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As I began this diary, Supreme Court oral arguments about the disputed King County ballots had just ended.  King County was due to announce its results, sans the disputed ballots.  And Democratic state chair Paul Berendt had leaked that King's results (without the disputed ballots) showed Christine Gregoire (D-ineffectual Locke-lite wimp) taking 154,766 more votes in King County  -- up from a mere 154,709 in the first recount -- than Dino Rossi (R-smarmy, unctuous snake oil salesman), resulting in an 8-vote margin in her favor.

Is that enough drama for you, 3 days before Christmas?

Over the last 6 weeks(!), I've written extensively about this race, so I hope my analysis won't get lost in the blizzard of diaries about the final(hah!) outcome.  Click here to link to my most recent previous report, which in turn leads to further links to the series.

While I'll discuss the day's new totals a bit, I'd rather continue with some deeper analysis.  Let others exult ... while doing so, I'll also try to inform.

Analysis below the fold...

OK, so it's actually 10 votes, not 8.  Probably not enough, in and of itself, to fire Berendt.

King County reported its preliminary hand recount results late this afternoon.  Gregoire gained 47 new votes, while Rossi lost 12 and Libertarian Ruth Bennett lost 10.  The county, which uses Global AccuVote opscan technology, tallied just 59 more ballots than in the machine recount.  Coincidentally, 59 is also the margin by which Gregoire increased her lead in King County, overcoming the 42-vote edge for Rossi in the machine recount and the 7 additional votes he had gained in the hand recounts conducted in the other 38 counties.  These results do not include approximately 723 ballots held up by Chris Vance and the state GOP until the Washington Supreme Court unanimously dissolved their TRO this morning.

For the state's hand recount as a whole, Gregoire added 609 new votes, Rossi's total increased by 557, and Bennett gained 24 additional votes.  Reflecting, in no small measure, the efforts by Dean Logan and his staff to begin the process of ascertaining voter intent between the initial count and the machine recount, King County's new-found rate during the hand recount was extremely low, just 0.28 additional for-a-candidate votes per 10000 ballots.

In previous analyses, I've looked at the number of new-found for-a-candidate votes in comparison to the total number of votes cast in the county.  Those votes are almost entirely ballots that the machine tabulating systems were unable to recognize as valid votes, whereas human beings (always at least one Republican, one Democrat, and one county official) could reach consensus that said ballot showed clear intent on the part of the voter in favor of one candidate.  In his reports from the King County counting floor (here, here, and here), switzerblog has given us some great insights from the front lines.

The statewide rate of new-found votes in the hand recount is defined as:

[(3-candidate vote in hand recount)
(3-candidate vote in machine recount)]

                   divided by

Ballots Counted in hand recount

For ease of visualization, I multiplied the result by 10000

Under this definition, the statewide new-found rate was 4.13 per 10000 ballots, representing 1190 new-found for-a-candidate votes out of 2,884,217 ballots tallied.  The highest new-found rates were seen in Asotin (16.7/10000), Franklin (15.1/10000), Pierce (14.1/10000), Kitsap (13.5/10000), and Okanogan (11.4/10000); of these, only Pierce and Kitsap have large enough populations to mean much in the state totals.  Six counties reported fewer for-a-candidate votes in the hand recount, led by Adams at -9.6/10000 (that's based on -5 votes out of 5204 ballots) and Skagit at -4.6/10000.

After thinking about it for a couple of days, I realized that there's another way to look at the effects of the hand recount as compared to the machine recount.  Instead of using the total number of ballots tallied as the denominator, perhaps it would be preferable to base the analysis on the number of ballots that the machine recount had failed to assign to one of the three named candidates.  In essence, this would remove the great bulk of ballots -- those where there was already a valid candidate-vote -- from the denominator of the fraction.  Instead of a new-found vote rate, as described and reported above, we're now calculating the conversion rate ... the proportion of previously unassigned ballots that were identified as for-a-candidate votes during the hand recount.  The equation for this quantity is as follows:

[(3-candidate vote in hand recount)
(3-candidate vote in machine recount)]

                   divided by

[(Ballots Counted in hand recount)
(3-candidate vote in machine recount)]

This approach assumes that previously-valid votes for a candidate were once again counted for that same candidate.  While there's no way to tell whether that's always true (in fact, it certainly isn't, as we've already seen that candidates lost votes in a few counties), I believe the assumption must be correct for the vast majority of ballots.

