As a die-hard political junkie, I've been looking for something to fill the void left by an abnormally tidy presidential race. Luckily I live in Minnesota, and get minute-by-minute updates about the Great Minnesota Recount. Projecting the winner for the recount is difficult: Were challenged ballots type I errors or type II errors? Exactly how many challenged ballots were withdrawn by each candidate? And would Al Franken or Norm Coleman be a better representative of the political views of The Lizard People.
The Star Tribune has enabled readers to vote on the outcomes for challenged ballots. I assumed that the reader votes were for entertainment purposes, but the Star Tribune has cleverly analyzed two million reader votes to project the final outcomes for over 6,000 challenged ballots.
It is easy to imagine that these online votes are biased. Online users trend democratic, and Democrats may award more ballots to Franken. However, some anecdotal evidence hints that the Star Tribune's projections beat those from political experts. During the past two days, the Strib's projection has hovered around a 75 vote lead for Franken. Meanwhile, projections from Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight, a highly respected voting analyst, have slowly been converging to the Strib's.
Maybe if we had crowdsourced the original counting of the ballots we wouldn't be in this mess!