Thursday, November 17, 2011

Peaslee Vote Count Still Advancing

As of last night, the vote count in the District 1 School Board race is as follows:

Peaslee - 50.88%  (7,1373)
Maier   - 49.56%  (7,0631)

The difference between them is 742 votes which, at this point, would clear the election from a recount.  Of course, the issue is that there are still votes out there to be counted so nothing is done.

Please, do check to make sure your ballot has been received AND signature verified.  It's surprising the number of ballots that get there and the signature gets challenged.   To check, go to this link at KC Elections.

(Update from the Stranger Slog:

Kim van Ekstrom, an elections spokeswoman, says that as of last night there are approximately 13,000 ballots with signature problems that aren't being counted. Roughly half had no signature and the other half have a disputed signature. And if there's problem with the signature, elections workers can't even open up the envelope to count the vote.

If King County Elections has contacted you—but check, because they reportedly haven't contacted everyone—you have until November 28 to verify your signature and have your vote counted.)

Also, in the remaining races, the trend towards the challengers continues.  It is too late for Buetow or Martin to catch their incumbents but all the challengers are increasing their numbers.

This is a huge trend to look for in other races in the future as we try to discern what an all mail-in ballot system will mean for future elections.  In this one, it means  that there were those who made up their minds early and those who hung on to their ballots until the end.

The question is - who is in each group and how much of a difference can those late votes mean to an election?


Anonymous said...

Cool. Thanks for the link. I just verified that my ballot was counted (and my signature has been challenged in the past a few times).

Anonymous said...

(oops, that was me, zb)

dan dempsey said...

It seems that in regard to Peter Maier he won the first two days and then began Peaslee's wins from then on for each day's counts.

Sharon's differential percentage on each days counts continued to rise each day peaking on Tuesday at 11.7%. Wednesday's count that widened her lead from 91 to 742 had a lower daily differential.

Does this mean that those who voted later had more carefully analyzed the situation?

Peaslee supporters would likely say yes....

Maier supporters perhaps not .....

Patrick said...

Maybe Times slate voters vote early and Stranger slate voters vote late?

Jack Whelan said...

Marty says that Peter congratulated her at the board meeting last night and acknowledged to her that he probably won't be back.

I'd like to say a few things about Sharon. She got into this race at the last minute because before her entry she bent all her efforts in trying to find somebody else to do it. Like most of us, she has very good reasons--probably more than most of us--for not taking on the burden of this race and of the unpaid responsibilities that will fall upon her if she goes on to win. She took on Peter because no one else would.

But once she was in, she completely dedicated herself to campaign, and despite her late entry and her not being well known in the district, she quickly, really rather remarkably, established herself as a credible alternative to Peter. I don't think she spent much time during this campaign thinking she had a whiff of a hope to win this race, but she just kept going. Win or lose, she deserves a lot of credit and all of our gratitude for stepping up when no one else would, for her courage and her persistence.

Sharon is super smart; she's a quick learner; and she listens. If she goes on to win, and I think she will, she will make a great addition to the board. We're lucky to have her.

Chris S. said...

Both are true and easily explained by generations, I think. I bet people with adult children or no children have more "discretionary" time and are more likely to vote early than people with school-age children. But yes, there is the implication the latter has more of a clue about what's been going on.

Anonymous said...

Signature verified but still not counted. I voted for all challengers.

Public School Parent

Josh Hayes said...

I was surprised to find that my ballot - which I dropped in the mailbox the Saturday before the election date - has been verified but STILL not counted. Huh!

Christina said...

One thing I find interesting about this race is that of the four school board races, District One has the highest number of votes--remember every Seattle voter can vote for a school district other than her or his own--and the fewest number of write-ins.

In other words, more voters are certain about who they want and do not want as a Seattle School Board District 1 director.

52% turnout is predicted for King County: 49.73% of the ballots have been counted.

Kathy said...

"But once she was in, she completely dedicated herself to campaign, and despite her late entry and her not being well known in the district, she quickly, really rather remarkably, established herself as a credible alternative to Peter. I don't think she spent much time during this campaign thinking she had a whiff of a hope to win this race, but she just kept going. Win or lose, she deserves a lot of credit and all of our gratitude for stepping up when no one else would, for her courage and her persistence."

Sharon had enormous courage to stand up to a highly financed and politically backed candidate. I applaud her strength, courage and ability.

hschinske said...

Public School Parent wrote: Signature verified but still not counted.

