PA 18 Special Election Part 2

With 93% reporting in PA 18 Conor Lamb has a 928 vote lead over Rick Saccone. Here’s some thoughts from Harry Enten of 538:

Open thread!

237 replies
  1. 1
    dmsilev says:

    A few more precincts trickled in:

    Conor Lamb Democrat 102,839 50.0%
    Rick Saccone Republican 101,707 49.4
    Drew Miller Libertarian 1,267 0.6

  2. 2
    lgerard says:

    So Drew Miller, the Libertarian may be the deciding factor for the good guys

    C’mon invisible hand!!

  3. 3
    EBT says:

    Lamb is eking back up as the finish line approaches.

  4. 4
    efgoldman says:

    Didn’t need those fingernails anyway

  5. 5
    Baud says:


    The Greens must be kicking themselves for not running a spoiler candidate.

  6. 6
    guachi says:

    If vote percentages hold EXACTLY as they are now for the remaining votes then Lamb should squeak by with a win of about 1,000 votes.


  7. 7
    patroclus says:

    1132 margin. 95%. CNN saying absentee and provisional will be counted last. (They don’t know how many but about 4-5000). Margin is 0.6%, not close enough for recount.

  8. 8
    dmsilev says:

    Because we all want to know:

    Pennsylvania recount procedures

    The secretary of the commonwealth must order a recount if any of the following conditions are met:[4]

    a candidate for statewide office was defeated by 0.5 percent or less of all votes cast for the office
    a statewide ballot measure was approved or rejected by 0.5 percent or less of all votes cast for the measure

  9. 9

    @lgerard: I could see a libertarian thinking the ideal outcome is trumpism losing without the libertarian having to dirty his hands voting for a democrat.

  10. 10
    p.a. says:

    What’s the min/max there for a required recount? Well ok then, thanks dm…

  11. 11
    eric says:

    that .6 would me a lot

  12. 12
    Mary G says:

    I see to the side that John says Saccone will pull it out. Hope he’s wrong.

  13. 13
    dmsilev says:

    @p.a.: See above (pasted in from Ballotpedia). 0.5%.

  14. 14

    I’m not putting any emotional investment into this race either way, but a win would be cool.

  15. 15
    eemom says:

    “Not good” for WHO? I mean, aside from Enten and his parasitic horserace loving ilk for whom the actual results mean nothing.

  16. 16
    OGLiberal says:

    @dmsilev: Is this considered a statewide race if only one part of the state is voting?

  17. 17
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @lgerard: Every single time. They’re not running because they have better ideas, they’re running to spoil the election. Someone should really look into who funds the Libertarian Party and the campaigns of these candidates.

  18. 18
    Baud says:

    @Frankensteinbeck: Agree. The story is that it’s close.

  19. 19
    patroclus says:

    1238 margin 96%.

  20. 20
    Another Scott says:

    95.8% reporting
    Candidate Votes PCT
    Conor Lamb (D) 103,768 50.0%
    Rick Saccone (R) 102,530 49.4%

    (-0.6%, -1238 to change the results)


  21. 21
    JaneSays says:

    +1238 for Lamb now, 96% reporting

  22. 22
    Adam L Silverman says:


  23. 23
    frosty says:


    I’m not putting any emotional investment into this race either way, ….

    Dammit, I am.

  24. 24
    NorthLeft12 says:

    How long before Deadbeat Donald’s first tweet calling Saccone a terrible candidate and a loser?

  25. 25
    Baud says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Excellent. I hope Hannity is personally named.

  26. 26
    eclare says:

    @Adam L Silverman: This 1000%. And the Greens.

  27. 27
    Immanentize says:

    @dmsilev: This is not a state-wide office, so?

  28. 28
    NotMax says:

    Repeating, FYI.

    Pennsylvania uses paper and Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) systems for its elections. The state does not require a voter-verified paper audit trail (VVPAT) when conducting elections. According to the National Academy of Sciences, a voter-verified paper audit trail “consists of physical paper records of voter ballots as voters have cast them on an electronic voting system. In the event that an election recount or audit is called for, the VVPAT provides a supporting record.”

    Pennsylvania recount procedures

    A recount of ballots is required in an election district if three qualified electors in that district file a petition alleging that fraud or error occurred in the tabulation of votes or the marking of election ballots. Petitioners are not required to “specify in their petition the particular act of fraud or error which they believe to have been committed nor to offer evidence to substantiate the allegations of their petition.” The petition must be accompanied by a $50 deposit, which will be retained by election officials if it is determined that fraud or error did not occur. This deposit is due to each county in which a recount is requested.

    The secretary of the commonwealth must order a recount if any of the following conditions are met:

    a candidate for statewide office was defeated by 0.5 percent or less of all votes cast for the office
    a statewide ballot measure was approved or rejected by 0.5 percent or less of all votes cast for the measure


  29. 29
    Tilda Swintons Bald Cap says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Yep.

  30. 30
  31. 31
    BlueDWarrior says:

    @frosty: This is a lot like the Ossoff race. It’s one you want, but it’s low on the ‘need’ list when we are looking at races to flip for the win.

  32. 32
    Lapassionara says:

    I have gotten better and more up-to-date information on BJ tonight than any other site I have visited. Not a controlled or peer- reviewed study, but thanks, Jackals!

