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November 03, 2004

Let's do the math

Bush has won Ohio by about 136,000 votes with 100% of precincts reporting. Kerry wants to wait until the provisional ballots and absentees are counted. Here is what Kerry will have to win out of these remaining ballots to make up the 136,000 vote deficit.

The way to figure it out is:

(A) Take the number of valid provisional ballots (i.e., not the total number but the total number reduced by the number of those determined to be invalid) and add it to the number of valid absentee ballots.

(B) Subtract 136,000 from (A).

(C) Divide (B) by 2.

(D) Subtract (C) from (A). This is the number of votes Kerry needs to win.

(E) Divide (D) by (A) and multiply by 100. This is the percentage of votes Kerry needs to win.

So if these are the numbers of valid provisional and absentee ballots, the numbers in parentheses following them are the percentages of the vote Kerry needs to win Ohio:

150,000 (95.3%)
175,000 (88.9%)
200,000 (83.0%)
225,000 (79.8%)
250,000 (77.2%)

We have a name for a candidate in this position: LOSER!

UPDATE (11/3): According to Jeff Goldstein, the "militants" at Fallujah are talking about this same math.

Overheard in a Fallujah "militant" stronghold, November 3

First Militant: “But what about the provisional vote? Can’t the tall infidel still wrest Ohio from the cowboy monkey?”

Second Militant: “Alas, my brother, I fear the calculus redounds against him. Which reminds me: where did we put those Kevlar head scarves, do you remember...?"*

And Kerry agrees.

Kerry aides originally believed there might be enough provisional ballots in Ohio -- ballots cast by voters not on the official registration rolls -- to win that state. After overnight analysis and a series of early morning meetings, Kerry and his advisers realized that the estimated 150,000 provisional ballots were not enough to overcome Bush's current margin of 136,000 votes in Ohio, even if he were to win the lion's share of them.