Thursday, November 27, 2008

 

Minnesota Senate... just a quick point

It is clear to me at this point that whoever does come out on top, no one can be 100% sure of the final result. Sure, this isn't Florida 2000, where no one really truly knows within 80% (different standards lead to different results). This is more an example of why should some absentee ballots be counted and some not? What is the determining factor of a person putting an identifying mark on a ballot? Who the heck are the lizards? and their men?

The fact is that when we are talking about margins below 1,000... below 500... below 250, we cannot be confident in our electoral system. No computer system... no optical scan system... not any system is full proof. And we'll just have to deal, and RESPECT the final result whoever it supports.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

 

You gotta love the Beltway Boys - Minnesota Senate

In the final few seconds of the Beltway Boys, Fred Barnes made two predictions: Coleman would hold on in Minnesota and Chambliss would win in Georgia. The argument for the latter was that African-American turnout would be down. History and polling suggests that Barnes is right. His argument for the latter was that even 215 votes would be too high to overcome as past election recounts have shown....

Right because Christine Gregoire didn't overcome a margin of 261 four years ago in Washington, which also uses optical scan ballots.

I'm not saying that Franken will definitely win... but the misinformation by the media of such a tedious process does us no favors.

Monday, November 17, 2008

 

Vanessa Sievers

I know Vanessa Sievers; Vanessa Sievers is a friend of mine; you press don't know Vanessa Sievers.

The negative press on Vanessa Sievers is an absolute joke. For those that don't know, the County Treasurer of Grafton County doesn't do very much (keeping tabs on all county money, making investments and making payments ordered by county commissioners). The salary isn't exactly high at a little over six grand. I have advised fellow classmates to higher earnings on Intrade.

The point is that a student who goes to a top 10 school in the nation and has experience in organizational financing should be able to manage the job. Heck, anyone who has managed any sort of checkbook should be able to handle the job.

I am not going to go over the edge and suggest that Vanessa is more qualified for the job than Carol Elliott. Clearly, someone who has served time as County Treasurer is more qualified for the job than someone who hasn't. Carol Elliott didn't do a bad job. From I can see, she did a pretty good job.

That said, elections aren't always about job qualifications. Sometimes elections are about sex (Tim Mahoney); sometimes about corruption (Ted Stevens), and sometimes about party label. In the case of Sievers, the election was about party label. Lincoln Chafee was defeated by Sheldon Whitehouse because he was a Republican. It wasn't the issues or the stances he defended.

The fact that many voters (over 1,000) in Hanover, NH skipped the County Treasurer race (http://www.sos.nh.gov/general2008/index.htm) suggests that this electoral victory by Sievers wasn't elected by "brainwashed" students who voted down ticket. Chances are that those students that didn't know about the race didn't vote.

Sure, some students voted on party label and party label alone. But as mentioned, this is many times the case. I personally feel that nothing is wrong with that. Party labels inform voters.

If Elliott was so against being judged by party label, then why be a Republican, when being a Democrat would guarantee victory?

 

Update to the Update

Alaska- "Begich wins!" will be the headline soon enough. Soon to be Senator Mark Begich leads by 1,022 votes with 24,000 votes left to be counted from Begich districts. Despite any possible recount, Begich is the winner... and Ted Stevens goes to jail.

Minnesota- 215 vote lead for Coleman going into an automatic hand recount beginning on Wednesday. Franken is hoping to get some disqualified absentee ballots counted before the recount commences. Probably not going to happen.. though I would be surprised if they eventually do get counted. Most would agree for reasons previously listed that any undervotes that are votes should for the most part help Franken. Do enough of these mistaken undervotes (versus people who actually didn't vote for the senate race) exist to put Franken over the top? I think so... but it will be mighty close.

Georgia- Same place as always. Runoff on December 2nd. Chambliss still the favorite.... for now.

Friday, November 14, 2008

 

What's the Bloody Point?

http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2008/11/14/101142/61/202/660858

Why? The primary is over. Clinton backed the heck out of Obama during the general. This sort of Clinton bashing on DKos suggests the main problem of the liberal blogosphere. They simply don't know when to quit.

Clinton's chance at Secretary of State are slim... so why alienate Clinton supporters. Dumb, dumb, dumb.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

 

Alaska and Minnesota Quick Updates

In Alaska, the Begich/Stevens senate race show should begin to reach a climax tomorrow. The state and its districts will begin to count the large majority of 90,000 absentee, early, and contested votes. Past analysis by Nate Silver (see below) indicates that the past rate of early/absentee/contested ballots going to Begich is probably enough to overturn the results. Further analysis by yours truly indicates that the majority of votes are in regions that are Begich strongholds (regions that include the Anchorage and Juneau metropolitan areas).
Begich has a little over 3,000 votes to make up.... we'll see if he can do it. Tossup.