  33. 33
    Fair Economist says:

    The last few updates have all been from Democratic-leaning Allegheny. The last 6% or so of the Republican counties is being held back.

  34. 34
    WaterGirl says:

    @Adam L Silverman: @Baud: What’s the backstory on this? So many terrible things have happened, it’s hard to keep them straight. Super-short cliff notes version would be fine, if either of you is so inclined.

  35. 35
    patroclus says:

    Is anyone gonna tell Adam that “Conor” has only 1 “N” in it?

  36. 36
    Ken says:

    @NorthLeft12: That’s the only emotional investment I have in this. I don’t want to give Trump the satisfaction of gloating about how his brilliant campaign appearance won this election.

  37. 37
    mike in dc says:

    @NotMax: .5% here would be around 1100 votes. So if Lamb wins by more than that, no automatic recount.

  38. 38
  39. 39
    SFAW says:


    I make it closer to 1100, if the percentages hold, but as you said:


  40. 40
    joel hanes says:


    and Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) systems for its elections. The state does not require a voter-verified paper audit trail (VVPAT) when conducting elections.

    So, since they’ve deliberately left the door open for shenanigans …

  41. 41
    trollhattan says:

    Next you’ll be telling us the camera brand isn’t Cannon. Hrrmph!

  42. 42
    patroclus says:

    Geez. 918 margin.

  43. 43
    WaterGirl says:

    I have been pretty successful in my determination not to eat after 7pm, but I seriously want to eat something. I’m hungry and nervous, not a good combination.

  44. 44
    jacy says:

    @mike in dc:

    According to CNN — Pennsylvania Sec. of State spokesperson Wanda Murren tells CNN that b/c this is a district race & not statewide, there is no mandatory recount here. Petitions are allowed, which require 3 voters in each precinct; have 5 days to file after the county completes its computation.

  45. 45
    Baud says:

    STFU Alter.

  46. 46
    WaterGirl says:

    @patroclus: Oh shit, then I have been spelling his name wrong all day.

  47. 47
    frosty says:

    @BlueDWarrior: I know (some of) the area. My mother grew up in Mt. Lebanon and we visited my grandparents there a lot. I have some ancestors from Washington County who apparently were part of the Whiskey Rebellion.

  48. 48
    MomSense says:


    I swore I wouldn’t but now I’m refreshing the NYT vote count page every 3.5 seconds.


  49. 49
    Princess says:

    Pennsylvania Sec. of State spokesperson Wanda Murren tells CNN that b/c this is a district race & not statewide, there is no mandatory recount here. Petitions are allowed, which require 3 voters in each precinct; have 5 days to file after the county completes its computation.— David Wright (@DavidWright_CNN) March 14, 2018

  50. 50
  51. 51
    Another Scott says:

    96.3% reporting
    Candidate Votes PCT
    Conor Lamb (D) 104,697 49.9%
    Rick Saccone (R) 103,779 49.5%

    (-0.4%, -918 votes)


  52. 52
    Immanentize says:

    @jacy: Thank you!

  53. 53
    lgerard says:

    @mike in dc:

    You have to count the absentee ballots before you can determine whether a recount is automatic though.

  54. 54
    frosty says:

    @joel hanes: S

    o, since they’ve deliberately left the door open for shenanigans …

    Yes, one thing that pisses me off about PA. Voting machines are chosen by County. I vote on the same crap.

  55. 55
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @patroclus: That last jump was from a bunch of votes in Westmoreland, now 99% in. There’s not enough left there to put Saccone over, so it’s mostly down to the remaining precincts in Washington and Allegheny.

  56. 56
    Schlemazel says:

    They will count the absentee ballots, which I have readis 4-5,000 so this will not be over tonight I don’t imagine. Normally this is not an important race but I think a win is huge not just because of what it tells the GOP but it prevents twitler from claiming it is a victory. If numbnuts pulls this out, even by 1 vote hair furor and the media will be painting it as a great GOP victory by Thursday. If they lose, even if by 1 vote, it shuts that shit off at the source.

  57. 57
    Fair Economist says:

    Westmoreland, the largest R county, is now 99% in. The remaining votes in R counties, at the current percentages, would only give about a 400 vote boost to Saccone. It’s very hard to see a Saccone win with the election night votes now. Anybody know how the absentees lean and how many there are?

    Edit: Ninja’d, dangit.

  58. 58
    David 🎅🎄Merry Christmas🎄🎅 Koch says:

    Dave Wasserman
    ‏ @Redistrict
    6m6 minutes ago

    Lamb (D) up 1,238 votes w/ 96% of precincts counted. Of the 25 outstanding precincts, 18 are in Washington/Westmoreland Co. and should favor Saccone (R). *Probably* not by enough to overtake Lamb (D) in raw votes. #PA18

    19 replies 155 retweets 287 likes

  59. 59
    Baud says:

    9000 more votes left to count. More in red areas.

  60. 60
    p.a. says:

    What about absentee ballots? Ha! 2nd time I’m 2 comments later than the answer to my Q. I’ll shut up now…

  61. 61
    Adam says:

    Am I the only person worried that this whole Westmoreland County isn’t releasing precinct level results going to lead them to “find” the votes they need to push Saccone over the finish line?

