Can Kerry swipe Florida from the Bush brothers?

A guide to the swing states.
Aug. 17 2004 3:00 PM

Florida

800,000 Cubans, 3 million old people, and my girlfriend's dad—the keys to victory in the Sunshine State.

(Continued from Page 2)

Item: These new voting machines take forever to boot up. According to Rodriguez-Taseff, they'll be powered up the night before and left running all night long (in polling spots with little security—like schools and libraries).

Item: There will be no printed receipt from the machines. Instead, the machines will just keep the vote records on their hard drives. Which of course could not possibly crash or malfunction, thereby losing hundreds and thousands of votes, with no printouts to fall back on. And of course you could not possibly hack into the machines, while they're left on all night, and screw with the voting data. Sure, there's no paper trail to stop you, but it just couldn't happen.

Advertisement

The Democrats and Republicans have come up with radically different strategies to deal with this stuff, according to Rodriguez-Taseff. The Democrats—beaten last time, but not broken—are gearing up for another recount battle. They'll be ready this time, and they're sure they can win it.

But, says Rodriguez-Taseff, the Democrats are perfectly prepared for the last war. But the Republican plan for 2004 is to avoid a recount altogether. How? By beating the recount margin. If Bush wins by more than one-fourth of a percentage point, there will be no manual recount. If he wins by more than a full percentage point, there will be no recount at all.

Of course, Republicans will try to do this through fierce campaigning and strong positions on important issues. But at the same time, low-level operatives, acting independently, are no doubt aware of the opportunities for fraud. And they are also aware that, with a big enough win, there's no going back to check the votes. (Don't get me wrong here. People on both sides are able, and likely, to do shady stuff.)

Advantage: ProbablyBush.

If forced to guess, I'd guess that Kerry wins Florida. There are so many trends in his favor, and my sunnier side is hoping that fraud and error won't play a big role. Still, I expect a brutal fight to the finish. And I fully expect the lawyers to come out on Election Day—and on the days to follow.

Correction: The article originally claimed that highway I-4 ran to St. Petersburg. In fact, it ends in Tampa. (Return  to the corrected sentence.)

TODAY IN SLATE

Foreigners

More Than Scottish Pride

Scotland’s referendum isn’t about nationalism. It’s about a system that failed, and a new generation looking to take a chance on itself. 

What Charles Barkley Gets Wrong About Corporal Punishment and Black Culture

Why Greenland’s “Dark Snow” Should Worry You

Three Talented Actresses in Three Terrible New Shows

The Human Need to Find Connections in Everything

It’s the source of creativity and delusions. It can harm us more than it helps us.

Jurisprudence

Happy Constitution Day!

Too bad it’s almost certainly unconstitutional.

Is It Worth Paying Full Price for the iPhone 6 to Keep Your Unlimited Data Plan? We Crunch the Numbers.

My Father Was James Brown. I Watched Him Beat My Mother. Then I Married Someone Like Him.

  News & Politics
Weigel
Sept. 17 2014 12:02 PM Here It Is: The Flimsiest Campaign Attack Ad of 2014, Which Won't Stop Running
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 17 2014 12:13 PM “For a While Liquidity Led to Stupidity”
  Life
The Eye
Sept. 17 2014 12:19 PM Early Cancer Hospitals Were Modeled on French Castles, Served Champagne
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 15 2014 3:31 PM My Year As an Abortion Doula
  Slate Plus
Slate Fare
Sept. 17 2014 9:37 AM Is Slate Too Liberal?  A members-only open thread.
  Arts
Behold
Sept. 17 2014 11:06 AM Inside the Exclusive World of Members-Only Clubs
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 17 2014 11:14 AM How Does That Geometry Problem Make You Feel? Computer tutors that can read students’ emotions.
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 17 2014 11:18 AM A Bridge Across the Sky
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 15 2014 8:41 PM You’re Cut, Adrian Peterson Why fantasy football owners should release the Minnesota Vikings star.