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Counting Election Results

Written By: Gary on November 4, 2008 2 Comments

Results for the election are interesting. They’ve got Michigan listed as won by Obama, but only 20% of the precincts have reported. Now most of those being waited for are smaller precincts but there is less than a 50,000 vote difference. Does that even count all the mailed in absentee votes?

A few years ago (in the early days of the Internet) the first time the Michigan government put detailed election results on-line I was the person who put them on-line so I needed to know what time I needed to be available for the uploads. I’m not going to get into particulars (and I’m sure many have changed now) but if I recall correctly, it was way way after the news shows posted their results and after the newspapers printed the results before real tallies were even started. And (if I recall correctly) two of the bigger counties didn’t even get in their totals until the next afternoon.

And pay attention on sites where you see election results they say things like “Results are based on projections and unofficial returns. Candidates listed in bold indicate projected winner”.

But these early “results” are generally correct so I guess I can’t complain. But you generally don’t call a sports game until it’s over unless it’s a landslide. From what I’ve been watching (and it’s not much) just in the last 90 minutes McCain has gained about 38 electoral votes (with 7 states still voting and 9 states that haven’t been called yet) so it’s still got a ways to go.

But if it goes the way Dori predicted we don’t even need the other states votes we just need all the tallies from the precincts that closed by 9PM EST. Just so you know Dori is a computer person, not a political blogger and generally just blogs life and tech (who does occasionally blog political things). FYI – As of 10:30 PM her chart matches all the states we have tallies for so far.

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2 Responses to “Counting Election Results”

  1. Dave2 says on: 5 November 2008 at 12:51 am

    It’s not just the vote numbers that get states called for a candidate… it’s a complicated formula of returns, exit polls, and where the votes come from and historically how the regions voted in the past… all of them contribute.

  2. Gary LaPointe says on: 5 November 2008 at 10:32 am

    Yeah, I understand. But it still makes me a little crazy…

    You don’t see the super-bowl results in the paper before the score is actually tallied by the refs. (Not a perfect analogy by any means)

    Certainly you can base it on all that past stuff (polls, statistics and more). Dori (see link in above post) only got one state wrong (Indiana) in her prediction (well, NC is still up for grabs at this time) and she did that a few weeks ago.

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