Monday, November 8, 2010

Whatcom (& further updates) delayed until 7:30

Whatcom won't be posting results until 7:30pm, so I'll wait until later tonight to post updated projections and thoughts on the day.

As things currently stand, Sanders' margin has narrowed to 4,064.  I anticipate that Whatcom will probably add +373 net votes to Sanders Wiggins column (assuming 8,580 of the remaining 12,000 ballots are counted today).  [EDIT: Is it just me, or are red and blue starting to look like the same color?]
I've picked up on an interesting trend that I think may deserve a follow up post.  Obviously, EBOH numbers are estimates (hence the "E").  And I would expect the daily updates to include revisions of those numbers beyond just the ballots counted (ballots tossed for invalidity, ballots verified with affidavit and added back in, late military ballots, etc.)  At this point in the process, I would expect to see very few ballots showing up in the EBOH projections.

That's why I was surprised to see that SIX counties reported a double-digit percentage increase in EBOH, notwithstanding ballots counted today.  But let me back up a second and explain the math...

Let's use a fictional county ("X"), that yesterday reported 10,000 EBOH.  Now if they count 6,000 ballots today, all things being equal, we would expect to see the EBOH drop to 4,000.  If ballots are invalidated, that number might drop.  And if more ballots arrive (delayed but still postmarked correctly), that number would go up.   Let's assume this scenaro: County X reports 6,000 ballots counted today, but updates their EBOH to 4,500 (thus reflecting 500 "newly-discovered" ballots to be counted).   So if we take that 500 increase and divide it by the original 10,000 EBOH, we get an EBOH increase of 5% (based on the starting EBOH tally at the beginning of the day).  Let's call that "Increased EBOH %".  All well and good.

The reason why we should look at Increased EBOH % (as opposed to a raw number) is because some counties are vastly larger than others.  To give you an example, King County saw a net increase of 1,915 EBOH today.  But given that King had 195,000 EBOH to start the day, that's a statistically-insignificant increase of just 0.98%.

Of the 18 counties (really 17 - Cowlitz is done) that have reported so far, the Increased EBOH % ranges from -2.4% (Snohomish) to +4.7% (Pierce) for all but six of the counties:

Chelan:  +15.6%
Benton:  +20.5%
Grant: +26.3%
Franklin: +38.9%
Yakima: +52.4%
Whitman: +122.4% (???)

Now, granted, some of those counties started with relatively small EBOH.  Franklin started with 800 (counting 961 and reporting 150 more on hand).  Grant started with 1,500 (counting 494 and reporting 1,400 more on hand).  And Chelan started with 2,000 (counting 2,262 and reporting 50 more on hand).

Whitman is a little surprising though.  They started with an EBOH of 1,000, counted 1,724, and reported 500 more on hand.  I don't mean to criticize the estimation powers of the county elections office in Whitman, but a stack of 1000 ballots and a stack of 2,224 ballots look pretty different.

All six counties have been favoring Sanders in the returns (although the net new ballots today from Whitman leaned toward Sanders).  Factoring in these new ballots, and allocating based on this morning's estimated VCR and SMOV percentages gives the following result:

Benton: 1,438 net new votes, VCR 78.0%, SMOV 57.7% = +172 SAND
Chelan: 312 net new votes, VCR 73.2%, SMOV 53.5% = +16 SAND
Franklin: 311 net new votes, VCR 81.0%, SMOV 63.2% = +66 SAND
Grant: 394 net new votes, VCR 76.6%, SMOV 65.3% = +92 SAND
Whitman: 1,224 net new votes, VCR 73.7%, SMOV 51.6% = +29 SAND
Yakima: 5,236 net new votes, VCR 81.4%, SMOV 60.1% = +862 SAND

For those keeping score, that's an extra 1,238 votes for Sanders that no one saw coming.  Now granted, King's 1,915 new EBOH hands 284 votes back to Wiggins.  But this is certainly an object lesson to keep an eye on EBOH numbers, especially when they start wiggling (no pun intended).

And if anyone has an idea what happened in Whitman or Yakima county today with several thousand new ballots showing, please share.


  1. "As things currently stand, Sanders' margin has narrowed to 4,064. I anticipate that Whatcom will probably add +373 net votes to [Sanders-deleted] Wiggins column (assuming 8,580 of the remaining 12,000 ballots are counted today). [EDIT: Is it just me, or are red and blue starting to look like the same color?]"

    Hmmm.... I think you had it right the first time. Sanders is leading in Whatcom overall and in your spreadsheet that column is red, indicating that you expected a net gain for Sanders. And yet the opposite seems to have occurred tonight. Curious. And not good news for Justice Sanders.

  2. Jamie - you MUST update. Your numbers have become part of my confidence on the race, and I am hoping (for my own sake) that you move more into the calling it column! (I've been relying on my model, and a couple other people, and didn't call until at least three models showed an outside recount margin win).

  3. Hi Anonymous - actually, my chart was also colored incorrectly for Whatcom. :) Sanders does lead in Whatcom overall, but since Thursday, Sanders and Wiggins have been taking turns receiving the benefit of the net new votes. The SMOV% in Whatcom has been see-sawing between 47%-51.5%.

    Michaelp - sorry! See most recent post. I'm about to post my overall projection for final result in just a few minutes. Thanks for keeping me honest!