Turns out I wasn't the only one to incorrectly predict that counting the final 1,300 ballots for the April 23 San Juan County Council election would result in Bob Jarman's defeat. A statistician called him at home Tuesday night and told hime he would lose by 40 votes.
My prediction, wins for Lovel Pratt, Jarman's opponent in the District 3 County Council race, and for District 3 candidate Rick Hughes, is posted in full at the end of this article.
The reality was Jarman's lead narrowed from 113 votes to 70. With only 60 ballots remaining to be counted, his re-election is assured.
You might be interested in where real life and theory diverged. (Hint: It's horse-shoe shaped.)
There were 1,300 ballots still to be counted after the results were announced Tuesday night, April 23, 2013. Some had been dropped off during the day at the ballot box in front of the sheriff's office in Friday Harbor, some had arrived in the mail. The rest were from the ballot boxes on Lopez and Orcas Islands which hadn't been emptied since April 12.
In the first count, Jarman had taken 1,703 to Pratt's 1,195 of the 2,898 votes cast in District 1 (San Juan Island). It didn't seem likely there would be that many more of those to count.. A bunch of votes heavily favoring Jarman didn't seem likely.
Jarman picked up 131. Pratt picked up 91.
In District 3, the Lopez School District bond election was controversial and slightly more than 50 percent of the voters in the school district had voted in time to have their votes tallied for the first result on Tuesday night. Theoretically even if the turnout was high the vast majority of Lopezians had already voted. Regardless, it was practically a given the decidedly democrat-leaning island would vote for Pratt.
She had taken the majority in the first count 658 to Jarman's 390. On Wednesday, she took the same percentage picking up 244 additional votes. Jarman received 146.
It was on Orcas that my prediction fell apart. Pratt had a 127 vote lead in District 2 Tuesday night 861 to Jarman's 734. Instead of following the trend of Pratt garnering 54 percent of the vote, the ballots counted on Wednesday were almost even. Pratt received 253 votes. Jarman received 248.
So there it is. I thought there would be more votes to be counted from District 2 and I expected them to split along the same line as the first count. Even if they had been 53% in Pratt's favor, Jarman would have still won but by only a 14 vote margin. However close only matters in horseshoes and handgrenades.
And just to make this complete. Here's the information about recounts. There is no mandatory call for any in this election. There are options to pay for machine recounts ($.15 per ballot) or manual recounts ($.25 per ballot). In the Jarman/Pratt race a mandatory machine recount would kick in at a 33 count margin and a hand recount would kick in at a 17 count margin. No one is requesting a recount.
PREDICTION: Hughes and Pratt will win
Looking at the results by precinct and taking a guess at where the 1,300 remaining ballots are coming I believe current District 2 Council member Rick Hughes has won re-election and former Council member Lovel Pratt will become District 1 Council member.
Hughes' lead after Tuesday night's tabulation of the ballots showed him taking District 1 1,542 to 1,235 over his opponent Lisa Byers. In District 2 he was ahead 921 to 829. In District 3, Byers lead is 667 to 368.
50 percent of the ballots from registered voters on Lopez are already counted. The turnout is expected to be about 60 percent which would mean another 200 votes or so.
Except for District 3, Hughes has taken the lead in all but two precincts, and in those two the differences were 6 and 4 votes.
If Lopez voters turn out in record high number due to the controversial school bond measure and 400 more ballots are counted and 68 percent go to Lisa and the rest to Hughes that just erases his lead. The rest of the votes, assuming they continue the trend seen so far, result in his win.
In the District 1 race, current council member Bob Jarman beat Lovel Pratt 1,703 to 1,195 in District 1 (San Juan Island). However, the ballots in the Friday Harbor drop box and the mail in ballots have been tabulated as the election has proceeded.
The ballots dropped off in the Orcas Island and Lopez Island boxes were not picked up since April 12. On Orcas Island (District 2) Pratt beat Jarman 861 to 734; and on Lopez Island (District 3) she beat him 658 to 390.
In the Tuesday night count, Pratt led in every Orcas Island precinct but one, and in that one the difference was 5 votes.
Again, these are just my predictions. We should know the results by 5 p.m. today, Wednesday, April 24.