Spinning coin...

The Washington State gubernatorial election saga enters its eighth week and there is still no clear outcome. Washington Secretary of State Sam Reed believes he will be able to declare a result by December 23.

On the one hand, Democrats are cheered by news that 561 ballots that were "mistakenly rejected" not once but twice, should be included in the King County total. As King County (including Seattle) accounts for over 35% of the Democrat score and the Democrats there outnumber Republicans by almost 3 to 2, such a change would appear to spell doom for Dino Rossi's chances of holding his lead.

In the original count Rossi beat Christine Gregoire by 261 votes. After a machine recount which also saw many provisional ballots added to the toal, the Republican candidate's lead was cut to a mere 42 out of more than 2.8 million votes cast.

On the other hand my analysis of the corrections occuring in counties that have reported for the second and manual recount suggests that the picture is less rosy for Gregoire.

Across the whole State the average increase in the Democratic vote from the original to the first (machine) recount was 33.1 votes per county. For the 33 counties that have reported at the time of writing, the figure was 6.1 votes per county. So far in the second (hand) recount the number has incread to 6.1 per county, suggesting that the overall score could be 51.8 per county, or 1820 votes across Washington State.

However, the equivalent calculations for the Republican candidate suggest that his vote could increase by 2508 votes across the state, giving Rossi a majority in the region of 700 votes. The Libertarian candidate Ruth Bennett could add about 95 votes to an already impressive total of more than 63,000. Bennett scored more than five times the number of votes gained by Michael Badnarik (the Libertarian presidential candidate) in the State of Washington.

All this of course depends on the notion that the errors and challenges to disputed votes break evenly in the six remaining counties.

The coin is still spinning...

UPDATE: With results published for a 34th county (Skagit), a total of 24 ballots fewer have been counted. This marginally affects the calculations and does not alter the prognosis I have made above. It's still increadibly tight, but Rossi has picked up a thin advantage, with King county to come.

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