Massa Fundraising Letter

The Massa campaign's latest fundraising letter makes the following claim:

Teams of lawyers representing Kuhl have already descended upon our district, and you can bet your last dollar that they will challenge every vote they can that was cast for Eric. With Kuhl's corporate backers, he has all the funds he needs to challenge the votes of thousands of our friends and neighbors. We need to fight to make sure that EVERY vote gets counted accurately and fairly, but to do that, we need your help.

(Emphasis in original.)

It might be worth comparing Massa's situation to that of a much closer race, the Minnesota Senate race. In that race, unlike this one, there's going to be a recount. Because Minnesota uses optical scan ballots, every original ballot will be re-scanned, and any rejected ballots will be hand-examined. That race has thousands of "undervotes", where the voter marked the ballot for President but not for Senator. That means that thousands of ballots may be disputed, and both sides will be able to argue about marks made in the wrong place on each of those ballots.

In this race, for better or worse, any voter mistakes by voters who used the lever voting machines can't be recovered. The only mistakes with regular (non-absentee) votes that could sink Massa's boat are multiple major errors by election workers who transcribed the tallies from the election machines, which is extremely unlikely.

The other possible route to a Kuhl victory is an unprecedented swing in absentee votes. It's hard to see how Kuhl can swing 4,400 votes out of the 20,000 absentee ballots cast. And I definitely don't see how Kuhl's team of lawyers will sway the tally appreciably. Accepted wisdom on voting errors is that the error rate is 1% or less. This means that something under 200 absentee ballots will be disputed. Even if Kuhl's crack attorneys push all of those votes into his total, he still isn't going to win the election.

Massa supporters may well believe that it's critical that Massa have the best possible legal representation, and Massa might be able to raise money based on that belief. But even if Kuhl has resurrected Clarence Darrow, I doubt that he'll be able to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.


Let me remind you about the Republican Primary for Sherriff in Steuben County. On the night of the Primary Candidate "A" was reported a head by (approx) 150 votes. The next day the inspectors went out and actually wrote the numbers down directly from the machines, and Candidate "B" was now a head by (approx) 50 votes. The machine in Candidate "B's" home election district---yes, the machine that HE, his family and friends voted on, had ZERO votes for him! Finally, after having the machines impounded, a judge ruled that Candidate B was the winner of the primary, and went on to win the election last week.

I remember that. Unless that kind of error happened on a number of different machines across the 29th, it won't have an impact.

And, since representatives from both campaigns, as well as election commissioners, will be doing the recanvass, there probably won't be any dispute about the numbers on those machines.