I think signature verification is the last step they mention on the site, isn't it? The screen I get says "Track your ballot packet at three points," with "Track Point #3" being "Your signature was verified and you will be credited with voting."

Helen Schinske

mom of 4 in sps said...

on the ballot tracker link, the comment below the last status you can attain (signature verified) is confusing:

Your returned ballot packet will soon be opened and your ballot will be prepared for counting.

I learned from someone here that there isn't a status for "counted" that you can see.

Seems as if they should modify that comment to be less confusing.

ArchStanton said...

11/17/2011 3:56:52 PM
Director District No. 1
Peter Maier 71759 49.49%
Sharon Peaslee 72704 50.14%
Write-in 543 0.37%

RosieReader said...

The spread is now down to 55 votes. While I personally would continue to guess that Peasleee will pull it off, we are back in recount country.

And more importantly, I would argue that it's a little early to start speculating about things like "I bet people with adult children or no children have more "discretionary" time and are more likely to vote early than people with school-age children. But yes, there is the implication the latter has more of a clue about what's been going on."

Chris may well be right. But I could also make a plausible case along these lines: "Regardless of the presence or age of their children, people that tend to vote status quo are generally more organized in their affairs and have better time management skills, so they tend to get their voting done earlier. People who tend to vote for a lot of radical change tend to be less interested in things like deadlines and time management, and indeed, may even view their dislike of such things as a personal strength, and so are more likely to rush to the post office at the last possible minute to get their ballot in."

Just sayin' we can all speculate all we want, but that's all it is. Speculation.

dan dempsey said...

Arch ... thank you for the update:

Director District No. 1
Peter Maier 71759 49.49%
Sharon Peaslee 72704 50.14%

Peaslee in the lead by 944 votes.

Total votes cast = 71759+72704+543

Total of 145,006

recount line is 725... Peaslee is now clear by 219 votes.

Prediction Peaslee wins and no recount is needed.

RosieReader said...

I also think it's especially hard to jump to conclusions in this case, given that the vote spreads in the 4 races varied widely. To me, that signals that people thought long and hard about each race, and made careful distinctions between candidates. It was a vote for "some change" but also "some stay the same."

Which is why it really restores my faith in democracy. People took the time to think this through for themselves. Broad labels (or perhaps I should say, on this blog anti-Broad labels) did not seem to hold sway.

RosieReader said...

I stand corrected in the actual vote count. Peaslee retains a strong lead. My math skills never were that strong.

That doesn't detract from my other points.

Patrick said...

Peaslee's lead continues to grow! As of Thursday afternoon:

Peaslee 72,704
Maier 71,759
write-in 543

Peaslee leads by 945, or 0.65%

Melissa Westbrook said...

Yes, I agree (and I wrote as much in a Crosscut article coming up tomorrow)that voters considered the individuals and did not go for a "throw the bums out" slate or a slate of challengers (new for the sake of new).

But NO one knows what swayed voters since it was a split vote. It could have been anything. No one can say it was or wasn't any one thing.

Was it Maier's terrible judgment with the Sutor Report? Was it Sundquist's double-whammy of unhappiness in his own district AND the vote of no confidence from the SEA?

But Carr and Sundquist both are amiable and likable people. So why Carr and not Sundquist?

Both Maier and Martin-Morris are not the warm and fuzzy types. So why Martin-Morris and not Maier?

Did Martin-Morris' votes against the math curriculum and the sale of the MLK, Jr. bldg hold sway? Being the only African-American on the Board?

Did Maier's complete lock-step voting pull him down?

And, what to make of all these last minute votes that swung more to all the challengers?

Jack Whelan said...

My take is that Sundquist and Maier were more identified with the dysfunction--Steve because he's president, and Maier because of the Sutor report. Carr and Martin-Morris were perceived as less actively responsible for the dysfunction. Several people have told me that they didn't want all four to go, that voting out two would change the board significantly enough without destabilizing it, and that the two that needed most to go were SS and PM.

I generally agree with the wisdom of the voters on that one. But I think that Seattle missed an opportunity to put in someone who will be far more effective by turning away Buetow's bid, and someone far more passionate and active in turning away Martin's bid.

But I'm feeling pretty good about the way things are turning out, especially compared to how I was feeling last week.

Jan said...

RosieReader said, based on the variance in vote spreads in the four races: To me, that signals that people thought long and hard about each race, and made careful distinctions between candidates. It was a vote for "some change" but also "some stay the same."

