We declared R-74 a definitive winner (yay!!) on Thursday. Rob McKenna conceded to Jay Inslee (yay, yay!!) on Friday. Yesterday, soon after we asserted that Kim Wyman had won (boo!) the Secretary of State race, Kathleen Drew issued her concession statement. That left only I-1240 as an undecided statewide issue … barely undecided, as it looked increasingly bleak for the opponents of
greedy school privatization charter schools.
After Saturday’s vote-count updates (only 6 counties, only 93,955 additional ballots), little has changed but much has changed. As on Friday, Yes on I-1240 is in the lead by a 50.8% to 49.2% margin. As on Friday, the estimation model suggests that those same numbers will be the final tally.
That’s the case even though Yes did worse on Saturday than its previous cumulative percentage in King, Kitsap, Kittitas, Pierce, Snohomish, and Whatcom Counties. In other words, in every county that updated on Saturday, the day-specific percent Yes was lower than the previous percent Yes. In fact, the No side got more votes than Yes on Saturday, thereby narrowing the absolute margin between the two sides. Unfortunately for those of us who oppose
profiteering by Gates, et al. charter schools, the absolute margin decreased by … 33 votes. In percentage terms, that’s 49.98% Yes to 50.02% No.
Obviously, it would take a long, long time to beat I-1240 if you’re eating into its lead (43,860 as of Saturday) by 33 votes per day. Over 1300 days, as a matter of fact.
Let’s look at it in a different way. The SoS estimates that there are still 275,250 ballots remaining to be counted, which would result in overall turnout of 79.8%. To overcome Yes‘s through-Saturday margin, the No side would have to win 58.0% of those votes. In the counting thus far, neither side has ever done better on a single day than 54.4% (No on Thursday, when just over 300,000 votes were tallied), so a percentage large enough to reverse the outcome is beyond implausible.
Now suppose the SoS’s estimate of remaining ballots is low. If there were actually 400,000 more ballots to be counted (turnout would then be 83.0%), No would need 55.5% of them to win the race. In the highly unlikely scenario where the estimate is way-low — 500,000 left to be counted, 85.6% turnout — it would still require 54.4% to overtake the Yes lead.
Thus, while the possibility of reversal cannot be ruled out in a mathematical sense, in the real world it can’t be done. To the detriment of public education in Washington, Gates ($3 million) and Walton ($1.7 million) and Allen ($1.6 million) and Bezos ($1 million) and Hanauer ($1 million) bought themselves an initiative.
For the record, Approve R-74 had a banner day on Saturday — 62.2%. Governor-elect Inslee picked up 56.1% of Saturday’s votes. And although she has conceded, Kathleen Drew won 54.1% of the day’s count.
Thus ends this series of daily updates. I hope to be back with more thoughts after it’s all said and done.