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By Douglas Moran

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About this blog: Real power doesn't reside with those who make the final decision, but with those who decide what qualifies as the viable choices. I stumbled across this insight as a teenager (in the 1960s). As a grad student, I belonged to an org...  (More)

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Election recounts an illusion?

Uploaded: Dec 2, 2014
If you have a process for recounting the votes in an election, but the costs are so astronomical that it is implausible that it could be utilized, can you really say that you have one?

There were 21,761 ballots cast in Palo Alto in the just recently completed election. The Santa Clara County's Registrar of Voters (SCC ROV) estimated a manual recount would cost $177,000, or $8.13 per ballot processed. Simply running the ballots through the scanners again was estimated to cost $10,000 ($0.46/ballot). (foot#1) (foot#2) With the exception of a few ballots cast using the touchscreen system (primarily for voters with special needs), ballots are counted with a optical scanning system that is commonly characterized (Web research) as having an "inherent error rate" of 0.5% (additional in Appendix). For this recent election, this works out to over 100 errors. In the SCC ROV's audit of 1% of the precincts county-wide, they found a much lower rate: less than one discrepancy per precinct. Palo Alto has 41 precincts of widely varying sizes, and this averages out to an error rate under 0.2%, and less than 40 votes. While this inherent error rate is smaller that the margin in both the Palo Alto City Council and School Board contest, it is larger than the margins in several nearby election.

Confidence in election results is crucial for democracy, and is undermined if a substantial portion of the electorate comes to believe that the winner wasn't, for example, what happened in 2000 in Florida in the Bush-Gore Presidential election.(foot#3)

----Example of concern----

Note: I am using this example because it is one for which I have the data and an analysis that will probably register with most readers. The anomaly is centered on a single day's count, but I haven't been able to tease out of the data either a satisfying explanation of why it happened, nor anything that points to a significant error in the count. It is this ambiguity that makes this a useful (motivating?) example.







I became aware of the impractically of a recount as part of the recent election for City Council. There was small margin between Cory Wolbach and Lydia Kou for the fifth seat, and that margin dramatically changed on Friday November 7. The ballots being counted on that day were a significant portion of the Vote-by-Mail ballots that had been received on Election Day, either through the mail or handed in at precincts and other drop-off locations. Some of this category of ballots had already been counted on previous days, and more were yet to be counted (mine wasn't counted until November 8 or 9).(foot#4) At the beginning of that day's work, the SCC ROV had already counted 69% of the Palo Alto ballots (14,942 of 21,761), and they counted 19% more (4043) that day.(foot#5) While the ballots counted were not uniformly spread over the precincts, the distribution was broad enough that it seemed unlikely that particular sections of the city that favored particular candidates were over-represented to the degree that would account for the shift. So one would expect that that day's count would roughly follow the established percentages for the candidates.

Instead, this day saw a sharp surge of votes for Wolbach, getting 12% more votes than the increase extrapolated from the percentages. Combined with Kou receiving 4% less than extrapolated, there was a shift from Kou leading by 38 votes to Wolbach leading by 201. This 239 vote margin change corresponded to 6% of the ballots counted that day (with an average of 3.55 votes per ballot). The charts above show just how much variability there was on this day. Recognize that the ballots being counted on the previous and subsequent days were in this same category of ballot, and have much less variability (which is at a level that I find unsurprising).

If you want to further explore the data, the Excel workbook (.XLSX, opens in Excel Online) that generated these charts is available (it is a big file, 700KB).
Note: Please don't ask me for interpretation of this data: I don't have the data from previous elections nor the expertise to comment on non-obvious aspects. My role was to do enough analysis to see if it warranted, and could get, attention from someone with that expertise.

----Exploring the Options----
So, was this variability simply unusual, or indicative of a problem in the vote count? What sort of problem might it be? What ways are there to identify and localize such problems? How much would it cost to confirm/refute?

I was part of a group from the Kou campaign that met with the Assistant Registrar of Voters to try to get answers to these questions. He was quite generous with his time?this was only shortly after the crunch of ballot counting?and he gave good explanations and was responsive to our questions. However, the answers themselves were disappointing.

