August 21, 2008
Confirming a Conservative Trend in Late Mail-In Ballots

I raised this issue in 2006: early mail-in ballots tend to favor Democrats, later mail-in ballots have a more conservative twist, especially in more competitive jurisdictions.

We have more proof of that from recent tallies since this year's Primary Night.

1) In Spokane County, Christine Gregoire led Dino Rossi by 3% after the vote count on the 19th. After later absentees have been added, Rossi know narrowly leads the overall count - meaning he did very well with those later voters.

2) In Snohomish County, Gregoire had a 6% lead on the 19th. Now it's already down to just over 4% and the county currently estimates an additional 40,000 ballots left to count.

3) Meanwhile, spot-checking some legislative races expected to be competitive this fall (but which lacked competitive primaries), Norma Smith is extending her lead in the 10th LD while Toby Nixon has closed much of the gap from Primary Night in the 45th.

The sheer weight of King County and its traditional tardiness in counting ballots means later statewide results cannot be trusted to help Republicans in the aggregate. But absent a major campaign event favoring a Democratic candidate in the closing days of a race, the margins should be expected to move in favor of Republicans in competitive races, especially in jurisdictions outside Seattle.

Something to keep in mind for November based on past precedent.

UPDATE: links fixed.

UPDATE II:
I almost forgot. The fact this later trend favoring Republicans is now occurring in our almost exclusively mail-in system - rather than in a combination of absentee and poll votes - precludes some lefty partisans from their fascinatingly Oliver Stone-like claim of "Diebold did it" as they did after 2004. Posted by Eric Earling at August 21, 2008 08:26 PM | Email This
Comments
1. Hey...don't forget Benton Co...

Net 11,000 plus votes for Rossi and growing daily. Could hit 70% percent by the time all the ballots are counted. R @66.3% to G @ 28.6%

FYI...That what Gregoire gets for not picking up the phone an calling the President of Avrea and saying we want your $4 Billion Plant expansion in Richland, Washington. Note: It would also bring over $10 million a year in tax revenue into Benton Co. public agencies...

Posted by: Glenno on August 21, 2008 08:36 PM
2. Eric -- you certainly picked up on a trend on this one. Gregoire's statewide lead is down from about 4.0% to 3.2%. Although there are too many variables to be certain.

And the Rossi margin that Glenno is so proud of in Benton County certainly seems a bit larger than what I have from election night -- 65.43% to 29.21%. Benton had 21,828 ballots counted election night, and now has 29,392 ballots counted. So I think the additional 7,564 ballots would have needed to be about 69% Rossi to 27% Gregoire to produce this result.

Whether conservative voters will also send in their ballots later in November remains to be seen.

Posted by: Richard Pope on August 21, 2008 08:55 PM
3. It would be nice if our secretary of state website would show the number of ballots or percentages yet to be counted in each area.

Not that I don't trust the King County Vote finding department, but hopefully we have seen the last of them.

Posted by: gs on August 21, 2008 09:02 PM
4. Unfortunately, the trend did NOT hold in the Sheriff race, and we got Lovick. Of course, that is not a partisan position, and people actually bought that crap about him being tough on crime, despite the fact that he signed onto every lenient bill for sex offenders brought up, and even voted for felon work release.

Of course, that the media doesn't cover this stuff doesn't help either.

Val Stevens is up to 58 percent over Walser's 42 percent, a huge lead, but one wonders how much of this is conservatism, and how much of it is people reading the facts about Fred Walser in the piece the state GOP sent out late last week (it arrived in my mailbox on Monday).

Posted by: pudge on August 21, 2008 09:25 PM
5. Is there a way to have other counties collectively refuse to report their final vote totals until King County has ?

This would be one measure to ensure more fair elections - I realize that nothing can guarantee it though. It would probably have to come from the Sec. of State though - which gives it virtually no chance of happening.

Posted by: KS on August 21, 2008 09:36 PM
6. No county should report until all counties are finished

Posted by: gs on August 21, 2008 09:59 PM
7. Remember, even if 115% of the late votes from a Republican county are for Rossi, there's no need to file a lawsuit. Only King County could ever possibly commit fraud.

If she beats him in Spokane County, that will just about kill you, right?

