Monday, June 06, 2005

Margin of Mischief

Everyone understands the margin of error in a poll. Well the 2000 presidential election (and some claim the 2004 election) was won within the margin of mischief – that number of votes that result from voter registration mistakes, election errors, confusing ballots, election manipulation and fraud.

In school we learned how democracy is supposed to work. The person with the most votes wins, even if the margin of victory is only one vote. This naïve view of elections was destroyed by the presidential election of 2000.

It is vital that scientists, election officials, politicians and citizens work diligently to ensure that elections are fair, well run and accurate. When a government cannot accurately and fairly produce a tally of votes, democracy dies.

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