The basic problem was that the smallest legally permissible unit that can be recounted is the ballots from a specified precinct. Suppose you suspect that there was a problem with one of the counting machines during one particular day. Because there can't legally be a recount of just those ballots, the system isn't set up to track the ballots to make this logistically possible (the lack of tracking is greater than that needed to preserve the secret ballot). As the ballots move through the steps in the verification and counting process, they can be split up and combined into different groupings. Because the technology allows portions of multiple precincts to be combined in a single batch for counting, you see the count for each precinct fragmented over multiple days. With small fragments, it becomes becomes very hard to distinguish normal variation from anomalies. (The SCC ROV tries to have less than 1000 registered voters in a precinct and with the turnout in the recent election being 59%, a day on which 20% of its ballots were counted is less than 120 ballots). One member of our group used the analogy of a spreadsheet where the only way to double-check the data down one column was to use the totals from across the rows.

Learning the constraints on what could be recounted, the costs of a recount made the remaining questions moot.

Aside: I was surprised that the SCC ROV didn't use a deck of PowerPoint slides for our meeting. I would have expected that they would have gotten an initial deck from the vendor when they purchased the system in 2003, and that deck would have evolved over the years. For example, I would have expected it to be needed for presentations to others considering a recount, to the County Supervisors and others involved in oversight, to local students, and to academics researching the integrity of the various voting systems. However, he said that most people asking about the process want to see a demo.

----Conclusion/Musings----
We need to have a balloting system that provides for viable recounts. It is unacceptable to have a situation where people have strong suspicions about the validity of the count (and the results), but can't resolve those suspicions because of the astronomical costs: $177,000 to recount an election where a candidate spent $25-35,000 on the campaign itself. I fully expect commenters below to describe various systems for doing a better count/recount. For example, the Trachtenberg Election Verification System (TEVS). However, I don't know enough to comment on them.

One thing people need to recognize is that all vote counting systems have an inherent error rate, and that includes when humans are counting ballots (humans spot errors that machines make, but tend to make far more of their own). With the exceptions of systems that ask the voter to confirm their choices before recording the votes, there is the question of what is and isn't a vote (Is that thin faint line intended as a vote, or is it just a stray mark?). This can vary not only between runs on mechanical systems, but counts by different people.

It is impossible to eliminate a margin of error in the results, only reduce it. Most people I know find this unacceptable ?they expect the election process to produce definite winners. And a big part of me wants to agree with that expectation, even though I know it is impractical. However, there already are elections where the results are a tie?two candidates get exactly the same number of votes. These ties are resolved by a coin toss or by cutting cards or ? Maybe we need to extend the notion of a tie to include results that fall within the margin of error, and accept the distribution of "errors" within the counting process is the tie-breaker, that is, it is as an (implicit) substitute for the explicit coin toss.

----Appendix: Ignorance is bliss, or
----It is not an error until someone spots it----

"God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And the wisdom to know the difference."
? The Serenity Prayer
and applies not just to individuals, but organizational dynamics ("Corporations are people too" ? Mitt Romney).

I was repeatedly reminded of this during my years working in computer security, especially in a start-up circa 2000. Various IT managers confessed that although they were all too aware that their companies were not just vulnerable but under attack, that they would not buy various products (including the start-up's). Getting better alerts and details about individual instances of attacks was at best useless if they didn't have the budget to do anything about it, and they told us that they had repeatedly been unsuccessful in this. Consequently, having such improved capabilities would simply have raised the visibility of the problem (and potential liability), and generated demands from the higher-ups (aka pointy-haired bosses) that they "Do something" or "Do more with less" or ?. As one bluntly put it: "If I install this product, I get fired this year. If I don't, it will probably be several years before we get hit hard, and hopefully by then I will have already moved on" (paraphrase).

From the descriptions given by the SCC ROV, they seem to be caught "between a rock and a hard place" (although they gave no hint of realizing this). On one side is the California Election Code which doesn't seem to have kept up with changes in the voting practices. First, it was created in a time where virtually everyone voted in person at a precinct and Absentee/Vote-by-Mail ballots were few. The Code has been patched to allow broader Vote-by-Mail, but doesn't seem to have been re-thought to take into account all the changes in how ballots are processed when the vast majority of ballots are Vote-By-Mail.

Second, the California Election Code updates don't seem to have taken into account the "inherent error rate" of the technologies used to count votes, despite this having been a prominent concern since the 2000 Florida count/recount. Some other jurisdictions have automatic recounts when the vote margin is small enough to fall into this range. (foot#6) There is a proposal by Assemblyman Kevin Mullin (D-South San Francisco) to have an automatic recount when the vote margin is less than 0.1% (Aside: the margin between Wolbach and Kou was 0.18% of the votes recorded).

