OK

Update [2004-12-18 0:42:54 by N in Seattle]:

Another way to look at the current situation: With 38 counties reporting, Rossi leads by 154,759 votes. In the first recount, Gregoire led King County by 154,709 votes.

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Update [2004-12-17 20:2:44 by N in Seattle]:

Pierce (Gregoire cuts margin by 31) and Spokane (Rossi adds 7 to margin) reported today. Gregoire needs to improve by 51 in King County to WIN. GOP wins in court, next stop Dem appeal to Supremes.

Stay tuned!!

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Just a brief update on the Thursday action in the Washington gubernatorial recount.  Only one of the "Big Four" counties reported its recount results, and much of the newsworthy action shifted to other fronts.  

Ominously, those fronts are the courts and the media.  I'll leave it to other, better-connected Kossacks to deal with those topics.  A couple of links:

deadinthewater: King County looking for 162 more Ballots in WA Gov Race
eugene: WA Gov: A new vote?

Yesterday's installment of my series, with links to earlier parts, is here.

Now to the Snohomish report...

Extending from Puget Sound and the northern suburbs of Seattle into the Cascades wilderness, Snohomish County is a rara avis -- a swing county.  Kerry beat Dubya comfortably (53.0%-45.5%) and Patty Murray did even better against George Nethercutt (54.9%-42.8%).  The county contributes portions of two Congressional Districts, and both Jay Inslee (D-WA1) and Rick Larsen (D-WA2) won handily in Snohomish.  But the Republican candidates for Attorney General and Secretary of State won the county.  See this page on the SoS website for the Snohomish rundown.

Dino Rossi (R-smarmy whining real estate salesman) narrowly led Christine Gregoire (D-wimpy "electable" centrist) in the overall county results.  He got about 6500 more votes than Gregoire, out of nearly 300,000 ballots cast ... about two percentage points.  Rossi didn't quite reach a majority due to the presence of Libertarian Ruth Bennett, a gay marriage activist who attracted 2.3% of the vote.

It came as a big surprise, then, when Gregoire cut deeply into Rossi's razor-thin margin when Snohomish reported on Thursday.  She picked up 119 new-found votes to Rossi's 75 and Bennett's 9.  The hand recount tallied 4 fewer valid ballots than the machine recount.  This outcome is significantly different from what one would have expected -- a 4 or 5 vote Rossi advantage -- based on the overall county voting pattern.  Through Wednesday, the 35 previously-reported counties had increased Rossi's paper-thin margin by 79 votes (recall that the lead was 42 after the full machine recount).  Between the surprising Snohomish outcome and 3 additional Gregoire votes reported by Whitman County, the hand recount has now added only 32 votes to Dino's edge.

Overall, he has added 353 new votes from the 36 reporting counties.  Gregoire's total has increased by 321 votes, and Bennett has added 16 (the SoS website still anomalously shows her with +1 in Cowlitz County and +17 overall).  Adding the Snohomish votes has edged the recounted total to just over 50% of the nearly 2.9 million ballots in the gubernatorial race.

Snohomish found 6.8 new for-a-candidate votes for every 10000 ballots, increasing the overall new-found rate to 4.7/10000.  With a net of 690 new-found candidate votes at this juncture, I'm estimating the total increase at 1358; again, this estimate doesn't account for the 573 (or is it 735?) erroneously-rejected King County ballots.

That Snohomish's total of for-a-candidate votes increased may confound some of you.  After all, the county uses the Sequoia Pacific AVC Edge DRE touchscreen system, doesn't it?  And there's no paper trail, right?  

Well, yes and no.  It's partially correct.  The county also votes in part with Optech 4C-400 optical scanner machines.  And, as we've discussed previously, Washington very strongly encourages absentee voting.  In fact, over two-thirds of Snohomish County's voters cast absentee ballots, none of which were cast via touchscreen.

So, where are we now?  

Rossi's current lead can be construed as 74 votes, based on the 42 from the machine recount plus his added 32-vote margin from the 36 completed counties.  Three more counties remain unreported -- Spokane, Pierce (Tacoma), and King (Seattle) -- constituting about 49% of the Washington electorate.  Previous machine recount vote percentages from those three counties were:

  • Spokane -- Rossi 52.8%, Gregoire 45.3%, Bennett 1.9% (203,878 ballots)
  • Pierce -- Rossi 50.8%, Gregoire 46.8%, Bennett 2.3% (317,011 ballots)
  • King -- Gregoire 57.8%, Rossi 40.1%, Bennett 2.2% (898,574 ballots)

Remember, though, that those percentages and totals are already figured into the 42-vote machine recount margin.  At this moment in the 36-county hand recount totals, Rossi has received almost 128,000 more votes than Gregoire.  In the machine recount, he beat Gregoire by about 15,000 in Spokane and 12,500 in Pierce, but trailed her by 155,000 in King.  Sum those figures, and you come right back to what is essentially a dead heat.

I have no idea when the last three counties will report.  If one or more comes in today, I'll write an update about that, tonight or tomorrow.  Otherwise, my next analysis might not appear until next week.  In the meantime, the judicial branch and the fourth estate seem to be where the real WA Gov action is.

Originally posted to Peace Tree Farm on Fri Dec 17, 2004 at 12:36 PM PST.

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