  62. 62
    guachi says:

    Slightly good news on that last batch of Westmoreland votes for Lamb. It wasn’t overwhelmingly better for Saccone than his previous total – 57.35% vs. 57.47%.

  63. 63
    patroclus says:

    @Schlemazel: The guy counting them was just interviewed on CNN and he said the count would be available by midnight (EDT). And they are now estimating 6907 absentee/provisionals.

  64. 64
    frosty says:

    @MomSense: I’m refreshing this page just as often to get 2 or 3 new comments. Tried TPM and GOS, BJ is better.

  65. 65
    tobie says:

    @joel hanes: I will never understand why the Democratic Gov of PA has done nothing to ensure the integrity of the vote in PA. Tom Wolf is a wimp.

  66. 66
    Baud says:

    @patroclus: Ugh. Not staying up that late.

  67. 67
    BlueDWarrior says:

    I mean, it’d suck if he lost, but if you are taking a district that was unopposed to the wire in a special election, you are doing something right.

  68. 68
    David 🎅🎄Merry Christmas🎄🎅 Koch says:

    ‏ @speakout_april
    8m8 minutes ago

    Absentee ballots in Allegheny are approx. 3700!!!

    1 reply 0 retweets 11 likes

  69. 69
    Shana says:

    @lgerard: I bet a lot of those absentee votes are D.

  70. 70
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @WaterGirl: Assange, Stone, Piss Boy Posobiec, Mandrill Mentality Cernovich, Rage Furby Johnson, Dim Jim Hoft and his Twink for Trump Wintrich, other alt-righters, and Hannity went all in that Seth Rich wasn’t the tragic victim of a random stranger on stranger robbery homicide. Rather he was actually the person that stole all the information from the DNC’s servers and sent it to Guccifer 2.0. And Hillary Clinton had him murdered for it.


  71. 71
    lgerard says:


    4-5000 absentee ballots is an absurdly high number, I am dubious

  72. 72
    BlueDWarrior says:

    @tobie: What could he do by fiat given the very Republican legislature?

  73. 73
    guachi says:

    Looks like Saccone needs about 55.7% of the remaining vote to win (before absentee votes, etc.). That’s very doable but more likely good for Lamb, I’d think.

  74. 74
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Adam: I will cut the first person who mentions Waukesha County. And the second, since I just had to cut myself.

  75. 75
    Fair Economist says:


    I will never understand why the Democratic Gov of PA has done nothing to ensure the integrity of the vote in PA. Tom Wolf is a wimp.

    Um, separation of powers and an overwhelmingly R statehouse? Or does my snark detector need calibration?

  76. 76
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @patroclus: I’ll fix it.

  77. 77
    WaterGirl says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Thank you. Fuckers.

  78. 78
    frosty says:

    @Adam: I’ve been a poll watcher in York County. I trust the election judges. The counts at the polls were clean. I don’t know about the tabulators though.

  79. 79
    Gretchen says:

    @patroclus: what is the margin for a recount?

  80. 80
    Immanentize says:

    True, but there is an opportunity to break the will of Republicans. If Lamb wins, many more retirements on the R side.

  81. 81

    @Omnes Omnibus: dude, that isn’t healthy, do you need to call somebody?

  82. 82
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @joel hanes:

  83. 83
    Achrachno says:

    @frosty: Everyone knows that!

  84. 84
    Fair Economist says:

    @David 🎅🎄Merry Christmas🎄🎅 Koch: If well over half the absentees are from Allegheny, that’s very good for us. Provisionals always break for us since voter suppression is targeted at Democrats.

  85. 85
    patroclus says:

    @Gretchen: For a statewide race (which this isn’t), it’s 0.5%. Otherwise, it’s 3 voters in each precinct and 5 days to do it.

    Margin at 795. And as I type, it drops to 540.

  86. 86
    frosty says:

    @tobie: Wolf and the State Supreme Court stopped Voter ID in PA. The lege is hard right Republican, and most of the counties are too. I don’t know enough to say who decides what voting machines are used, but I think it’s counties.

  87. 87
    WaterGirl says:

    @Major Major Major Major: Pretty sure that was a figurative cutting, not a literal cutting. If I’m wrong, then yeah, what you said.

  88. 88
    japa21 says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Interesting you say that, because my mind turned to that very subject, meaning the county I will not name,; earlier. Then I said to myself, if I bring it up Omnes is going to hurt me.

  89. 89
    Schlemazel says:


  90. 90
    randy khan says:

    Now 697, with 98% of Allegheny (blue), 99% of Westmoreland (red) and 90% of Washington (red, but a lot smaller). If the trends hold, he’d end up ahead by 500 or so.

  91. 91
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Major Major Major Major: I was making good on my threat. I am like that.

  92. 92
    Baud says:

    540 vote margin. May come down to absentees.

  93. 93
    Another Scott says:

    I’ve seen 99% numbers mentioned above, but…

    97.5% reporting
    Candidate Votes PCT
    Conor Lamb (D) 106,549 49.8%
    Rick Saccone (R) 106,009 49.6%

    97.8% reporting
    Candidate Votes PCT
    Conor Lamb (D) 107,155 49.8%
    Rick Saccone (R) 106,570 49.6%


  94. 94
    👩🏽‍🔬 Martin says:

    Saccone is likely to squeak this out.

