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by Dale Connelly, 11/17/00

Dc: This year's presidential election has raised many questions about our system and the methods and techniques we use. One of the questions is seldom asked in American politics, but now will be part of any discussion of how we vote... "What should we do in case there's a tie?" On the line from Wendell Wilkie University is political science professor and receiver's coach Ace Ligament. Coach Ligament is on the sidelines for the Wilkie Contenders as they do battle with the Roosevelt College Aristocrats. But he has a cell phone and is willing to take time for us. Thanks, Coach.

(sfx: roaring crowd)

Ace: Run, you lame son of a... Run! Cut inside! Cut!

(sfx: crowd down)

Dc: Coach?

Ace: (annoyed) WHAT?

Dc: DCR. You agreed to talk? About changes in the electoral system?

Ace: Yeah. Right.

Dc: In particular you said you'd talk about what we might do in the future in the event there's a tie?

Ace: You got a tie, you got to have a tie breaker. In sports we've already worked out three ways for breaking a tie. You got your overtime period, or sudden death, or a shoot out. Hang on just a second, we've gotta kick off. (calling off) Larry, I want you to boot that thing out of the end zone, got it?

Dc: Coach, you sound busy. Should we do this later?

Ace: In practice I'm busy. This is relaxation.

(sfx: crowd up)

Thatta boy! Thatta boy! Whoooeee! There's a good kick. Now git 'im! Git 'im now! Knock 'im down! (increasingly agitated) Git that man! Somebody! Don't hit 'im high! No no no no no! Aghghg! What are you doing!?

(sfx: crowd down)

Dc: Coach? We're talking about election tie breakers? And you suggested we try three ways... 1) Overtime. 2) Sudden Death. 3) Shootout.

Ace: (sigh) Right.

Dc: OK. Let's say the election goes into overtime. What happens?

Ace: Re-open the campaign for one week. That's all they get. One extra week, no time outs. End of the week, polls open. Collect your votes and the polls close... Done! Pick your champion. Get off the field.

Dc: What about sudden death instead of overtime? Is that faster?

Ace: In sudden death, the candidates would continue the campaign until there's a whistle. So they take the field, they stump, they stump, they stump. And then... whammo! Insty-vote. Winner take all. Pick your champion, get off the field. Hang on, we're on defense. (calling off) Randy, I want you to stuff 'em. You hear me? Clog that middle! Step up!

(sfx: crowd up)

Outside! End around! Pick it up! Aghghghgh! Twenty yards!

(sfx: crowd down)

Justin! Get out there for Randy. Send him in here! Didn't anybody read that? Am I the only one paying attention here?

Dc: Coach?

Ace: WHAT?

Dc: One more election tie breaker option? The "Shootout"? How does that work?

Ace: You get your two candidates in a room. They flip a coin to see who goes first. Out comes a phone book. Put on a blindfold, pick a name, call it and you get one minute to convince whoever answers to vote for you. You keep doing that until somebody gets a vote and the other one doesn't. Simple. Exciting. Final.

Dc: And arbitrary.

Ace: But overall, it's simpler and kinder than the agony of a tie, the endless counting, recounting, litigation... This is what warriors want. A chance to win. No messing around. These are merciful ideas, and that's what we need. Something definite, direct... brutal and merciful.

Dc: All right. Thanks for the suggestion.

Ace: (off mic) (yelling) Randy! Where's your head? What're you doin' out there you numbskull? Do I have to hold your hand? Where were you when he went around the outside? That guy handed you your lunch, son!

Dc: Ace Ligament is head coach and chairman of the political science department at Wendell Wilkie University.


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