Posted by: tensor on August 21, 2008 11:46 PM
8. Here is what Pope said after Election Night over at HA:

"28. Richard Pope spews:
"I just typed everything into an Excel spreadsheet. If the numbers in each county are adjusted to reflect the same turnout percentage in each county, then Gregoire beats Rossi by 50.49% to 43.97%, with 5.54% going to other candidates."

Ummmmmm, hate to break this to you Richard but your prognosticating skills, among other things, are a bit askew.
The current count is actually closer than election night...
48.88% to 45.65%

Perhaps you ought to ask for your money back on that Chinese knock-off Excel Spreadsheet you are using.

Posted by: Mr. Cynical on August 22, 2008 03:05 AM
9. Some of us still have a bad taste in our mouth in Pierce County. We had a problem with a previous auditor that liked to count votes early and in secret. Myself and most of the people I know will not turn in ballots until election day.

Posted by: Vince on August 22, 2008 04:55 AM
10. Spinning to win is akin to listening to false prophets, but alas some need to hang on those hopes...nothing wrong with that, however. :)

Posted by: Duffman on August 22, 2008 05:25 AM
11. Hi Vince-

re: Regarding early counting (@9)

Excellent point.

Jurisdictions have been caught doing "cheat peeks" of the mail ballot vote results before election day.

I am utterly opposed to counting mail ballots before election day. My opponent, the incumbent Secretary of State, champions counting ballots beforehand.

A major part of the business case for King County Elections transition to vote-by-mail is "preprocessing" ballots before election day. This includes scanning ballot images into the database and "electronical adjudication", where ballots are corrected to comply with voter intent. KCE and the SOS's Office argue that although votes are recorded in the database, ballots aren't actually "tabulated" until a summary report is run. (I've gone around and around with the office of SOS on this very point; I fear the incumbent does not understand how the computers actually work.)

The incumbent SOS even misused his rule making authority to modify state law to make a fictional distinction between "preprocessing" and "final tabulation".

(I know that at least some of Washington's counties currently "preprocess" mail ballots, though I haven't done a survey.)

At the risk of repeating myself:

I am for protecting our democracy by restoring the integrity of our elections.

The incumbent, through words and deeds, continues to undermine election integrity and therefore threatens our democracy.


Cheers, Jason Osgood

Democrat for Secretary of State

Posted by: Jason Osgood on August 22, 2008 05:39 AM
12. Okay, Jason, answer this one. What is or was your opinion of the voter fraud in King County during the '04 election and what would have been your position as SOS with the added benefit of hindsight?

What would you have done then and what are you proposing to do now if elected?

Posted by: swatter on August 22, 2008 07:20 AM
13. Tensor, I really think you just don't get it. There have been thousands of comments posted here by conservatives regarding election integrity. The upshot of those comments has demonstrated that no matter what party, if any county presents more votes than registered voters, it should be investigated and corrected, period. But you would rather just slam conservatives or Republicans than make any kind of thoughtful statement on this point. Get a grip. This is only the primary. We all knew the top two would be Gregoire and Rossi, and are now just speculating about trends. November is the time to get your panties in a twist.

Posted by: katomar on August 22, 2008 07:51 AM
14. Since 2004, our ballots don't hit the REMOTE drop box until 7:45 (15 minutes before deadline) on election day.

This year:
The drop box was overflowing.
Cars were lined up behind me.

I drove over to the library and it was the same thing. Folks don't trust King County finding out how many ballots they need to find to throw an election.


Posted by: Andy on August 22, 2008 07:55 AM
15. Eric/Richard

Something more to think about...

Benton Co.
2004 Primary Final
G=7,186
R=15,858
Net Difference:8,672

2008 Primary Election Night
G=6,327
R=14,171
Net Difference: 7,844


2008 Primary Current (8/21)
G=8,410
R=19,491
Net Difference: 11,081

Note: 11,081 is the largest net difference of any County for Rossi...Reason why? Gregoire couldn't pick up the phone...

Posted by: Glenno on August 22, 2008 08:08 AM
16. My cubby mate mailed his Friday and we dropped ours off Tuesday morning at a dropoff point. All three were counted only yesterday. Now, that is a track record any bank would be proud of.

