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Blank Ballot

Of Lake County’s 6,053 uncounted ballots in the Controller’s race, past results suggest that 8% of them will look like this guy’s: BLANK! They won’t contain a vote for ANY of the six candidates. That’s because some people are LESS INTERESTED in the Controller’s race than, say, the Governor’s race. Strange, I know — but true!

I love Scott Lay’s work and I have great respect for John Hrabe’s.  But Lay is now predicting that, if the Election Day turnout in Lake County holds, John Perez beats Betty Yee by 13 votes.

He’s wrong — for one likely reason and one dead-certain one.

To be clear: I’m not saying that it’s impossible that John Perez will come back and beat Betty Yee prior to any recount.  I’m just saying that he won’t do so if he matches his Election Day results, wherein he beat Yee by a margin of 30.8% to 16.2%.

But let’s take a step back.  The first reason that Perez won’t beat Yee — the merely “likely” reason– is that Perez won’t match his Election Day results.  Lake County is just at the FENU stage, with 38.42% of its total cast ballots still uncounted.  As I recall it’s uncounted total is about 87% VBM ballots — not Election Day ballots (for the most part, anyway).  Logically, they could match the Election Day results — they could even be unanimously for Perez — but they mostly didn’t come in on Election Day and there’s no reason to think that that’s an appropriate model to use.

But let’s say that those 6053 outstanding ballots were all from a population with characteristics matching that of the voters who came out on Election Day.  Hrabe (who says that the outcome is in doubt) and Lay (who lays it out in the chart at the above link) are missing one really important thing:


Indeed, of the 9,703 ballots cast and counted in Lake County so far, only 8,949 (according to Lay’s own chart) contain a vote for Controller.  In other words, only 92.23% of Lake’s ballots contained a vote for Controller.  It’s not usually considered one of the “big” races.  By comparison, 9,352, or 96.38% of Lake County’s already tabulated ballots contain a vote for Governor.

So, if that 92.23% percentage for the Controller’s race holds, those 6,053 votes contain only an estimated 5583 votes for Controller.  Under Lay’s model, Perez would be expected to get 30.8% — or 1720 of them.  Yee would be expected to get 16.2% of them — or 904.  That’s a net decrease of Yee’s margin by 816 votes — but since she starts out with 867, she’d still be expected to win by 51.

It’s now all but certain that Betty Yee wins, at least prior to any recount.

About Greg Diamond

Worker's rights attorney now moving into "good governance" litigation. North Vice Chair of Democratic Party of Orange County and occasional candidate. Proud to be prolix. Unless otherwise specifically stated, his writings never speak for the Democratic Party at the local, county, state, national, or galactic level. He tries to either suppress or openly acknowledge his partisan, issue, ideological, and "good government" biases in most of his writing here. If you have a question about any particular writing, just ask him about it and (unless you are an pseudonymous troll) he will probably answer you at painful length. He lives in Brea but generally doesn't blog about it. A family member works as a campaign treasurer for Wendy Gabriella in AD-73; he doesn't directly profit from that relatively small compensation and it doesn't affect his coverage. He does advise some campaigns informally and without compensation, although in 2014 he may receive some compensation for campaign consulting and fundraising for the campaign of Jorge Lopez for Orange County Assessor.