Minnesota Senate Race

Ken AshfordElection 2008Leave a Comment

It's hard to believe, but with hundreds of votes being cast, the difference between the two candidates (Al Franken, Democrat and Norm Coleman, Republican) is — well, maybe a couple dozen votes at best.  It's that close on recount.

And of course, given human error in counting and recounting, we may never know who truly won.  Each time you count, you're going to get a different number.  As explained in today's NYT:

This is not the state’s fault. In fact, Minnesota’s election laws, procedures and equipment are among the best in the country. The problem is that a voting system that is based on physically recounting chits of paper is inherently error-prone, and in a close election like this, the errors are too large for the process to determine a winner. Even though, at the end of the recount, it will seem as if one candidate has won by a hair, the outcome will really be a statistical tie.

And if it is a statistical tie, the op-ed explains, Minnesota law has a solution:

Drawing straws. 

Can you believe that?  That's a hell of a way to become a Senator.

But that's a hell of a way to not becoming a Senator, too.

And when you consider the slim Democratic majority in the Senate, the Minnesota senate election could have profound impact on many bills. 

In other words, the future of our country could, in many ways, depend on the drawing of straws.