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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on November 5, 2008 12:57 PM. The previous post in this blog was Question for Ted Wheeler. The next post in this blog is Merkley ahead, could win by 35,000. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.



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Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Gordon Smith keeps hanging on

This morning has not been kind to Jeff Merkley in his race against Gordon Smith for the U.S. Senate. Smith has increased his score in Multnomah County to 29.3 percent, and if he gets more than 30 there, it was said to be a bad sign for Merkley. New numbers from Clackamas and Washington Counties show Merkley ahead, but only by a hair, in each of those places.

Statewide totals at this hour:

Smith 628,725 47.54%
Merkley 617,883 46.72%

While we wait for further results -- now in the afternoon of the day after the election -- maybe the ardent supporters of Oregon's vote-by-mail system can tell me why, if it's so wonderful, vote-by-mail is taking so awfully long to process. It is not inspiring confidence.

UPDATE, 1:10 p.m.: I still project Merkley to win. There are still around 160,000 votes to be counted in Multnomah County, and Merkley should win those by at least a 50,000-vote margin. Outside of Multnomah County, there are around 330,000 votes left to count, and Smith should win those by around 23,000. Merkley should squeak out a win by about 15,000 votes.

UPDATE, 7:51 p.m.: It now looks as though Merkley could win by as many as 35,000 votes.

Comments (32)

Relax. Merkley will win easily. Don't sweat it.

Maybe this could be an area for Sizemore to address. He could try and pass an initiative to "incentivize" elections officials to get their act together. If they fail to complete the count by midnight, they lose 50% of their budget for the next 2 years.

Just as soon as election days are made holidays, and polling stations are set up so that nobody has to wait more than, oh, 15 minutes to vote, then I'll withdraw my support for vote by mail.

The fact that the vote-by-mail system is wonderful, and the fact that it takes a long time to process, are not contradictory.

They have to check each signature, after all.

And I still have confidence that the remaining votes from Multnomah and Lane will push Merkley well over the top.

I'm still projecting him to win, but not by a lot.

There are a number of House/Senate races still outstanding, and the lion's share of them are not in vote-by-mail states so let's not get too snarky, eh?

I've also heard that the Multnomah Elections office was flooded last night.

It was actually flooded on Monday -- in the basement. The ballot counting does not get done down there.

I can never remember it taking it this long to count ballots in Oregon. Maybe it's just the 84 percent turnout.

The vote-by-mail system isn't perfect ... what is? But it's better than what happens elsewhere.

No vote-flipping on electronic vote screens, for instance.

I mourned the loss of polling station voting in Oregon too until hackable electronic voting machines became all the rage.

No, it's not great to have to wait ... but it's better than most. Certainly better than it could of been.

It's the huge turnout. Yes.

Merkley is narrowing the gap; at 1:29 pm, the SOS says:
Smith 655,944
Merkley 647,190

Merkley is catching up.
At 2:33 pm, the SOS says:
Smith 660,264
Merkley 655,312

The gap shrank from 8754 votes to 4952 in the last hour.

Here's a question for Merkley and the Democrats that paid out *$10 million* to get him elected to Smith's position: Wouldn't that much money have been better spent on say, helping people without health care? Isn't THAT one of the issues the Democrats are so concerned with? HOW MANY PEOPLE COULD BE HELPED WITH $10 million????!!!!

The Secretary of State unofficial results page is maddening. It refers to the ballots counted so far as the "ballots cast" so that the "ballots cast" number changes each hour or two. The county statistics age maintains the misrepresentation.

Hey BillB, "ballots cast" is not the same thing as ballots counted. It would be much more meaningful to have a real, fixed "ballots cast" number and the current "ballots counted" number, both overall and on the county statistics page.

At 3:05 pm, Multnomah County had counted 61% of the total ballots cast with approximately 138,911 left to be counted. If Smith (23%) and Merkeley (75%) continue at the same individual rates, then Merkeley will get another 103,000 with Smith adding 31,000.

