Heads or Tails?: A Modest Proposal for Deciding Close Elections
Michael J. Pitts
Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law
Connecticut Law Review, Vol. 39, No. 2, p. 739, December 2006
Elections are fundamentally imperfect. For instance, machines break down and lines are long. A few elections are incredibly close, with only a few tenths of a percentage point or a couple of votes separating the candidates. A very small number of elections end in a dead-even draw. When this happens the winner is often decided by a game of chance -- a hand of poker, the drawing of lots, or the flip of a coin. In this brief, lighthearted Essay, the author develops the argument that because elections are fundamentally imperfect it makes sense to use a coin flip to decide the winners of close elections; that perhaps instead of relying on a curious alchemy of recounts and litigation to resolve close elections, we should rely on a different kind of alchemy -- the alchemy of the United States Mint.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 20
Keywords: elections, voting, democracy, lawAccepted Paper Series
Date posted: June 7, 2007 ; Last revised: February 18, 2012
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