----Appendix: Process Errors----
The ROV's mandatory 1% audit is intended to catch mistakes in handling the ballots, such as a batch of ballots being misplaced or otherwise not counted. A recurrent situation across the country is that the elections staff has failed to update the written procedures after discovering a problem in the process because "We will remember", but that corporate memory gets lost due to retirement, resignation, illness? For example, in another county, the election staff discovered that their software discarded the results from the first precinct counted, but couldn't get the software corrected (for a reason unknown to me). So their remedy was to prepare a dummy precinct (one ballot with zero votes) and feed it first into the system. Worked perfectly until there was a staff change?

There was special concern about this sort of situation in this election here in Santa Clara County because the SCC ROV's head of information technology (Joseph Le) resigned abruptly just before the election (Note: there were many different stories swirling around about this resignation). The SCC ROV requested the California Secretary of State (responsible for elections) audit the results, but was refused.

----Appendix: Mechanical Errors----
The SCC ROV uses the Sequoia Voting Systems' model 400C optical scanning system. My web research found a multitude of citations of this category of system as having an "inherent error rate" of 0.5%, but I was unable to find an adequate definition of that term, much less how the value was derived. I long ago learned not to assume that I knew what someone else means by "error rate", much less "inherent". For example, consider a system that processes 1000 ballots and fails to count 10 votes (false negatives) while counting 5 votes that weren't there (false positives). The error rate is 1.5% when computed on a per ballot comparison, but only 0.5% when it is just the difference between the system's total and the correct total (because the false positives offset half the false negatives). Similarly, if a ballot gets mishandled, is that counted as one error, or as an error for each vote that could have been cast on that ballot?

Then there is the interpretation of what is the correct interpretation of what should count as a vote?the long-established convention is it is what a human can determine as "voter intent" (this was a major factor in the controversy surrounding the 2000 Florida recount ). An example from the SCC ROV: The voter uses a specialty ink that contained sparkles and those sparkles reflect enough light back to the scanner that it doesn't see the mark, but the human eye easily sees the mark. Another example, the voter uses an ink that gets smudged, not giving enough contrast in the target zone for the scanner to see it as a mark.

Another potential source of error is material on the ballots smudging either the scanning plate or the ballot itself. This happened in 2010 to the SCC ROV when the printer for the ballots used an inappropriate ink?the smudging occurred only under the pressures encountered in the mechanical processing, and thus had escaped detection during manual examination and use. Darker smudges can create false positives, while fainter smudges can create false negatives (by reducing the contrast below the threshold needed to register as a vote). For smudges on the scanner plate, the SCC ROV follows the equipment vendor's recommendations for how often to clean the scanning plate (and other maintenance), but given the history of the voting machine companies, I would be highly skeptical about the diligence they put into creating those recommendations. Recognize that it would likely be hard for an individual ROV to test the recommendations for an auto-feed scanner: The passage of the ballots themselves do a certain amount of cleaning of the scanning plate, and thus transient smudges that affect results may go unrecognized.

Although the SCC ROV does a range of quality control checks on the operation of their system, there were several checks that I thought were obvious that weren't done. For example, active monitoring of the over-vote (and to a lesser extent, the under-vote). (foot#7) Too large a variation could serve as an alert to check the system for malfunctions or other problems. I was surprised by this because this type of active monitoring was already common back in the 1980s and early 1990s when I was working on decision aids for manufacturing and quality assurance engineers. The SCC ROV's system was designed in the 1990s and purchased by them in 2003.
Recognize that the SCC ROV is constrained in its choice of system to ones that have been approved by the California Secretary of State. My understanding is that the ability of an individual ROV to customize the software is largely precluded by the vendor's license and by the extensive testing needed to obtain approval (although reports of vendors installing unapproved patches, including just before elections, abound from around the country).

Another interesting issue is how persistent are errors (false readings). For example, one would expect the problem reading ink containing sparkles would happen consistently?on repeated runs through the same scanner and on runs through other scanners of the same model. However, problems from smudges on the scanner plate are unlikely to persist between runs or across scanners. This is an important distinction for someone requesting a recount: If most of the likely errors are transient, you might go with re-running the ballots through the scanners. Although this is still expensive, it is not the astronomically expense of a manual recount needed to find the persistent errors.

----Appendix: The mandatory 1% audit----
After the vote count has been completed, the ROV performs an audit to certify the election. This is commonly called the 1% audit because it involves a manual recount of the ballots in a randomly selected 1% of the precincts. This partial recount is intended to detect a variety of errors ("logic and accuracy test"). To detect problems such as misconfigured software that assigns one candidate's votes to another, all contests that weren't covered by the initial precincts selected are checked by a random selection of a precinct for that contest.
Aside: The Palo Alto precinct selected was 2118, which is east of Middlefield Road between E. Meadow and Charleston.

