…How will you proceed if the official election results go against you?
Because, there is a more than significant chance that Kim Bergel might win. Here is how.
Below is a table tallying the election results from a similar race in 2012 – Linda Atkins race against Joe Bonino. This was also a nail biter. Linda was down significantly after the first results of the night, but by the time the final election day results came in, Linda was up by 208 votes.
What the table shows is the blue shift that often occurs in elections. Maybe we could call it the political reverse Doppler effect. With the Doppler effect we experience a blue shift in sound waves as the sound source such as an ambulance approaches as the waves are scrunched and a red shift after exactly when the source passes us. We perceive this change with a decrease in pitch of the sound.
Experienced election watchers know to expect a similar phenomena in elections. The initial results often are slightly shifted rightward and there is often a shift leftward as the late ballot, provisional, and vote-by-mail results finally come in. The big difference is the shift is toward the red or conservative political spectrum in the early results but when the vote count is complete, there is often a significant shift toward the blue political spectrum.
It happens all the time in politics, the one that comes to mind is Senator Al Franken’s nail biting victory in 2008 in Minnesota. Here is what Wikipedia says about the race. (BTW Senator Franken was re-elected in a rare demonstration of sanity for voters east of the Sierra Nevada last Tuesday. Huzzah!)
Preliminary reports on election night November 4 had Coleman ahead by over 700 votes; but the official results certified on by November 18, 2008, had Coleman leading by only 215 votes. As the two candidates were separated by less than 0.5 percent, the Secretary of State of Minnesota Mark Ritchie, authorized an automatic recount stipulated in Minnesota election law. In the recount, ballots and certifying materials were examined by hand, and candidates could file challenges to the legality of ballots or materials for inclusion or exclusion with regard to the recount. On January 5, 2009, the Minnesota State Canvassing Board certified the recounted vote totals, with Franken ahead by 225 votes.
On January 6, 2009, Coleman’s campaign filed an election contest, which led to a trial before a three-judge panel. The trial ended on April 7, when the panel ruled that 351 of 387 disputed absentee ballots were incorrectly rejected and ordered them counted. Counting those ballots raised Franken’s lead to 312 votes. Coleman appealed to the Minnesota Supreme Court on April 20. On April 24, the Minnesota Supreme Court agreed to hear the case. and oral arguments were conducted on June 1.
So back to Bergel v Newman in 2014. As Linda gained 112 votes from the unofficial count to the official count in late November 2012, I think it’s fair to assume the the political reverse Doppler effect will also leave Kim with a net positive number of votes.
It’s not clear when the update was added to Thadeus Greenson’s take on Kim’s chances, but there are 3,000 plus outstanding county ballots when added to the known provisional and mail-in ballots yet to count, and counting for Eureka’s percentage of the County registration leaves an estimated total of 1,300 votes.
As Thadeus writes, if there are indeed 1,300 votes outstanding (there were auspiciously 1332 in 2012) then Thadeus concludes Kim would need 54% which I contend is well within reason given the reverse political Doppler effect given the left’s endearing penchant for procrastination (Linda, again auspiciously, earned 55% of the 1,332 in 2012)
The bad news is that Linda lost the first count of absentee ballots, but the count was close. Kim did lose the first count of absentee’s rather significantly, so it might be more difficult for her to reach 54% reverse Doppler or not.
But still, there is a significant chance of this race turning on it’s head when the official results are published later this month. As such I think it’s incumbent for the press and Councilmember Newman to be ready for an upset without going into full freak-out mode as many on the right did in 2009.
We’ll see, and if there is any question, we have a state-of-the-art voting system which local activist Mitch Trachtenberg and other volunteers have helped to insure is as accountable as technology and politics will allow.
Bottom line. It’s not over.
North Coast Journal: UPDATED: Kim Bergel’s (EDIT: NOT SO SLIM) Chance
Mitch Trachtenberg’s Democracy Counts