That said, based on current statewide figures, 1195 new-found for-a-candidate votes were uncovered during the hand recount, out of an estimated 75,876 ballots not previously assigned to one of the three named candidates.  That comes to 1.6% of the tallied ballots that hadn't been cast for Rossi, Gregoire, or Bennett ... ballots that machines couldn't recognize as votes for one of those three people, ballots on which a small group of human beings could reach consensus as to the voter's preference among the three candidates.

The rank-order of these two quantities is roughly similar (Pearson correlation = 0.734), there are some interesting anomalies.  For instance, 2 new-found votes were recorded in Douglas County (1 each for Gregoire and Rossi), out of 13,263 ballots.  Thus, their new-found rate was rather low, 1.5/10000.  But, based on the two recounts, the county started with only 19 unassigned ballots, giving them a conversion rate equal to 10.5%, highest of any county in the state.  Intriguingly, Douglas County's initial ballot tally (but not votes for the named candidates) was over 200 higher than was reported in either of the recounts.

Two other counties, Kitsap and Pierce, were able to convert 6.5% of their previously-unassigned ballots to votes for candidates.  You'll recognize that they were also on the list of the highest new-found vote rates.  Asotin County, with the highest new-found rate of any county, was the only other county over +4% in conversion rate.  Adams County, where Rossi lost 5 votes, had a -4.4% conversion (dissipation?) rate.  As might be expected, with few new votes in a very large county, King County's conversion rate was a very low 0.1%.

King County's final figures -- with the erroneously-untallied ballots reinstated by the state Supreme Court -- are due to appear tomorrow morning.  More reports forthcoming...

Final personal aside -- I didn't really study the list of 573 untallied King County ballots, other than to confirm the presence of County Council chair Larry Phillips and black box voting activist Andy Stephenson.  So it came as something of a surprise to learn today that my colleague in the cubicle right next to mine is also on the list!  She is deeply offended that her vote hasn't (yet) been counted.  She also told me that she got a note some weeks ago, vaguely suggesting that she should sign a form and mail it back to the county.  The letter and form were so "generic" (her term) that she was quite reluctant to respond to something that seemed so non-official.

For the record, I have not asked her who she voted for in the gubernatorial race.  That her ballot will be counted is far, far more important.

Originally posted to Peace Tree Farm on Wed Dec 22, 2004 at 04:59 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  tip jar for a long, but satisfying, day (n/t) (4.00)

    You're only young once, but you can be immature forever -- Larry Andersen

    by N in Seattle on Wed Dec 22, 2004 at 04:40:52 PM PST

    •  great job, N (none)
      with front-page props from the boss himself!

      All the snark that's fit liberal street fight

      by Joan McCarter on Wed Dec 22, 2004 at 04:48:47 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  We must understand (none)
        The republican party will do whatever it can to get and hold on to power. Look out for some major dirty tricks like the Military Ballot issue they are trying to bring up now. They will try and find a way to get the seat of power anyway they can

        See "This Week in Fascism" for more on what the Repubs are capable of.

        "The great masses of the people will more easily fall victims to a big lie than to a small one." - Adolf Hitler. Quoted By Bill Moyers 12-17-04

        by Tomtech on Wed Dec 22, 2004 at 09:49:28 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Thanks! (none)
      You're posts have been great.  I'm sorry that you got snookered out of a front page story today -- you certainly deserve one for all your hard work!
    •  Hey Nick! (none)
      I don't post around here a lot, but thanks a ton.  I'm a fellow Seattle resident- (West Seattle)  and I am damn proud of this city.  It may not have the best transportation (yet), and some here may think it's bigger than it really is (it's small potatoes), but this city has single-handedly reversed one (awful) mistake that could have been made.

      We should be celebrating the fact that we still live in a reasonable part of the world.

      •  who's Nick? (none)
        In my case, N isn't followed by ick.

        You're only young once, but you can be immature forever -- Larry Andersen

        by N in Seattle on Wed Dec 22, 2004 at 05:06:17 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Sorry !!! (none)
          I know this guy named Nick. For some reason, your posts remind me of him.  I guess it's the politics.  He's frome Seattle.

          Shoot. That's some funny stuff.  Sorry man.  
          I think I was just spacing out.

