Election Nightmare Scenarios: What Could Happen on Nov. 7?

The neck-and-neck 2012 race for the White House is unharnessing a stable-full of nightmares.

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Charlie Neibergall / AP

Cutouts of President Barack Obama and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney sit behind an AARP display before the candidates' final debate, held at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Fla., on Oct. 22, 2012

For those old enough to have covered the 2000 election, close presidential races trigger flashbacks of late-night interviews with lawyers at the Florida Division of Elections and close readings of the 12th Amendment. The neck-and-neck 2012 race for the White House is unharnessing a stableful of nightmares.

First, Nate Silver estimates the possibility of a decisive battleground state going to a recount at 10%. Most of the states that could tip the election have mandatory recounts if the winner’s margin is slim (typically, 0.5% or less). Recounts tend not to change a large percentage of the votes cast and counted, but as Florida showed, they can move some. Of the nine likely battleground states that could tip the election, Silver rates Ohio as far and away the most important: he gives it a 50% chance of making the critical difference on Election Day. There is good and bad news on that front.

Despite recent left-wing conspiracies suggesting the GOP could easily steal the vote there, Ohio is among the most reliable in the case of a recount, according to a recent study by Common Cause, Rutgers School of Law and the Verified Voting Foundation. In all of its counties, Ohio has paper records for all votes, including for machines that tally votes electronically. The paper records can be inspected by voters to ensure their votes have been accurately cast and can be audited after the fact to provide a backup to the electronic tally. That means any recount in Ohio should be free of the mess that engulfed Florida with its hard-to-read butterfly ballots in 2000.

The bad news is that Ohio may face a counting problem, not a recounting problem. As USA Today reported Thursday, in an effort to make voting easier, Ohio sent absentee ballots to 1.43 million voters who requested them; 800,000 people who asked for those ballots have received them but not yet completed them. Any one of those 800,000 who decides to vote in person on Election Day instead will be given a provisional ballot to ensure they are not voting twice — once by absentee ballot and again at the polls. That means potentially tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of ballots will be provisional, which under Ohio state law won’t be counted until Nov. 17 at the earliest. Four years ago Ohio had 207,000 provisional ballots. It’s not hard to see the additional provisional ballots from the 800,000 would-be absentee voters adding up to enough votes to make a difference this time around.

Then there’s the possibility of a tie. This one is a favorite of legal scholars and historians, because it revivifies arcane 18th century constitutional debates and 19th century legal tweaks to the electoral process and turns them loose on the November vote. I go over the details of what happens in the event of a tie in this week’s magazine. The short version is that if both men get fewer than 270 Electoral College votes, including the case of a 269-269 tie, all hell breaks loose.

First there will be an attempt to find and sway electors who might be willing to change their votes, since any one elector’s vote could determine the winner. A small-d democrat, for example, might feel it was his duty to vote for the winner of the popular vote even if he had originally committed to the opponent. It’s also possible that a state legislature could try to replace one or several “controversial” electors: the Florida legislature briefly toyed with the idea in 2000, and states are explicitly allowed to do so until Dec. 11. If no candidate has the support of 270 electors when the college meets and casts votes Dec. 17, the decision goes to the newly elected House, which follows a 225-year-old formula for picking the next President. In a meeting on Jan. 6, each state gets one vote, determined by a vote of the members of its delegation, and a majority of states (26) is required. The House stays in session until a winner is picked.

As things stand, such a vote would likely go to Romney, though it’s pretty hard to game out, since the vote of a state with evenly divided delegations doesn’t count. (New Hampshire could have one D and one R in the new House, for example.) If it must go this way, there is one consolation: under the Constitution, the House would pick the President, but the Senate, which looks likely to stay Democratic, would select the Vice President. That would mean a Romney-Biden White House, which would be worth the price of admission.

448 comments
AbrahamYeshuratnam
AbrahamYeshuratnam

Developments after the first week of October show that election 2000 will not be replayed in 2012. Whatever the polls may say -- real or manipulated --there has been a mass upsurge in favor of Romney. This is evidenced by the large crowds that throng Romney's meetings. All indications are that Romney will sweep the polls with enough popular and electoral college votes. 

Alexander
Alexander

I just got to thinking again about how, earlier in 2012, five former classmates described the 1965 episode wherein Romney, then a high school senior, took the lead in holding down a younger student while cutting his long, bleached-blond hair with scissors. 

