The New York Times has an editorial this morning about voting irregularities. This line jumped out at me:
The wild rumors about Cuyahoga County, Ohio, where the official results appeared to include an extra 90,000 votes, were a result of its bizarrely complicated method of posting election results, which is different in even- and odd-numbered years.
I’m sorry the rules are different in even- and odd-numbered years? Jesus Christ. This isn’t a coherent electoral system. It’s that card game that Captain Kirk makes up on the gangster planet in order to distract his captors.
…Quick Google search later: Fizzbin! Here are the “rules”:
Each player gets 6 cards except the player on the dealer’s right, who gets 7.
* The second card is turned up, except on Tuesday.
* Two Jacks is 1/2 a Fizzbin.
* Three Jacks equal a Slark, which means you’re disqualified.
* Another Jack is good, otherwise you’d need a King and a duce except at night when you’d need a Queen & a 4.
* If you didn’t get 3 Jacks, if you got a King, you would get another card except when it’s dark when you’d have to give it back.
…whoops! A reader who has apparently had more coffee this morning than your humble host points out: “When did we last have a presidential election in an odd-numbered year? Seems to me the answer is ‘Never.’ That would make the different rules irrelevant…”
…though given our electoral system’s complete lack of standardization nationally different rules, different machines, etc., all at the whim of local officials I still think there’s something to the “Fizzbin” analogy…
* * *
Meanwhile, they’re still coming up with inventive approaches to the process of democracy in Florida:
Florida, the state that decided the 2000 presidential race with hanging chads and botched ballot designs, added a page to its history of electoral quirkiness this week: a city council race that was decided by a coin toss.
G. P. Sloan, 77, and Richard Flynn, 75, each received 689 votes on Nov. 2. Two recounts did not determine a winner, so the candidates and three dozen supporters gathered on Friday in the community center of this town of 4,400 residents, 25 miles west of Orlando.
“This is a very unusual occurrence in this day and age when we have such sophisticated mechanisms to vote on, such as a touch-screen computerized voter system,” Mayor Connie Fleetwood said. “We’ve come down to a coin toss.”
Later, Ms. Fleetwood said she would have preferred a special election over the flip. “I think it’s so primitive,” she said.