  95. 95

    @WaterGirl: well obvs. OO doesn’t seem the type.

  96. 96
    randy khan says:


    May come down to absentees.


  97. 97
    👩🏽‍🔬 Martin says:

    The % reporting is precincts, not voters. Not all precincts are the same size.

  98. 98
    NotMax says:

    Any reports on how much snow/sleet/rain there was in the district today?

  99. 99
    patroclus says:

    585 margin.

  100. 100
    SFAW says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Then I shouldn’t mention that Hitlary didn’t campaign in Westmoreland County?

  101. 101
    Quinerly says:

    540 difference. Lamb up. Libertarian candidate with about 1100 votes.

  102. 102
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @japa21: I have posted the official report and the independent report several times. I am not doing it again, but it was incompetence not malice. Hence the stabby, cutty feels.

  103. 103
    eclare says:

    @Baud: Seems like it will, since there are around 7,000 of them in total.

  104. 104
    WaterGirl says:

    @Major Major Major Major: oops, I’m a little wound up about this election. that’s my excuse.

  105. 105
    MomSense says:


    God dammit this is killing me

  106. 106
    tobie says:

    @Fair Economist: I believe elections are supervised by the Sec of State in PA–a position appointed by the Governor. Need to look into this.

  107. 107
    Adam says:

    @frosty: crossing my fingers that the tabulators are clean, I worry about that. But I worry about everything.

  108. 108
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @lgerard: If I recall correctly, unlike a lot of other states that let you request an absentee ballot for any reason, Pennsylvania really limits who can vote by absentee ballot.

  109. 109
    randy khan says:

    Back up to 585.

    13 precincts still out, mostly red or reddish.

  110. 110
    Immanentize says:

    @👩🏽‍🔬 Martin:
    Why, exactly, do you say this?

  111. 111
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @SFAW: Gah!

  112. 112
    Baud says:

    Alter needs to be Tillersonned.

  113. 113
    Schlemazel says:

    see: @patroclus:

    I believe more and more people are using absentee ballots now that 8-10 years ago. I know here they changed the law so you don’t have to actually not be home on election day and can vote absentee simply because you feel like it. For some people that is easier.

  114. 114
    eric says:

    from GOS

    Bad news: Greene and Washington counties will not be reporting their absentee votes tonight. Votes will be counted and posted tomorrow, per @katiegp.

  115. 115
    Another Scott says:

    @👩🏽‍🔬 Martin: Yeahbut, if they’ve counted all the precincts, then they’ve counted all the votes (except for absentee, provisional, etc.). Of course.


  116. 116
    Shana says:

    @MomSense: You and me both.

  117. 117
    guachi says:

    I wouldn’t be surprised if this initial count has a margin of less than 100.

  118. 118
    Baud says:

    @eric: Well, I’m going to bed soon then.

  119. 119
    WaterGirl says:

    I don’t think I have ever woken up to happy news if I go to bed before the race is called, so I’m hesitant to go to bed even though I am really tired. It seems much later than 9:30!

  120. 120
    eric says:

    @Baud: I am the party killer.

  121. 121
    BlueDWarrior says:

    This race is balanced on the knife’s edge. And yeah, any number tonight has to be taken with a grain of salt because of a few thousand absentee votes floating about.

  122. 122
    Lapassionara says:

    @NotMax: LOL. I needed that.

  123. 123
    David 🎅🎄Merry Christmas🎄🎅 Koch says:

    Dave Wasserman
    ‏ @Redistrict
    5m5 minutes ago

    It’s been reported that there were about 6-7k absentees cast in #PA18. In the past, absentees have run slightly more Dem than the overall vote and I don’t believe they’ve been counted yet. They may matter here.

    25 replies 202 retweets 358 likes

  124. 124
    Immanentize says:

    @WaterGirl: it is. It’s 10:30! (here)

  125. 125
    dmsilev says:

    Eyeballing the numbers, assuming that the precincts outstanding in Washington county (which is only 93% reporting) are similar to the rest of the county, Lamb would probably lose another 200 or so votes off his current margin, so he’d end up ahead at this point. Then there are the provisionals etc., and then the inevitable recount. So, no matter what, we’re not getting a definitive answer tonight.

  126. 126
    WaterGirl says:

    @eric: Are those D or R counties?

  127. 127
    Fair Economist says:

    Often “99%” means everything but the absentees and/or provisionals, as it looks bad to have the numbers change after it’s 100% in. If so, nothing will be settled until tomorrow at the earliest based on the upthread comment that the R counties aren’t going to count their absentees tonight.

    Edit: 2 out of 3, and not including the biggest R county. But still, nothing final tonight.

  128. 128
    frosty says:

    @Adam: ETA the poll I watched in 2016 was as red as they get. 80% Republican IIRC. But the officials and judges were more than fair to me as a D poll watcher and made sure I got the names when they were called out.

  129. 129
    eclare says:

    @WaterGirl: Doesn’t it! Have been watching for 2.5 hours, seems like much longer.

