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November 23, 2004
WA governor's race: Almost can't look
Filed in: Current Affairs, Politics, WA Governor's Race

It's getting to be hold our breath time again.

As of this evening at Washington state SecState - final recounts are posted for all counties except for three: King, Kitsap, and Whitman.

In most counties, a statistically insignificant number of undervotes have been counted and Dino Rossi's lead has increased by 55 votes.

My turn to make some tables:

Secstatewarecount1

Brief analysis: This table suggests that Gregoire has on average (mean) received 0.11% (eleven one-hundredths of one percent) more undervotes relative to her total before the recount. The table also says that the difference in the values from the average (Standard Deviation) is also very small - which means that the error rate for machine reading and human intervention is extremely small.

The table also suggests that Rossi has on average (mean) received 0.07% (seven one-hundredths of one percent) more undervotes relative to his total count before the recount and that the delta between values for all reporting counties is even smaller than the Gregoire statistics.

It's also typical in numerical series to see wider variation in smaller samples - we see it here in Bennet's variance and standard deviation - but the values are still extremely small. These wider variations can also be seen in the smaller reporting counties - they contain the widest statistical variation in general.

What can we draw from this? Gregoire has, statistically, the better of it so far by a very, very small fraction. Rossi's gain (from predominately Republican counties) extends his lead to 316 votes.

Once again, we await the King county slug - which as you have seen from my post history - is where the real political slugfest is. Since it is the largest single sample for both candidates , we should be able to expect that the statistical variance will be overall closer to the rest of the state. But it is so close, so very very close (how close is it? It's so close that we'd need Dan Rather to come up with an appropriate appellation), that the statistics do us little good in really predicting anything.

Perhaps, what we can most glean from this exercise is that those counties with the largest samples (Pierce, Snohomish, and Spokane) that have already reported had identical variance (to two decimal places anyway) between each of the resulting undervote counts which occurred during the recount. We should expect the same to be true of King County - but it certainly isn't assured - and what that variance is impacts the vote difference the most and that could be most anything - up to 0.17% undervote increase for Gregoire without there being any 'mathematical' concern (anything much higher than that would be 'improbable').

If this were a sample of jellyfish population increase off the coast and these were our sample locations between point in time one and point in time two - we'd expect to see something like this:

Secsatewarecount2

- which gives the Rossi species a slight edge, but it wouldn't be out of the realm of possibility to see something like a 0.17% increase in the King County sample for the Gregoire species, and a 0.15% increase in the King County sample for the Rossi species and in that population statistic, the Rossi species would be outnumbered by 14, yep, count 'em 14.

Feeling the excitement yet?

The most concerning issue is that King County's recount is apparently being operated in a different fashion than the other counties - it's almost chads again - can you tell whether that pen mark that's outside of either oval is a vote for one or the other? Does it matter that the King County ballot says: "Fill in the oval completely. If you don't fill in the oval, your vote won't count."? And that in the absentee ballot case, at least, there are pictures of well filled out and not so well filled out ovals (including check marks) that instruct the voter how to fill out an optically scanned ballot and warn that it won't count if votes aren't properly selected.

We can only conclude what we already know and what every voter should be able to expect: it is oh so ever important that electoral sanctity be strictly observed - by everyone involved.



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» Washington Election Update from Digital Brown-Pajamas
Again, see Pull On Superman's Cape for a good update. Also, Democrat Party Chairman Paul Berendt still insistst there will be a hand recount of select counties if Rossi comes up the winner. [Read More]

TrackPulled on Nov 24, 2004 9:01:03 AM

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