Thoughts on Recounts in Virginia

Three blog posts to read if you like to think ahead:

Election law blog, Will the Senate be within the margin of litigation?.

Steven F. Huefner, Ohio State, Post-Election Disputes in Virginia’s US Senate Race

Spencer Overton,, Bush v. Gore II?: Virginia Election Irregularities and Recount Procedures

At present, all the news I’ve heard of dirty tactics, voter suppression, and malfunctioning ballot machines each worked against Webb. I haven’t heard of any counterbalancing facts that would support an Allen challenge — but there could be some; much may depend on what exactly happened in the last precincts outstanding, and with absentee and provisional ballots.

What the facts are matters, and until we know them it’s premature to blame Allen (or anyone else) for failing to concede.

That said, personally I would rate the chances of an Allen concession very very low whatever the facts turn out to be: graciousness is not his style. He has easy access to the money needed to fund a challenge, and he has nothing to lose — what other future has Allen got after this debacle? Plus, if the Virginia race really becomes the fulcrum on which the entire Senate is balanced, you can be sure that the national Republican party will pull out all the stops to win in the courts. Even if Allen wanted to concede, the White House would pressure him to fight on.

Update: Here’s an interesting, somewhat contrary, perspective via Talking Points Memo:

The Republicans have backed themselves into a corner in Virginia. If you’re going to go to the mat with dirty tricks and voter suppression, your counting on staying under the rader and that once the election is over, folks will move on. If Allen contests the results of the election it changes the election from a single day event into a 3 or 4 week event, plenty of time to chase down those callerid numbers and phone bank contractors. Virginia isn’t Ohio. It doesn’t have Ken Blackwell to cover up the GOP shenanigans, and the state has already requested the FBI to look into them. The Allen campaign is going to have to make the choice of whether contesting the results is worth the chance of exposing criminal activity. Let’s hope they choose to contest. It’s our best hope of fully exposing the shenanigans of the GOP to the light of day and getting the mechanisms in place to prevent their use in the next election cycle.

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