Update on Measure T count: Now 5 votes up

The laborious process of counting mail-in and provisional ballots continues at the Registrar of Voters. Photo: Tracey Taylor

In the latest vote update, yes votes on Measure T, the proposed West Berkeley zoning changes, have creeped five votes ahead of no votes, 17,845 to 17,850.

The gap on Measure S, the sit ordinance, has closed, but the no on S vote remains 759 ahead of the yes vote, 19,406 to 18,647.

Registrar of Voters Dave Macdonald expects to complete the count of the remaining mail-in ballots by Sunday. Then his staff will turn to the 40,000 provisional ballots countywide.

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

One Berkeleyside reader who wishes to remain anonymous has constructed a spreadsheet to track the progress of the vote counts on measures S and T. The spreadsheet offers a number of possible scenarios for the vote outcome, making assumptions about the total number of outstanding ballots and how they might split. You can download the spreadsheet and change the assumptions to suit your tastes if you enjoy that kind of data manipulation. 

We’ve also embedded the spreadsheet here:

And then there was one: Measure T down to single vote [11.08.12]
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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  • Chamelean75

    Go T and S!!!!

  • Rob Wrenn

    This latest update was heavily from the hills: Districts 5 and 6 account for the lion’s share. You can see this by looking at how the vote for council members in Districts 2, 3, 5 and 6 changed. My count: 1086 more Council votes in D5: 805 in D6; D3: 533; D2: 123. Perhaps they prioritized districts with Council rates. This count suggests that hills voters were probably closely divided on T, while favoring S by larger margins. When they get to provisionals no on S count will increase again relative to yes on S. 

  • Guest

    Based on what happened today (net of 222 yes votes for S, 4 yes votes for T),  if I was on the If I was on the “no” side of either measure, I’d be worried.  If I was on the “yes” side, I’d be optimistic.  Only time will tell.

  • Wow — these are two nailbiters.  So they’ve counted 4,286 late absentees so far.  Anyone know how many are left?

  • Rob Wrenn

    They’ve counted more like 6000 absentee ballots since the election so far. Vote in the mayor’s race is up by 5391 votes and not everyone voted for someone for mayor. No idea how many are left; wish the Registrar would tell us. Votes cast for mayor are still way below count in 2008 election, but this may have been a low turnout year. We’ll have to wait and see.

  • The registrar only has a count of how many ballots there are countywide. He never did a count that divided the total city by city.

  • Rob Wrenn

    Do they sort the absentees by city before they count them? If they do, I don’t see why they don’t do a count. In our electronic age, it shouldn’t be hard to do. Do you know if they prioritized Berkeley absentees from districts with Council elections? In latest update, increase in votes from 2, 3, 5 and 6 in Council races is roughly equal to increase in votes reported on T and S.

  • I don’t know.

  • Destroy West Berkeley.

    Go T!

  • Bob Offer-Westort

    The spreadsheet creator thinks that there are 15,714 absentee votes left to count because that would bring us up to the number of people who voted in the last mayoral election?

  • The spreadsheet assumes the Tuesday night count was 20,000 short. That’s probably on the high end of missing votes. You can download the spreadsheet and plug in your own assumptions, and the other formulae will show you the results.

  • Western Worker

    Change is never good! No on T, and everything else!

  • Foo

     Just like Berkeley Bowl in West Berkeley, it will be a disaster!! Oh wait, it wasn’t a disaster. But still, change is always bad.

  • Rob Wrenn

    6000 or more absentee ballots have been counted since Election Day. Not all of them contain votes on Measure S. Some people just vote the top of the ballot. There may be 15,000 votes left, but some of them are provisionals. Lance reports above that there are 40,000 countywide. If Berkeley’s share is proportional to its share of the 2008 vote in the county (10.6%) then that would mean 4000 in Berkeley. But I’m going to guess that Berkeley’s voters are less likely to vote provisional because we have a relatively highly educated electorate and that the number in Berkeley is less than 4000. Even so, could be 2000 (ave. of 20 per polling place) Those votes are going to favor No on S by a similar percentage than those who voted on election day (that’s the way it’s worked in the past). That was 57% No and 43% Yes.
    Absentee votes counted since the election are running 53.5% Yes and 46.5% No. If there are another 10,000 absentees and 2000 provisionals, it would be very close. Here’s my prediction: If still uncounted absentees are over 12,000, Measure S wins by a small margin. If under 10,000, Measure S loses. In between, very close. Not all provisionals will be counted; not all will contain votes on S. Turnout in 2008 was at an historically high level. About 6000 fewer voted in 2004; about 12,000 fewer in 2000. My guess is that turnout this year will be closest to 2004’s turnout. So maybe there are closer to 10,000 ballots left, including provisionals. That might mean, if I’m right, about 8,000 absentees and 2,000 provisionals. One thing I’m confidant about is that more people voted absentee this year than voted at the polls. the spreadsheet shows that 21,700 voted at the polls; so far about 20,000 have voted absentee (not everyone who voted voted on the measures). So there are probably at least 3000 more absentees at a guess and there could easily be more. Our turnout will be higher than in 2000. Of course, the thing that would be most helpful would be to know the number and the geographical distribution of the remaining ballots. We don’t know it, so we can only speculate, which is what I’ve just done. 