This audit also checks the processes involved in handling the ballots all the way from the precincts through the counting process.

----Appendix: Miscellaneous info----
About 2-3% of the ballots returned as challenged, most for having been delivered in the mail after the deadline (there is a move in the state legislature to change the rule on Vote-By-Mail ballots to use the postmark date instead of having to be received by the ROV by 8pm on Election Day).

If the ROV receives a Vote-by-Mail ballot without the required signature far enough before before election day, they return it to the voter for resubmission. However, such ballots received on Election Day have to be disqualified, because the Election Code specifies receipt of the completed ballot, that is, with valid signature.

Questions about the signatures on the ballot envelope are resolved giving the voter the benefit of the doubt.

For provisional ballots, there is a 10-20% rejection rate, for example, the voter is registered elsewhere or not registered at all. If a voter has moved within the same county without update his voter registration, the ROV has the capability to count some of the votes on the ballot (for example, state-wide offices and propositions).

---- Footnotes ----

1. Manual recounts for multi-seat elections, such as the 5-seat, 12-candidate City Council contest, are expensive because of the difficulty of manual producing an accurate count. It is slow because of the care needed to count and record each ballot correctly, and the repeats of the counting of batches when errors in the count are detected.

2. The party requesting a recount has to pay estimated costs up-front on a day-by-day basis, but gets billed for actual incurred costs. The SCC ROV's advice was to use $8.50 per ballot as the fund-raising target for a potential recount.

3. Bush-Gore results: An independent unofficial recount that took years found that Gore would have lost the recount that he had requested, but would have won if he had requested a recount of the whole state (or of a different set of counties/precincts).

4. When was my/your ballot counted? I was using the SCC ROV's website "Track Vote By Mail Ballot" tool each night to see when my ballot was counted. It showed up as Received and Counted on Sunday November 9, but was listed as not yet received on the previous evening. Similarly for my neighbors who were similarly tracking their ballots. However, the SCC ROV's spreadsheet shows details of ballots counted shows none for my precinct (2108) on that day. I am assuming that there was simply a delay in updating the website's Track tool.

5. Ballots Cast overstates the number of people voting in the City Council contest: Some people voted only in the state-wide contests (candidates and propositions), some voted for School Board but not Council? A better estimate might come from the votes cast on the City measures, with Measure B (TOT = hotel tax) receiving the most votes (both Yes and No). At the beginning of November 7, there were 14,008 votes for Measure B (93.75% of 14,942 ballots) and 3815 more votes were counted that day (94.4% of 4043 ballots), with a total of 20,287 votes cast (93.23% of 21,761 ballots).

6. Margin for automatic recount: The choice of this threshold seems to be based on perceptions (politics, public relations), rather than scientific analysis. This is not surprising giving the history of resisting such analyses by the voting machine vendors.

7. An over-vote is when there are too many votes in a particular contest. For example, in the City Council contest, there were 5 seats open so you could vote for 5. However, if you voted for 6, all your votes in that one particular contest would be discarded (because the counting system wouldn't be able to decide which votes to keep and which to discard). Note: your votes in all the other contests in the ballot are counted.
An under-vote occurs when the ballot contains fewer votes than allowed, for example, voting for only 4 candidates in a contest for 5 seats. It also applies to when you cast no votes in a particular contest.
The SCC ROV's system doesn't track either of these metrics, nor does it flag over-votes for later examination (or even spot checking). Under-voting is so common that it is unclear if even spot-checking would be helpful. During the manual recount portion of the 1% audit, over-vote and under-vote are recorded, but my understanding is that it isn't used except as a mathematical check during that manual count.

----
The Guidelines for comments on this blog are different from those on Town Square Forums. I am attempting to foster more civility and substantive comments by deleting violations of the guidelines.

I am particular strict about misrepresenting what others have said (me or other commenters). If I judge your comment as likely to provoke a response of "That is not what was said", don't be surprised to have it deleted. My primary goal is to avoid unnecessary and undesirable back-and-forth, but such misrepresentations also indicate that the author is unwilling/unable to participate in a meaningful, respectful conversation on the topic.

