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Clearer picture looks good for Amedore

By Lombardo David
Friday, November 23, 2012

Let’s use math, voter enrollment and the paper ballots counted so far in the 46th Senate District to predict the winner in this tightly contested race!

Assemblyman George Amedore, R-Rotterdam, currently has a 515-vote lead over Democrat Cecilia Tkaczyk. He built this lead on the backs of absentee and affidavit ballots that were counted this week in Greene County, where Amedore netted 291 votes, and in Schenectady County, where he netted 257 votes. These gains came after Tkaczyk was able to take a temporary lead in the race with the paper ballots in Albany County on Monday.

Today, the counting of paper ballots begins in Montgomery County; it starts in Ulster County next week.

So far the paper ballots have been more beneficial for Amedore, who outperformed his Election Day vote percentages in Albany and Schenectady Counties. In Greene County, the paper ballots reflected the Election Day results

It’s hard to explain why Greene County was so close to the Election Day results, as the paper results in Albany and Schenectady Counties fit a narrative that suggests Amedore’s early lead in the race meant he did better with absentee voters, who casted ballots before they could learn of Tkaczyk or her momentum had its effect.

The one explanation is that Amedore’s name recognition really only benefited him closer to home, which would be in Schenectady and Albany counties.

The paper ballots do suggest that Amedore could potentially do up to four percentage points better in Montgomery County’s paper ballots than he did on Election Day there. It is a region he currently represents, which helps him with absentee ballots, and he won the affidavits in Schenectady County, which he already represents a portion of. His winning of affidavit ballots, which typically reflect Election Day results but lean slightly more Democratic, likely speaks to what could happen in Montgomery County.

To predict how this will break down, we need to look at the votes that were cast in Montgomery County via absentee or affidavit ballots.

There were about 1,128 absentee ballots and 380 affidavit ballots cast. Based on the previous counties that have been counted so far, we can estimate how many of these votes will actually be counted.
It would be fair to assume that up to 20 percent of the absentee ballots will not be counted. The Montgomery County Board of Elections already ruled that about 150 of the affidavit ballots weren’t eligible and another 20 percent of that will likely be objected to.

If we assume these outcomes then 902 absentee ballots and 187 affidavit ballots will be counted.

Now, I will create a range of outcomes, with a worst case scenario for Amedore based on matching his Election Day percentage for paper ballots and a best case scenario where he exceeds his Election Day turnout on absentee and affidavit ballots by 5 percentage points. This model would mean Amedore gets between 692 votes and 746 votes and Tkaczyk gets between 397 votes and 343 votes, which means Amedore could net anywhere from 295 votes to 403 votes.

Based on this range, Tkaczyk’s deficit heading into Ulster County could be anywhere from 710 votes and 918 votes.

So let’s turn our attention to Ulster County, where the number of votes that are counted appears to be the important factor.

Let’s first estimate the number of affidavit ballots that will be counted. Unfortunately, the county BOE hasn’t yet announced the number of affidavit ballots it feels are ineligible. Based on the four other counties and a general rule of thumb, we can chop one-third right off the top. That brings us to 733 affidavit votes, but at least 20 percent of those will be laid aside because of objections by the lawyers, which brings us down to 586 affidavit ballots that could be counted.

Based on her late close in the race, the trend of more Demcorats voting via affidavit and the lack of name recognition for Amedore down in Ulster County, it doesn’t seem likely that Tkaczyk will do worse on affidavit ballots than her approximately 61 percent district win on Election Day. That means that Tkaczyk will get 357 affidavit votes and Amedore will get 229, which would net her 128 votes.

That would bring the range of her deficit down to 582 votes to the worst case scenario of 790 votes, which would have to be made up with by the 3,357 absentee votes.

Unfortunately for her, not all those absentee votes will be counted. Let’s start by chopping 20 percent off the top as the result of challenges, especially by Republicans in this bastion of liberal Hudson Valley voters. That would leave a pool of 2,686 votes for Tkaczyk to close the gap.

The worst case scenario for Tkaczyk is that she underperforms by about two percentage points from Election Day, gaining her only 1,585 votes and getting Amedore 1,101 votes. The best case scenario for Tkaczyk would be to exceed her Election Day win by about 1 percentage point, based on the the partisan and geographic origins of the absentee ballots there. This best case scenario would get Tkaczyk 1,673 votes and Amedore 1,013 votes. Her net gain range would be between 484 votes and 660 votes on absentee ballots.

This suggests a narrow window for Tkaczyk to win. In order for that best case scenario, Tkaczyk needs Amedore’s rate of victory to not grow from Election Day in Montgomery County and in Ulster County she either needs an unsually high number of paper ballots to be counted or a better than expected affidavit turnout.

Either way, every vote that is counted helps us get a better idea of the final picture. Based on the components drawn so far, the outcome doesn’t look good for Tkaczyk.

 

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