I think I agree, but with a carveout (where I don't agree). I think Rosie is right that this signals that many people did not follow a straight "all incumbent" or "all challenger" ticket -- and I agree with her that that is a good thing.

But I also think there are any number of bizarre things that go on in voting when people are uneducated on a specific candidate -- some people will vote for any man over any woman (or vice versa); some in that instance will vote for the first one listed; or will vote alphabetically. Someone once did an article on the fact that familiar names like "Johnson" attract votes, even when people know virtually nothing about the candidate. Presumably, all those effect are small (no Johnsons here) or don't favor one "slate" over another.

But -- I specifically know of folks who, knowing nothing about candidates will either then vote for the incumbents, or they will vote for whoever the ST recommends, preferring to cast some vote, rather than none. In this case, the ST recommended all incumbents be returned. How many votes were affected? Who knows? Clearly not enough to help Peter and Steve. But, however many there were, in my opinion, those are NOT the "thoughtful, measured" votes that RosieReader describes. It doesn't mean the votes don't count; they do. And challengers know that incumbents often get votes just because they are the incumbent and the building didn't burn down on their watch. But I do think the good showing of the challengers in this election says something, given that the ST recommended against all of them, and they each faced incumbents (most of all of whom were better financed, as well as better known).

We will never know how many votes in the Kate/Sherrie and Harium/Michelle races were affected by this factor. In my heart of hearts, I believe that if there had been no ST endorsement, Kate would definitely have prevailed -- and Michelle might have as well. In short, while the differences in vote spreads suggest that many folks had specific, articulable reasons for voting for or against specific candidates -- which is how we all want voting to work, I would not draw quite the same conclusion as I understood RosieReader to have drawn.

Dorothy Neville said...

I actually think folks in Seattle are more generally influenced by the Stranger than the ST in endorsements.

I really don't think we have enough information to do an attribution analysis on early vs later voters.

Here's one of my reasons for believing the Stranger is more influential. (Well, besides the fact that Michelle, the most qualified of the challengers in many regards, got slammed in the ballot box.) In 2004, The Stranger endorsed the NO position on the Families and Ed Levy. I believe that accounts for the fact that that particular levy had an extremely high rate of blank ballots, about 15%, which is higher than any other levy I could find. I suspect that many people pay attention to the SECB, but were simply too conflicted to say NO to kids and left it blank.

Note that in 2011, the Stranger says only an a$$hole would say no to the Families and Ed levy and so far, there are only about 4% blank votes. This is way on the low end of blank votes for a levy.

Jan said...

Interesting point, Dorothy. I had NEVER read the Stranger endorsements until this election (when I determined conclusively that if the ST could be so wrong about the School Board, it was pointless to assume their fairness or accuracy on any other candidate). But perhaps you are right.

Anonymous said...


Your words about Sharon Peaslee are right on point. Well said.

The only thing I dare to add is that Sharon Peaslee was blessed with a very dedicated corps of volunteers. Two women in particular come to mind. I stand in awe of them. I cannot imagine Sharon Peaslee winning without them. They know who they are.

Sharon Peaslee had a lot of disadvantages to overcome, but she was helped by her highly committed campaign volunteers. I realize that the reasons for Sharon Peaslee's improbable showing are complex and multifaceted, but I would hazard to say that she had a better campaign organization than Peter Maier did. I base this tentative view on my observations of how the campaigns operated within the 36th District, Peter Maier's home base and mine.

Peter Maier had very high negatives to overcome. The Stranger article in the summer didn't help. However, he had the advantage of early endorsements, deep ties to the community, funds, experience, and knowledge. He had the advantage of running against someone new to politics. Yet, I always thought she could beat him. Why?

His reliance on the very expensive consultant Blair Butterworth was, in my opinion, a sign of his lack of confidence in his own abilities. I have a low opinion of Mr. Butterworth's services, and I sometimes think that Darcy Burner would not be running for a third time if she hadn't relied on his advice--she would already be in Congress.

While Peter Maier worked incredibly hard to get reelected, his campaign was, at times, almost non-existent in the 36th. He had supporters, who, from my vantage point, were haphazard in their approach. Sharon Peaslee's volunteers were organized, and they planned their strategy meticulously. It worked. She won the endorsement of the 36th, and a small army of PCOs delivered sample ballots door to door--sample ballots that contained her recommendation and advertisement.