What is bothersome about his not owning up to his  traumatization of that child any further than saying that  he ''may have participated in some high school "hijinks and pranks" that went too far? ''  

 I know that Ifhad done something like that, it would be indelibly etched into my brain forever as one of the worst things I had ever done, and it would be a life goal of mine to search for that young man until I found him to personally apologize.  For Mitt to claim not to remember the incident says a lot about his moral turpitude (unless it instead says that he participated in so many similar acts that none of them stands out individually).

Just as he discarded a name (that "may or may not have been referred to as Willy") given him by his parents, and as he made statements while acting as a missionary that he would never own up to now that God has given his religious leaders the 1978 revelation that it has become time to allow blacks into their priesthood "even if they are [according to doctrine] descended from Cain" (oops, I'm not allowed to talk about that... it's not politically correct to discuss religion in a political context),  the pattern of his actions over his lifetime has me worried over the image he would present to the world of the trustworthiness of our countrymen (and countrywomen) should he be allowed to become president.  

Nearly every time I hear Mitt speak in the present, or read about his past , the phrase "XXXXX speaks with forked tongue" comes to mind. (Just as a point of clarity,  that phrase did not originate with Native Americans, as popular culture would have us believe).

Alexander
Alexander

Folks,  if you want to share a picture or video,  please just post a link to it!  Seeing a whole series of videos in the midst of a conversation is really D I S R U P T I V E ! ! !

How would you feel if I posted a dozen videos that shoved YOUR videos off the page? You wouldn't right?

If you just post links, those who want to watch the videos will follow the links.  Those who don't will just skip past them, as they do now, but without having to click "See more Comments" just to see what someone else posted two minutes ago!

ahandout
ahandout

Why is Obama lying?  What is he hiding? 

We already knew the CIA station chief in Libya had reported toWashington within 24 hours of the deadly attack that there was evidenceit was carried out by militants, not a spontaneous mob upset about anAmerican-made video ridiculing Islam's Prophet Muhammad.

How could emails be sent to the White House Situation Room in realtime describing a terrorist attack on sovereign U.S. territory in whichfour Americans were killed as it happened, and as a drone flew overheadrecording the truth of the carnage, and the president and secretary ofstate insist that it was all about a video and there was no evidence tothe contrary?

Read More At IBD: http://news.investors.com/ibd-editorials/102412-630640-obama-knew-benghazi-linked-to-al-qaida.htm#ixzz2AeggTKHF

ahandout
ahandout

 US ‘too slow’ to act as drone’s cam captured Libya horror

We had drones watching the attack, feeding the video to the White House.  Obama let them die. 

The Pentagon said it moved a team of special operators from Central Europe to Sigonella, Italy — about an hour flight from Libya — but gave no other details.

Fighter jets and Specter AC-130 gunships — which could have been used to help disperse the bloodthirsty mob — were also stationed at three nearby bases, sources told the network.

http://www.nypost.com/p/news/international/us_watched_as_terror_raged_AypAEEA9OK23rPf7Z5BHWO

ahandout
ahandout

White House Watched Benghazi Attacked And Didn't Respond

Just one hour after the seven-hour-long terrorist attacks upon theU.S. consulate in Benghazi began, our commander-in-chief, vicepresident, secretary of defense and their national security teamgathered together in the Oval Office listening to phone calls fromAmerican defenders desperately under siege and watching real-time videoof developments from a drone circling over the site.  Yet they sent nomilitary aid that might have intervened in time to save lives.Why?

 http://www.forbes.com/sites/larrybell/2012/10/24/breaking-news-white-house-watched-benghazi-attacked-and-didnt-respond/

ezduzit757
ezduzit757

What bugged me was that neither Mitt, nor any of his 5 sons served in the military.  You'd think 1 out of 6 might have contributed since I think they were all of age during a war.  Mitt protested FOR the draft.  Yup, FOR the draft that he himself avoided.  He protested, carrying a picket sign and everything in support of sending other young men his own age off to die in Vietnam while he himself would go off to spend the war safe in France.  Hearing about that really got my blood boiling.

AlexFeltham
AlexFeltham

My nightmare scenario has already happened!

Russell Crowe has come out of the closet to say Obama is "trhe light"

Can't we right wingers have just one actor to respect?

