Hello Loyal Readers,
Welcome to the Friday after election day. Phew. Wasn’t that something? After the smoke has cleared, there are still several leftover questions. I will try and answer some of those in today’s Odds and Ends.
Will Renata Kowalczyk win? In case you missed the Auditor update yesterday (2 hrs late, naturally), Renata gained 300 votes putting her just 821 votes behind her opponent, Dan Robbins. There are 8,000 votes left to count, so Renata has to capture 55% of the remaining ballots. That is actually quite possible, early calculations (hat tip David Stalheim) show that the remaining ballots are mostly likely from Bellingham. Considering that Renata is currently winning 63% of the Bellingham ballots, it is quite likely that this race could seriously tighten up by the next count.
What about Mike McAuley or the County Council races? They are fine. As I mentioned above, the remaining ballots are most likely Bellingham ballots so progressives have little to fear for McAuley or the Council candidates. If all the ballots remaining are actually from Lynden? It is possible that McAuley will be in danger, but the council candidates are safe.
What the heck happened to Clayton Petree/Bob Burr/Ken Bell? I will try to answer these questions in my election analysis but I must remind you that no amount of number crunching can accurately answer the question “Why did this person decide to vote this way?” Was it because the candidate knocked on their door? Was it because their name was first on the ballot? Did they see Michelle Luke signwaving in Bellingham? These are tricky questions to answer because the tipping point is always hard to identify. What I can do is look at historical trends and how these candidates compared to previous efforts.
What about that Everson ballot box? Here’s what happened. The election workers unintentionally left the ballot box in Everson closed but unlocked last Friday morning (9:35am) and it was not discovered until the next Saturday morning (10:30am, 25 hours total). Obviously, this raises serious issues about the security of our democracy. Someone could have easily stopped by late to drop off their ballot, discovered the open box, opened the ballots and thrown out the ones they didn’t like, resealing the rest and leaving them there. Obviously a bit of a stretch, but not unthinkable. The natural response would have been to sequester all the ballots that were picked up that day but County Auditor Debbie Adelstein approved mixing them in with the rest, making it impossible to track later. These sort of security concerns cast a shadow on our democracy and I sincerely hope that Adelstein addresses these swiftly.
What happens next with the Political Junkie? After my election analysis, I get back to what I always do, breaking down complex political news into bite-sized pieces. There is some movement on the new jail, the ongoing battle over the waterfront development and of course, the new legislative session kicking off. Furthermore, I am in talks with two new guest columnists to expand our coverage past my usual 2-3 posts a week. So keep tuning in and stay warm out there.