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(51,907 posts)
Fri Nov 15, 2013, 06:40 AM Nov 2013

So, do candidates behind on election night often make up 6000+ vote deficits?

Often (though 6000 is a much larger deficit than usual)--especially in all vote by mail states, where Democrats and progressive issues voters tend to vote later. Bullshit like requiring ballots to be received by election day can't change this, as the slow step is signature validation, not ballot tabulation. Watch for Repubs and conservatives to keep trying to implement this in order to cut down on the number of valid Democratic ballots.

Tuesday, November 15th, 2011--the incumbent has $200,00 to spend and lost anyway

Peter Maier falls behind challenger Sharon Peaslee in key Seattle school board race


Well-known University of Washington meteorologist Cliff Mass is among those who campaigned actively for Maier’s defeat. In a post published to his weather blog on October 22nd, Mass summarized the contest between the two as follows:

Peter is clearly the weakest of the board members and was the member who knew about the financial problems and kept quiet about it. Didn’t seem to care about math education. Rubber-stamper. I have known Sharon Peaslee for years. She has a real background in education, has kids in the schools, and has worked actively for improved math education. Sharon is strong-willed and will ask the hard questions. She is supported by The Stranger and most of the local Democratic organizations, as well as Seattle teachers. Peter has a huge financial war chest and is running a huge number of advertisements. Let’s hope that money doesn’t decide this race.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Simple majority takes the lead!

After days of a slow and steady increase in the Yes on SJR 4204 vote, the constitutional amendment to allow simple majorities to approve school levies is now passing statewide by a small margin - 50.2307% to 49.7693%, or 756,963 votes in favor to 750,011 against.


Late Voters Help Democrats Keep Control Of State Legislature

Democratic Congressman Rick Larsen has declared victory in the 2nd Congressional District. After yesterday's ballot count, Larsen now leads Republican challenger John Koster by more than 5,000 votes. Koster has not yet conceded the race. Koster had held a nearly 1,400 vote lead on Election night. But that soon evaporated as late voters favored Democrat Larsen. Democratic candidates for state Legislature also benefited from the late surge in Democratic voting. KUOW's Deborah Wang reports.

Kevin Haistings is a Seattle police officer and a Republican making his first run for elected office. He's challenging Democratic State Representative Roger Goodman in the 45th district on the Eastside. When the first results were posted on election night, Haistings was ahead by more than 600 votes. But by Friday of last week the Republican's lead had evaporated.

In 2011, I was the voter database manager for Democratic candidate for Tukwila City Council
Council Position No. 6. For those of you who know King County in WA, her Republican opponent was Louise Strander--as in the South Center shopping complex Strander Boulevard. Louise was ahead by 50 or so votes on election night, but as our campaign kept saying "Late voters are Kate voters."

Louise H. Strander 1348 47.72%
Kate Kruller 1462 51.75%
Write-in 15 0.53%
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(9,709 posts)
1. Requiring ballots to be recieved by election day works just fine in blue Oregon..
Fri Nov 15, 2013, 11:22 AM
Nov 2013

and they don't have to continually wait days or even weeks for races to decided as we do here. As for Democrats tending to vote later, I don't know there are any confirmed stats on that for it's basically just about King County, but even if there are..tendencies can be changed. And once again, Oregon is a perfect example.


(51,907 posts)
2. Only if you prefer disenfranchisment and inaccuracy to maximum enfranchisement and accuracy
Fri Nov 15, 2013, 10:23 PM
Nov 2013

Oregon uses computer signature verification. Washington has done tests on currently available equipment and found it to be inaccurate.

Another way that Washington refuses to compromise on quality was altering how they use scanned ballot images. At first they thought they would be able to do ballot corrections directly from the scanned images (more advanced technology than they previously had), but it turned out that some ballot scans were too light and indistinct to accurately discern voter intent. They went back to using the actual paper ballots for voter intent, though the new system still allowed direct data entry instead of requiring ballot duplication by hand.

Oregon does NOT post faster results on election night. What it does do is clear the backlog faster by paying workers to work overtime and weekends. Washington rejects this for two reasons--1)employee fatigue results in more errors and 2) to save money.

From 2011--


With a peak processing capacity of little more than 75,000 ballots a day, the 373,941 ballots King County tallied on Tuesday night barely exceeded the 349,670 ballots it had received as of the Friday before the election. Indeed, by the time the elections center opened its doors Monday morning, its staff had already fallen hopelessly behind. (And FYI, the same was true in 2009.)

So how would following the Oregon model speed things up? Well, on its own, it wouldn’t, and to understand why, we need merely look at the ballot return statistics for Oregon’s largest county, Multnomah, where even with its more restrictive deadline, only 45 percent of ballots were returned by the Friday before the election… nearly the exact same percentage as King County. Both counties received more than half of their ballots over the final few days of the election, the only difference being that Multnomah’s election was one day shorter. (Far from being the long, drawn out process Reed implies, over 98% of valid Washington ballots are received by the day after the election.)

Well then, how does Multnomah County manage to report results so much faster? Simple: they put more resources into it. Multnomah County processes ballots over the weekend before the election, while King County does not. And while King County reports a single election night return a little after 8 PM, before heading home for the night, Multnomah County continues to process ballots overnight, issuing subsequent reports at 8 AM and throughout the next day. Of course, King could duplicate Multnomah’s efforts, but that would cost money.