  130. 130
    Mary G says:

    Pennsylvania election attorney: it won’t be decided tonight, whole thread on twitter:

    If I have to, I'll explain. Promise. But the first important thing to know is that this is not a count tonight; it's unofficial and does not include absentee or provisional ballots. The formal count begins Friday, & overseas/military absentees have until next Tues to come in.— Adam Bonin (@adambonin) March 14, 2018

  131. 131
    WaterGirl says:

    @Immanentize: Now I’m even more tired! :-)

  132. 132
    frosty says:

    @MomSense: @Shana: And me. Guess I didn’t have anything important to do tonight.

  133. 133
    Another Scott says:


    Conor’s lead got a little bigger
    98.0% reporting
    Candidate Votes PCT
    Conor Lamb (D) 107,471 49.9%
    Rick Saccone (R) 106,771 49.5%

    +0.4%, +700 votes over Rick.


  134. 134

    @WaterGirl: seems a lot earlier than 9:30 out here 😏

  135. 135
    randy khan says:

    700 votes. Not clear which precincts are left.

  136. 136
    Mnemosyne says:

    Is it just me, or does it seem weird to count the absentee ballots after the regular ballots? Wouldn’t it be better to start counting those the morning of election day so you don’t have to stay even later that night?

  137. 137
    BlueDWarrior says:

    @dmsilev: being ahead after election night does mean quite a bit in waging the PR war over a recount. At the same time, there being so many absentees means tonight’s count is very unlikely the last word.

  138. 138
    WaterGirl says:

    @eclare: Henry is sleeping like a baby right next to me, maybe I need to take my cue from him.

  139. 139
    MomSense says:


    After the stressful day the sane part of the nation had today, a win in PA would be a boost.

  140. 140
    patroclus says:

    Margin at 700. 98%

  141. 141
    👩🏽‍🔬 Martin says:

    @Immanentize: The remaining precincts generally lean more heavily Tump than the counties they are in. But the absentee total to count keeps climbing, so maybe that saves Lamb.

  142. 142
    Emma says:

    Well, I for one am amazed that it is this close. A friend of mine, former resident of PA, calls some of that area “the baboon’s ass” because of how red it is.

    And people, the world won’t end if this one goes against us. It’s a war and this battle is only one of the first skirmishes.

  143. 143
    Lapassionara says:

    @Schlemazel: When I have voted absentee, I have gone to the County office and voted on a voting machine, just like the one in my precinct. It is not like people have to mail ballots in, although that may be what some people do. it is the same as early voting. So the numbers should be readily available. Wondering who is watching the polls for Lamb. This is where tricks can happen.

  144. 144
    randy khan says:

    Some good news on absentee ballots: More than half are from the blue county (3,750 out of just short of 7,000), and apparently they historically skew Dem.

  145. 145
  146. 146
    Immanentize says:

    I hope all of Lamb’s relatives remembered to vote!

  147. 147
    eclare says:

    @WaterGirl: Awww, so sweet! My pup is here next to me, also snoozing. There is definitely a lesson.

  148. 148
    SFAW says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:


    My work here is done.

    [Saunters off stage right, humming under his breath. Exeunt omnes (but not Omnes)].

  149. 149
    MomSense says:


    That’s what we do in Maine. This district probably wasn’t expecting a result like this since they are used to +20 for Republicans.

  150. 150
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Fair Economist:

  151. 151
  152. 152
    hueyplong says:

    @Fair Economist: A cynic would say the two GOPer counties want to wait to count their votes until they know how far behind they are.

  153. 153
    MomSense says:


    Aww, I hope he is feeling better.

  154. 154

    @Mnemosyne: don’t some places do that? Report the early votes right when the polls close?

  155. 155
    Jeffro says:

    I think Lamb’s going to squeak it out, and the absentee ballots will give him a slight additional lead, and the GOP will go fucking berserk as usual with their weird excuses and conspiracy theories…

    …and who cares? Now we know we’re looking at a pretty serious Blue Wave coming across the country. Time to start planning all those investigations and hearings that the Rs AREN’T doing. Everything from emoluments and self-dealing to getting the president’s* tax returns and having an actual Russian interference investigation.

  156. 156
    dmsilev says:

    @Mary G: I love the end of that thread:

    11. This is seriously weird for me. As my wife just said, this is my moment of being Marissa Tomei and being the only person on Twitter who knows a lot about which cars have positraction.

  157. 157
    guachi says:

    @randy khan: Fewer than 1/2 of the votes cast so far (45%) have been from Allegheny (the blue county) so more than half of the absentee ballots (54%) being from there looks good on the surface.

  158. 158
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @Mnemosyne: From the tweet Mary G posted, it sounds as if overseas absentees (which lean R because they are heavily military, if I recall correctly) aren’t even all mailed in yet.

  159. 159
    Baud says:

    Allegheny County will count absentee ballots tonight. Guess I’m staying up.

    ETA: Changed my mind. Too tired. Go Lamb!

  160. 160
    lgerard says:


    Is it just me, or does it seem weird to count the absentee ballots after the regular ballots? Wouldn’t it be better to start counting those the morning of election day so you don’t have to stay even later that night?

    This is one of the biggest drawbacks to those stupid video voting terminals. With the simple paper ballot/OCR scanner those ballots could have been processed throughout the day by the precinct workers.

  161. 161
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @WaterGirl: How’s his knee?

