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Fun with Excel on Simple Majority

November 13th, 2007 by Steven Gardner

Everyone else is chomping on nails awaiting the final vote tally for the simple majority measure. But not I, no.

Thanks to Excel, I’ve calculated the final vote for the issue. Based on the votes left to count and where they’re coming from, I can scientifically predict the simple majority measure will win by 9,947 votes.

This is calculated by taking the number of votes left in each county, assuming everyone of those ballots will include a vote on the measure and using existing percentages to predict how the votes will go. Then I added the “yes” and “no” votes and came up with the total.

The problem in my count, however, is that late votes have been trending toward the “yes” vote than they did initially. The final margin could be significantly higher than 10,000. The Sound Politics entry mentioned in the previous post suggests the “yes” campaigners got to the late voters much better than the “no” camp.

Even if there were no King County votes left to count, the measure would still pass statewide. The votes still uncounted in King County would be a positive for simple majority by more than 5,000 votes, according to my math. But take those away and it doesn’t come close to overturning the apparent victory for the “yes” voters.

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11 Responses to “Fun with Excel on Simple Majority”

  1. Kathryn Simpson Says:

    Steven,

    I’ve been playing with EXCEL on this for four or five days now. I did the same thing with the Governor’s race in 2004. Kinda fun, but I like this result better than 2004. I am a Rossi supporter and a 4204 supporter.

    Once the numbers came in on Saturday, it was looking very optimistic for the YES campaign. Today has been more positive than I anticipated.

    I would agree with the analysis that the “YES” campaigners got to the late voters and made it swing. Those phone bankers are the unsung heroes of this election!

    I did my math similarly to yours, but since neither of us factored in whether rural or urban precincts in King County still have greater numbers left to count, I’m going to hedge my numbers and say YES will prevail with a margin of about 8,000; give or take 2,000.

    How’s that for sloppy math?

    Regards,
    Kathryn Simpson

  2. Mary Colborn Says:

    My son was probably one of those yes voters. I waited too late to send him his ballot and had to overnight it. We filled him in on the issues and he said that a simple majority made sense. We debated a bit over what was truly democratic, but in the end he said he felt that it was. I’ve always been proud of how he reasons things out and enjoys voting. He hasn’t missed an election yet, even these little ones. His ballot should have come in by now.

  3. Gary J Says:

    Another prediction: When 4204 passes, she school levies demanded, and the property taxes levied will be the highest in the history of the state. The school districts will go hog wild.

  4. Roger Gay Says:

    I did no Excel calculations, but I know if 4204 passes I will for the first time actively campaign against levies and bonds. The State must be forced to fully fund K-12 and remove unfunded mandates. The school district will have to come up with rock solid logical reasons for levies and bonds without the emotional “it’s for the kids” campaign. I forsee organized resistance against future levies and bonds because of the passing of 4204. Look at the percentage diffence in Kitsap County between For and Against. It wil be interesting.

  5. Mike Eliason Says:

    Glad to know I’m not the only ‘nut’ who plays statistician.

  6. Kathryn Simpson Says:

    Roger,

    You may think this odd, but organized resistance and debate about the merits are a good by-product of 4204.

    If the levy has merit, it should pass muster and scrutiny. If it doesn’t, then voters shouldn’t pass it. Healthy debate separates the wheat from the chaff. Sometimes though, we have thrown out wheat because a minority just doesn’t want any more tax-regardless of the merit.

    4204 causes both sides to have to debate the issues and rally the majority to their side.

    By the way, just a reminder, 4204 changes levy votes to simple majority. School construction bonds will still require a super-majority of more than 60%.

    Regards,
    Kathryn Simpson

  7. Tom Rosendale Says:

    I did some quick calculations on the 8th and figured the difference would be less than 1%. I then added in the unscientific ‘King County factor’ of curious voting procedures and I was pretty sure it would pass.

  8. John Says:

    You could do a quick estimate in your head on monday to see that King county would push it over to the accept side. If I had known we would be posting guesses I would have made an estimate then.

    I did not read the entire bill, and there is no media coverage on this aspect, but if the minimum number of voter requiremenet has also been removed, the people who stayed away to invalidate a levy will now vote no.

  9. Francis Kaner Says:

    It’s about time! Thanks to all who voted yes, and to those who put in countless hours on the campaign.

    To clear up any misconceptions on absentee/mail in voting:

    You need not “overnight” a ballot. (I’m not sure of Mary meant that she overnighted it TO her son or FROM him) As long as it’s postmarked on election day, you’re fine.

    From The WA Secretary of State:

    “Election officials in Washington State continue to count valid absentee ballots returned after an election as long as they are either postmarked, or signed and dated, no later than election day. Absentee ballots may be returned up to 10 days after a primary election or special election, and 21 days after a general election.”

    http://www.secstate.wa.gov/elections/military.aspx

  10. Roger Gay Says:

    It will be interesting to see how the numbers change for how many registered voters actually vote in the future. If I remember correctly the majority of the time less than 50% of registered voters actually take the time to vote. A vocal minority can cost the homeowner and taxpayer significant money. It will be even more interesting to see the “wish list” I can see being created in the school districts mind right now. I think between the school district, the Bethel Improvement District, and the Port of Bremerton the taxpayer in South Kitsap had better wake up or be prepared to empty their wallets. It is just a matter of time.

  11. Bob Meadows Says:

    Do you think the “simple majority” rule will make it easier for the state to do things like this rather than change the status quo for school funding, no matter how many lawsuits like that of the Federal Way school district come along?

    Nov. 14, Kitsap Sun, page A6:
    “THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
    OLYMPIA — Washington’s new paid family leave law should be financed by the state government’s tax surplus for the first four years, a state task force suggested Wednesday.”

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