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Could the White House Race be decided here?

October 24th, 2004

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    Get 4/1 on a prolonged legal battle

With the White House race on a knife-edge you can now bet on whether we’ll have to wait until December 13 or beyond before the result is certified. If the result is as close as predicted then we could have a repetiton of 2000 when pro-longed legal wrangles over Florida finally ended in the Supreme Court (above).

Tradesports – the Irish betting exchange that serves the US – is offering punters to trade in the proposition that the result will not be known for six weeks. The prices are moderately tempting. 4/1 that there will be a battle in the courts that will go on until December 13 and 3/20 that there won’t.

With voting machines still not working properly in parts of Florida, claims of election fraud in the swing-state of Ohio, and a complex retrospective referendum in Colorado that could mean that the state’s electoral votes are divided in line with votes cast instead of winner takes all and we have all the elements of prolonged litigation.

    It all depends whether the result is close. If there is a clear winner then all the talk of legal challenges will go away.

The Kerry campaign is said to have signed up 10,000 lawyers to be on duty on November 2nd. The Republicans have registered hundreds of volunteers in Ohio to challenge voters’ credentials and, meanwhile, some are questioning whether the system itself is constitutional. This from today’s Independent on Sunday:-

The most disconcerting possibility is that the highest court in the land could remove the electoral process from the voters altogether and turn it over to the state legislatures. Technically, they can do this under Article II of the Constitution, which offers no automatic right to vote. We know from the deliberations in 2000 that two, possibly five, of the nine justices have doubts whether the people should be the ultimate arbiters of presidential elections – a strict, literal reading of the Constitution that no modern Supreme Court countenanced before the current crop of ultra-conservatives. “After granting the franchise in the special context of Article II,” the majority declared in its Bush vs Gore ruling, “[the state] can take back the power to appoint electors.” Were this scenario to play out it would leave the fate of many of the electoral battlegrounds in the hands of Republican-controlled state legislatures (in Florida and Ohio, for starters), who would promptly hand the election to George Bush. Talk about a nightmare scenario – which is why every elections official and every “small d” democrat in the land is praying it won’t get that close.

A price of 4/1 on this not being settled in six weeks – sounds quite good.

WHITE HOUSE RACE LATEST 2.30 pm BST
POLLS. Three new national polls today showing small Bush leads.
BETTING. The Iowa and Tradesports prices have moved to Kerry. The UK price is static.

  • Iowa exchange Kerry 42.2 – Bush 57.8. A half point move to Kerry.
  • Tradesports bettting exchange Bush 59 Kerry 41.
  • UK Prices. Bush 8/15 Kerry 8/5
  • And for those interested in locking up money for four years Tradesports are now taking bets on the 2008 race. The Democrats are favourites. If you are tempted to bet remember to factor in the cost of your money – maybe 20%.

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