And then there was one: Measure T down to single vote

Uncounted ballots at the registrar’s office in downtown Oakland. Photo: Tracey Taylor

In the latest results from the Registrar of Voters, the Yes on T campaign has inched into the lead: 16,640 to 16,639.

On election night, opponents of Measure T, which would change zoning in West Berkeley, had a 123 vote lead. That narrowed yesterday to 26, and today it vanished.

None of the other Berkeley races have changed much in the latest update. Opponents of Measure S, the sit ordinance, still lead by nearly 1,000 votes, 18,254 to 17,273.

The Alameda County Registrar plans to issue a daily update until all votes are counted.

View a photo gallery of democracy in action as Alameda County Registrar employees continue to process outstanding ballots.

Measure T gap narrows to 26 votes [11.07.12]
Remaining Berkeley votes could change close contests [11.07.12]
Live blogging the Berkeley elections: all the final results [11.06.12]
Measure T: Will it enhance or ruin West Berkeley? [10.29.12]

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  • PragmaticProgressive

    Go T go!

  • Irisandjules

    I am pretty sure that was our vote.

  • Eileen

    How many votes left to count? This is incredible!

  • PragmaticProgressive

    Really?  I find it pretty credible, myself.  You’ll remember from the Bush/Gore exercise, that closely contested elections take time to resolve — all the way up until certification.

  • The Sharkey

    No matter which way this one goes, I think we’re going to need a recount just to be sure.

  • Oh! Whoops! Sorry everyone, sorry. That was my vote. I’ll go change it right now.

  • goldrush2

    Wow — talk about every vote counting.

  • Gus

    I hate to reveal my OCD, but I’ve been keeping a running total.

    Let’s assume turnout is similar to 2008, when just over 56,000 people voted in the mayoral race. At this point this year, we have a total of 34,768 votes counted in the mayoral race, and 33,279 votes on Measure T. So slightly under 96% of those who voted for mayor also voted for T. 

    If we assume the remaining ballots will be similar, we should expect that there are about 20,322 votes on Measure T waiting to be counted. In the last two days, we’ve seen a total of 1,648 absentee and mail-in votes added to the election night total. So it’s going to be awhile.

    Among those absentees and mail-ins, though, the Yes vote is leading 54.4% to 46.6%. That’s pretty close to the same percentages that were in the initial round of absentees that were counted before the results from polls were in. So, as a supporter, I’m cautiously optimistic.

  • We don’t know how many votes left to count. The registrar hasn’t done the breakdown by city of the remaining ballots.

    If turnout is similar to four years ago, there are about 16,000 more votes to count for Berkeley by our calculation.

  • Gus, we yield to your superior abacus. Nice calculation.

    As you note, there are a lot of votes still to come.

  • anon

    Maybe I’m dense, but how is it that they can count so many votes on election day by feeding them into scanners, but then it takes so long to count far less?

  • Toni M.

    The voter turnout in Alameda County is predicted to have been significantly lower, as low as 44%, compared to the record turnout of 78% in 2008. If I could figure out how to link on these comments, I would provide. Thanks for help on this.

  • Guest

    Wow. Thanks Gus.  That’s really interesting.  So, if those numbers and percentages are right and hold up throughout, it looks like the “Yes” side on Measure T should gain something like another 1,500 or so votes by the time all is said and done.  Is that correct?

    I’d be interested in a similar analysis on Measure S, if you’ve got it handy…

  • Jeff Johnson

     Don’t apologize about the math calculations. Apparently Nate Silver has made math cool!

  • Gordonwozniak

    Because with absentee ballots, the county has to first verify the signature and and before the ballot can be counted. Verifying the signature can take a while, since they have to call up the one on file on a computer screen and make a visual comparison. On election day, all of the voters were verified by thousands of volunteer poll workers and the ballots were counted en masse. After the election, there are probably only a hundred or so county employees verifying and counting ballots.

  • 4Eenie

    Sorry PragmaticProgressive, that was me (Eileen). I didn’t mean incredible as in “not credible” but as in “amazing, extraordinary!” The numbers may change to favor No on T, but for a moment, I want to enjoy that there is a possiblity that Yes on T will still pass.

