Why not a tie-breaking mechanism?
Jeffrey T. Renz
jeff at SELWAY.UMT.EDU
Wed Nov 15 12:48:48 PST 2000
This was the subject of my post on Monday. The method of selecting
electors is left to the state legislatures, who are free to establish
rules governing ties. I think that Prof. Greisel is correct to note
that rules governing ties need to contemplate statistical ties--those
votes that are so close that inherent measurement error means that each
consecutive recount could result in a change in the victor. These rules
could split the electoral vote in the event of a tie, although that
raises a question of whether one-half of a vote could be cast in a state
that has an odd number of electors. There is also the problem of
defining a statistical tie. If we define the tie at any percentage of
the electorate, then do we still end up in a recount dispute to
determine whether in fact the count places the vote within or without
the "tie range."
If there are no tie-breaking rules, it's because we haven't needed
them---until now. Of course, we can resort to the time-honored method
of avoiding statistical ties -- stuffing ballot boxes.
Griesel, Curtis W. wrote:
> No matter how many times we re-count ballots, the result will be
> statistically the same, Gore and Bush are in a tie, with neither
> winning more than 50% of the vote. Granted, the electoral vote will
> skewed to one side, but most people understand that what we have here
> is a
> Why doesn't the U.S. have a tie-breaking mechanism for such cases? In
> countries, if no candidate receives more than 50% percent of the vote,
> is an automatic run-off election between the two top vote getters.
> that be a logical thing for the U.S. to have as well?
> Wouldn't having run-offs until one candidate gets 51% be more fair and
> simple than endless court battles? There are always some voting
> irregularities, but when one candidate demonstrates a clear majority,
> people are willing to accept the minor irregularities that are
> inherent in
> balloting. The problem we have now is not that irregularities exist,
> it is
> that there is no clear majority decision.
> We have fair ways to resolve ties in sporting tournaments -- why don't
> have a tie-breaking mechanism for elections?
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