maule at LAW.VILLANOVA.EDU
Thu Nov 9 13:20:44 PST 2000
MSNBC is reporting that Democratic phone banks claim to have received calls from more than 10,000 voters in Palm Beach claiming to have mistakenly voted for Buchanan when they intended to vote for Gore.
What we have are 10,000 people *thinking* they voted for Buchanan or *doubting* they voted as they wished. The appropriate statistic might be this: Of all the people who, 5 minutes after leaving home, begin to doubt whether they locked the door or closed the garage door, what percentage actually failed to do so? If courts are supposed to use "statistics" that predict Buchanan's vote, then perhaps they ought to use statistics that suggest most instances of doubtful forgetfulness turn out to be false alarms.
It also makes me wonder whether some organized effort, much like the wholesale herding of people into polls at the last minute when things seem to be going the wrong way, is underneath some of these reports and it now has gotten so out of hand it has backfired. Or perhaps a mob, lemming, jump on the bandwagon, try to get on TV mentality is taking over. Or maybe there weren't 10,000 calls, and folks at the Democratic phone banks are merely exaggerating, just a little bit... it fits in well.
Professor of Law
Villanova University School of Law
Villanova PA 19085
maule at law.villanova.edu
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