  • Guest

    The voter turnout numbers for Alameda county are at  Currently, it’s at 55%, but I don’t know if that includes all ballots cast, or just the ones they’ve counted so far.

  • Withdowncasteyes

    Shout out to the poll workers then!

  • guest

    This is plausible, but I’m not sure the assumptions are sound. We should expect a lower voter turnout than in 2008, so it’s probably fewer than 20,000 remaining. Additionally, there aren’t that many cases when the total absentee vote is radically different from the vote at the polling location. Measure R was, for all intents and purposes, the same at the polls and in the absentees. It seems very probable that the votes that have been counted so far are skewed Pro-T (by happenstance), given the degree to which they vary from the polling booth. I think it’s likely that the overall absentee vote will be much closer. This closed close on Election Day. It’s probably going to stay close until the bitter end.

  • serkes

    One vote does make a difference!

    I’m curious – though I could look it up, what happens if there’s an exact tie?  I’d guess that if the measure doesn’t have a majority, it doesn’t pass … but I’m sure someone knows for sure.


  • Gus

    To tell you the truth, I voted against S, so I haven’t been paying as close attention.

  • Gus

    Oh, I wouldn’t put any money on it, definitely not. The numbers so far are way too small to generalize from. As I said, cautiously optimistic. The only thing I would would say for certain is that it’s not going to be decided tomorrow.

  • Berkeleyfarm

    As an ex-county employee – I can verify that last.  Some of them get “borrowed” from other departments (and are supervised by the ROV staff) but it’s all employees at that point. 

  • Guest

    I’ll do it myself then:

    I took a page out of your book, some numbers from the Registrar of Voters site (, and Rob Wrenn’s comments on the first article on this topic ( and came up with the below.  The short version: If you assume a total of 20,000 “late absentee” votes on measure S, and that the yes/no percentages for those votes stay the same, it will fall about 214 votes short of passage.  (It’d take 25,100 late absentee votes at those percentages for measure S to become a tie.)Regardless of whether I’m right, it’ll be an interesting week or two….

                         Yes      No       % Yes    % NoInitial Absentees    6,981     5,040   58.1%    41.9%Polls                9,375    12,371   43.1%    56.9%Late Absentees         917       843   52.1%    47.9%Votes needed to pass             981            Projected Late Absentees      20,000            Yes votes to come*             9,503            No votes to come*              8,737            Net gain in Yes votes to come    767            Projected final result: 214 votes short of passage.*-based on “Late Absentees” percentages

  • Guest

    Well, that didn’t work. Sorry. I’ve posted another version with the chart as an attached picture.  Hope the moderators will approve it, and delete the screwed up version above.

  • guest

    Am I the only person reading this and thinking how pathetic it is that it takes this long to count ballots in an age when so many of us are “connected” all of the time?

  • Toni M.

    Hi Ira,
    It’s not a huge deal if Measure T passes or not by ten or a hundred or even a thousand votes. It’s close, and that’s what counts. Both Measure S and T show a divided city. If Measure T failed, I believe that the Council could still legally pass the ordinance, an unfinished revision of the master use permit section of the zoning code. The benefits and the Aquatic Park zoning are still on the table, in process. Even if T passes, its not cast in stone because it has a section 4 that allows repeal or amendment by the City Council without a vote of the people. Measure T was put on the ballot to pre-empt a referendum, and it succeeded in doing that. But it was also intended to elicit support from a large majority, like Measure R, and it has failed to do that. Yes or no, it’s unfinished, and there’s no rest for the weary.

  • PragmaticProgressive

    Given the many, many problems with securing those connections, I’m actually relieved that it’s not done online in any way.

  • Chamelean75

    I hope Measure T and S pass.

  • I agree with Toni on this one. Measure T is basically for guidance, to see if there’s popular support for upzoning in West Berkeley. Without a clear majority on one side or the other, we’re still in for a good thrash over Peerless Greens and other proposals that might follow.

  • Destroy West Berkeley. Go T !

  • Irisandjules

    Destroy West Berkeley.

    Go Berkeley Bowl West!

