates can also request a recount in Ohio, either for the entire state or individual precincts.

PROVISIONAL BALLOTS

Though Republicans pushed to tighten voting requirements in an array of states the last two years, few of their proposals passed or survived legal challenges. That’s left the voting landscape largely unchanged from four years ago.

“The strict voter I.D. laws that we were most concerned about aren’t going to be in effect in any swing state,” said Lawrence Norden, deputy director of the Democracy Program at the liberal-leaning Brennan Center for Justice.

A court ruled that Pennsylvania’s strict new voter-ID law can’t take effect until after the election, for instance. Restrictions on groups that register voters in Florida were reversed, and Colorado’s secretary of state largely backed off a plan to force suspected noncitizens to provide proof of eligibility.

But several battlegrounds are notable exceptions. Virginia now requires voters to provide some kind of proof of identification, whether a driver’s license or utility bill. That’s a broader range of acceptable forms than most proposed voter-ID laws, but voters could still show up at the polls without any identification on hand. In that case, they’ll have to cast a provisional ballot and prove their identity later — a headache if officials are trying to determine the winner of a close race in their state.

“That’s the nightmare,” Norden said. “That’s definitely the nightmare.”

The most likely scene of a protracted mess, however, is the premier battleground of Ohio. Secretary of State Jon Husted sent an application for an absentee ballot to every eligible Ohio voter, the first time that’s been done in the Buckeye State. So far, 1.4 million people have applied for absentee ballots and 620,000 absentee votes have been cast, a Husted spokesman said on Thursday.

Here’s the catch: If a voter applies for an absentee ballot, disregards it, and shows up to vote on Election Day, he or she can cast only a provisional ballot. And those votes can’t be counted until 11 days after Nov. 6.

ELECTORAL-COLLEGE TIE

A tie in the Electoral College is extremely unlikely — analyst Nate Silver of The New York Times estimates the chance the race could end up tied 269-269 is less than 1 percent — but the razor-thin margins in polls of many swing states have made the scenario possible. In such a case, the next Congress, not voters, would pick the country’s president and vice president when it convenes in January.

Each chamber would be responsible for one-half of the ticket: The House would select the president, while the Senate would choose the vice president. But how the ballots will be cast in each chamber differs.

In the Senate, each senator receives one vote to select the vice president. But in the House, each state delegation receives one vote, so which party controls the majority of the chamber isn't quite as predictive as you might think.

That said, Romney would still be the favorite. The GOP is favored to retain its majority, and it controls delegations in a wide array of small, rural states like Nebraska and Kansas, which will cast as the same single vote as large states such as California and New York. And thanks in part to controlling redistricting in most states after the 2010 midterm wave, Republicans outnumber Democrats even in delegations from blue states like Pennsylvania.

In the Senate, Democrats have better-than-even odds of keeping their majority. That raises the possibility that the country could have a president and vice president from different parties.

Most plausible scenarios for an Electoral College tie include Romney winning Nevada. So if the Silver State turns red on Election Day, the unlikely might suddenly become possible.



TOPICS: Culture/Society; Government; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: electoralcollege; obama; romney

1 posted on 10/26/2012 7:35:41 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
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To: SeekAndFind

So the same media that claimed the race over 2 months ago, is now hanging on to hope that Obama can keep it close with 11 days to go.

LOL!


2 posted on 10/26/2012 7:38:09 AM PDT by nhwingut (Single Issue Voter: Obama Must Go!)
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To: SeekAndFind
A close election, as this one will almost certainly be

I beg to differ. A close election is when the polls seem contradictory with leads flipping back and forth right up until election day. When the polls almost universally show the same candidate in the lead and gaining, that my friends is the sign of a landslide.

3 posted on 10/26/2012 7:39:51 AM PDT by ElkGroveDan (My tagline is in the shop.)
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To: SeekAndFind

Garbage. It’s not going to be a deadlock election this year. Anybody who bothers to think critically can see that.

People are angry, and will make their voices heard.


4 posted on 10/26/2012 7:40:16 AM PDT by Shadow44
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To: SeekAndFind

So let’s hope and pray that it’s a large enough margin of victory on election day, so that recounts in any states won’t change the outcome.


5 posted on 10/26/2012 7:40:35 AM PDT by Dilbert San Diego ('s)
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We don't need to win outright.
We just need it to be close enough to manipulate the recount.
If that doesn't work, we'll go to one of our judges.

6 posted on 10/26/2012 7:43:57 AM PDT by Baynative
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To: SeekAndFind
I believe the election will be a Romney blowout. This feeling was greatly reinforced yesterday when Obama released this super-weird campaign ad.

Nonetheless, as the old saying goes, if the polls say you're a million votes ahead, campaign as though you're a million votes behind.

7 posted on 10/26/2012 7:44:05 AM PDT by Fiji Hill (Deo Vindice!)
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To: Dilbert San Diego

Hope and prayer are good things, but we don’t need to depend on them this time around.

Obama is going to be shown the door. We, the People, are fed up.


8 posted on 10/26/2012 7:45:57 AM PDT by Walrus (Restoring America starts today! Let's roll!)
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To: SeekAndFind

They should just retitle this article “Grasping at Straws”


9 posted on 10/26/2012 7:50:54 AM PDT by commish (After Four Years of Obama, America needs a little R & R.)
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To: SeekAndFind

Regardless...

Every magazine in the house will be loaded.


