Aluminum hats for all!

The folks at Sound Politics had some fun teasing me for my moment of post-election despair, in which I said “I cannot imagine being convinced that this was a free and fair election.” (I still can’t.) They called me aluminum hat boy.

That’s fine, fun is fun.

But looky what happens the moment the vote count doesn’t go their way:

What all this says about the credibility of our election system, should the favorite daughter of the Democrat machine which produced the 10,000 magical mystery ballots be declared the winner on the basis of these magical ballots, is for another day.

(Stefan… it’s the WIFI networks that are controlling our brains!!!)

Anyway, here’s what happened. The righty bloggers have been making the same projections I have. Only much more smugly.

Based on the distribution among the various counties of the ballots left to be counted, and the current vote margins therein, we were all projecting Dino Rossi to win by a 3000-plus vote margin. Not a comfortable victory but more than the 2000 vote spread that would trigger an automatic recount.

Our math is sound, and assuming the margins hold up and the numbers posted to the elections page on the Secretary of State’s web site are accurate, our projections should be sound too. But there was always something that made me suspect that the “Ballots Left to Count” numbers were estimates only:

Figures in the “Approx Ballots Left to Count” column are estimates only.

I might have missed this disclaimer entirely, if it didn’t appear prominently beneath a bold, red, all caps warning: “IMPORTANT: READ THIS FIRST!”

Of course Stefan and the other aluminum-hat-wearing whiners at Sound Politics were well aware that these were “estimates only.” In fact there was a discussion earlier today about Benton County overestimating the number by 2500 during the 2000 election.

So here’s where we stand. After today’s count, Gregoire is leading Rossi by 158 votes, while the projections still suggest a 1430 vote Rossi victory, and an automatic recount. But… adjust the ballots-left-to-count by 5000 in the right counties, and Gregoire keeps her lead.

So there’s the glimmer of hope some of you were asking for.


  1. 1

    Stefan Sharkansky spews:

    Now, now, aluminum hat boy, there’s quite a big difference between my comments raising questions about the credibility of the election system, and what you wrote: “I never accepted the legitimacy of W’s first administration and I will never accept the legitimacy of his second. At this moment, I cannot imagine being convinced that this was a free and fair election. Quite simply, I fear for our democracy.

    And yes, I accept that the Sec of State’s numbers are “estimates”. But an estimate of 11,000 that turns out to really be 21,000 is so faulty an “estimate” as to be unusable.

  2. 2

    Richard spews:

    Possible explanation for the “extra” 10,000 “magical mystery” ballots reported today from King County. I think that King County made a math error on 11/08/2004 and finally corrected it on 11/15/2004.

    After the Friday 11/05/2004 update report, King County said it had 119,000 ballots left to count.

    King County counted 63,439 ballots on Monday 11/08/2004. Here is the link to this story:

    However, after the Monday 11/08/2004 update report, King County said it had 46,000 ballots left to count.

    If the 119,000 ballot figure on 11/05/2004 were correct, then counting 63,439 ballots on 11/08/2004, should have made this figure to be 56,000 ballots.

    The difference is 10,000, and this same amount would have been underreported on the Wed 11/10/2004 (21,000 counted, 25,000 left) and Fri 11/12/2004 updates (14,000 counted, 11,000 left) as well.

  3. 3

    Goldy spews:

    Thanks for commenting Stefan… just enjoying a little fun at your expense. I stand by my previous remarks, and thus clearly empathize with your suspicions. I don’t sympathize with them, but I empathize.

    Nobody said these were good estimates, just estimates. I don’t think feeding us bloggers data is the primary focus of the vote counters. Nor should it be.

    Still, this projection game has been fun, and it’s driven a hell of a lot of traffic to our web sites, huh?

  4. 4

    Jenny spews:

    Speculation was always and is still entirely pointless. It’s clear now that all it’s good for is entertainment. You bloggers can play auditor and create all the spreadsheets and tables you want. Monitor every last ripple in the trends. But it’s entirely pointless. You can’t account for mystery factors which throw monkey wrenches into your pretend systems. This is a waste of time. Just sit back and comment on the show. No need to crunch numbers or bother with speculation.

  5. 5

    Ray spews:

    Republicans complain when democrats lead and vice versa. There are no differences between the parties’ practices — it’s just the situation that causes one side to claim “unfair” and threaten (or actually) sue.

  6. 6

    Al spews:

    Josef–being correct isn’t that important to me but…
    The P-I reported that of the 929 Provisional rejects in King County that were turned over to Berendt & the Dems, they have miraculously dredged up 400 affadavits & registration forms from these folks. I can almost guarantee they will be close to 100% for Gregoire. They also promise another 200 today. Hopefully they R’s will scrutinize them with a fine-tooth comb. If any are fabricated, someone needs to press charges and prosecute. OOPS, I forgot…Ms. Gregoire is the AG!!!
    Maybe we can have Co-Governors?