Comments

 +  Like this comment
Posted by H Chad, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on Dec 2, 2014 at 2:17 am

Rather than commenting, I will just copy the first line of the email I wrote to Doug at almost 1am on the 8th (essentially late on the night of the 7th):

"Did you see that? Is it me or did Wolbach's numbers jump by exactly 100 votes with Lydia's not moving at all? "

I, too, paid attention to when my vote was counted, because I dropped my ballot off at the fire station, an area heavily in favor of Kou, and where the boxes were absolutely stuffed early in the day, yet she didn't gain at all when those ballots were counted.

[[Deleted by blogger: off-topic (re-fighting the election), casting aspersion on another person]]


 +  Like this comment
Posted by H Chad, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on Dec 2, 2014 at 2:41 am

Doug,
I don't know how else to comment on the unsuitability of someone who was in charge of ensuring the integrity of two precincts but was unabashedly partisan and even involved in a completely false smear/whisper campaign against one of the candidates. In my estimation, that's relevant to the integrity of the vote. But, I can understand why you deleted it on your blog. I just wish there were a proper administrative appeal process because of so many irregularities. Democracy does need to be protected from those for whom the means justify the ends (that they imagine).

[[Blogger: First, that someone is very partisan in the campaign is not evidence that they acted unethically at the polls.
Second, the election system is designed with lots of redundant checks to make it difficult for an individual poll worker to compromise the process.
While I agree that it would be better if such people were not election officials ("Caesar's wife should be above reproach/suspicion"), speculation about individual instances is inappropriate here.
]]


 +   2 people like this
Posted by Emily Renzel, a resident of Crescent Park,
on Dec 2, 2014 at 7:06 am

I sure hope that you have provided this information to the Board of Supervisors, the Registrar of Voters, the City Clerk, and anyone else in charge of elections. Your effort certainly lays out a lot of potential problems areas. Surely someone needs to improve the system.

[[Blogger:
The concerns and the data analysis (spreadsheet) were provided to the ROV as part of our discussions with the Assistant Registrar of Voters.
The County Board of Supervisors has requested the ROV conduct an assessment of their system (a performance audit) that is likely to take a year. The information here has been provided to people likely to be involved in that process.
]]


 +  Like this comment
Posted by H Chad, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on Dec 2, 2014 at 11:06 am

Doug,
The person I was referring to was a precinct INSPECTOR for two precincts, not a poll worker. And the concern is not just partisanship, but how dishonest the partisanship was : spreading completely false rumors, etc. There is a reason public officials with lesser conflicts of interest recuse themselves from situations in which they have power.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Some People, a resident of Mountain View,
on Dec 2, 2014 at 1:17 pm

@H Chad -- First off, a precinct inspector is in charge of ONE polling place, NOT two. (Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters regulations and state law.) Could you possibly mean a field inspector, who would be placed in charge of multiple polling places?

Second, if you actually saw this act of impropriety, you should have notified the county Registrar of Voters AT ONCE.

[[Blogger:
Clarifications:
1. The "act of impropriety" was during the campaign and well before Election Day. It did not involve any of the Election Day activities.
2. "two precincts": The ROV often combines precincts for the purpose of a particular election. That is, two of the "permanent" precinct designations -- as reflected on the ROV's maps of the precincts -- become a single precinct for that election. People often fail to make this distinction (don't know if this was the case for "Hanging Chad"). A related confusion is that occasionally two precincts will be at the same location -- they have separate tables, poll workers and ballot boxes.

REQUEST: End this sub-thread of the comments -- it is tangential to the topic (of recounts).
]]


 +  Like this comment
Posted by H Chad, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on Dec 2, 2014 at 11:55 pm

Doug,
Are you sure we can't request a precinct-by-precinct count? This Sacramento Bee article seems to say so:

"Any recount would again trigger scrutiny of California recount laws that allow any state voter to request a recount in particular counties or precincts ? as long as they pay for it. If the lead changes, another voter can request a recount in areas of their choosing, and so on until there are no more precincts to count."

Read more here: Web Link"

So, is there a way to know what votes were counted on the 7th? I would think Kou could narrow in on the precincts where she did well, if she has any campaign funds left (or can they be used that way?) It seems like the numbers in the home district didn't change at all when they did the mail counts, even though most people dropped off...

Is there any way to know what was counted when Wolbach got his lead? It sure seems like just narrowing down on those would be worth recounting.


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Douglas Moran, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on Dec 3, 2014 at 1:40 am

Douglas Moran is a registered user.

RE: "H Chad"

> Are you sure we can't request a precinct-by-precinct count?

You can request a count of a subset of precincts, or you can request the precincts be counted in a particular order with the option to stop, either because you see that the recount will fail to change the results, or because it already has.
What you can't do is request a recount of only the portion of a precinct that was counted on a particular day.