10 posted on 10/26/2012 7:54:55 AM PDT by MrB (The difference between a Humanist and a Satanist - the latter admits whom he's working for)
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To: SeekAndFind

Ignore the polls, watch the campaigns. The media polls are designed to project a “horse race” image to keep readership/viewership hooked. The camapigns’ internal polling is much, much more reliable and can be seen in the campaigns’ actions and attitudes.

By that measure, this is going to be an elephant performing a grade-A donkey stomping.


11 posted on 10/26/2012 7:55:37 AM PDT by kevkrom (If a wise man has an argument with a foolish man, the fool only rages or laughs...)
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To: Dilbert San Diego

Our biggest mistake would be to assume our opposition is as ethical as we are. If it seems they are giving up, it means they are going underground and mucking up the system.


12 posted on 10/26/2012 7:58:21 AM PDT by Dr. Pritchett
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To: SeekAndFind

I find myself wanting to ignore any report that quotes Nate Silver as an expert vs. a left wing NYT Fantasy Land hack who feeds his readers the sugar and empty carbs they so crave for their very existence.


13 posted on 10/26/2012 8:00:04 AM PDT by The Hound Passer
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To: Shadow44
It’s not going to be a deadlock election this year. Anybody who bothers to think critically can see that.

I just cannot wait to see the stunned looks on the faces of those such as Rachel Madcow, Chrissy Matthews, Lawrence O'Donnell and especially Mika Brezinski. It will be high comedy on election night.

I hope to see faces that I haven't seen since the Red Sox spanked the Yankees 4 straight in 2004. The face of someone who is gobsmacked and not used to being denied. Ahhhh...Schadenfreude.

14 posted on 10/26/2012 8:00:12 AM PDT by Bloody Sam Roberts ("The heart of the wise inclines to the right, but the heart of the fool to the left." Ecclesiastes 1)
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To: Shadow44; ElkGroveDan

Spot on - landslide. This won’t be tied up in court because it won’t even be close.

I can not wait for this to be over.


15 posted on 10/26/2012 8:02:27 AM PDT by warsaw44
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To: SeekAndFind

Yeah, remember 8 weeks ago when the race was “over” and Obamugabe had it in the bag?


16 posted on 10/26/2012 8:09:57 AM PDT by SoFloFreeper
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To: SeekAndFind
...they’ll have to cast a provisional ballot and prove their identity later — a headache if officials are trying to determine the winner of a close race in their state.
“That’s the nightmare,” Norden said. “That’s definitely the nightmare.”

I don't accept that for a minute. Dems see this as their opening, an opportunity to stuff the ballot box.

Secretary of State Jon Husted sent an application for an absentee ballot to every eligible Ohio voter...
Here’s the catch: If a voter applies for an absentee ballot, disregards it, and shows up to vote on Election Day, he or she can cast only a provisional ballot. And those votes can’t be counted until 11 days after Nov. 6.

Interesting way to muddle the results enough to fudge the numbers in favor of your party's candidate! Why would they send an absentee ballot application to every registered voter without a request first? What did that cost the state?

Dems have taught me to be suspicious of anything and everything the government does.....

17 posted on 10/26/2012 8:10:54 AM PDT by jeffc (The U.S. media are our enemy)
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To: SeekAndFind; All

18 posted on 10/26/2012 8:14:30 AM PDT by patriot08 (TEXAS GAL- born and bred and proud of it!)
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To: SeekAndFind

FU Al Gore


19 posted on 10/26/2012 8:16:22 AM PDT by hattend (Firearms and ammunition...the only growing industries under the Obama regime.)
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To: warsaw44

And if the MSM doesn’t actually want “civil unrest”,
they will not try to keep the “horserace” aspect of this election alive and will not make the landslide a surprise.


20 posted on 10/26/2012 8:17:53 AM PDT by MrB (The difference between a Humanist and a Satanist - the latter admits whom he's working for)
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To: The Hound Passer

Nate Silver correctly predicted 49 of 50 states’ numbers accurately in 2008 — a record unmatched by any other polling outfit.

Why would he jeopardize his lucrative livelihood by putting out false polls this time around?


21 posted on 10/26/2012 8:31:55 AM PDT by Blue Ink
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To: SeekAndFind

How many f’n articles have been put out by the LSM wish-casting an EV tie. Hey libmedia, it’s not going to happen O.K!


22 posted on 10/26/2012 8:46:18 AM PDT by princeofdarkness ( Nobama. No more. No way. November 2012.)
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To: MrB
And if the MSM doesn’t actually want “civil unrest”,

What, you kidding? "If it bleeds, it leads".

THe MSM will be fanning the flames if it's remotely possible.

23 posted on 10/26/2012 8:48:56 AM PDT by hattend (Firearms and ammunition...the only growing industries under the Obama regime.)
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To: Blue Ink

“Why would he jeopardize his lucrative livelihood by putting out false polls this time around?”

Why not? It didn’t stop Zogby after his accurate results of 1996. When you let your bias affect your polling methods it hurts your reputation eventually. Plus Silver’s results were by getting inside info from the Obama campaign pollsters.


24 posted on 10/26/2012 8:52:01 AM PDT by princeofdarkness ( Nobama. No more. No way. November 2012.)
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To: Blue Ink

Nate Silver is the Dick Morris of the Left. A lot of pollsters are right ONCE, just like a broken clock is right twice a day. Recall Zogby in 2004 and then never again.

I don’t think Nate Silver is intentionally putting up false data, he’s just interpreting it wrong because reality of the tighter race not what he wants to believe...same as Dick Morris wants to believe Romney is going to take PA.


25 posted on 10/26/2012 12:58:17 PM PDT by The Hound Passer
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