Tuesday, August 12, 2008

What's missing from Swing Vote

So, I haven't yet seen the new movie, "Swing Vote" with Kevin Costner, and I'm really not all that interested. I've read enough lukewarm reviews of the movie that I'm not going to waste $10 on seeing this movie in theatres. My major problem with this movie is that it is operating under the false pretense that we, as a country, can accurately count a national election to within one vote. Anyone familiar with election administration and the counting of ballots knows how difficult it is to determine a 'true' count of any particular race. My recent experience in recounting ballots in Bernalillo County, New Mexico, suggests that it is fairly common for counts of individual precincts to differ by one or a few votes across multiple counts of ballots by voting machines and by hand. Multiply that by the untold number of individual precincts across the county, and you might have an idea of not only the improbability of this type of event occurring, but also the institutional and political crisis that would develop if it did indeed occur.

In the unlikely event a presidential election ever came down to a difference between one vote, the real story would likely be recounts upon recounts across the entire country, lawsuits, and probably general outrage over the ridiculous way we handle elections in this country. Swing Vote should have been a political horror movie, rather than the pathetic comedy it is.