Read "Et Tu Brute" at:

http://john-moloney.blogspot.com/

Glades2
Glades2

It's already happening - it's called Hurricane Sandy...

carlyt
carlyt

The key is to make sure the right wing nuts don't dissuade any voter from voting by their intimidation tactics and other BS.

drldeboer
drldeboer

Actually Obama-Ryan would be the more interesting House pairing.

justin
justin

After reading about the foundations of Romney's belief system, I'm a bit confused.  The more I read, the more questions I have. In 1978 Romney's church announced a revelation from God that people of color could now become priests.  Did Romney, as a person of high position within the LDS church, have anything to do with that revelation?   Did this revelation accompany a pronouncement that black skin was no longer to be considered the mark of Cain?  Are LDS members ever permitted to tell God what revelations they think he should reveal?

There is discussion all over the net about the LDS's position on "the mark of Cain".   But I have failed to find any mention of whether Romney ascribed to such beliefs.  

Was that something Romney believed at all?  If not,  how did he balance his beliefs with his missionary duties?  As a missionary, did Romney have the ability to decide for himself which Church doctrines he could believe inand which he could not?

Did Romney ever believe that black skin was the mark of Cain?  Did LDS members stop professing that belief  at the time of the 1978 revelation?  If they stopped professing it, and Romney previously believed it, did a lifetime of such belief make it difficult for him to change his views to coincide with the new Church beliefs?

Normally, I would say that a person's religious beliefs are a private matter,  but if Romney's church harbors beliefs that run counter to the law of the land,  I think we need to be assured that the law of the land will the trump card if or when the two conflict.

What scares me most is that, although a very intelligent man,  Romney may not have been able to rid himself of parts of a lifelong of indoctrination.  This is true for members of just about every religion on earth.  One can usually take the passage of time into account when interpreting the remarks of "prophets".  LDS is so new, however that less less accuracy of it' witing is questioned and less interpretation is performed.

And it becomes a quandary when an eager to learn young mind can find in the "Journal of Discourses" (sort of the LDS chuech's equivalent to the Talmud),  writings such as this text from a sermon given by Brigham Young on March 8, 1863, where he stated,

"Shall I tell you the law of God in regard to the African race? If the white man who belongs to the chosen seed mixes his blood with the seed of Cain, the penalty, under the law of God, is death on the spot. This will always be so" (Journal of Discourses, 10:110).

I think it is important, to try to learn about the reading materials Mitt Romney was raised with before considering casting your ballot in his favor.  It is not easy, however.  Race issues are just the tip of the iceberg.   

I'm still trying to wrap my head around the Mormon God maintaining a residence on a planet near a star called Kolob (not Kobol . . . that is in the BSG world, not the LDS world, not where he lives with his many heavenly wives, and that together they are producing millions upon millions of spirit children.who will one day inhabit human bodies on Earth (some of whom will ascend to become Gods Themselves )

stepar
stepar

What could go wrong is the the same ID10Ts that gave Shrub 4 more years to drive the US deep into the ditch in 2004 may well grab the wheel and force us back toward it with Romneyhood.

The really bad news is that is is difficult to emigrate to Canada.

justin
justin

@noinhibitionsnow I know it sounds like he's talking about "revivisection",   a warning sign in children in at high risk of becoming serial psychopathic killers,  but vivisection also refers to "Ruthlessly sharp and detailed criticism or analysis:", as in "the vivisection of America's seamy underbelly". In this context, I think the author means repetition of such analysis through successive approximation until a singularity is reached.  :)

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@AbrahamYeshuratnam And yet even the Republicans know that Romney is toast as can be seen by Christie's glowing endorsements of Obama's FEMA response to the storm in NJ.

MaryMRoe
MaryMRoe

@Alexander So what you are saying is I should vote for the guy who used the name Barry in school. Who, according to several of his former classmates, sold dope.  Attended a church whose Minister cursed the country and said our chickens had come home to roost.

It's about the economy and not what someone did in high school.

justin
justin

@Alexander 

While I am no fan of Romney, I don't believe that could have happened. If it had, and I was that kid's father, you can bet that Romney would have a felony assault record.  Which would mean that he would never be able to run for president!

justin
justin

@Alexander 

How do we know those "classmates" are telling the truth?  Is there an arrest record that can be used to verify their allegations?

ScottSanders
ScottSanders

@ahandout G.W. Bush2001- 9-11 attacks kill 29922002- Karachi, Pakistan US consulate destroyed by bomb kills 122003- Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, bomb kills 8 Americans at US housing compound.2004- Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, US consulate stormed by terrorists killing 52005- Jordan, Suicide bombers hit 3 US hotels killing 572008- Yemen, car bomb destroys US embassy killing 16Obama2009-2012- Benghazi- militants armed with RPGs attack US consulate killing 4Obama is doing a pretty good job.