          •  Look at me all fumble fingers (none)
            "Sorry Man" might not fit either!
          •  Otto has joined Plutonium Page in Amsterdam... (4.00)
            ...and is typing from a Rastafarian coffee shop as we speak.

            When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross -- Sinclair Lewis

            by DC Pol Sci on Wed Dec 22, 2004 at 05:18:50 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  no prob (none)
            As a matter of fact, a sometimes-Kossack who I do know (who will remain unnamed here, because he actively supported Dino ... ugh) also apparently believes I'm some other fellow whose name starts with N.

            Many of my fellow Washington state DFA types undoubtedly know who I'm talking about.

            You're only young once, but you can be immature forever -- Larry Andersen

            by N in Seattle on Wed Dec 22, 2004 at 05:20:37 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Áctually (none)
              I know two guys named Nick who remind me of these politics.  

              And there sure isn't anything wrong with a little Decriminilization.  

            •  I'm really amazed at some of the people I know (none)
              Who supported Rossi.  It's really interesting.  I'm guessing the Gregoire just wasn't a very exciting candidate.  Rossi was all dressed up.  He looked respectable.  
              •  Rossi and Gregoire (none)
                Gregoire leaves a bad taste in a lot of peoples mouths.  For one thing, she is apparently opposed the WA-State equivalent of the Freedom of Information act. Major downer points. Among other things.  She has a negative reputation.  I think that was greatly aided by an extremely effective media campaign by Rossi. I dunno what was going on, but I saw literally ten times as much advertisement for Rossi/against Gregoire than vice versa. (I live in King County.) That counts everything from yard signs to highway banners to animated billboards to television ads. Some of them were pretty slick.

                The debate was nothing special, either.

                Still, I remember last time our family stepped aside for a seemingly harmless bumbler - 2000 national election.  A bit of a learning experience- We'd probably hate Rossi if he gets elected, he's too much of a smooth operator.

                There is a heaven, but ill never get there... i keep respawning...

                by Sandals on Wed Dec 22, 2004 at 09:55:23 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

        •  but you might as well be Saint Nick n/t (none)

          Kerry/Edwards: For a reality-based America

          by Em on Wed Dec 22, 2004 at 05:17:07 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •   Ick! It's N! (none)
          Nope. It's not preceded by Ick, eother.

          "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

          by Greg Dworkin on Wed Dec 22, 2004 at 05:26:51 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  You Democrat you! (4.00)
    "I have not asked her who she voted for in the gubernatorial race.  That her ballot will be counted is far, far more important."
    Yes it is. Thanks for all your excellent diaries on the vote.

    "Reform is the hallmark of a strong Democratic Party." Howard Dean

    by Lahdee on Wed Dec 22, 2004 at 04:51:21 PM PST

  •  County chair to run against Berendt (none)
    N in Seattle, I've heard King County Dem chair Greg Rodriguez is planning to run for statewide chair against Paul Berendt.

    If Gregoire ends up winning, though, I don't think he can succeed. If Gregore had lost, his chances probably would have been fairly good. If she wins, though (a more likely scenario) then Berendt will probably get reelected as state chair.

    Trust NPI and Permanent Defense to keep you updated.

    •  Greg and a cast of ... well, two more (none)
      In addition to Rodriguez, the other announced candidates are the (outgoing?) chair of the 21st District Democrats (the 21st is in Snohomish County), Bill Phillips, and the former chair of the Snohomish County Dems, Kat Overman.

      I found some brief information about the trio here.  

      Frankly, I don't know who I'd support, if I had any say whatsoever in the decision.  I know Greg pretty well and like him, but lost a good bit of respect when he bailed from the Dean campaign and ended up going to Boston as a Kerry delegate.  Kat spoke at the King County Dems reorg meeting, didn't particularly impress.  Phillips wasn't at that meeting (Greg and Paul were, at least for a little while), sent his wife as his representative.  

      You're only young once, but you can be immature forever -- Larry Andersen

      by N in Seattle on Wed Dec 22, 2004 at 05:04:03 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Rodriguez (3.66)
        I'm extremely biased on the subject, but... Greg went to Iowa for Dean, helped smooth things over with some very angry high-powered Dean supporters when they were getting ready to bolt because of disagreements with the local campaign leadership, and stayed with the campaign right up to the end. As anyone would have to admit, losing WA state where he had such a big early advantage was an advanced stage of the end.

