Thursday, November 15, 2012

No Matter How Many Times He Says It, Sam Reed Is Still Wrong: Moving the Ballot Deadline Cannot Possibly Speed Election Results

Posted by on Thu, Nov 15, 2012 at 3:12 PM

In this week's paper I explain—with numbers and everything!—why moving Washington's ballot deadline from postmarked by Election Day to received by Election Day (like Oregon) would not speed up our election returns. It just wouldn't. Check my math.

And yet, here's Secretary of State Sam Reed once again insisting it would, you know, just BECAUSE!

"It is just logical that if you get those ballots in earlier, you're going to be able to get more meaningful results earlier," Reed said on TVW yesterday. And yes. That does seem quite logical. Except it is a logical assumption that is demonstrably false.

The bottleneck isn't the ballot deadline, it's the ballot processing. We can't get through the backlog of Election Day ballots we already have.

If Reed was familiar with the ballot statistics I presume he'd come to the same conclusion. But then, if Reed was familiar with the ballot statistics he wouldn't have also erroneously asserted on TVW that "Oregon had something like 98 percent of its ballots counted by Friday, the state of Washington 65 percent."

In fact, Oregon had about 95 percent of its ballots counted by Friday, Washington about 88 percent. On that latter number, Reed isn't even close. And Washington could have easily matched Oregon's Friday percentage had our elections workers worked as many shifts as theirs did.

Secretary Reed has a well deserved reputation as a credible and trustworthy public servant, and I in no way mean to doubt his intentions. But his logical assumption is simply not supported by the data, and our media is doing the public a disservice by failing to challenge Reed on the facts.


Comments (11) RSS

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nedludd2 1
theirs not their's
Posted by nedludd2 on November 15, 2012 at 3:23 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 2
But Washington State USPS is totally different than Oregon USPS!

Because ... um.
Posted by Will in Seattle on November 15, 2012 at 3:29 PM · Report this
Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn 3
Why are these Oregon slaves working like that? To steal our jobs and ruin our economy? Like we needed more reason to hate them. California's Canada. That's all they are.
Posted by Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn on November 15, 2012 at 3:32 PM · Report this
Joe Szilagyi 4
Wouldn't this change also reduce voter turnout in effect from liberal King County, which tends to vote later?

Reed is a Republican. I smell a big dirty-as-fucking-John-Husted rat here. Goldy, am I wrong?
Posted by Joe Szilagyi on November 15, 2012 at 3:34 PM · Report this
rob! 5
Having watched that clip, I'm all nostalgic for the days of gentlemanly, honorable, Buddy Ebsen-ish Republicans instead of pyrotechnic fucktards.
Posted by rob! on November 15, 2012 at 3:36 PM · Report this
eVoting now!
Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://_ on November 15, 2012 at 7:01 PM · Report this
@4 It's all about reducing turnout. It's not a coincidence that the guy advocating for the change is a Republican and the guy advocating for mailing up until the last minute is a Democrat. Republicans are all about throwing obstacles in the path of voters to discourage turnout. Now, instead of mailing it on Election Day, we have to figure out when is our last day to mail it? And what the hell is the rush? Really. Who the hell cares at all if we're the last state to certify our election (which I don't think we are)? Who cares what the other states think of us? What is this garbage about "meaningful results"? "Oh my god! I can't sleep tonight because I don't know who's going to be Secretary of State!" Bloody garbage. Whenever someone starts appealing to your sense of shame and adequacy, it's total garbage. It's 100% a made-up crisis.

It's not about "meaningful results" and "voting efficiency". It's about voter suppression. Repeat after me: "Voter suppression."

I don't give a damn if it takes three months so long as turnout is as close to 100% as possible, and voting is as easy as convenient as possible. Right now, we have the most perfect system in the nation. We really do. That doesn't go well with Republicans because they want a bloody mess they can manipulate to their ends. Therefore, they want to make it as inconvenient as they can. That's all this is. Notice who's making an issue of it: Local media and Republicans. I rest my case.
Posted by floater on November 15, 2012 at 9:48 PM · Report this
Chelydra_serpentina 8
Stupid question from a Midwestern transplant: Are the ballots counted as they are received, or are they stored for counting on election day?
Seems like they'd have to either deal with leaks of results before E Day, or worry about a bunch of early ballots being stolen.

I just had a great idea for a heist film...
Posted by Chelydra_serpentina on November 15, 2012 at 9:59 PM · Report this
Ballots cannot be counted before election day. There was a lawsuit about 15 years ago in Pierce county where they were counting absentee ballots ahead of time so they could announce these results along with the results from the polling places on election night. Election workers can only verify signatures before Election Day, counting cannot happen until after the polls close.

Posted by donarb on November 15, 2012 at 10:35 PM · Report this

I don't support this idea at all, but Sam Reed played it straight down the middle back when Gregoire was involved in the closest race I can remember in the state with Dino Rossi - despite considerable pressure from local and national members of his party to tip the scales in Rossi's favor.

Posted by Mr. X on November 16, 2012 at 9:01 AM · Report this
Goldy 11
@8 @9 I have a detailed post (with pictures!) from last week in which I step you through the ballot counting process.

But in short, ballots are verified and scanned prior to election day, the data stored on a secure server. But the results are not tallied until election night. (That is, they run some code that tallies the results.) It's kind of a technicality, but apparently a legal one.
Posted by Goldy on November 16, 2012 at 9:40 AM · Report this

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