The SOS has Smith ahead statewide by 5,000 but when you consider the additional still to come from Multnomah County alone, Merkeley wins by 67,000. However, you need to do the same calculations for Lane and the other counties which still have a lot to count.

If you do the same calculations for Measure 64, it looks like it will fail.

The Merkinator is now officially up by about 1200, as of 4pm PST, and with plenty more of Multnomah County coming in.

via CNN online


645,711 47%


644,554 47%

via cnn online

Merkley 652,726 47%

Smith (Incumbent) 650,262 47%

Merkley's gained 1300 votes since dan posted at 4:07 pm

Smith pulling ahead.
At 3:36 pm, the SOS says:
Smith 676,642
Merkley 641,864

Smith has a 34,778 vote lead!

Approximately 131,769 left to be counted in Multnomah County.

Multnomah County counted 7142 ballots in the last hour or so.

These numbers aren't making much sense. Merkley is going backwards. CNN must not be using the SoS site, but the big jump in Smiths numbers from the Sos site seems disproportionate.

Oregon »
7:34 p.m. EST, Nov 5 '08



76% of precincts reporting

Definitely odd. A big change refreshing the SOS web site though:

Smith 686,681
Merkley 685,408

PDXMark: voting is like a baseball pitch: Those ballots aren't cast until they're counted.

As of 5:00, there are another 125,000 ballots to count in Multnomah County, where Merkley leads Smith 151,036 to 65,848.

The SOS has Smith up 686,681 to 685,408 statewide. Krazy close!

Anybody else find it idiotic that you click on the drop-down on the SOS website and it calls up nothing. I see the orange bar for unofficial results, but frustrating that the other ain't working...

Looks like Merkley will win. He has now pulled ahead, as of 5:27, according to OregonLive: 691,501 to 691,119. The trend is obviously in his favor.

mp97303, I don't see why it's so horrible we have to wait a day or two to find out who won. I'd rather they count the ballots correctly and verify the signatures properly than hastily.

The Oregonian has called it for Merkley.

Congrats to Bill Bradbury, err, Merkley.

don't see why it's so horrible we have to wait a day or two

Vote tampering takes time; vote counting should be quicker.

@Miss Linda:


With current healthcare costs? Errr....I think that's three annual physicals and a store-brand aspirin.

too bad, The guy is a zero in my opinion.

I fail to get why some folks fail to get that citing information that was said or shown on TV is not only NOT news, but worse, it is false information.

Suppose you knew someone who lied all the time. Prex Chimp, let's say. Or a gossip-monger at the workplace. And suppose that person came to you and told you some information. And you knew he lied all the time. Then are you going to run out and repeat it to all your friends? try to impress them that you are 'in the know'?

Okay, then, same thing: by the time information appears on TV, it not only is NOT news, but furthermore it has been falsified ... why? to protect the jobs and reputation of the persons on TV since working in commercial addiction-TV is the same job and reputation as a drug pusher.

"... stay tuned ... don't touch that dial ... don't you dare go away ... we'll be right back with more hits of amygdala-stimulating sexuality and violence and conflict scenes, right after these commercials containing amygdala-stimulating sexual sales-pitches so you can attract unlimited uninhibited sexual partners by buying these products ..."

Who ya' gonna call? Here's a 1-step program out of addiction: Ad Busters (dot ORG).

@Ms Linda:

Here's a question for Merkley and the Democrats that paid out *$10 million* to get him elected to Smith's position: Wouldn't that much money have been better spent on say, helping people without health care? Isn't THAT one of the issues the Democrats are so concerned with? HOW MANY PEOPLE COULD BE HELPED WITH $10 million????!!!!

I donno.

How many people could have been helped with the 568 billion we've spent on the Iraq War so far?

Fair question.

And we'll donate our cash to who we want, thank you.

No go back and watch FOX.


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