In Minnesota, the recanvassing is done. Coleman holds a 206 vote lead out of nearly 3 million votes cast. A mandatory manual recount will commence shortly and will be completed sometime by the middle of December. The undervotes of past presidential (a vote for president but not for senate on a given ballot) is around 25,000 with undervotes including presidential (undervote of both presidential and senate) is around 2,500. The large majority of these votes are in Franken counties... which makes sense considering that undervotes meant to be a vote would be cast by the elderly, low educated, and first time voters.
I consider Franken a favorite.

Friday, November 07, 2008

 

So it will come to Georgia

Three Senate Races remain up in the air... Alaska, Georgia, and Minnesota. The first and last are already "decided" in the sense that the votes have been cast and merely need counting. The middle has a runoff in a little less than a month.

I believe that good reason exists that the Democratic candidates in both Alaska and especially Minnesota will emerge once all the votes are counted.

In Minnesota, Senator Norm Coleman declared victory and basically asked Comedian Al Franken to concede and forego a state mandated recount. Anyone can see past the politics of the move. At the time of this request Coleman lead by 700+ votes or .03% (much less than the .5% necessary for a state mandated recount), but since then Franken has closed the gap to 221 votes out of about 3 million cast. And this has nothing to do with a recount, it is merely counties rechecking their math (in one case a county gave Franken 100 less votes than he actually received). Conventional wisdom holds and I believe correctly that the vast majority of contested ballots were "Franken" ballots that were cast by the less educated and first time voters. Minnesota uses optical scan ballots and lord knows that someone checked Franken's name instead of filling in the bubble. Hand inspection of these ballots will show that the true intent of these ballots were voters wishing to vote for Franken.

In Washington, a similar recount four years ago allowed now re-elected Governor Christine Gregoire to overcome a similar deficit to Dino Rossi.

In Alaska, Senator and convicted felon Ted Stevens continues to maintain a small 3,200 vote lead over Mark Begich. The problem is that over 60,000 ballots remain uncounted. The vast majority of these ballots are absentee with some early votes and contested ballots as well. The vast majority of these ballots come from Begich's strongholds of Region I and II as compared to Stevens' Mat-Su region. Further analysis by Nate Silver (http://www.fivethirtyeight.com/2008/11/uncounted-votes-may-push-begich-past.html) suggests that if current trends hold Begich will overcome Stevens' lead and win by about 3,000 votes.

Way too close to call in Alaska, and anyone who knows the final outcome is either God or lying.

So it all comes down to Georgia... where we have a runoff on December 2nd between Republican incumbent Saxby Chambliss and Democratic challenger Jim Martin. Chambliss was held under the 50% margin necessary for a clean victory on election day, and the runoff seems to be a close one. Two general rules for runoffs. One, challengers usually benefit. Two, African-American turnout usually decreases. One benefits Martin and two benefits Chambliss. Which candidate supporters will be motivated and come out and vote? I don't know. But I do know that in the Republican state of Georgia, I would think that with the Libertarian off the ballot, the slight advantage must go to the incumbent Saxby Chambliss.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

 

If you switched Missouri and Indiana, credit not received

Larry Sabato called for Obama to receive 364 votes... Obama did receive 364 electoral votes. But he called Indiana for McCain and Missouri for Obama. So one mistake canceled out the other. You, in fact, got two states wrong, not one. You didn't nail the election. 48 out of 50 is really good... but it wasn't perfect.

Don't try to sell me.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

 

Really Norm? Let's go home kids

I'll be the first to admit that the Minnesota Senate Race was closer than I thought. I thought incumbent Norm Coleman would win by a small but solid 2 to 3 points. That said, the voters of Minnesota decided to give us what is at this point the closet senate race of 2008. 477 votes out of a little less than 3 million votes cast. The vote count changes a vote here and there every few hours.

Under Minnesota state law, a recount will occur, as is the case with any statewide election where the final result is within .5%. The final result of this election was .01!

According to the Secretary of State's website, Minnesota uses optical scan ballots. This will be no Florida 2000, but those ballots will definitely be open to some error.

I am of the belief that Coleman will probably prevail.... but I don't, and no one really knows, what will happen.

So what does Norm Coleman do? Support the recount? Well of course not. While he "supports" the right of Franken for to have the recount, he calls on him "to call it off". Keep in mind, that Franken doesn't have to ask for the recount... it just happens.

Like the winning team in a contested sports event, he wants to run on the bus and drive way.

Not going to happen Norm.

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