        Greg was personally approached by the Kerry folks to come as a delegate because they wanted to foster goodwill between the Dean and Kerry camps, even though it may not have worked out that way. From what I've gathered, they wanted to make clear that Dean supporters were welcome and there wasn't going to be some kind of ideological purge. Berendt's friends have smeared him as something of a traitor to Dean, but it wasn't like that.

        He's a good guy, he works hard for the party, and I think he'd be a great state chair.

        •  I hear you, natasha (none)
          And I appreciate your viewpoint, biased though it may be.  

          I wasn't aware of the (apparently ham-handed) Kerry camp operation with Greg.  From the non-inside, it looked like political calculation at its worst.  (Then again, so does the Berendt-Ross mess ... Alex might not have won either, but he was an actual candidate with actual positions.)

          I don't know anything about Phillips and Overman, and they haven't done much of anything to help me with that.  Phillips's website doesn't tell me much, and I haven't found a thing from Overman on the web.  I could say pretty much the same thing about Berendt, of course.

          I don't see myself having much, if any, influence in this race anyway.  Sure, I can talk to a couple of state committee members and some district chairs (do they have a vote for state chair?), but I doubt my word will change their minds.

          You're only young once, but you can be immature forever -- Larry Andersen

          by N in Seattle on Wed Dec 22, 2004 at 07:38:11 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  more on greg & dean (none)
            (Hi Natasha!)

            Many of us Dean people were shocked when Greg switched to Kerry very soon after Dean dropped out.  I took it more as his need to support the party as a county chair, and not at all a move to get noticed or something.  I have worked with Greg often during the campaign and he never struck me as an opportunist, more of a doer and smoother-overer.  You know he held some of the earliest and largest DFA meetups in Seattle (as I remember), and kept doing this for quite some time, I think even after Dean dropped out.  He was one of the main Dean champions in the party leadership in WA for the whole thing, which appears to have cost him some support within the non-Dean party leadership (similar to Berendt).  But that is just a measure of his devotion to the cause in my book, so I have no problem supporting him.

            Carl Ballard had several statements from the state party chairs on his blog a few weeks back.  Look around there for more info on all the candidates.
            My opinion is Paul's winning this recount will be hard for anyone else to beat.

            Former Dean LDC, WA 48th
            Chair-apparent, WA-48th LD Democrats

            ...ben in Redmond The delineation of rights is best done with a view to human potentialities rather than in fear of our shortcomings. -- Hon. Wm Downing

            by calvin on Wed Dec 22, 2004 at 11:25:59 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  Berendt deserves a lot of credit for the recount (4.00)
        He gets demerits elsewhere, and Change is Good.

        Rodriguez has worked overtime compensating for Paul's blind spots (including info tech). I don't see how anyone can fault Gregz for switching to Kerry. My memory is a little fuzzy, but did Greg switch from Dean to Kerry any sooner than Dean switched from Dean to Kerry? The DFA mission statement is not a suicide pact ... is it?

        Bill Phillips has excellent political energy and instincts, he can think on his feet, and he "gets it" re participative vs top-down politics and insurgent base-building in red turf.

        Kat Overman strikes me as the "rabbit" who runs out first buts finishes behind the pack ... but we'll see what she's got.

        All four are dedicated, fightin' Democrats. Let's enjoy a celebratory toast before we get the knives out.

        And before you count noses, remember some new faces -- of divergent political generations -- are getting reorg'd into the voting positions: Legislative District Committeeman and C'woman, and County C'man and C'woman.

        •  Keeping your powder dry, I see! (none)
          NO credit to crybaby Berendt...what an embarrassing performance on television.  Sheesh.  Not to mention the incompetence leading to huge fines by the PDC.  Paul has little support any more from the electeds in this state or from anyone who's paying attention or from anyone involed in any campaign for a presidential candidate other than Dean...THAT pre-primary endorsement by the chair was a divisive and huge mistake and helped Dean not at all.  We need new leadership...and badly.

          Tell me how you spend your time and how you spend your money -- I'll tell you what your values are.

          by oldpro on Thu Dec 23, 2004 at 12:35:28 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  8th Congressional District (none)
      Considering that Berendt was responsible for picking Dave Ross to lose in the 8th, after every major elected Democrat in the state had already endorsed Alben, I think Berendt will take some flak. Deservedly. Our Democratic Congressional delegation can't be thrilled with him, though I don't know how much they weigh in on this sort of thing.
      •  They only supported him because he wasn't crazy! (none)
        Listen, I know a lot of people are pissed off at Berendt about the Dave Ross thing, but you have to understand that Alex Alben was an abysmal candidate.  People jumped on board because they thought the seat was winnable (and it would've been if Ross had jumped in earlier and fundraised a bit more), and Alben was the only sane person running on the Dem side (which led to decent fundraising, which led to endorsements, etc).

