According to as of 9:15am today, Bush is leading Ohio by 130,566. That same website indicates that there are 135,149 "provisional votes" still hanging out there. Difference: 4583.
The conditions under which provisional votes are cast include Where a voter claims not to have already voted, yet their name has been marked as having voted on the voters list; Where a voter claims to have registered to vote at that voting station, yet their name cannot be found on the voters list; Where a voter has been officially challenged as to eligibility to vote by polling officials or (where allowed) by party or candidate representatives, with no conclusive resolution. And, if it can be inferred from foobiwan's choice not to submit a write-in because it would result in a provisional ballot, write-ins (where a write-in was not provided) fall into this category as well.
In order for these provisional votes to make any difference, nearly all of them have to be proven to be legit. None of them can be for Spongebob Squarepants or Ralph Nader. And once the throwaways are thrown away, nearly all of the legitmate provisional votes need to be for Kerry.
So let's say all of the provisional votes are legit and are for Kerry: right now, George Bush as 269 electoral college votes to Kerry's 242. To the victor of Ohio goes 20 electoral votes.
You all know I'm no math brain genius, but even to me, this doesn't add up. All morning, however, radio personalities were discussing how these numbers need to be "interpreted". If there is anything in this world that is beyond interpretation, it is numbers. Isn't that why right-brained types love them so much? Cut and dry. 10 is more than 9. Done and done. And if numbers can be interpreted, I'd like to re-interpret my paycheck.
This is quite possibly the most tangible example as to why cutting competitive sports in elementary schools is a bad thing. In life, there are winners and there are losers. It sucks, but that's how it goes. One team will inevitably score more points than the other and therefore win. As many people who dislike losing enjoy winning, and that's just how it goes. You lose: run a few extra laps, fire off a few more layups, and focus on winning next time. Life is not olympic figure skating.
Luckily, from the looks of my friends page and the scattered moans of "there's no joy in Mudville" wafting around the office, more people are in tune with reality than these radio personalities have lead me to believe. I hope that had my team lost last night, I'd have taken it with the same dignity as I expect from others.