  162. 162
    Adam L Silverman says:

  163. 163
    👩🏽‍🔬 Martin says:

    @Another Scott: True, but I remember Obama trailing in Indiana in 2008 with 99% in and then one heavily populated district came in and pushed him over. You couldn’t extrapolate that result from the precinct count. Same happened in MO where one part of St Louis came in last and dropped a fuckton of votes in that last 1%.

    All I’m saying is to be careful thinking that the precinct % is proportional to the vote %. It often isn’t.

  164. 164
    WaterGirl says:

    @MomSense: He still hurts and sleeps a lot, but he is peaceful and relaxed whenever he’s here next to me on the couch. That’s really good for both of us.

  165. 165
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Mary G: If I have to, I’ll explain. Promise. But the first important thing to know is that this is not a count tonight; it’s unofficial and does not include absentee or provisional ballots. The formal count begins Friday, & overseas/military absentees have until next Tues to come in. Adam Bonin (@adambonin) March 14, 2018

    Great Caesar’s Ghost! This could go on another week?

  166. 166
    Fair Economist says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Based on that, the absentees lean to the D county more than the election night votes did. Another good sign for us.

  167. 167
    dww44 says:

    @Mnemosyne: I was hoping some really knowledgeable BJ’er would weigh in on your question, as I’ve often wondered the same thing. Relatedly, if an election is a blow-out and the number of absentees and provisional wouldn’t change the outcome, are those ballots still counted? Do the answers to these questions vary from state to state?

  168. 168
    lgerard says:


    GOP will go fucking berserk as usual with their weird excuses and conspiracy theories…

    Have there been any sightings of the Soros buses reported yet?

  169. 169
    JMG says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: It’s like seeing a rain delay called in the 11th inning.

  170. 170
    JCJ says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Good evening! Just now looking at the thread – you are correct. I believe I saw a report that the particular area of Waukesha County in question was my area. It all made sense because this area has consistently high turnout and votes overwhelmingly R. I am surprised people still bring it up because it was pretty conclusively the incompetence of Kathy Nickolaus rather than anything nefarious.

  171. 171
    WaterGirl says:

    @Matt McIrvin: Surely they have to be mated before polls close on election day – otherwise the votes could be influenced by the results of stateside votes.

  172. 172
    dmsilev says:

    @Matt McIrvin: I believe even military ballots have to be mailed by election day; they just don’t have to make it back until later.

  173. 173
    David 🎅🎄Merry Christmas🎄🎅 Koch says:

    Dave Wasserman
    ‏ @Redistrict
    11m11 minutes ago

    Lamb (D) should expect a pretty healthy boost from uncounted absentees. Why? 1) They’ve historically skewed Dem 2) More than half of them are from Allegheny Co. (despite Allegheny only being ~43% of #PA18).

    3 replies 47 retweets 71 likes

    Praise the Lord and pass the absentee ballots.

  174. 174
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @Mary G: That thread now consists almost 100% of Republicans and Democrats accusing the other party of fraud.

  175. 175
    Immanentize says:

    @WaterGirl: very sweet and yes, good for both of you. My cat just came up to join me in bed. It really is time for lights out. G’nite and meow says the cat.

  176. 176
    Gretchen says:

    I just read that most of the voting machines in Pennsylvania are the touch-screens with no paper trail – so no way to recount or check that they weren’t tampered with. In other words, close enough to steal.
    Washington County, Republican-leaning, was going to report by precinct, and decided not to. Charlie Pierce calls this classic election chicanery. The difference is about 700 votes right now. Close enough to steal.

  177. 177
    eclare says:

    Allegheny Co. election official saying 11:15 PM EDT for absentee ballot count.

  178. 178
    guachi says:

    IF the absentee ballots break EXACTLY like the county they came from, Lamb should gain about 170 votes from absentee ballots.

  179. 179
    jacy says:

    I’m going to tear myself away and go watch the last period of hockey — want to see the Avs beat the Wild senseless again. I will not look at election results again tonight. Probably.

  180. 180
    chopper says:

    Oy gevult but this is a nail biter. I mean I know it’s a big dem swing either way but still.

  181. 181
    dww44 says:

    @Jeffro: But first we have to ELECT those D candidates who can conduct all those investigations. Our work is still ahead of us. As bad as the Congressional GOP and the President and his administration are, one would think that sanity would prevail and the Dem candidate would win going away.

  182. 182
    billcoop4 says:

    If they don’t make a difference, absentee ballots are not counted; they are “apportioned” based on the in-person vote. That’s based on my admittedly anecdotal set of conversations with several people in positions to know.

    If they would make a difference, they are counted in honest places. Both of them :)


  183. 183
    Mnemosyne says:


    California’s election system ain’t perfect, but at least we stuck with OCR ballots like rational people. They even have webcams set up so you can watch the very exciting process of elections workers scanning the ballots.

    Fun fact about CA: Alameda County was one of the named bad counties in the Voting Rights Act. If I remember my geography right, that’s where Oakland is, so not a coincidence, to say the least.

  184. 184
    lgerard says:


    I was hoping some really knowledgeable BJ’er would weigh in on your question, as I’ve often wondered the same thing. Relatedly, if an election is a blow-out and the number of absentees and provisional wouldn’t change the outcome, are those ballots still counted? Do the answers to these questions vary from state to state?

