Via the evil geniuses at Crooked Timber, a link to something that I had not previously known existed:
No, seriously. It’s a little web application that lets you set your own criteria for determining elegible votes, and see who would have been counted the winner in a full, state-wide recount based on you selection.
(It is perhaps historically relevant here to mention that there never was a full, statewide recount of Florida in 2000: for tactical reasons that seem awful dumb in retrospect, the Gore campaign requested recounts in only a few select counties, and even those recounts were disrupted by organized, imported rioters. But hey, you know, water under the bridge.)
Here’s the fun part: as the CT commentator noted, if you apply the seemingly-reasonable standard of “optical ballots filled out correctly; unanimous assent by observers on recounted ballots, three corners punched out on hanging chads”, George W. Bush appears to have won Florida by…two votes. Don’t think that’s a reasonable standard? Pick your own, and have endless fun hectoring people at cocktail parties about how your standard of counting is obviously the only rational one.
In the meantime, if you yourself are a resident of Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, or any other state where the election is likely to be fully contested this year, it might be a good idea to make certain that everyone you know is registered. It would be an even better idea to wander down to your local Board of Elections and volunteer to help out come November.