Posted by: swatter on August 22, 2008 08:15 AM
17. My particular pet peeves:

Jason, will you improve the database scrub to keep convicted felons who have not had their voting rights restored from re-registering? Are you going to advocate for voting rights restoration before the completion of a felon sentence, to make your job easier? Will you actively work to require proof of citizenship to register to vote; including revoking all current registrations; requiring proof of citizenship to re-register and then legal identification to cast a vote?

These items actually represent "protecting our democracy by restoring the integrity of our elections." Our current RINO Secretary of State lacks the testes necessary to even try to accomplish these badly needed reforms.

Will you?

Thanks for stopping by SP. Pity your opponent doesn't have the time or whatever to follow suit.

Posted by: Hinton on August 22, 2008 08:16 AM
18. Jason Osgood - I also thank you for stopping by, and would also like to read your answers to swatter @12 and hinton @17. Thanks.

Posted by: Palouse on August 22, 2008 08:48 AM
19. I have asked Jason Osgood to tell us about his views regarding illegal voters: noncitizens, etc. He has not responded to that, either, because he obviously does not wish to do anything to stop illegal voters. IN FACT, Osgood has come out AGAINST voter database purging, which is absolutely ESSENTIAL to election integrity.

At least Reed has done some massive and much-needed purging of the rolls, even if Hinton won't give him a jot of credit.

Posted by: pudge on August 22, 2008 09:14 AM
20. Now if all the late votes favor Rossi, one wonders if in November the King County vote "finders" will be so dilligent.

Posted by: pbj on August 22, 2008 09:41 AM
21. Why isn't Dino Rossi going to the Republican National Convention? He didn't have a problem going in 2004.

Could Rossi be scared of getting chummy with McCain? No one want to hang out with a looser.

Posted by: Cato on August 22, 2008 10:35 AM
22. Cato, Washington not being a battleground state have something to do for it? I predict the Rs will be energized after their convention and the Ds so-so. I also predict the coronation of the DalaiBama to be called a dud within two weeks of the happening. In other words, we are "on to him", as in "fool us once, shame on you, fool us twice, shame on me". Or, are you in the second boat?

I also think Rossi is going to work harder this time. Last time, he was so far behind it was hard to be excited. Knowing he got cheated last time, he is working that much harder.

Posted by: swatter on August 22, 2008 10:45 AM
23. I agree and not only is Rossi working harder, Rossi supporters are working harder, hence the 3 point narrowed margin this season.

Democrats are so sure their queen well be crowned, they do not even see the train a coming down the tracks.

Posted by: gs on August 22, 2008 11:57 AM
24. I've been noticing a trend among all the posts concerning the primary here in WA. People in many places are waiting till the last minute to cast their ballots. This grassroot action will tend to negate the early tallying of ballots by some jurisdictons and will make King County have to work all that much harder to generate "found" ballots.
Talking to people about the Gov race the one line I keep hearing is "I stopped being for her when she said last time: 'We keep counting until I win!'" Ancedotal? Sure. But there is still a bad taste in voter's mouths from 2004.
As to purging can we do it ourselves by doing what is necessary to make sure we and those we know update their own info? Peer pressure and all that. Maybe even stickers to wear that say: "I made sure my voting info is accurate!" Anyone know?

Posted by: Victor on August 22, 2008 12:37 PM
25. 16. My cubby mate mailed his Friday and we dropped ours off Tuesday morning at a dropoff point. All three were counted only yesterday. Now, that is a track record any bank would be proud of. Posted by swatter at August 22, 2008 08:15 AM

Tell us (ok, ME) again where we can find that info, please.

Posted by: Ragnar Danneskjold on August 22, 2008 12:38 PM
26. re: 2004 in hindsight (@12)

I'll answer this in full later. Please check back.

re: Maintaining the voter database (@19)

Pudge, I am utterly committed to ensuring that only eligible voters are issued ballots.

I've spoken with concerned parties from both the left and the right (e.g. Jonathan Bechtle). I believe that I have a solution that will satisfy everyone's concerns.

How I'll do this requires a much longer reply. I'm developing the language as part of my platform. So please check back.


Cheers, Jason Osgood


Democrat for Secretary of State.


PS- You've previously advocated "better DREs", with no proposal for how that'd be done. (DRE = direct recording electronic, like the Diebold touchscreens.)

My conclusion is that DREs cannot protect voter privacy and make a public vote count impossible. Therefore, the DREs are incompatible with democracy.