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@ahandout  Because that was the initial intelligence coming from the CIA. Why are you lying? Why are you hiding? Why no mention of Darrel Issa who deliberately and maliciously outed US intelligence assets in Libya on the internet attempting to score political points?

Alexander
Alexander

@ahandout 

Having seen the attributes of the New York Post article that you used as a citation for a previous post,  I'm going to wait until morning when I'm feeling awake enough to take the time to fairly check it's veracity, but in the mean time,  I do ask you to bear in mind that in today's environment of nearly instantaneous communication,   mobs can form at geographically disparate locations,  behaving as though they share the kind of "hive mind", the actions of which which can easily be mistaken for premeditation or conspiracy. (Actually one way of thinking about it that premeditation of conspiracy or premeditation really is present, forming at what some might consider to be relativistic speeds)

BTW if you can find the time, do read John Brunner's "Stand On Zanzibar".

noinhibitionsnow
noinhibitionsnow

@ahandout First, nobody had a clear picture of what was happening at the time, and in reality, it will probably be weeks or months until we know the details with any confidence.

I can just see the headlines if American gunships started firing into a crowd in Benghazi...

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@ahandout That would be because the team of commandos dispatched from Europe did not arrive at the Sigonella Airbase until hours after the attacks were over. The jets and gunships would only have endangered more American lives. We have gone over this multiple times and yet you keep posting the same stuff over and over again like the pathetic troll that you are.

Alexander
Alexander

@ahandout 

I followed your "source".  That was a New York Post article, which cites a "retired" CIA official speaking authoritatively as though he were there, which he was not, stated  "Abu Khattala spoke to a New York Times reporter" rather than "A New York Times reporter stated that Abu Khattala hd told him...".  cites Romney s a source, and mostly uses the reporting technique known as "hearsay", a hallmark of "Yellow Journalism".  If the assertions of that article were to be introduced as evidence in a courtroom trial, most of them would be held inadmissable by a judge responding to "hearsay" objections.

When I lived in New York City 40-plus years ago, the New York Post, although having a slightly too liberal  bent for some people's tastes, was considered a reputable newspaper.  (What has happened to it during that time?)

If you are going to cite sources, please cite ones that themselves use reliable sources.  Referencing hearsay is no better than using it directly.

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@ahandout Why must you keep lying. There was no live feed. And the seven hour attack was actually two attacks in two different places separated by hours.

Danyz
Danyz

"The light..." A bit overstated, but compared to a possible neocon dominated Romney Administration, Obama would blaze like the sun.

windadct
windadct

@Glades2 I was just thinking the same thing - if the Fed Gov manages this well - he wins, if not he looses - I really think this will decide the election.  After all of the hot air - mother nature will make the call.

Here in PA - it would seem that the the Fed could should already be declaring state of emergency, and working to bring in electrical crews from other parts of the nation and not waiting for each regional utility to make specific requests.  Mobilize early - and be prepared.  

ahandout
ahandout

@stepar  Well, we can always do a swap with Mexico for you.

Alexander
Alexander

Oops.  I left out of the reply I just posted the links that follow:

While I don't expect you to bother reading them, I think that if you do,  you will gain some unexpected insight into Romney's spiritual training.

 The first two links are to images of  consecutive pages from the LDS Journal of  Discourses (sort of like a Mormon equivalent to the Talmud), digitized by the Brigham Young University library.  The relevant portion begins with the last paragraph on the first of the two pages.

 The third link is to an old LDS training guide for Sunday School teachers, that almost certainly has been subsequently updated to be more subtle (and thus suitable) for the current century.

 http://contentdm.lib.byu.edu/utils/getfile/collection/JournalOfDiscourses3/id/2854/filename/100504_171312_dp290_Va_M230_J82_v07.pdf

 http://contentdm.lib.byu.edu/utils/getfile/collection/JournalOfDiscourses3/id/2853/filename/100504_171312_cp291_Va_M230_J82_v07.pdf

 http://www.utlm.org/images/curseofcain/curseofcain_p30.gif

 PLEASE DON'T SHOOT THE MESSENGER!

veronicadiall
veronicadiall

Amen Brother. Which one of us didn't act like a bit of a horses ass when we were kids?

Alexander
Alexander

@noinhibitionsnow  My apologies.  I saw the link expanded inline, and made the faulty assumption that you had inserted the expanded form yourself.  I was unaware that the time.com software was doing this.

I just checked the HTML source (using CTRL-U can show it in many, if not all, browsers) that time.com had generated from the comment you had entered.

