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Tuesday, December 02, 2008

If you'd asked me before today I'd probably have told you that runoff laws (like the one mandating the special election in Georgia today) were pretty stupid. But the ongoing saga of Franken v. Coleman is starting to change my opinion somewhat—a margin this narrow (caused entirely by the presence of a third-party candidate) is almost certain to be perceived as illegitimate by the losing side, regardless of the care with which the recount is conducted. A mandated runoff, unusual as it seems, would probably be far preferable to some + or - 27 post-recount result.

Perceived as illegitimate, that is, even outside the periodic discovery of uncounted ballots that favor one candidate or another. In short, this thing is turning into a complete mess. Nate, fresh from declaring Coleman the favorite this morning, is back to tossup-favoring-Franken territory.

Better than either choice, of course, would be instant runoff voting. Dare to dream.