The 2000 election made Katherine Harris a household word. Ken Blackwell, Ohio Secretary of State, appears to expect the same in 2004. The closeness of the election in Ohio, plus an ever-rising estimate of the number of provisional ballots yet to be counted (funny how it seems to stay a few thousand ahead of the margin), plus Ohio law’s requirement that those ballots be counted no earlier than eleven days after the election, all mean that we’re going to be seeing a lot of Mr Blackwell over the next two weeks.

But don’t misunderstand me. CNN suggests that Blackwell is enjoying the spotlight just a little too much, and maybe he is, but there’s another aspect to that. He’s ready for it. His job is to run a fair election: It isn’t over yet. But it isn’t chaos: it’s a situation for which rules, standards, and procedures exist, and I’m certain they’ll work if they’re allowed to. Mr President, don’t declare victory; just go back to business as usual. Senator, don’t threaten to challenge the results until after they’re actually announced.

And, ladies and gentlemen of the press, I realize that your job is to create drama and anxiety where none exists; Nonetheless, please try to resist the temptation.

I find Blackwell’s advice–“Take a deep breath and relax”–to be reasonable and sound.

I’m going back to sleep. Wake me on the 12th. Better yet, the 15th.