Washington Referendum 88: Incomplete Results

[NOTE: Numbers revised since original posting earlier today because 1) the official vote totals were updated this afternoon, and 2) that well-known arithmetic wizard, Roger Clegg, corrected a faulty assumption that had, somehow, crept into my work.]

As of the latest revision (1:06 pm this afternoon) of the official returns of the Washington state vote on Referendum 88 (discussed here), the NO vote — to preserve the state’s ban on racial preference — leads by only 35,300 votes (722,240 to 686,940, or 51.25% – 48.75%).

That is a very slim lead, since according to an article in the Seattle Times published last night,

After Thursday’s results, King County still had 182,000 ballots to count, according to the Secretary of State’s Office. That’s nearly 38% of the ballots estimated to be remaining statewide.

In the votes so far reported, King County (Seattle) voted YES — to bring back affirmative action, i.e., racial preference — 62% to 38%. The average NO vote in the 35 (of 39) counties in the state that voted NO was 63%.

Nevertheless — any readers good at arithmetic feel free to correct me — if all the above information is correct there would seem to be good grounds for optimism. Consider:

  • If we assume the outstanding King County ballots vote YES by a lopsided 70% – 30%, that’s an additional 127,400  YES votes and 54,600 NO votes.
  • There are 291,684 uncounted ballots in the rest of the state (473,684 minus the 182,000 in King County). If we assume that only 60% were NO ballots (because three counties in addition to King voted YES, though by much smaller margins than King), that’s still an additional 175,010 NO votes and 116,673 YES votes still to be counted.

Thus, on the assumptions in the above calculations, combining old and projected results leads to the following estimate of the final outcome:

  • The estimated NO total would be 951,850
  • The estimated YES total would be 931,013

Still very close, but reasonable grounds for guarded optimism, no?


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