Republican Martha McSally is almost ensured of victory in the still undecided race with U.S. Rep. Ron Barber, D-Ariz., experts say, but a few scenarios still give him a chance at keeping the seat. Officials begin today recounting ballots in southern Arizona’s 2nd Congressional District. Results are expected Dec. 16. McSally’s 161-vote lead, out of more than 219,000 cast, is so narrow that there are ways for Barber to win. And the cost to continue the fight in court would be relatively small for an election in which both sides have spent $20 million combined. “Recounts almost never change the result. … But being this close, it’s almost certain there will be a (lawsuit contesting it),” said Tom Irvine, a Phoenix election attorney. The most likely scenario: Barber sues because the recount differs from the general-election tally. Another possibility is his team finds election misconduct or other grounds to question the results. The most unlikely yet still possible option: Exploit a vague part of the U.S. Constitution to ask for a vote in the House of Representatives to decide which candidate is most qualified to serve — essentially beg Republican House Speaker John Boehner for mercy.
Election-law attorneys say it wouldn’t be unusual for the recount to differ from the initial results. All kinds of issues can create a discrepancy. Ballots might stick together. A machine’s optical scanner might be affected by a speck of dust.
“Those ballot-counting machines are very, very good, but they’re not perfect,” said Kory Langhofer, a Phoenix election attorney. “It wouldn’t be shocking if there were some variances. … The question is: Will the variance be enough to count?”
The swing between counts could turn out to be as much as 10 to 40 votes, Irvine said. “It wouldn’t surprise me at all.” The recount might also differ when comparing the machine count to the hand count.
Full Article: Upset possible in McSally-Barber recount.