  • Gus

    Also blows a hole in the myth that redevelopment in West Berkeley is being pushed by a handful of rapacious capitalists and crooked politicians against the clear wishes of the community. I think we already knew that Berkeley has some very active and vocal anti-growth activists. The fact that their incessant scare-mongering failed to convince at least half the population is significant.

  • Gus

    Nice work!

  • Toni M.

    Gus, let’s wait until the vote is certified. Then the Measure T vote can be analyzed by precincts on a rational basis.  I’ve been active in the West Berkeley Project since the tour of 2008 and never heard rhetoric like “rapacious capitalists” or engaged in scare-mongering. If you had attended the planning commission and city council meetings where the zoning changes were discussed, you would not have heard anti-growth attitudes but more nuanced concerns of neighbors and business owners who have life investments at stake.

  • guest

     Nate has numbers–we don’t. 

  • Toni M.

    Thanks Paul but please no thrashing. Life in West Berkeley is a masochists’ paradise; it never stops, one thing after another.

  • joshua a

    Sigh. Dear Guest, I’m sure if you ran the Registrar’s office it would have all been done in 24 hours. Unfortunately, we are stuck with some bozo who actually wants people to make sure the ballots are legitimate. There is something so Berkeley about this comment. A person who has no expertise in the area calling the work of others pathetic, convinced he has some greater knowledge or solution. Sigh. 

  • Gus

    Oh, please. If I had a thin dime for every time I heard “greedy developers” and “a top-down process that did not include stakeholders,” I’d buy Doug Hert’s property myself and turn it into a park.

  • The Sharkey

    I have to agree. What I’ve heard against T is just the same old anti-growth attitude trying to make itself seem like something else. The fact that all the regular anti-growth activists in Berkeley were out beating the anti-T drum just confirms it.

  • Toni M.

    I heard “top down” process at the City Council hearings but not “greedy developers.” Now that the APIP DEIR is out, I won’t have time to review 15 hours of videos to win a straw man argument.

  • Toni M.

    You’re a regular troll.

  • Biker 94702

    Destroy West Berkeley.

    Go Go Godzilla!

  • The Sharkey

    Having an opinion you don’t like doesn’t make me a troll.

    What’s the last major development project or zoning change that the Daily Planet crew supported? I suppose we could call them anti-change, if you prefer?

  • guest

    “A person who has no expertise in the area calling the work of others
    pathetic, convinced he has some greater knowledge or solution.”

    I continue to be amazed that people who are unknown to me have information about my expertise.

    Yes, the comment is very Berkeley in the sense that Berkeley is a place where people traditionally have thought and acted “outside the box.”  In this case, the box that I want out of is the stifling enclosure in which I was asked to vote.  I’m sure that those who boast of their decades of experience in government want no change so they can still be the experts.  But government at all levels ought at least to employ semi-modern techniques.

    As to your attempt at an insult, election officials in Florida say they are doing their job (but haven’t declared a winner in the Presidential election) and also that they need to figure out why there were long lines of people waiting to vote – even at 1:30 AM on Wednesday.  {Shudder.}

  • Joshua A

    Do you have some expertise in voting systems? Now would be the time to share it. 

  • Toni M.

    Time to read Ibsen, young man, specifically Act 5 of Peer Gynt, his conversation with the Old Man, sometimes called the Troll King. The hallmark of trolldom is believing “To hell with the rest of the world!” Time to crawl out of your troll hole, man up and be a real person, which is what Peer Gynt must do . “Where was my self, my true self? The self that bore God’s stamp on its brow?”  It’s not your opinions that I don’t like but hiding your interests under a false identity. Until then, I can’t have a dialogue with you because I’m not part of a crowd or a crew. I’m a person, and some of my best friends are greedy developers.

  • guest

    Yes.  I vote in every election.

  • Guesterino

    Yup.  San Francisco is (or used to be) the City That Knows How; Berkeley is the City That Knows How You Should Vote, Eat, Plant Your Garden, Do Your Job, Have Sex, and Raise Your Kids. 

  • Florida sold off most of the electronic voting machines used in the 2000 election. A few went to the Vatican when they elected a new Pope – which is why, on the first round, the new Pope was George W. Bush.