From 2009


As can be seen, 452,522 ballots were received by election day, roughly 76% of the total number cast. Yet only 254,261 were counted by the end of the day… barely more than the total number of ballots in hand the Friday prior to the election.

The bulk of the remainder of the ballots cast arrived the next day, with 572,611 in hand at KCE, or over 96% of the total number cast. Yet only 308,650 of these were counted by the end of Wednesday.

There are several obvious lessons to learn from the data. The first is that KCE can’t keep pace with the ballots it is already receiving, thus any delay in reporting returns is due not to a lack of ballots, but rather a lack of capacity to process them. This is true in Oregon as well, which typically reports only 50% of total votes by the first ballot drop election night, not much better than King County, and generally somewhat worse than Washington state as a whole.

That said, even the 43% of total votes reported by KCE on election night was a large enough sample to accurately project the winner in all but a handful of the hundreds of contests countywide. Candidates and voters do know the winners on election night, at least in the vast majority of races.


Yes, it would be nice to get near complete results on election night the way most other states do, and they way we used to get here in Washington state before mail-in ballots started to dominate our voting, but this is the nature of mail-in elections. It takes time and resources to sort, process and verify signatures just in preparation for counting, and so we’ll never approach the sort of election night returns the likes of Reed, Gov. Gregoire and the Seattle Times editorial board apparently want. They sure don’t do it Oregon, even with their received by deadline.

Personally, I’d rather we get the count right, than fast. And I’m not sure I’m willing spend the extra money necessary to do both, let alone disenfranchise tens of thousands of late voters in the process.


(51,907 posts)
3. Regular as clockwork, and even before the election is certified
Sat Nov 16, 2013, 12:11 AM
Nov 2013

My LTE: Ballot counting “drags on” because we insist on all mail-in voting

The election hasn’t even been certified yet, and already Rosenthal and the Seattle Times are calling for the disenfranchisement of Democrats, and (this year) of voters further left than Democrats. It’s like clockwork—after every election, someone is sure to publish the silly and false assertion that Oregon posts more complete results on election night because of the arrival versus postmark by Election Day policy.

In 2011 Multnomah County (Oregon's largest), even with its more restrictive deadline and much smaller population, only 45 percent of ballots were returned by the Friday before the election—nearly the exact same percentage as King County. The Rosenthal article implies that things are worse this year. In fact, as of Friday 11/15, 175,406 ballots had been counted in Seattle. 82,368 of these (46%) were counted by 8pm on 11/5.

The typical 40-47% of votes reported by King County Elections on election night is almost always a large enough sample to accurately project the winner in all but a handful of the hundreds of contests countywide. If we insist on keeping all mail-in voting, there is no alternative to waiting a week to see how the closer contests will turn out because it is simply not possible to speed up the slow step of signature validation by very much. Clearing the backlog faster is of course possible, but only if we follow Oregon's lead and pay elections workers for overtime and weekends. And then the promoters of disenfranchisement will predictably whine about paying more taxes to do that.

Even electronic signature validation doesn’t speed up the process that much, and Rosenthal neglects to mention that this method has specifically been rejected by King County Elections because they have tested it and found it too inaccurate. Advocates for the 1% will always prefer fewer eligible ballots counted faster and more sloppily. The 99% will always prefer maximum accuracy and voter enfranchisement.


(9,709 posts)
4. C'mon now..
Sat Nov 16, 2013, 12:12 PM
Nov 2013

I'm pretty sure the vast majority those who wish to see the ballots counted faster are neither advocates for the 1% or into promoting voter disenfranchisement. Like many things, the Republican and Democratic parties of Washington have needlessly made this into a partisan issue.

From your Seattle Times link:

King County officials said Wednesday that roughly 20 percent of this year’s ballots arrived in the mail after Election Day — more than double last year’s rate.

Seems to me that's a problem that looks to be getting worse...which could be remedied by changing the deadline. Give it a few elections to take effect, a grace period so to speak, but voters in the state will handle it just fine.

Unlike in other states, Washington election workers typically do not work significant overtime. Last year, King County Elections Director Sherril Huff said working late invites mistakes.

That's a pretty piss poor excuse for King County's tortoise like approach to counting the ballots. Hire more election workers. If "the promoters of disenfranchisement" don't approve, make it part of any package that changes the deadline to election day.

I'll use Oregon as an example again...are Democrats there pushing for a postmarked by election day deadline, such as we have here? And if not, why not if Democratic voters are regularly disenfranchised by such a rule?

Do you really believe if we adopted Oregon's system Washington state Democrats would be unable to adapt?


(51,907 posts)
5. There is no reason to adopt Oregon's system because it has no advantages whatsoever
Sat Nov 16, 2013, 01:50 PM
Nov 2013

So fucking what if 20% of ballots arrived after Election Day? KCE was way, way behind on validating the fucking signatures of the ballots they already had, so it isn't a "problem" at all, let alone a "problem that is getting worse." And Oregon was every bit as far behind (even though they use inaccurate electronic signature validation), so where is their advantage? BTW, King County more or less matched Multnomah, even though it has twice the population.

Jesus H fucking kerist!! What is so hard to understand about the basic systems fact that the SLOW STEP determines the rate of the overall process? Disenfranchising people will not make the slow step any faster.

Hiring more people to clear the backlog would be fine with me, but not with your generic taxpayer.

Besides which, only 9% of the WA population cares about counting ballots faster, and fuck them.

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