        I think it was shown pretty well in the Primary that Alben would've been killed by Reichert in the General.  He didn't stand a chance.  Ross did, and Berendt understood this and took a risk.  This is what he was supposed to do as State Chair.

        On the flip side, I'd rather have Rodriquez as State Chair - I'm not a big fan of people crying on television.  ;)

        •  Abyssmal candidate? (none)
          Alben's main problem was name recognition. That being said, amongst those that knew who he was, he did extremely well.

          When the state party did a poll for Ross prior to him jumping into the race, it showed Reichert beating him. People knew who both candidates were and they preferred Reichert. That's the downside of high name recognition. There was very little room for him to grow but Ross' campaign did very little to get that small battleground. They coasted on name recognition through the primary and then assumed a huge Democratic tide would get him elected. Not to mention they let the GOP run ads uncontested painting Ross as a terrorist supporter.

          Alben's campaign wouldn't have made all those mistakes. And as he grew his name rec, he could've swayed voters who had already made up their minds that Ross was a wuss.

          --- My opinions are my own and not my employer's.

          by Aexia on Thu Dec 23, 2004 at 02:32:17 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  This diary is the one I recommended! (none)
    Great work during the entire process. Thank you for all the information.

    Is this the diary we can all celebrate and get drunk together on, or do we need to start a "mojo fest" elsewhere? Or would this be premature debauchery?

    "We live in a society exquisitely dependent on science and technology, in which hardly anyone knows anything about science and technology." - Carl Sagan

    by SeattleLiberal on Wed Dec 22, 2004 at 05:02:09 PM PST

  •  How exactly is the vote (none)
    conducted in Washington? What type of machines etc?
    •  where've you been, moon? (none)
      Click on the link to my previous diary, which contains links to earlier ones, and earlier ones, and earlier ones.  At various times, I talked about voting machine technology, the stages of the voting process in the state, and more.

      Alternatively, snoop around the Washington Secretary of State website.  It's an invaluable resource, with comprehensive (and comprehensible) explanatory information.

      You're only young once, but you can be immature forever -- Larry Andersen

      by N in Seattle on Wed Dec 22, 2004 at 07:07:10 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  KING5 11PM news promo (none)
    "Why the Republicans are scrambling to do what they criticized Democrats for doing."

    I like that.

    Susan in Port Angeles (my cat)

    by SusanHu on Wed Dec 22, 2004 at 09:30:37 PM PST

  •  This is good stuff (none)
    But where can we find a page describing the voting technology used in each county? Perhaps this will give us some hard evidence to help us generate ideas for election reform in general.
  •  Any news on the ~700 ballots today? (none)
    Are they being looked at as of 10 PST today? When do we expect final results released from King County?
    •  today (none)
      I think the Canvassing Board started their review at 10am.  I have no idea how long it might take, though I suspect that nearly all of these ballots will be clearly marked ... the dispute was about whether to look at them, not what was marked on them once they were validated.

      You're only young once, but you can be immature forever -- Larry Andersen

      by N in Seattle on Thu Dec 23, 2004 at 11:08:12 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  King County Uncounted Ballots Question (none)
    This is my first comment, so I hope I am following proper protocol, but I wanted to ask a question. I noticed that the last names of the people listed with uncounted King County ballots begin with "C". In other words, no last names with "A" or "B" were listed. I found this a bit confusing given that there were last names with "Z" and even "X" included. Does anyone have any idea how this might be explained? Here is the link to the list:
    •  My understanding is that (none)
      that was the FIRST list, which had 573 ballots/names on it, IIRC.  Then an election official noticed the same wierd thing, and checked into it, at which point they found the rest of the ballots from people with last names starting with A and B.  This is why there are now 700+ ballots to be recanvassed today.

      Sorry I don't have any links or refferences, I read this somewhere in somebody's comments yesterday, and also heard a similar account on the radio.

      Jon Stewart for President! C'mon, why not?

      by zarza tenaz on Thu Dec 23, 2004 at 12:57:06 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

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