Sunday, October 16, 2005
Was it statistically impossible to have a recount in Florida?
I am an ignoramus when it comes to statistics. However, a few of you might be able to answer this question: was it statistically impossible to have a manual recount of the Florida votes to resolve the Bush-Gore election controversy in 2000. I can well remember a NPR interview with a statistician who went into some detail to explain why such a recount of some five million votes would get a different answer each and every time. Human beings with the best intentions invariably make mistakes. Even an error rate of a one in fifty thousand would prove to be disastrous. People get tired, get slightly confused, knock things over, etc. I did not bother to remember this young lady’s name. I simply expected that her views would be repeated often by others in the next few weeks. Wow, was I ever a fool! That was the first and last time the statistical argument ever came up. Was the very idea of a statewide manual recount inherently a foolish idea?
Posted by David Thomson at 8:24 AM