Tuesday, September 4, 2012

state of play

Empty ovals
The instructions on the ballots say that write-ins, to be counted, must fill in the little oval at the end of the write-in name space.  But the law governing elections says, no you do not have to fill in the oval.

We have heard that some vote counters were confused about the unfilled ovals on write-ins.  It seems quite possible Annette may have lost votes because of this confusion.

It also obviously doesn't reflect very well on the Secretary of State Condos or the lawyer in charge of elections, Kathy Sheele to have created this confusion.


As earlier reported the official vote tally is:

  • 993 total Prog ballots pulled
  • 371 votes for Abbott
  • 354 votes for Smith
  • 28 votes for other write-ins
  • 240 ballots, by inference, where the governor line was blank

The law (17 V.S.A. § 2601) states that a candidate can call for a recount only

if the difference between the number of votes cast for a winning candidate and the number of votes cast for a losing candidate is less than two percent of the total votes cast for all the candidates for an office
At this moment,

  • total votes for governor = 753
  • percentage for Abbott = 371/753 = 49.27%
  • percentage for Smith = 354/753 =  47.01%
  • difference between Smith and Abbott = 2.26% which is too much for a recount. 

But if, as looks likely,  9 Annette votes in Walden were uncounted, the difference becomes 1.18% and a recount could be demanded.

As you can see,  there were in theory 240 Progressive ballots turned in where there was no vote for governor at all, neither Abbott nor Smith nor any other write-in.  Maybe that is exactly what happened. But it's also possible that there were towns where, as has been reported to us, the vote counters did not understand that a write-in vote does not require the little oval to be filled in.  

We heard of other problems too.  In one town, write-ins for Annette seem to have been recorded as for Lieutenant-Governor, not Governor.  Other towns where no write-ins were recorded even though people have informed us that they wrote in Annette.  

Unreported GOP or Dem write-ins 
If you decided to pull a Democratic ballot, perhaps to vote in the highly contested AG race, but you wrote in Annette or anyone else for governor, your preference was not recorded.  Around 1,200 Dem ballots had write-ins for gov, but who were they for?  Annette Smith?  Porky Pig?  In order to find out, we will have to go back over 5 huge boxes full of returns and count the Dem and Rep write-ins ourselves.

This is exactly what we mean to do but many hands would make light work.  Get in touch if you have time to help tabulate.  Rate of pay:   12 chads per hour.


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