Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Did Bergel Voters Vote For Arroyo? For Albin?

Because Humboldt County's elections office allows citizens to see results ballot by ballot, as all elections offices should, we in Humboldt can actually see how the group that voted for one choice voted for other choices.

I haven't had a chance yet to generate exact numbers, so I'm going to round all numbers here to the nearest ten.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Early Eureka Results

Since one race was close, I wanted to put the following up, although I will be working to further examine the results for the next few days. If anyone has questions, I can be contacted as mjtrac on gmail.  There will  probably be a few further adjustments, but they should only be by two or three votes.  Let me stress that this is basically confirmation of the elections office counts.  There will almost certainly be a few minor adjustments to these numbers.

Prior to checking for overvotes, TEVS counted the following in the close Eureka City Council race:

 count |  choice_text  
  3364 | KIM_BERGEL     (adj. to 3361, see below) (county result 3359)
  3316 | MIKE_L_NEWMAN   (adj. to 3309, see below) (county result 3313)
    36 | Write-in   

The following images, on inspection, are overvotes that can be awarded to one or the other of the candidates, but were initially counted by TEVS (pre-overvote processing) as votes for both candidates:

66659, to Newman
17223, to Bergel
68415, to Bergel
23005, to Bergel
74843, to Bergel
16245, to Bergel
65199, to Bergel
65265, to Bergel
19767, to Newman
16717, to Newman

This reduces Bergel's count by 3, to 3361, and reduces Newman's count by 7, to 3309.  68415 is the most error-prone, where the mark is strong for one candidate, but the strong mark has a "NO" next to it and the weak mark has an arrow pointing to it. I considered it a vote for Bergel, but others may disagree, thinking that the NO and the arrow are meant to say NO to Bergel.

This is the sort of ballot that probably makes most elections officials hope the contests will never be decided by one vote.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Nov 2014 In Progress

Project volunteers finished scanning the last of Humboldt's 38K ballots on Friday, the day after the last set of ballots was provided to us by the county elections office.  Ballot images have been sorted into precincts for anyone who wants to count off the images, and I'm running software to generate an independent computer result, which ought to be available before Thanksgiving.

This election is notable for the narrow lead in one Eureka city council race, where the lead flipped between election night and the count of the last ballots.  This sort of close race highlights the importance of being certain that every vote was properly counted.  It also shines light on the oddness of election night "horse race" coverage, since, among other things, many ballots remain sealed inside envelopes for days after election night, awaiting the slow, ballot-by-ballot process of envelope signature validation.

It should also highlight the importance of allowing a citizens' group direct access to the cast ballots to allow them to create images, with non-elections equipment, digitally sign them, and confirm the elections office count.  Elections only work well when the loser is satisfied that the count was fair.