69-AD UPDATE: Julio’s margin behind Joe shrinks from 606 to 284; analysis later tonight!



Julio Perez started the weekend down by 606 votes to Republican Joe Moreno for the right to enter into the top-two runoff for the 69th A.D. seat.  As Joe noted earlier today in his letter of complaint, it was the acts of supporters of Tom Daly’s own campaign that left him vulnerable to Julio’s catching up to him.

While processing of provisional ballots continued today until 5:00, the plan was that at 3:30 p.m. they would gather up all of the votes approved (without opening the envelopes) up until that point and spend the next 90 minutes tabulating them for the daily report — which came out today a little after 5 p.m.  I’m calling it four or five hours of work (starting at about 10:00, after instructions were conveyed, minus a half hour for lunch); it could be less than that as they got the wheels of the counting machines rolling — probably not more than that.

In all, 304 ballots were counted — roughly 15% of what has been estimated will be ultimately tallied in the race.  Of those, Daly picked up 81 votes, Moreno 32 votes, Julio 111, Michele Martinez 69, and Paco Barragan 11.

Julio thus cut the margin by which he trails Moreno by 79 votes, 26% of those votes cast.  (Julio picked up 36.5% of the additional ballots, but Moreno picked up  10.5% — higher than I expected.)  A few hundred of other ballots did remain to be counted going into the day, so that 26% may not reflect Julio’s support in provisionals alone.  More importantly, if Moreno’s votes came from the non-provisional ballots, then he would not be expected to keep pace with Julio’s success among provisionals in the days ahead.

If Julio continues that 26% rate of gain, he would catch Moreno if 2027 more provisional are counted.  (Of course, a recount would likely be appropriate at a level far below that.)  If Julio’s percentage for provisionals alone is 30%, he’d be expected to catch Moreno after counting another 1757 ballots.  If Moreno is an almost total flop in provisionals and Julio leads him by 35%, Julio would be expected to take the lead in 1506 ballots.  In almost any scenario, it’s likely to be close.

In the 72nd district, which had a LOT of provisional ballots this time, Travis Allen had led Joe Dovinh by 245 votes for second place and Dovinh led Long Pham by 96 for third.  After today, those numbers are now 221 and 82 — not, so far, on a pace to change the results.

In AD-72, 302 more votes were counted.  Of them, leading candidate Troy Edgar got 51 (16.9%), Travis Allen got 47 (15.6%), Joe Dovinh got 71 (23.5%), Long Pham got 85 (28.1%), and Albert Ayala picked up 48 (15.9%)  more votes.  Again, it is hard to know whether today’s portion of the ballots are really representative of the massive numbers of provisional ballots yet to come, so these percentages are not necessary predictive of future performance.  (The inclusion of non-provisional ballots in today’s totals is more likely inflate Edgar’s and Allen’s likely expected percentages, as non-first-generation and immigrant voters are historically less likely than those in immigrant communities to have the problems with registration that lead to the need to cast provisional ballots.)

Meanwhile, we can already do some rough calculations.  If Dovinh picks up a net of about eight votes out of every 100 over Allen, then he passes Allen in about 2750 votes.  If Pham picks up about 13 votes out of every 100 from Allen, then (currently being behind by 303 votes), he passes Allen in about 2400 votes.  And, using the above figure, if Pham is picking up about 5 votes out of every 100 on Dovinh, he passes Dovinh in about 1650 votes.

I think that I’d better color code this: starting from today’s vote totals, let’s look at what we might expect to happen over the next 1000 and then 1500 (i.e., 500 more) and then 2000 votes (i.e., another 500 more) votes, based on today’s percentage gains to get a sense of where they might stand:

Allen:  12,347 + 156 = 12,503 + 78 =  12,581 + 78 = 12,669
Dovinh:  12,128 + 235 = 12,363 + 118 = 12,481 + 117 = 12,598
Pham:  12,044 + 281 = 12,325  + 141 = 12,466 + 140 = 12,606

Of course, if Allen only gets, say, 12% of the rest of the provisionals, then after 2000 more votes he only ends up with 240 more, rather than 312, for a total of 12,587.  Dovinh and Pham also probably up their shares accordingly.  And bear in mind: Allen probably has people out challenging any provisional ballot with a Vietnamese name on it that could possibly be disqualified — and some of those disqualifications won’t stand.

As you can see, the race is currently way too close to call based on today’s added numbers, which may have a lot of noise in them.  If Allen’s percentage of the vote was (as I expect) overestimated, then at some point Dovinh passes Allen and at some later point Pham passes Dovinh.

That later point — where we’re very close to a three way tie — is probably awfully close to the total number of ballots we have remaining in AD-72.  And, whoever you’re rooting for, if you care about either politics or math that’s pretty exciting.

UPDATE, TUESDAY 12:40:  I put this into a comment, but I’ll also add it to the story text.

Joe Hill at Liberal OC states that the “Registrar of Voters indicates that, as of this morning, there are 1,575 ballots in the 69th and 2,120 in the 72nd remaining to be counted.” He also notes that “about 10% of the provisional ballots were counted yesterday, with 14,030 left to count.”

I find it hard to believe that both sets of numbers are simultaneously true. We have 6-1/2 Assembly districts in OC; if the number is equal in all districts, we’d expect the joint number of provisionals in 69 and 72 to be 2/6.5, or 4/13, or 31%. If there are 14,030 left to count, the predicted proportion of about 3700 ballots in these two districts would be less than their share — and my experience yesterday suggests that these districts are overrepresented rather than underrepresented among provisionals. It could happen, though!

Joe HIll also reports that “provisional ballots (1,432) made up 59.64 % of the 2,041 total ballots counted yesterday. the Votes counted today should primarily be provisional. In the 69th, Perez pulled 36% of the ballots counted compared to Moreno’s 10.49%.”

If true, this is important — and excellent — news for Perez. Presuming that Perez pulled in about his normal 20% and Moreno his normal 22% of the non-provisional ballots — which may not be a safe assumption, but it’s the best we have — that means that if AD-69 also had 60% provisionals then the 40% of the ballots that were non-provisional gave Moreno 8.8% of the vote (10.5% for the day) and Perez 8% of his total (36% for the day.)

That would mean that Moreno only got 1.7% of his vote from the 60% of the ballots in the provisional stack, meaning that he was getting only about 1% of the provisionals! Perez, by contrast, would have gotten 28% of his vote from the 60% in the provisionals stack, meaning that he’d be pulling in over 45% of the provisioanls.

So, if there’s 1500 ballots left and Perez has a 44% advantage in them (45%-1%), Perez should make end up closing the gap by 660 votes — meaning a 130 or so vote victory.

About Greg Diamond

Somewhat verbose attorney, semi-retired due to disability, residing in northwest Brea. Occasionally runs for office against bad people who would otherwise go unopposed. Got 45% of the vote against Bob Huff for State Senate in 2012; Josh Newman then won the seat in 2016. In 2014 became the first attorney to challenge OCDA Tony Rackauckas since 2002; Todd Spitzer then won that seat in 2018. Every time he's run against some rotten incumbent, the *next* person to challenge them wins! He's OK with that. Corrupt party hacks hate him. He's OK with that too. He does advise some local campaigns informally and (so far) without compensation. (If that last bit changes, he will declare the interest.)