Bell Curve The Law Talking Guy Raised by Republicans U.S. West
Well, he's kind of had it in for me ever since I accidentally ran over his dog. Actually, replace "accidentally" with "repeatedly," and replace "dog" with "son."

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Political Shenanigans Begin

In West Virginia's convention today (a caucus substitute), Huckabee won over Romney, 52% to 47%, with McCain at 1%. Wow, McCain at 1%, what happened? Well, on the first ballot, Romney got a plurality%, Huckabee came in 2nd, and McCain came in 3rd. McCain, it turns out, told his supporters to back Huckabee on the second ballot, because they preferred to see him get the win rather than Romney, particularly as it would (as it was) be broadcast mid-day on Super Tuesday.

It only gets wilder from here folks, if nobody wins outright today.


Dr. Strangelove said...

I also heard that Ron Paul supporters threw their votes to Huckabee in exchange for a backroom deal that will permit them to appoint 3 of the 18 delegates Huckabee has been awarded. Ron Paul had almost as many delegates as McCain.

Raised By Republicans said...

West Virginia seems to be an institutionalized "smoke filled room." A "Caucus" with a single location. Gee, there must have been a couple of hundred people there (actually - just over 1000). And people titter about Iowa's low participation.

The Law Talking Guy said...

Shenanigans continue in CA because of the delegate count. Our ballot did not have clear instructions for decline-to-state voters, and our SecState did not require pollworkers inform decline-to-state ballots either that they could choose to vote in the Dem primary or that, if they did so, they had to request a ballot and fill out a particular bubble.

LA county is now refusing to count obviously democratic ballots without the bubble filled in.

Dr. Strangelove said...

The extra bubble in LA County was not exactly confusing--the instruction was clear on the ballot--but it was certainly unexpected and a fair number of people probably missed it. Likewise a fair number of people probably filled it in who did not need to.

The bottom line is that LA county had a badly designed ballot in this respect. Every effort should be made to find and count any "obviously democratic" ballots lacking the bubble.

Incidentally, at my precinct the workers contended with long lines but did not appear overwhelmed. They worked methodically rather than quickly, but I think that was for the best. I had to vote provisionally, so I got to see them "in action" more than most casual observers. I heard them verbally warn several independent voters about the bubble while I was filling in the appropriate form and waiting for them to do the same.

Dr. Strangelove said...

It is worth noting that the LA county registrar claims that this is precisely the same ballot format for non-partisan voters used in 2002, 2004, and 2006, so they may be forgiven for concluding it was acceptable.

They are studying the matter and promise, if they can establish there has been an impact on the Democratic contest, "we will exhaust every available option under state law to count cross over votes on nonpartisan ballots where the intent of the voter can be clearly and definitively determined."

The Law Talking Guy said...

The decision by LA County not to count certain ballots is a big problem for congressional delegate allocation. I wonder if Debra Bowen is a Clinton supporter.

Dr. Strangelove said...

You appear to assume that most of the "bubble voters" would have chosen Obama. But while Obama lead among "decline to state" voters 56 to 33, we must remember that Hillary's strength came from the elderly, Latinos, and women. And as we all know, the elderly cannot read, Latinos cannot read English, and women cannot follow directions. (THIS IS ONLY A JOKE! Sorry, I could not resist a poke at the stereotypes.)

But seriously... Let's do the math. It took a while but I ground it out. Los Angeles County records 85,213 independent crossover votes for Democrats. In what I consider a worst-case scenario, where we assume 25% of independent voters forgot the bubble, then 28,400 votes were missed. If we furthermore assume they would have broken 56-33 for Obama as exit polling indicated was the statewide average for independent voters, that's a 6,500 net gain in votes for Obama. In that case the results in Los Angeles county would have been 54.5 to 41.8 instead of 55.0 to 41.4.

If on the other hand we assume a more reasonable result that only 10% of the independent voters screwed up, then there should be a net gain of 2,200 votes, leaving us at 54.8 to 41.5 instead of 55.0 to 41.4.

Although we should try to track down these votes, I doubt any delegates would change.

The Law Talking Guy said...

My comments do not "assume" that Obama would have won. I never mentioned him. They do assume that there is a possibility that the independent voters might affect the outcome in some districts, which is certainly likely.

If a district with an odd number of delegates (say 5) is close to 50-50, extra votes can determine delegates. At least two districts in LA area (30 and 37) are close to 50-50.

Dr. Strangelove said...

In this context, you wrote, "The decision by LA County not to count certain ballots is a big problem for congressional delegate allocation. I wonder if Debra Bowen is a Clinton supporter."

I inferred that you were admonishing Debra Bowen for not forcing LA County to count the ballots, and that you were imputing this to possible support for Hillary. That would only make sense if you also assumed the votes would favor Obama. Otherwise, why not ask, "I wonder if Debra Owen supports one of the candidates?"

The Law Talking Guy said...

I was actually referring to the reluctance to count all available ballots as a Machiavellian strategy worthy of (to use the NYTimes choice phrase of some months ago) the Queen of Inevitability. Today it has been revealed that 1/2 of the LA "decline to state" voters failed to bubble in the extra bubble (something not required in other counties). Now that starts to smell a little, depending on how big those #s are. I did hear that the DST vote was expected to be no more than 13% of the Dem electorate which, if so, would mean that only about 6% of LA votes are not being counted. That will make the difference only in a couple of districts and only if they show a strong preference for one candidate.