We have discussed in detail the potential ramifications of a 'close' vote (here, here, and here), and only yesterday UBS Art Cashin opined on the potential for an 'embarrassing victory'. Today, the wizened market participant turns the rhetoric dial to 11 (and rightly so) as he warns "pray it's not close" for fear of the polarization of the populace that could occur.
Via Art Cashin of UBS:
Pray That It's Not Close – We have written several times of our concern that a close race could further divide an already polarized populace. Already the legal eagles for both sides are deploying. Here's a bit from USA Today:
In an election this close, expected to be decided by razor-thin margins in key states, both campaigns face a series of Election Day worries that have already begun to bubble to the surface.
Ranging from long lines at polling places to disputes over voter identification, today's vote is already being disputed in some locations.
Both campaigns have assembled legal teams to leap into action at any hint of voting irregularities, like voting machine malfunctions, allegations of voter intimidation and challenges to the legitimacy of absentee and "provisional" votes.
On Sunday, a Florida judge extended early-voting hours in Orange County — a key swing region of a prized battleground state — after Democrats sued to provide more time for long lines of people trying to cast votes.
New York and New Jersey were still scrambling to resolve voting problems created by Hurricane Sandy. New Jersey said it would expand online voting for those whose polling places have been disrupted, a move New York election officials rejected. New York has also had to relocate polling places, which could create voting challenges.
Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida — all critical swing states for the presidential election — have faced pitched battles throughout the summer over voter-identification laws. As late as last week, Ohio election officials were issuing new rules for what ID is required and how the voter's identification should be certified.
Ohio may have some extra challenges. Here's a piece from Keene Little at Option Investor:
This year Ohio sent absentee-ballot applications to about 95% of its citizens rather than require people to request one. Anyone who returned the application was then sent an absentee ballot, which then requires them to vote by the absentee ballot and not at a polling station. If they do try to vote at a polling station they'll cast a provisional ballot which must then be held under lock and key for 10 days while the state waits to see if an absentee ballot had been received. At the moment some are guessing that there could be 250K or more provisional ballots as a result of this. That large of a number could easily cause Ohio to not be able to project a winner if the voting is too close to call.
Carefully note that no provisional ballots can even be counted until 10 days after the Election. If Florida 2000 was a horror, a close election this year could present six or seven Floridas. Pray its not close – for the country's sake.