The Flathead Valley’s Leading Independent Journal of Observation, Analysis, & Opinion. © James R. Conner.


8 June 2012

Provisional ballots unlikely to reverse Jay Scott’s electoral fortune

Don’t expect the 100 or so provisional ballots to change the outcome of the Republican primary in CD-3, where Gary Krueger leads Jay Scott by 15 votes. It could happen, of course, but the probability that it will are very low; lottery ticket winning low.

Krueger received 26.8 percent of the 13,580 voted counted thus far; Scott, 26.7 percent. Assuming the provisional ballots are distributed across the precincts, we would expect each candidate to receive 26 or 27 votes. Scott needs 16 more provisional votes than Krueger to overcome Krueger’s lead. My back-of-the-envelope calculations suggest the odds of that happening are less than one percent.

The odds of an automatic recount are considerably higher. Krueger’s lead could grow, but he would need a 20-vote margin over Scott in the provisional count to exceed the 34 or fewer votes difference (0.25 percent) that triggers an automatic recount.

Unless there was a blunder, fraud, or a systemic error, the changes in a recount are likely to be evenly distributed. Fifteen votes is a huge margin to overcome. Krueger’s win is likely to stand. And so is the fact that 73.2 percent of the voters voted for someone else. This election is a pretty good advertisement for the benefits of an instant runoff system.