  7. 7

    Josef spews:

    First, I really don’t appreciate Stefan calling David an “aluminum hat boy”. I also don’t appreciate vice versa as I try to save my uncivil moments for cheerleaders of Yasser Arafat.

    Second, I remain cautiously optimistic that the votes all have proof they’re valid and that this mysterious balloon is nothing more or less than provisional ballots because then they’d have a paper trail as to where they’re from and who filled them out. In that case, I could easily accept the legitimacy of the election and withdraw previous commentary to the contrary.

    Third, as I type this, Mike Siegel of KTTH believes we are looking at a recount. He also reminded us all that tomorrow is the day the election results are certified, unless a recount is required. A recount that would start on Saturday until a week from THIS Wednesday. I, like many of’s readers, of course want Dave Ross’ viewpoint at 9 AM on 710 AM.

    My (hopefully more) respectful .02.

  8. 8

    Josef spews:

    I wanted to copy this from here to reassure fellow questioning, inquiring minds:

    “…I have no clue as to what experience you have, but with over thirty years of REPUBLICAN experience in campaigns in this state, starting in the days of the Pierce County Democrat Machine, heading up Youth for Reagan in that county in 1976, I will put my annual earnings up against you buying a cup of coffee that there is no fraud involved in these votes that appeared today. The simple and true explanation is that no one keeps an accurate count of ballots left to be counted, because there is too much other work to be gotten done.

    “Posted by Jim King at November 15, 2004 10:32 PM”

    Okay, I can go back to bed. We’re going to have a fair election (let’s hope).

  9. 9

    Josef spews:

    One more tidbit: If the ballots are w/in 200, then according to Paul Brendt there has to be a HAND recount that’ll delay things potentially a month.

  10. 10


    Election 2004 – Still In Progress
    Regardless of the conspiracy theories being promulgated about secret cabals controlling the outcomes in Ohio and Florida, there are actual elections stories that are still unfolding. Still no governor in Washington State with Democrat Gregorie taking a…

  11. 11

    Goldy spews:

    Josef… just to be clear… I don’t really mind Stefan calling me “aluminum hat boy.” I view it as good natured needling. And I’ve certainly dished out worse.

    As to conspiracies, I grew up in Philadelphia, a city which at the time had a corrupt Democratic machine. I worked at the polls. And this is not how you steal an election. Making votes disappear is a lot easier than manufacturing them. The GOP has lawyers watching the count just as closely as the Democrats are, and if there were irregularities, we’d be hearing about them.

    And keep in mind that there is indeed a paper trail for every single King Count vote. Furthermore, of the 16,922 ballots counted in King yesterday, 12,317 were provisional.

  12. 12

    Jenny spews:

    I can almost guarantee they will be close to 100% for Gregoire.

    Well, yes. If the party is doing it, I can guarantee they will be 100% Gregoire, not almost. The Republicans are doing the same thing.

  13. 13

    Bennington spews:

    No one can prove to me that all elections don’t have a tint of corruption until all votes cast can be shown to be counted and counted correctly by giving each voter a randomly numbered duplicate of their ballot, and posting the results, attached to the number on the internet.

  14. 14

    Mr. Cynical spews:

    Goldy—Here is a “what if”:
    “What if”, let’s say, an ardent Gregoire supporter went to a heavy Rossi County (like say Lewis) and went chasing after provisional ballot affadavits…knocking on doors & getting signatures and then failed to take them to the County Auditor. That voter is called by a Republican and tells the Republican he has already signed an affadavit.
    This is the problem with not requiring all questionable provisional voters to appear personally at the Auditors office to clear up their ballot. The problems that this election has uncovered are numerous.

  15. 16

    Goldy spews:

    “What if”, let’s say, an ardent Gregoire supporter went to a heavy Rossi County (like say Lewis) and went chasing after provisional ballot affadavits…knocking on doors & getting signatures and then failed to take them to the County Auditor. That voter is called by a Republican and tells the Republican he has already signed an affadavit.

    That would clearly be wrong — and I hope, illegal — regardless of which party did it. Just like it was wrong when GOP voter registration drives trashed the forms of those registering Democrat. (And I’m not so naive to think it never happened the other way as well.)

  16. 17

    rudy spews:

    Looking for corruption- staring us all square in the face. Black precinct in Clevland, one voting machine for over 1000 agitated voters. Long lines at late opening, in line 7 hours, poll closes 150 people still in line, cops on hand to tell people to go home. No need to be playing an exotic how is it done theory game- Ohio and Florida are factual demonstration prokectsof raw power and fear and intimindation and corrupt election officials.. And no one goes to jail, if fact they go to Congress, and better payings jobs. Makes me very angry. I grew up in old liberal Seattle where a 7 hour wait in a voting line would have had blacks, gays, wite union folk and enviros all in riot like lather.Lets use value words, righteous anger- Hey, Kark, I do remember Sunday school.