Initially, the link you had entered appeared as it should have appeared, within the source, as the perfectly reasonable and clickable appearing: "<a href=''URL'' target=''_blank"> URL </a>" (which I hope won't get too badly rewritten by the "smart-posting" code, which is trying to retype what i am typing as i am typing it, in the apparent belief that what I am trying to type belongs only in source code)

Unfortunately when you posted the link,  the time.com software inserted a div immediately following the link, with a copy of the link within a class named fyre-comment-media fyre-comment-media-expanded, which apparently does exactly what the class name implies.  This is coupled with the  equally obviously named class fyre-comment-media-play.

Apparently the time.com programmers don't think people seeing certain links are smart enough to click on the links themselves if they wish to and must have it done for them!

ScottSanders
ScottSanders

@Alexander @ahandout Get over it!

G.W. Bush2001- 9-11 attacks kill 29922002- Karachi, Pakistan US consulate destroyed by bomb kills 122003- Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, bomb kills 8 Americans at US housing compound.2004- Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, US consulate stormed by terrorists killing 52005- Jordan, Suicide bombers hit 3 US hotels killing 572008- Yemen, car bomb destroys US embassy killing 16Obama2009-2012- Benghazi- militants armed with RPGs attack US consulate killing 4Obama is doing a pretty good job.

MaryMRoe
MaryMRoe

@windadct @Glades2 Living in a storm prone (Florida) state I can fill you in on a few things:

1.  FEMA is basically a money machine and nothing else.  They cannot act until POTUS declares a state of emergency.  They will have pre-positioned resources immediately outside the strike zone.

2.  Troops will be provided by your state National Guard.  Your governor controls them.  POTUS cannot order troops into a state without a request from the Governor.

3.  Utilities have a mutual agreement to back each other up.  Crews left Jacksonville for the North East while the storm was still off the coast of Florida. 

4.  In Florida, our Governors have always warned us to be prepared to survive on your own for at least 48 hours.

ahandout
ahandout

@windadct @Glades2 Like in Benghazi, right?  Better hope that mother nature doesn't get the equal response as terrorists from  Barrack Obama.

justin
justin

@veronicadiall I don't know which one of us did or did not act like a bit of a horses ass in high school.

I do know that I never committed felony assault. Did you?

Whereas Romney says he did not commit felony assault in the face of five witnesses,  thinks an apology makes up for traumatizing the poor kid,  and says that even if he did commit felony assault, it was just in the spirit of fun. 

I liked Clinton's denial better.  At least he didn't hurt anyone outside of his family. (And Hillary is certainly capable of "giving as good as she got")

( How's this, a couple of years from now: "No, I never nuked Pakistan. And even if I did, it was in the spirit of fun! And, if I did, I'm sorry")

justin
justin

@noinhibitionsnow I once said I'd never ever use the phrase ROFL under any circumstance.

But after watching this video, I just HAVE  to take a cue from Romney and say: R O  F  L !!

justin
justin

@ScottSanders @justin @Alexander  I wasn't saying that an assault like the one described couldn't have happened. Of course it could have happened.  But the kid's father would have called the police, resulting in Romney having a criminal record for felony assault.  And you can't run for President with a criminal record.

Besides,  Mitt Romney does not remember anything like that happening. If he had been arrested, he would remember it  (Hell, I even remember my heart skipping a beat as the red light flashed on behind my car when I got my first speeding ticket).  

Even if George Romney had used his influence to have the record expunged, Mitt Romney would remember the punishment he got from his dad.  (People rarely become bullies unless they are taught to be by parental example.  The mindset of a bully has already been set by the time a child enters elementary school)

Ergo Romney received no punishment for a felonious act.  Ergo Romney did not commit a felony. Ergo HE DIDN'T DO WHAT SOME LONG HAIRED BLOND KID SAID HE DID.  (My wife just insisted that I add "Just as he never espoused racial doctrines when he was a missionary.  He's a master of denial" . . . well, at least I'll get a good night's sleep tonight.  . . . )

And even if he did do it, the capability of being a bully can be a good character trait for a president. 

 If Romney had already been president when Bin Laden was finally tracked down,  he would have been just as capable as Obama was of taking the necessary risk of ordering that the plan to eliminate Bin Laden and dispose of the body be carried out.  (If you saw the picture of Hillary's facial expression when it happened, you would know that Bill could never have done it!)

Come to think about it, the ability to forget past acts is important for a president, too!  You don't want someone who suffers from sleep deprivation having his finger on "the button".