"A 42-vote margin, my friends, that is a tied race." So said Christine Gregoire, the Democratic candidate for Washington governor, after coming out on the losing side of that 42-vote margin last Wednesday.
She is wrong. A zero-vote margin, that is a tie. To have more than 2.8 million votes cast in a race and have the difference come down to a mere 42 votes is amazing. Statistically astounding. And, no doubt, excruciating, if you're on the wrong end of that number. But it is not a tie....
The Daily News endorsed Gregoire for governor. We still believe she was the best candidate. Almost half the voters in the state agreed with us. Almost. We now believe the state would be headed down a path of bitter partisanship that would not serve us well over the next four years if repeated counts were to turn the governorship over to Gregoire....
If the ballots in King County are recounted by hand we can expect bickering, bullying and lawsuits aplenty for Christmas. Reminiscent of the Florida presidential mess in 2000, we'll have political partisans peering over the shoulders of elections officials as determinations are made as to a voter's "intent." Should that slight pencil mark near the Gregoire oval be counted? Should that dimple go to Dino?
If Gregoire and the Democrats insist on putting us through this, we ask that Gregoire pay to have the entire state recounted. It wouldn't be a bad political strategy on her part, considering that outside King County the results probably wouldn't change much. On the other hand, if the recounting is done only in King County and she picks up the votes she needs to pull ahead, taxpayers are automatically on the hook to pay for a hand recount of the rest of the state.
But it would be better for all if Gregoire took the proper step and avoided all that. It's time for Christine Gregoire to swallow hard and congratulate Dino Rossi for his victory in an historically close race.
Update, Nov. 30: The Everett Herald agrees:
The votes have been counted and recounted. Both times, Rossi was the winner. Gregoire should take the high road and concede, rather than putting up more roadblocks to an effective transition.
And we can be glad Edward David Perrotti isn't designing airplanes:
But, as Sound Politics wisely points out:
Ask any engineer at Boeing. Dino Rossi is not the winner. It has to do with the science of quality control....
Count one, the gap was 261, in favor of Rossi. Count two the gap was shrunk to 42, in favor of Rossi....
Take the 261 and subtract the 42. This number (219) is the inherent rate of change of the error in the election. It is likely to expect that on the next count, the gap will reverse, by this same number....
A third and final hand count, controlled and with inspectors, should result in a 177-vote win for Christine Gregoire.
Do the math. This is not rocket science.
Mr. Perrotti seems to be retired, but we can thank God that it doesn't look like he continued his pursuit of a career in Aeronautical Engineering, opting instead for the ambiguous world of finance.
The theory that every recount would produce a constant increase in Gregoire's lead is interesting, but would also predict surprising results -- For example, after 38 more recounts, Gregoire would increase her lead to 8,280, and she would need only 6,268 recounts to make her victory unanimous.
Do the math. This is not rocket science. Clearly, Edward David Perrotti is no rocket scientist. Neither are the editors of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, who deemed this letter worthy of publication.