Dear Times-Standard: Why Numbers Matter

So below are the results so far from the yet unofficial count for Eureka’s Ward 3.  You may remember I took a look at these numbers and came to the conclusion, given election history in a similar race, that Kim had a really, really good shot. (ie not slim, slim)  I agreed with Thadeus’ numbers at the NCJ with his late update.  However, with the political reverse Doppler effect (PRDE?) I believed that Soon To Be Councilwoman Elect Bergel had more than a fair chance of winning.   Here’s a quote.

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)

Here is the results so far, i.e. not only a capture of the numbers from the HumCo election department, but a presentation in a manner that may or may not be understandable to others.  But it’s an attempt.  Notice, btw, the 55%. 🙂

Still Unofficial Ward 3 Results

We don’t like numbers.  I love numbers, and I even don’t have the stomach for numbers during a majority of the hours of the day.  They take more time then words to internalize.  But they are critical.  If I have any influence on local media, I hope it’s to increase the use of tables, graphs, and … numbers.

And why, you may ask are numbers so darn important?  Well, concerned citizen from the comment zone gives one very clear example why.  Without numbers to understand what is going on, especially when the results go against one’s desires, we are prone to concocting conspiracy theories.  Sadly these conspiracy theories are more often than not used by political organizations and campaigns to great political effect.

Here is the intro to concern citizen’s comment.

As long as they check the legality of late ballots, mail in and provissional. the left has been working the system for many years. That is why the left is so upset about I.D to vote laws. There is absolutely no reason there should not be I.D laws.

So, Times Standard, please consider bringing out your table or graph creating software more often.  Like vegetables at dinner, it may not be our favorite food on the plate, but numbers, tables and graphs are an important part of a more nutritious informed morning read.



Also … Who again got to vote for Ward 3?  The whole town?  WTH?

Remember these votes are for “Ward 3” in name only.  This is an at-large vote so all of Eureka got to vote for the candidates.  Maybe, conservatives, you too might be interested in returning to a more Democratic (not to mention Constitutional) system where only those in the Ward get to vote for their representative?  Right now each of the 5 candidates, dispite the ward number behind their name has the whole city as their constituents.  It’s cconceptually messy and politically mind-numbing.

Let’s change this please?  I think, conservatives that this is the time to do it while many liberals would be on board.  I see Eureka going the way of California, so it may be time to cut your losses.

Also … Come again?  What’s an Undervote?

I couldn’t tell you before looking up Wiki.  Basically it’s people who skipped this race on their ballot or, I believe, added a creative candidate instead of one of the two running.

An undervote occurs when the number of choices selected by a voter in a contest is less than the minimum number allowed for that contest or when no selection is made for a single choice contest.[1]

In a contested election, an undervote can be construed as active voter disaffection – a voter engaged enough to cast a vote without the willingness to give the vote to any candidate.

An undervote can be intentional for purposes including protest votes, tactical voting, or abstention. Alternately undervotes can be unintentional and caused by many factors including poor ballot design.

Undervotes combined with overvotes (known as residual votes) can be an academic indicator in evaluating the accuracy of a voting system when recording voter intent.[2]


11 thoughts on “Dear Times-Standard: Why Numbers Matter

  1. Allan Dollison says:

    Jon: I will get around to writing a piece for LoCO on this issue. It is a ridiculous way of holding elections. Either get rid of the Ward residency requirement, or make it a true district ward system that exists in other (mostly large) cities.

  2. Mary Ella Anderson says:

    Regarding under-votes, if there are several candidates running for the same office and two vacancies available, as happened in Arcata this time, you can vote for only one, It’s a strategy to make sure that your favorite candidate is elected, I did this for Sofia an di believe some others must have, too, judging by the final total.

    I agree that having a ward system for designating who represents whom but not reflecting that in the way the representatives are elected is nonsensical. How did that come to be?

    1. Thank you MEA for the insight on Arcata’s undervotes. I confess I don’t yet understand, but I’ll give it a second look when I get a round ‘tuit.

      You also raise a great question. I know it’s fairly common around either the state or nation for small towns, but it will be a challenge t to figure out Eureka’s specific history. put that on our communities to do list.

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