Did you see this article in Scientific American: Planning to E-Vote? Read This First. It's a good summary of the issue.

Posted by: Jason Osgood on August 22, 2008 01:42 PM
27. I look forward to the replies too.

Posted by: Stuart Jenner on August 22, 2008 01:50 PM
28. Jason Osgood:

Pudge, I am utterly committed to ensuring that only eligible voters are issued ballots.

I don't believe you. If this were true, you would be applauding Sam Reed's purging of the voter rolls, rather than condemning it. I look forward to seeing you attempt to reconcile this statement with your attack on Reed.


You've previously advocated "better DREs", with no proposal for how that'd be done.

Of course I did. I gave at least two big changes that need to happen: they should be open sourced, and the interfaces need a complete overhaul. There's more, but those are good places to start.


My conclusion is that DREs cannot protect voter privacy and make a public vote count impossible. Therefore, the DREs are incompatible with democracy.

Your conclusion is borne from extreme ignorance. NONE of the problems mentioned in that article are inherent to DREs. They are ALL specific to the implementation, and therefore it is fallacious to draw conclusions about DREs in general from those implementation details.

Are you in favor of broadly available mail voting? You say DREs are incompatible with democracy in part because they cannot protect voter privacy (which is not true), but voting by mail (or from home in any way) is a much greater potential violation of privacy, as it makes every vote subject to the undue influence of others.


You also still have not addressed the fact that barcodes on ballots DO NOT necessarily violate voter privacy, so long as they cannot link a specific ballot to a specific voter.

Posted by: pudge on August 22, 2008 02:13 PM
29. Jason, I am not so mean-spirited as other posters, so I would like a reasoned response.

I voted Reed in the primary mainly because no one else made a "sale" they would do better. Comments like above make me think that maybe Reed needs to make a better case. I hate that nastiness displayed by said poster.

Posted by: swatter on August 22, 2008 03:35 PM
30. Pudge @ 28. I totally agree that just printing a barcode on a ballot does not violate voter privacy.

I further agree that printing a UNIQUE barcode does not necessarily violate privacy...

However, is the risk/reward is worth it? It is far too easy to match a unique barcode with a voter ID when stuffing the envelopes... or when the ballot is opened.

That is exactly what one of Reed's stupid products did (does?) in San Juan. The "votehere" product (renamed several times to protect the guilty?) matched barcodes during the stuffing of the envelopes and again during counting.

When a company knows your voter ID, your ballot ID and has a scanned digital image of your ballot... do you trust them not to peek??

Posted by: Eric Oemig on August 22, 2008 03:58 PM
31. Jason, is there some reason you skipped over my questions?

Posted by: Hinton on August 22, 2008 05:55 PM
32. Agree with Vince, many of us here in Pierce County are afraid to send in our ballots early in fear they will be lost, tossed or shredded. It actually is surprising how many people feel this way. I guess there a lot of people who remember the old days with Cathy Pearsall Stipek.

Posted by: Vicki on August 22, 2008 09:02 PM
33. Eric Oemig:

However, is the risk/reward is worth it? It is far too easy to match a unique barcode with a voter ID when stuffing the envelopes... or when the ballot is opened.

Well, not really, since no one is allowed to handle ballots on their own, so it would (should?) actually be quite difficult to do that, unless it was already a part of the process (which, of course, it shouldn't be, and doesn't have to be). But more to the point (for me), if you want to have that discussion, fine; my main concern here is less with the barcodes and more with Jason Osgood's lack of understanding/honesty on the issue, when he says that a unique barcode is necessarily a violation of privacy.


swatter:

I am not so mean-spirited as other posters

You don't give yourself enough credit, swatter, as usual.

Posted by: pudge on August 22, 2008 11:02 PM
34. "At least Reed has done some massive and much-needed purging of the rolls, even if Hinton won't give him a jot of credit."

I'm sorry, Pudge, but I have absolutely zero interest in supporting, or giving credit to, an "at least" candidate when there is so much more he can do.... so much more he COULD do, so much more the people WANT him to do, if he gave a DAMN about electoral integrity... which his inaction clearly proves he does not.

"Election reform" without requiring proof of citizenship and legal ID to vote is no election reform at all. In fact, it's the electoral equivalent of giving illegal aliens amnesty without building border fences.

