Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Show me the votes: The ongoing presidential election tally in Missouri

By Michael J.W. Stickings

I've been focusing here on the still-unresolved Senate races in Minnesota and Alaska, but, lest we forget, there is still one undecided state in the presidential election: Missouri. Here's the latest:

[T]he vote count in Missouri is tightening.

Republican John McCain's statewide lead has shrunk to fewer than 5,000 votes, as various counties have recounted and revised their totals from last Tuesday's election.

Since Election Day, Obama has gained almost 1,000 votes statewide, most of it from St. Louis County.

County election officials have recovered almost 3,200 additional votes in the last few days. Most of them came from various electronic voting machines where the votes had apparently not been tallied by polling place workers during the initial collection of votes.

Missouri remains the only state where it's officially unclear which candidate carried the state. And it may take another two or three weeks before a winner is declared.

McCain's latest lead is 4,968 votes, out of more than 2.9 million cast.

Yet to be counted: an estimated 7,000 provisional ballots — most cast in Obama-leaning areas — that are just now being examined to determine which ones were cast by properly registered voters in the correct polling place.

Even after these and other votes are counted, there could still be a state-wide recount.

Does it matter how Missouri voted? Not in terms of the outcome of the election, of course, but it would be good to know the accurate count.

First, for the sake of Obama's mandate: A win is a win, and a win in Missouri would be that extra blue state in the middle of the country (great optics).

Second, for the sake of history: It's important to know the truth.

Third, for the sake of Missouri's reputation: It's the bellweather state, but it wouldn't be much of one if it voted for McCain even though Obama won.

Fourth, for me: I got every other state right. I'd like to be able to say my projections were 50 for 50 (plus DC, of course). Although, Obama may still pick up one electoral vote in Nebraska. (I don't think it's been called yet, but it looks good for Obama.) Hey, no one's perfect.

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