Today, an additional 2,553 ballots were received by the auditor, making a total of 60,647 ballots received. The auditor prefers to not speculate on how many more ballots will come in on Friday and Saturday. Estimates of the final total I have gotten from others range from 62,000 to 70,000 total. Today, 7,929 ballots were counted, giving a total of 54,606 counted, and 5,000 left to be counted on Friday.
More votes will arrive in the mail tomorrow. Gueses vary wiildly of how many tomorrow. Our auditor, Debbie Adelstein, is not speculating. My guess is about 1,000. If we add in the approximately 500 challenged ballots, then my guess is we will end counting a total of about 62,000 ballots, or a 48% voter turnout. A low turnout. So, we may have 85% to 90% of all eventual ballots already counted.
As of today's count:
The jail sales tax proposition. 50.85% rejecting. This is an increase in rejected from yesterday's 50.32% rejection. This seems a trend of late mailed ballots, as it reflects those received this week. Many of us think the pro-jail tax mailer created a backlash and a strong majority of late ballots were against the jail. I think this trend of increasing percent of rejecting votes will continue, and some savvy political friends think we can now say this jail tax has failed. But I prefer to wait for Friday's 5 pm totals. We should know then.
Satpal Sidhu and Kathy Kershner. 50.46% for Satpal and 49.54% for Kathy Kerschner. This is a narrowing of Satpal's lead by half a percent. They are now separated by 480 votes, down from yesterday's 669. This may not be decided until all ballots are counted next week.
The jail sales tax proposition and the Sidhu-Kerschner contest are the only two ballot measures undecided after today, in my opinion.
Proposition 1 - district only voting. 53.51% approving district only voting, up from yeserdays 53.42% approving. With this margin, I feel that district only voting has won. Definitely won.
Proposition 9 - creating 5 districts and 2 at-large. 53.84% are approving the creation of 5 districts, down from yesterday's 54.39% Still this large a margin this late in counting ensures that we will be creating 5 county council districts.
A bit of trivia here, the Port of Bellingham is not required to use these districts and can choose to stay with the present 3 districts and their boundaries. This is up to the port commissioners. In fact, the Port can choose to redistrict the county in any manner they want to for just port commissioner elections.
Props 2, 3 and 10 - relating to how the charter is changed. Prop 2 has 51.91% approval and prop 3 has 51.94% approval, up since yesterday's counts. Props 2 and 3 should pass. Prop 10 has an approval of 52.36% today, down from yesterday's 52.87%. Regardless, prop 10 will pass. And we will thus have quite a bit of craziness over the winter and in 2016 about how to resolve these contradicting new charter clauses.
You can click over to the auditor's election returns web page to read all the numbers. We are also keeping that link at the top of the right side column of links.
Ryan Ferris' website, Bellingham Politics & Economics has very detailed analysis on voter turnouts and election numbers. Really stuff for those who have detailed questons about much of our election results. If you are a political junkie, then Ryan's site is one to bookmark.
I talked again today with Debbie Adelstein our auditor and her staff. They installed an additional 6 ballot drop boxes around the county for this election. They are really being used. Over half - over 50% - of all returned ballots came from the drop boxes. There has been a solid trend since these were started a few years ago for higher percentages of ballots to come in this way, rather than by mail.
Speaking of mailed ballots, our postal service for Bellingham is not exactly as fast as it used to be. Back when they sorted mail here, a letter mailed at 4 pm was delivered in town the next morning. Then, for 'efficiency and cost reduction' all our mail destined for local delivery was shipped to a new processing center in Everett and we had two day delivery, with mail sent by 4 pm on day one being delivered on the morning of day three. The post office called it one day delivery because it was only in transit one day. Now they have closed the Everett processing center and our mail goes further south to Redmond or another Seattle are processing center. And we mail on day one and get our mail on day four.
Why is this trivia here? Well the post office totally closes down operations on Sundays. So ballots dropped in mailboxes on Sunday were actually picked up Monday and that counted as day one. Those ballots only arrived today, Thursday, day four. And we expect those mailed late Monday and on Tuesday to arrive tomorrow, Friday, but some may not arrive until Saturday. About 10,000 ballots arrived yesterday, Wednesday, but only 37 ballots arrived at the auditor's office on Tuesday, election day. We need better postal service.