Sharon Peaslee always knew that she had a formidable opponent and didn't take anything for granted. She worked hard and steady. But she didn't just win because she had strong volunteer support and because she worked hard. Her campaign was smarter. Over the long haul, she and her campaign out-maneuvered Peter Maier and his campaign.

So the lesson for me is, again, an obvious one: money doesn't necessarily win elections. A strong campaign organization with dedicated volunteers can beat well-funded opponents with the support of the electeds. And a candidate who runs a smart campaign with a better strategy can beat an experienced campaigner with a well-paid consultant. The next time someone without experience wants to run for School Board, he or she should make sure to talk to people who have been there. See you soon.


Anonymous said...

The key to this election was removing at least one of 4 candidates who, regardless of their relative strengths and merits, bought their seats in the last election.

A lot less money was contributed by east side billionaires and millionaires this time around, and it wasn't by accident. The challengers, especially Marty called them out for it, and it got traction. People could see the attached strings and are tired of seeing every square inch of the public commons sold off to the highest bidder, who then rules by proxy through their agents, like School Board members.

I too believe our democracy worked well this time, and if Sharon wins, I'll believe it worked even better. Halving the Gang of Four exponentially better than removing one. I won't miss the slate candidates or their bloc voting one bit. WSDWG

RosieReader said...

As a person who voted for 3 incumbents and 1 challenger, I spent lots of time talking to people who were also struggling to make up their minds on a piecemeal basis. Based on those conversations, I'd say that many thoughtful people had highly negative reactions to Kate's demeanor/style. I remember Melissa posting a few days or weeks ago that she thought Kate had overcome that issue, but I disagree.

We'll never know. Prognosticators will prognosticate, and we will all have favorite pet theories.

Anonymous said...

The reasons why the voters might choose one candidate over another are sometimes very simple--for example, one candidate might have engaged in scandalous or criminal behavior or might have been a Republican in a heavily Democratic district. Other times the reasons are very complex. This School Board race falls into the latter category.

There are two sides to the equation: the candidates have the task of persuading the voters, and the voters have the task of assessing candidates' presentations and making decisions. Voters cannot look into the mind or soul of a candidate, and so they must go by what is presented to them. A particular voter might do as little as consult the Voter's Pamphlet or as much as conduct original, extensive research on the candidates.

But it isn't that simple. Individual voters have varying interpretations of what is presented to them. To any interpretation, they bring prior knowledge and experience, biases, perceptual and conceptual frameworks, emotional states, economic and social interests, and so on.

Yet, it still isn't that simple. Candidates and their supporters, political organizations, and media outlets attempt to present their own versions of the opposing candidates and to influence interpretations of presentations. The result is a complex, dynamic process that is so fluid that campaigns struggle to keep a handle on it. Lots of factors play into that process, and in a complex election, it's very difficult to ascribe causes and effects for an outcome in the absence of detailed, representative evidence.

Nonetheless, I don't want to give the impression that the candidates have no influence on the outcome. They do. In a complex, dynamic election, an effective campaign organization makes a difference, as does a weak campaign organization. And the ability to build an effective campaign organization says something crucial about the candidate.


Anonymous said...

A cheese grater running as an anti-incumbent candidate would have beaten Sherry. Kate was a worse candidate than a cheese grater.

--Routinely alienating constituencies is not a great idea

Jan said...

Routinely alienating -- I read both the pro and the con stuff (to the extent I could find it) on Kate, and in the end don't share your conclusion (though I do like my cheese grater -- a lot). That said, we all live with the public narrative that grows around us -- some of it is fair. Some is not. And sometimes, it is just voters, taking past actions, filtering them through their own experiences (people who have done X in the past can be counted on to do (or not do) Y in the future) -- and right or wrong -- we choose. As the spouse of someone who probably could also (in hindsight) have been escorted out of Garfield's main office by police when he refused to leave without an answer from a weaselly principal who preceded Mr. Howard -- I see at least some of Kate's actions differently than others. Mostly, I hope that she stays involved in SSD affairs -- because she knows a lot, and obviously cares.

Patrick said...

Peaslee's lead continues to increase, now at 1289, which is 0.87% of the votes cast.

Waiting for the unverified signatures to be resolved and some of them counted.

dan dempsey said...

Patrick ... with a 0.87% spread, we now know that there will not be an automatic recount.

Does Peter Maier wish to buy a recount out of his own funds or campaign funds?