Tuesday, November 3, 2009
JNS EXCLUSIVE! This Blog Declares Don Samuels and Barb Johnson Winners!
Guest post by the Hawthorne Hawkman, photo by an anonymous contributor
There are obvious risks in declaring a winner preemptively. And IRV does indeed bring in new variables. But Jeff Skrenes, mortgage guru and overall number-cruncher, has calculated that these races are all over except for the hand count.
And this deserves a "top of the fold" mention: Lennie Chism received sixteen fewer first choice votes than Roger Smithrud. There's a smarmy comment in there somewhere, but I'll let JNS readers make it. For now, here are the numbers...
Both Don and Barb won roughly 47% of the vote on the first round. 50% plus one vote is what is required to win outright. So we're going to at least a second round of counting. Since I have access to the 3rd Ward tallies, I will use them to demonstrate what will happen.
Don needs about 50 more votes to win. Lennie's sixty votes are eliminated first. Oh, I just love saying that. Lennie is eliminated first. Typically in IRV, about 1/3 of a candidate's supporters vote for him or her as their ONLY choice, and that's a conservative number. So we can assume that 20 Chism supporters will not have a second vote, and their ballots will be discarded from the total.
In this case, even if no Lennie Chism supporters voted for Don as their second choice, Don's percentage goes up slightly because the total number of ballots counted decreases. When Roger Smithrud is eliminated next, he will have roughly 1/3 of his supporters removed from the vote total as well. Furthermore, anyone who voted for Smithrud and Lennie as their first and/or second choices AND did not vote for a third candidate has their vote removed from the total.
The total number of ballots cast decreases again, and since Don's votes do not decrease, then his percentage goes up as well. This process continues until Don is officially declared the winner.
But what if this were a fifth ward beyond that which is known to man. A ward with an election as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. The middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition, and it lies between the pit of man's fears and the summit of his knowledge. This is the election of imagination. It is an area which we call the Twilight Ward.
In this odd circumstance, we assume that Don STILL isn't declared the winner. Don received a large number of second-choice and third-choice votes. So, the ONLY way Don loses is this: virtually every person who voted for Natalie as their first choice voted for Don as their second or third choice. In that scenario, Don's second and third choice voters never get their votes allocated to him because Natalie keeps them all. (Oh yes, that's right: Natalie Johnson Lee is the only contender with even a remote chance of winning.)
Furthermore, we have to assume that almost everyone who voted for Lennie or Roger or Kenya voted for three candidates. Almost none of those ballots could have votes for Don and almost all of those ballots would have to have a vote for Natalie. This is a virtual mathematical impossibility. So while it is possible, it is extraordinarily unlikely that Natalie might overtake Don. However the chances of this happening are far too remote.
The same math presumably plays out for Barb Johnson as well. Congrats to our returning incumbents Barbara Johnson and Don Samuels!