  • PragmaticProgressive


  • PragmaticProgressive

    Wow, 15 comments and no one has made a stink about – gasp – the anonymity of the spreadsheet creator. Maybe, just maybe we’ve learned that it doesn’t matter?

  • Lestin

    One reason to think there might not be that many left: if this article indicating that there were 140,000 ballots left and 414,000 already counted (http://www.mercurynews.com/breaking-news/ci_21949038/no-official-estimate-ballots-yet-be-counted-alameda) is correct, then current Alameda County totals for president (481,781, I think) would indicate that there are only 72,219 ballots left to be counted.

    My arithmetic might be off, but that would mean that almost half of Alameda County’s late ballots have been counted.

    Speculation, of course, but guessing that our ballots are being counted at the same rate as the rest of the county’s feels stronger to me than guessing that we had the same turnout as 2004.  

  • Sara

    What’s a late absentee vote? 

  • Rob Wrenn

    People who turned their absentee ballots in at the polling places; also probably absentee ballots that arrived by mail late in the day on election day, so they couldn’t be counted in time for the 8:30 p.m. release of absentee ballot results.. Also probably people who dropped their absentee ballots off at City Hall where they had a ballot box.

  • Barb

    “….have creeped five votes ahead of no votes…..”   There is NO such word as “creeped.”  You need to change it to “crept.”

  • Guest

    I decided to remain anonymous after seeing how demonized Nate Silver was in some areas of the press.  Not something I want to experience personally.

    To answer some of the questions posted or implied here:
    – Beyond voting, I was in no way involved with any part of the local election (no donations, no meetings, no signs, no flyers, no nothing)
    – I put this spreadsheet together for my own edification, and since it seemed kinda neat, I decided to send it in to Lance.
    – The 20,000 “late absentee” votes number came from “Gus”‘s comments on yesterday’s article.  There no agenda there at all. I don’t have any knowledge that would help me develop a better number, so I used that one.
    – Because Lance has made the spreadsheet downloadable, you can check that there’s no funny business in the formulas, and adjust the numbers in whatever way makes more sense to you.


  • Persnickety Slang

    Yep, in the sentence as posted, crept would indeed be correct and creeped would be wrong. But what if somebody or something creeps me out? Then “creeped” would be correct: “Agh, that scuzzy guy last night, he totally creeped me out!” Inelegant, I’ll grant you, but the word *does* exist.

  • Berkeleyan

    So does anyone have a general idea of how long it will take to count the remaining votes?  Days?  Weeks?

  • PragmaticProgressive

    And thanks for doing it.  This is probably too much inside baseball, but my comment was directed at the people in this forum who demand to know the names of people who have the temerity to hold views different from their own. 

    As a pseudonymous person myself, I have no such issue and certainly understand your desire to remain out of the public spotlight.  I also sincerely appreciate your contribution to our collective understanding.

  • PragmaticProgressive

    It ain’t over until the vote is certified.  That takes weeks.

  • David Bowman

     they’ve said that they hope to have it all counted by the 21st of November

  • Peggy

    Just one more thank you. That’s all. It seems hard for some people to understand that it is possible to look at math dispassionately – maybe for them it is hard to look at anything dispassionately. As one who likes to make a distinction between the subjective and the objective, I appreciate your contribution. 

  • G. goldman

    How did Berkeley vote for President?

  • Rob Wrenn

    No on T back in the lead after very large chunk of votes were counted on Saturday.

    No 22,692
    Yes 22,266

    Probably 10,000 absentees were counted today. Yesterday’s count was heavy with votes from the hills; today’s more votes from South and West Berkeley. Provisionals that remain to be counted will favor No on T.

  • Rob Wrenn

    Won’t know until final results come out at the end of the month. In 2008, it was 92.5% for Obama; Berkeley was third among cities with populations of 100,000 or more in votes for Obama. 

  • PragmaticProgressive

    On this subject, I recommend John Allen Paulos’ books, especially A Mathematician Reads the Newspaper.  Great stuff.

  • Most dictionaries now accept “creeped”. But you’re right that “crept” is still preferred.