I damned sure did not wear a uniform for 14 years so that illegal aliens and non-American citizens could vote in our elections, and Reed hasn't done a damned thing to stop THAT.

Further, Reed's sniveling about felon voting sickens me. Clearly, he has never been a crime victim, or else, perhaps, he would have a different view.

But Jason, I need your answers here. Otherwise, I, and many others wise enough to refuse to vote for that clown we currently have will just be sitting this one out.

Posted by: Hinton on August 23, 2008 12:43 AM
35. Hinton:

I have absolutely zero interest in supporting, or giving credit to, an "at least" candidate when there is so much more he can do

Yes, I know, you dislike Reed so you won't give him any credit, even when it's deserved. That's what I said.

"Election reform" without requiring proof of citizenship and legal ID to vote is no election reform at all.

That's not true, obviously. While I agree with you we need to do more, we know for a fact that we have a lot of people voting illegally that his reforms will stop, or make significantly more difficult.

Further, Reed's sniveling about felon voting sickens me. Clearly, he has never been a crime victim, or else, perhaps, he would have a different view.

I disagree. By the same logic you use here, someone could say, "Hinton's views on welfare sicken me. Clearly, he has never been poor, or else, perhaps, he would have a different view." Having a view based on principle doesn't necessarily imply anything about experiences.

I, and many others wise enough to refuse to vote for that clown we currently have ...

Hinton, it's a bit unhinged of you to admit that you refuse to give Reed credit for things he's done, and then claim you're wiser than me. Just sayin'.

Posted by: pudge on August 23, 2008 07:08 AM
36. Yes, I know, you dislike Reed so you won't give him any credit, even when it's deserved. That's what I said.

Yes, I know... you're so enamored of Reed that you support him even in the face of his consummate failure to do all that he should do. That's what I said.

That's not true, obviously. While I agree with you we need to do more, we know for a fact that we have a lot of people voting illegally that his reforms will stop, or make significantly more difficult.

That's not true, obviously. Reed's "reforms" will stop no illegal alien or non-citizen from voting, and we know for a fact that we have a lot of people under one or the other classification doing just that: voting illegally.

I disagree. By the same logic you use here, someone could say, "Hinton's views on welfare sicken me. Clearly, he has never been poor, or else, perhaps, he would have a different view." Having a view based on principle doesn't necessarily imply anything about experiences.

I disagree. Since when I was a child, I, in fact, was a product of the welfare state; my conservative views on the subject are a TOTAL result of my "experiences." And since Reed offers absolutely NO justification for his rabid leftist stance on felon voting, I stand by my position: Had Reed or one of his family or even an acquaintance suffered at the hands of a felon, he wouldn't be so fricking quick to attempt to reduce his job responsibilities by giving felons the vote before they have completed ALL of their sentence.

Hinton, it's a bit unhinged of you to admit that you refuse to give Reed credit for things he's done, and then claim you're wiser than me. Just sayin'.

Pudge, it's a bit unhinged of you to admit that you refuse to hold Reed accountable for things he's failed to do, and then attempt to spin his failures like this. Just sayin'.


Posted by: Hinton on August 23, 2008 09:21 AM
37. Hinton:

Yes, I know... you're so enamored of Reed that you support him even in the face of his consummate failure to do all that he should do.

You are lying by saying I am enamored with him.

And in the absence of someone better, yes, I will support him.


That's not true, obviously.

Hinton, you know damned well that this will prevent lots of dead, felon, nonresident, etc. voters from being able to vote.


Pudge, it's a bit unhinged of you to admit that you refuse to hold Reed accountable for things he's failed to do, and then attempt to spin his failures like this.

You are lying again. I never refused to hold him accountable for his failures, nor did I spin them. Talking about good things he's done is not ignoring his failures. I even stated, several times, that I agreed with you on some of his failures.

Posted by: pudge on August 23, 2008 02:56 PM
38. Hi Hinton-


I'm not ignoring your questions. I'm working on my platform. Perhaps incorrectly, but I grouped your concerns under the voter registration database topic.


Cheers, Jason

Democrat for Secretary of State

Posted by: Jason Osgood on August 25, 2008 07:53 AM
39. Yeah Hinton, he's not ignoring your questions, he's ignoring MY questions. :-)

Posted by: pudge on August 25, 2008 02:13 PM
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