    Provisionals definitely are not counted in that circumstance. In fact, there are no real rules covering the counting of provisional ballots in the law that created them, which is a major problem. Some jurisdictions make little attempt to count them no matter what the circumstances are.

  185. 185
    WaterGirl says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Henry is still not using that leg much, but today he was willing to walk outside to go to the bathroom, rather than standing there waiting for me to pick him up. So that’s progress, for sure! It was a big surgery, so I think he’s doing pretty well.

    It does my heart good to see him so relaxed and peaceful at the moment. The couch is apparently his magic place.

  186. 186
    NotMax says:


    Wouldn’t necessarily read malicious intent into it. Those counties are larger in acreage and less suburban. It takes more time to physically deliver the ballots to the county seat.

  187. 187
  188. 188
    Mary G says:

    @dmsilev: Shout out to Cousin Vinny!

  189. 189
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @dww44: If I’m recalling from when I used to be a political science professor who taught state and local politics, as opposed to what I’ve been doing for the past decade or so, it 1) depends on the state and 2) some do not count them if the number of absentees and/or provisionals would not make a difference. Or, rather, they don’t rush to count them as they know they won’t change the outcome.

    In this case, given how close things are, there will be pressure to count them quickly, efficiently, and accurately.

  190. 190
    patroclus says:

    Of course, with this being so close, it won’t be decided tonight and it will be argued about for days. But I’m not going to bed until the Allegheny County absentees come in. Lamb could widen his lead significantly. And Greene County only has 200ish absentees, which won’t be enough to tip it, even if they aren’t counted tonight. Margin at 755.

  191. 191
    👩🏽‍🔬 Martin says:

    The biggest takeaway of this is that the GOP has put in more than $500 per competitive vote, and they are still tooth and nail. Id love to see them put $500 per competitive vote here in OC with our 2 million voters. Even the Koch’s don’t have that kind of money.

  192. 192
    randy khan says:

    Good news: 755.

    Bad news: No more precincts from Allegheny County.

  193. 193
    Gretchen says:

    @Adam: Charlie Pierce has the same worry as you.

  194. 194
    WaterGirl says:

    @WaterGirl: should be mailed, not mated.

  195. 195
    David 🎅🎄Merry Christmas🎄🎅 Koch says:

    Drumpf held his campaign rally in Moon Township

    Lamb won Moon Township by 6.5%. Trump carried it by 11% in 2016. 17.5 pt shift.

  196. 196
    BlueDWarrior says:

    @Mary G: and the margin is so razor thin we might not have an official winner until the end of the month.


  197. 197
    Sab says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Have I ever mentioned that my grandmother was from Wisconsin? Her uncle was Republican and a Progressive governor (Francis McGovern) Times change.

  198. 198
    dww44 says:

    @billcoop4: @lgerard:
    Thanks to both of you. I am now better informed and educated about voting. We should have better systems for voting and counting them accurately and transparently.

  199. 199
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @WaterGirl: Excellent.

  200. 200
    BlueDWarrior says:

    @dww44: we should, but this is the consequence of our atomized voting system.

    If only there was a way to enforce federal minimum standards. If only…

  201. 201
    David 🎅🎄Merry Christmas🎄🎅 Koch says:

    Allegheny County is complete

    Drumf +4% 2016

    Lamb: +15% Tonight

    19 point shift.

    Bodes well for absentee ballot count.

  202. 202
    MomSense says:

    Did anyone else go read about the Independent candidate?

    Self identified fiscal conservative, social liberal, minimize government interference type. Lives outside the district. He’s an energy attorney. Was legal counsel for McCandless who was the Republican state senator who was convicted on corruption charges.

  203. 203
    NotMax says:


    an official winner until the end of the month

    Proverbially, March goes out like a lamb.


  204. 204
    randy khan says:

    11 precincts left, all in red counties. Still +755 for Lamb.

  205. 205
    👩🏽‍🔬 Martin says:

    Huh, Lamb might have this after all. That would be super good. Probably in recount territory though.

  206. 206
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @Adam L Silverman: There are now many states where you don’t need an excuse for mail-in voting, so it could be a rather large fraction of the total (and in Oregon, it’s all mail-in voting). That probably changes the calculus.

    Massachusetts introduced mail-in voting for 2016, and also early voting, which is really mail-in voting at a fixed location. But they also retained their old absentee ballot system, which is distinct. I’m not entirely sure why (maybe just organizational inertia, or maybe it’s that you can get absentee ballots for all elections but the others are only for the statewide elections every two years).

  207. 207
    WaterGirl says:

    Goodnight, all.

  208. 208
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Matt McIrvin: I’m aware. I just remember, from when I lived there, that PA was very restrictive regarding the circumstances under which one could get an absentee ballot. I haven’t lived there since AUG 2014, so the rules may have been changed since then.

  209. 209
    NotMax says:

    So when does Dolt 45 tweet that “millions of fraudulent votes” were cast today?

  210. 210
    MomSense says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    I believe you have to be away on Election Day in PA. In Maine absentee functions as an early vote.

  211. 211
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @BlueDWarrior: I get paranoid: federal standards would also mean federal fuckery. Kobach types sending ICE agents to every polling place to enforce the integrity of the vote against the secret white vans of illegal immigrants.