The problem with recounting a subset of precincts is the same as recounting the whole contest: cost. The typical precinct in Palo Alto had 400-800 ballots cast and, at $8 to $8.50 per ballot recounted, this would cost $3200 to $6800 for a manual recount of that single precinct.

> So, is there a way to know what votes were counted on the 7th?

No. As the OP states, the SCC ROV doesn't track ballots through these steps.

> I would think Kou could narrow in on the precincts where she did well...Is there any way to know what was counted when Wolbach got his lead?

Look in the provided spreadsheet workbook in the worksheet "Kou-Wolbach". The most optimistic scenario that I could come up with required recounting at least 5 precincts, which would probably cost over $20,000, which made looking for a realistic scenario a non-starter. Lydia Kou has decided not to request a recount.

Even if one were allowed to recount that one day (Nov 7), there were 4043 ballots counted that day and at $8-$8.50 per ballot, that is over $32,000.

If you had a very very tight election and the 1% audit revealed an inherent error rate of 0.2% and you made the (delusional) assumption that all the errors would be resolved in your favor, it would cost $4000 to $4250 for each vote from those errors.

The intended focus of this discussion is understanding the problems with the current recount process and any suggestions about how to improve it (a mix of politics and technology).


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Sea SEELAM REDDY, a resident of College Terrace,
on Dec 5, 2014 at 3:00 pm

This election was rigged by people that want to be elected badly.

Money and news media plays a big role.

When Doug Moran says, we need lawn signs to be credible; the whole thing is 'trash'.

For a city of Palo Alto caliber, we sure have 'old' Nixon type politics.

They have special interests.

Low integrity and low innovation.

We could do better.

Palo Alto citizens deserve better!

Hang in there Lydia!

Respectfully


 +   3 people like this
Posted by Douglas Moran, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on Dec 5, 2014 at 3:23 pm

Douglas Moran is a registered user.

RE: Sea SEELAM REDDY

Although there was a fair amount of dirty and ugly politics in the recent election, I know of no evidence that the election was "rigged". Nor have I seen anyone provide evidence of actions rising to the level of "'old' Nixon type politics".

The analysis of many of us is that "Money and news media plays a big role" is wrong. As has been observed in earlier elections, the PA Weekly endorsement had excellent correlation with who won, but the other newspapers seemed to have little impact. Money had limited impact: the second biggest spender (A.C. Johnston) lost badly. The top spender (Scharff) almost certainly overspent because he had the nearly unbeatable advantage of both incumbency and the PAW endorsement. The incumbent who lost (Shepherd) not only lacked the PAW endorsement, but she had all the newspapers recommending against her.

The newspapers did have an impact in severely limiting the issues being discussed, but the candidate forums (LWV and PAN) also played a major role as did lots of others. (see "media narrative" in my comment of Nov 24, 2014 at 11:12 pm on previous blog entry "Campaign Endorsements").

As to lawn signs: My blog post was about them being used as one way to demonstrate that a candidate credibility by showing a reasonable level of support. I did not say that they were required. This is similar to the distinction between necessary and sufficient conditions that many of us learned in logic/math classes.


 +   3 people like this
Posted by Observer, a resident of South of Midtown,
on Dec 5, 2014 at 4:18 pm

One caveat is that the PAW endorsement almost certainly put Wohlbach over the line ahead of Kou. The fact that he won so narrowly, with that advantage, is a clear sign that without he would have lost.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Sea SEELAM REDDY, a resident of College Terrace,
on Dec 5, 2014 at 7:31 pm

Thanks Doug for your comments.

I learned a lot from contesting. I have 1270 people that are willing to give me an opportunity to serve.

I will be grateful/thankful to these people and all of Palo Alto citizens that gave me the opportunity to run.

It was a wonderful experience.

Remember, IDEAS do not die. Integrity and innovation count!

Respectfully


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Sea SEELAM REDDy, a resident of College Terrace,
on Dec 6, 2014 at 3:33 am

Re reading Doug's analysis:

Point number 1: If there is no way to determine accurate counts for seat number 5; there is no way to recount without spending godly amount; I recommend we have a re-election.

Cory should resign his seat and we will have a re-election.

If he does not; it is like George BUSH 2 that got elected because supreme court decided for GW.

Cory is young enough, has great ideas; let us have debate/s and see who people want to elect; Cory or Lydia.

It is for the Palo Alto citizens to choose.

Respectfully


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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