Saturday, November 10, 2018

Three election things to grab you by your attention

This morning I’ve got three things to grab your attention. The 1st is an update on some races. The 2nd is why we were bummed out on election night - but should not have been. The 3rd is some speculation about what’s going on in the GOP re Sinema apparently winning over McSally.

(1) Here are some updates on select races from the AZ SoS site as of 6:36 AM, Nov 10.

Numbers flagged with “+” favor Democrats. Numbers flagged with “-” favor Republicans.

The good news
US Senate, Sinema vs. McSally: +20,102
US House, Kirkpatrick vs. Marquez-Peterson, +19,584
AZ Corp Com, Sandra Kennedy vs. Glassman, +1,602
AZ Sup/Public Instruction, Hoffman +31,809
AZ LD2 Senate, Dalessandro +9,494
AZ LD2 House, Gabaldon beats Ackerley +6,930 and Hernandez beats Sizer +7,114

Some of the not-so-good news
AZ SoS, Hobbs still trails Gaynor, –10,696
CD8, voucher queen Lesko leads Tipirneni, –29,455
LD28 Senate, Kate Brophy McGee leads but by only –616
LD11, Holly Lyon is way behind.

(2) It’s all about mail-in ballots, stupid (to paraphrase James Carville, and h/t Ruth Maki).

StevenJoseph at Daily Kos works up data showing How Kyrsten Sinema Became The Comeback Kid, And How Mail-In Ballots Have Transformed Election Night.

Until very recently, people pretty much knew who won the vast majority of races the same night as the election. On Election Night in the year 2000, for example, the only state really in question for the Presidential Election was Florida. There were also a small number of other races that had yet to be determined for the 2000 Election, but the number of tight races were so few that people were not that worried.

Mail-in ballots have changed this situation dramatically. I will use the U.S. Senate race in Arizona between Kyrsten Sinema and Martha McSally to illustrate how mail-in ballots have created delays in figuring out who won. Fortunately, Kyrsten Sinema did not concede her race, because she currently has an excellent chance of winning, but you will soon see why she may have been tempted to give up way too early. In this article, I will attempt to illustrate the following:

  1. How Kyrsten Sinema avoided what at one point looked like a sure election loss.
  2. How mail-in ballots have changed Election Nights in a large way.
  3. Why candidates need to be careful not to concede too early in states that have mail-in ballots.
  4. Why so many Democrats were freaking out during the first hour of Election Night.
  5. Why the Election Night got much better for Democrats as the the evening wore on
  6. Why things keep getting better for Democrats as the days go on.

[On election night] McSally was leading Sinema by 17,073 votes and that the illustration indicated that about one percent of the vote remained to be counted. Well, some quick calculations show that 1% was about 17,000 votes. In other words, at this point, it looks as if Sinema would need to win pretty much every possible outstanding vote to win the election, which seemed pretty much impossible. As I went to bed on Election Night, I thought Sinema was pretty much a goner, but the one thing that I had yet to realize was there were a lot more than one percent of the votes outstanding. I was not the only one to be in the dark. No one seemed to realize it yet—not fivethirtyeight.com, not Steve Kornacki on MSNBC—no one.

You see, if you go and vote at a polling place, they verify who you are before they even hand you a ballot. Most people show their driver’s license and sign their names and voila, they get handed a ballot. The voters fill in the ovals on a paper ballot, (or use a touchscreen voting machine if you are voting that way), and everything can be processed really fast.

However, mail-in ballots have to have each signature checked by hand against the signature on file, so the actual processing of the ballots is much slower than feeding computerized paper ballots into a machine. States process mail-in ballots as they come in before election day, but what happens if you get a ton of them right around election day? They still have to be processed, and that takes some time.

That is what happened in Arizona. It turns out that at the start of November 7, 2018, the day after the election, Maricopa County, the most populous county in Arizona, had a combined total of around 650,000 ballots, including mail-in ballots, early in-person ballots, and provisional ballots that still remained to be processed. In addition, Pima County had around 150,000 ballots to process, and Coconino County had a good quantity of unprocessed ballots as well.

Together, these three counties make up the bulk of the population of Arizona, and all three of them were leaning blue on election night. …

FiveThirtyEight.com adjusted their totals as the night went on and as the House flips from Republicans to Democrats rolled in, but boy were some people freaking out on the web. I am sorry that some of you had to go through that. Here is a tip to possibly lower some people’s stress levels: next election, consider locking the television knob on MSNBC. Rachel Maddow and Steve Kornacki are really good at keeping things positive, and they really know what they are talking about. I did not get upset until about 10:31 P.M. when I saw those awful, and fortunately wrong, Sinema numbers, and that was not MSNBC’s fault. I just kind of groaned and went to bed, hoping that the morning would be better.

You know what? Everything looked much better in the morning, and the Election Results have been getting better each day. Just remember—mail-in ballots have slowed the whole election process down. It took a little time for everyone to realize how much we stomped on the Republicans. :)

Thank you, everyone, for making our blue wave possible! :)

It does look like those trends are continuing. The Daily Star this morning reports 362,000 ballots remain to be counted, 266,000 in Maricopa county and 60,000 in Pima. Of those 10,000 were the stimulus for a GOP lawsuit, the result of which is a common set of procedures across all 15 counties for handling ballots with signature discrepancies. Such ballots will be counted through 5 PM, Nov 4. I don’t see how those can possibly reverse the present trends.

(3) What is McSally doing? According to Blog for Arizona less than what Trump and the GOP masters want.

Arizona’s Politics writes TANKING? White House, Senior Republicans Think McSally Should Be Pushing Their Vote Count Trickery Messages; Suspect She’s Just Waiting For Ducey Appointment To McCain Seat.

Trump’s top political aides – inside and outside the White House – and other national Republicans believe that Rep. Martha McSally (R-CD2) has not been pushing their desired party line that some sort of trickery is happening in Arizona’s ballot processing and counting. Some speculate that she is silent because she believes re-elected Governor Doug Ducey will appoint her to fill Sen. John McCain’s seat if she loses the election to Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D-CD9).

This reporting from Alex Isenstadt and James Arkin at Politico help fill in some of the missing puzzle pieces. When Trump Campaign Manager Brad Parscale tweeted about “tricks” in Arizona and speculated about “rampant fraud”, followed quickly by the President’s implications that there was corruption on display in Arizona, it was a sudden 1–2 that caught many off guard.

The only voter suppression I see comes from Georgia and Florida. The motivation for the charges described in this post was settled this morning.

Politico’s reporting fills in some of the behind the scenes details.

At the highest levels of the national party, there’s frustration with McSally — and a sense that she’s not being aggressive enough throughout the process.

The kicker comes next, when the reporters note that some Republicans suspect a motive for McSally’s supposed lack of fight.

Among some senior Republicans, there is suspicion about why McSally has chosen to hold back. Some are convinced that she’s willing to let the race go and instead hope for an appointment to the state’s other Senate seat. Kyl, who was picked to replace the late Sen. John McCain, has yet to commit to serving for a full term.

Joined by the Arizona GOP (and the Arizona Public Integrity Alliance), the Plaintiffs agreed today to allow Maricopa and Pima Counties to continue contacting the voters, and allowing and/or instructing other counties to quickly start doing so, as well.

Like I said …

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