  212. 212
    MomSense says:


    Night WaterGirl. Night Henry. And John boy.

  213. 213
    randy khan says:

    NY Times has it at +95, with two precincts left. Plus the absentee ballots, of course.

    Fingers crossed.

  214. 214
    MomSense says:

    95 votes.


  215. 215
    BlueDWarrior says:

    @Matt McIrvin: Well, you have to remember this: any system devised by man can be broken by man.

    Also this race is still sitting on the razor’s edge, +80 for Lamb without absentees reported.

  216. 216
    Matt McIrvin says:

    Lamb’s lead is down to 95 votes, and Westmoreland is the only county listed at “99%”. Is this where they pull the required votes out of their asses?

    (That’s without the absentees, though.)

  217. 217
    Victor Matheson says:

    2 precincts left and Conor’s lead is down to 95 votes.

  218. 218
    Bupalos says:

    I think the takeaway here will be that we can win elections just about anywhere in this cycle, but that the general environment isn’t just going to win them for us. Need good candidates, need to push as hard as we can, need to fund it, need to FIGHT. And if we do will will shitstomp these stupid MAGAts.

    Looks like Lamb’s going to Washington and Trump can pretend he’s happy a +16 turned into a -0 all he wants, they are ?!#+ed. I’m going to work my butt off to sent betsy rader (oh14) there too, this result is super encouraging for our race.

  219. 219
    BlueDWarrior says:

    @Bupalos: This race isn’t a bellweather, it’s more like a canary in the coal mine.

    And that canary is looking pretty sick and laid out on its back.

  220. 220
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @MomSense: That was my recollection.

  221. 221
    lurker dean says:

    @Adam L Silverman: i think that’s right, adam. I vaguely remember checking if i could vote absentee in pa just to avoid having to leave the house, and that wasn’t a valid circumstance.

  222. 222
    BlueDWarrior says:

    … the Lead just jumped to +847

    Who knows what came in though, people are trying to figure out if it was a chunk of the absentee or if that was the last boxes coming in from Westmoreland.

    Probably the former.

  223. 223
    mike in dc says:

    Vote for Lamb just surged a bit. Back out to 800+ vote lead.

  224. 224
    randy khan says:

    Allegheny absentee votes came in, pushing the lead to 847. (That’s a gain of 752 from 3,750 ballots, roughly 60-40, which is, as predicted elsewhere, a few points ahead of how he did in the live voting.)

    Still two precincts out from non-absentee votes.

  225. 225
    Bupalos says:

    @BlueDWarrior: not sure if that means better or worse. Considering how much of the trump agenda is aimed squarely at this exact area, I think this result is an utter disaster for him. God I hope republicans are wearing the scarlet T for decades.

  226. 226
    MomSense says:

    Just to remind everyone, we are rooting for a blue dog to hopefully win this thing by a hair. We have to get used to the idea that a blue wave means running candidates who have a chance of winning and some of them will piss us off once elected.

  227. 227
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @Adam L Silverman: It appears that you need to give a reason, but the list of reasons is pretty expansive, including being absent on vacation or on business.

  228. 228
    patrick II says:

    I am watching Fox News to see what they have to say and one of the two people on screen passed some serious gas. Maybe its an omen.

  229. 229
    mike in dc says:

    @MomSense: So long as we abolish the legislative filibuster next time we control the Senate, and get enough votes in the House to pass our core platform, I don’t care if they go astray on some issues.

  230. 230
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @MomSense: Same thing happened after 2006-2008. Some of the Democrats elected were not loyal party-line voters. It comes with the territory. But there’s so little ideological overlap between the parties now that any D win is pretty much guaranteed to be better than the alternative.

  231. 231
    MomSense says:

    @mike in dc:

    I agree. I’d rather have Pelosi herding them in Congress.

  232. 232
    MomSense says:

    @Matt McIrvin:

    Sadly the overlap is usually on two of the issues I care most about but we have a better shot at moving a Dem on our issues once in office.

  233. 233
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @JCJ: She was not well respected when I worked at the GAB.

  234. 234
    joel hanes says:

    Lamb (D) … must decide which district(s) to run for in the fall & collect 1,000 valid signatures before the filing deadline (3/20) in just ONE WEEK.

    See, in my dreams there’s a national or state Dem organization that is aware of things like that and has said “We’re on it.” and can deliver, so that this is an issue but not a problem.

  235. 235
    joel hanes says:


    better systems for voting

    To the extent possible, insist on hand-marked paper ballots (absentee, early voting, etc.).
    Be very suspicious of computer vote entry with no paper record.

  236. 236
    randy khan says:

    Nate Cohn’s rough analysis is that Lamb will lose about 200 votes from the two outstanding precincts, which would require a 60-40 margin from the outstanding absentee ballots for Saccone to win. Since Saccone didn’t win the live vote in those counties by that big a margin, it’s a heavy lift. (And since the absentee ballot count is the number sent out, not the number received, it’s an even heavier lift.) He thinks Lamb wins as a result.

    Here’s the Twitter thread: Nate says

    What are the odds that there would be two election results gurus who worked for the NY Times who are both named Nate? (I know, they could tell you.)

  237. 237
    trnc says:

    @patrick II: How could you tell the difference from those gasbags?

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