Unexpectedly Intriguing!
08 November 2005

Following on the heels of extreme election irregularities in the 2004 governor's race, Washington state's King County Executive race is expected to provide ample opportunity to display what, if any, improvement has been made to the County's Elections department by its demonstratedly inept and potentially corrupt leadership. With the race between reformer David Irons and incumbent Ron Sims shaping up to be relatively close, this is definitely a race to watch.

The following tool is designed to help predict the winner of the election after the vote count has begun. What it does is really simple - it starts with the votes that have already been counted for the given candidates, then it adds those numbers to the total number of estimated votes cast that are still uncounted. It next determines how many votes it will take for a candidate to win a clear, simple majority, as well as what percentage of the uncounted votes a candidate would have to receive in order to win.

What the tool does not do is address voting discrepancies, such as mismatched counts of ballots and voters, which Ron Sims' appointed Director of Elections Dean Logan has consistently failed to rectify since the problem exploded during his tenure, making the King County Elections office the third-worst in the U.S. But, that's a topic far more definitively covered by Sound Politics' Stefan Sharkansky.

The data in this table will be updated periodically in the days following the election. The initial default values are those posted by King County as of November 3, 2005. If you find that the data is not up-to-date, you're welcome to do it yourself - assuming competence, King County's election results should be available through their site.

Update 8 November 2005, 8:30 PM PST: With just 14.73% of the ballots counted for the 1,015,738 registered voters of King County, incumbent Ron Sims leads reformer David Irons 74,497 to 62,906. The figures in the table below have been adjusted to reflect these figures, with the values entered for the number of uncounted "other" ballots adjusted to take Secretary of State Sam Reed's prediction of a 60% turnout into account, as well as reducing this figure by the number of votes already counted. Since a large number of ballots have been cast absentee, it will be several days before the tabulated returns will provide enough data to truly predict the outcome.

Update 9 November 2005, 5:30 AM PST: With 2550 of 2573 precincts now reporting, Ron Sims has taken a large lead of 163,256 votes over David Irons 119,648 votes in the election night vote count. The tool below has been adjusted to take these latest figures into account. It will still be several days before the race will be finalized, although at this point, supporters of reform in King County have to be disappointed.

Raw Vote Data
Input Data Values
Votes Counted for David Irons (R)
Votes Counted for Ron Sims (D)
Uncounted Ballot Totals
Input Data Values
Uncounted Absentee Ballots
Uncounted Provisional Ballots
Other Uncounted Ballots

Vote Totals
Calculated Results Values
Total Number of Uncounted Votes
Total Number of Ballots Cast
Votes Needed to Win a Simple Majority
Percentage of Uncounted Votes
Needed for Irons (R) to Win
Needed for Sims (D) to Win
Based on Current Totals, the Likely Winner is:

How to Interpret the Results

  1. If a candidate has a negative percentage, it means that they can actually have votes taken away from their totals and still be able to win a simple majority in the election. In other words, they have won a solid majority and are the clear winner.

  2. If a candidate has a percentage that is greater than 100%, it means they cannot win a clear majority of the vote, although it may be possible to win a plurality of the votes cast.

  3. If the candidates have percentages that are greater than 0% but less than 100%, the race is up for grabs. Polling data for the areas where votes have still not been fully tallied may be used to anticipate who will likely win the most votes.

  4. The candidate with the highest percentage needed to win is the least likely to do so.

While not a perfect tool, Political Calculations' Simple Majority Calculator does offer some insight into how the uncounted vote totals in an election have to break in order for a given candidate to win office.

About Political Calculations

Welcome to the blogosphere's toolchest! Here, unlike other blogs dedicated to analyzing current events, we create easy-to-use, simple tools to do the math related to them so you can get in on the action too! If you would like to learn more about these tools, or if you would like to contribute ideas to develop for this blog, please e-mail us at:

ironman at politicalcalculations.com

Thanks in advance!

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