Politics & Policy

The Math in Alabama Doesn’t Add Up to a State-Funded Recount

From the Wednesday morning edition of the Morning Jolt:

The Math in Alabama Doesn’t Add Up to a State-Funded Recount

Roy Moore did not give a concession speech last night. He’s not convinced he lost, and seems to think a state-funded automatic recount is still a possibility. That does not seem likely, based upon the initial tally.

Secretary of State John Merrill said it’s too soon to know whether the margin of victory by Doug Jones in Alabama’s special election on Tuesday will trigger the state’s automatic recount law.

State law calls for an automatic recount in a general election if a candidate wins by not more than 0.5 percent, unless the defeated candidate submits a waiver.

Merrill said it is doubtful the outcome of the state’s U.S. Senate race will change. “It would be very unlikely for that to occur,” Merrill said late Tuesday.

Overseas ballots, provisional ballots and possibly write-in ballots will have to be counted before a final margin is determined in Jones’ narrow win over Roy Moore.

The Associated Press reported that with all 2,220 precincts reporting, Jones received 671,151 votes, 50 percent, to Moore’s 650,436, 48.4 percent.

There were 22,819 write-in votes cast.

That’s a 1.6 percent margin, with 1,344,406 votes cast; Jones’ margin over Moore was 20,715 votes.

One half of one percent under the current total would be about 6,723; as you can see, Moore’s margin is three times the amount that triggers an automatic recount.

The state does not count write-in ballots that vote for someone ineligible for the office, so some write-ins will be tossed. But even if every write-in ballot voted for “Mickey Mouse” and was tossed out, Jones would have 50.7 percent to 49.2 percent… still a 1.5 percent margin.

Just to qualify for an automatic recount, Roy Moore would need as many write-ins dismissed as possible AND an unprecedented overwhelming margin of about 14,000 or so votes among overseas ballots and provisional ballots.

When Mike Huckabee is calling you out for acting like a sore loser, it’s time to wake up and smell the coffee. Huckabee on Twitter this morning: “Roy Moore won’t concede; says will wait on God to speak. God wasn’t registered to vote in AL but the ppl who voted did speak and it wasn’t close enough for recount. In elections everyone does NOT get a trophy. I know first hand but it’s best to exit with class.”

That doesn’t seem likely. The entire Moore operation has been about Moore and his ambitions. A better man would have recognized he was endangering the values and ideas he claimed to stand for and withdrawn from the race. A better man would have answered all questions about his interactions with all of his accusers in great detail from anyone who wanted to ask, not just stumbling on softballs from Sean Hannity. A better man would have at least remembered to congratulate his rival on a hard-fought race on Election Night.

A better man might have recognized that his own state party declared the race over. Alabama Republican Party Chairman Terry Lathan conceded the race: “If Mr. Jones aligns himself with the liberal Democrats in Washington, Alabama voters will remember his choices in the 2020 U.S. Senate election. Now that this race has ended, may this holiday season of peace, love and hope resonate with everyone, regardless of one’s political affiliation.”

Keep in mind, Moore’s campaign could cover the costs of a statewide recount themselves. How long until his campaign starts asking for money for that?

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