Said John Edwards, "We promised the American people that every vote would count, and every vote would be counted." Now, what exactly is the difference between a vote counting and a vote being counted? Is this just a pretty redundancy, or did Kerry and Edwards perceive a distinction?
I'm pretty sure I know what it means for a vote to "be counted"; it means for a person or machine to process the ballot and increment the selected candidate’s total by one. So that leaves the question of what it means for a vote to "count." Assuming it's distinct from "being counted," I figure it must mean something like "matter" or "make a difference." But that is something that Kerry and Edwards emphatically could not guarantee, no matter how many lawsuits they filed. For example, thousands of Californians cast votes that did not make a difference. Some, like me, did so deliberately by voting for a third-party candidate. Most did so incidentally, because their votes could not (on the margin) have altered the allocation of California’s electoral votes. That’s true even if you look at the marginal effect of a large quantity of votes instead of just one vote at a time, since Kerry’s margin of victory was rather large in California. The margin of victory was even larger (for one candidate or the other) in many other states. Nothing that Kerry and Edwards did could have changed that in any substantial way. So what exactly did Kerry and Edwards mean when they promised to make every vote count?