Socialist Alternative challenger Kshama Sawant won a dominating 58.44 percent of the 8,591 ballots added in tonight's 8:30 p.m. drop, more than halving four-term incumbent Seattle City Council member Richard Conlin's earlier 2,691 vote lead. Conlin now leads by a mere 1,237 votes and a 50.31 to 49.49 percent margin, a stunning reversal from his 6,136 vote, 7.5 point election night margin.
According to King County Elections, 216,226 ballots have been received in Seattle, and 176,836 have already been counted (151,399 in this race); only 84.08 percent of the ballots counted in tonight's drop included votes in the Conlin/Sawant race. Figuring that 1.5 percent of ballots will not be counted due to signature and other problems, I figure that
((216,226-176,836)*.985)*.8408 ((216,226*.985)-176,836)*.8408 equals 32,622 30,392 ballots left to count in the race. Give or take. Sawant would now need slightly more than 51.9 52.04 percent of the remaining vote take the lead. Considering that she has cumulatively won 53.5 percent of the ballots counted since post-election night, it is hard not to project Sawant ultimately winning.
Meanwhile down in SeaTac, the $15 an hour minimum wage Proposition 1 has slowed its bleeding. The "no" vote won 56 percent of tonight's 100 ballot drop, down from 59 percent of the previous drop and 63 percent of the drop before that. Prop 1 won now leads by a mere 43 vote, 50.43 to 49.57 margin. Still, with about 1,000 ballots left to count, the numbers don't look great for Prop 1.
Thanks to the three-day holiday weekend, these are the last results we'll see until 4:30 p.m. Tuesday. But if I were a Conlin staffer, I'd take advantage of the break to start spiffing up my resumé.
UPDATE: One more intriguing observation. While we've all been busy tracking the Conlin/Sawant and SeaTac Prop 1 contests, the "yes" vote on Seattle Prop 1 (public campaign finances) has been quietly but steadily closing the gap. On election night, Seattle Prop 1 was losing by a 7,112 vote, 45.89 to 54.11 percent margin. After tonight's count it is losing by a 3,889, 48.78 to 51.22 percent margin. By my calculations (which I won't go into here), Prop 1 would need to win more than 55.74 percent of the remaining ballots to win. It won 55.68 percent of tonight's batch. So while it's unlikely, given the swings we've seen in the contests above, it's not beyond the realm of the possible.
UPDATE: An error in my calculations led to a slightly inflated estimate of the number of ballots left to be counted—I've updated the the post accordingly.