How the PA votes came in

I kept a running tally in a spreadsheet and posted updates to my facebook timeline. For posterity’s sake, I’m going to gather those posts here. The main complicating factor in my calculations was the number of votes remaining to be counted. Difficult to report what proportion a candidate needs when the denominator is unknown. You’ll see some comments on that in the entries below.

November 4, 2020

The latest addition was over 9k votes, with 79% going to Biden. If there are 1.057 million left to tally (extrapolating from the 85% estimated votes counted), and Biden got 79% of those, he’d win PA by 300,000 votes. If Biden got 65% of the remaining votes (and Trump got all the rest), Biden’d win PA by 2,700 votes.

NOTA BENE: A complicating factor is that I don’t know exactly how many votes are left to be tallied, and since the sources don’t report decimals, the remaining votes are bouncing around. We need to smooth, so I’ll just keep adding observations (if that means nothing to you, don’t worry about it).

5:22pm Added 17, 425 votes, 68.3% Biden
Biden needs 66% of remaining

5:39pm Added 9,696 votes, 75.5% Biden
needs 66% of remaining

5:58pm Added 26,525 votes, 70.5% Biden
needs 65% of remaining

6:18pm Added 37,700 votes, 76.7% Biden
needs 65% of remaining

6:44pm Added 33,186 votes, 69.0% Biden
needs 65% of remaining; T’s lead is 4.24 points

8:44pm Added 147,175 votes, 71.0% Biden
needs 63% of remaining,T lead is down to 3.13, approximately 3/4 mil left to count

10:37pm Added 56,219 votes, 72.1% Biden
T’s lead down to 2.7, Inquirer/AP also adjusted the estimates of votes left to be counted (more left than previously thought). According to new estimates, Biden needs 60% of remaining 944k votes. Even if that’s incorrect, and we have a lower total of say, 7mil votes in PA, Biden would win with 63% of remaining. But the average of the estimates of the total “expected” votes I’ve tallied this evening is 7.052 mil. And, of the total votes reported this evening, Biden took 71.6%.

NB 35,000 votes in Allegheny County (Pittsburgh) cannot legally be counted until Friday.

November 5, 2020

7:29am 16,824 votes added, 67.1% Biden
Biden needs 59% of remaining votes, T’s lead 2.59 points
[13% of expected votes still to be counted]

Updating from my pickup’s tailgate
10:03am 45,502 added, 81.2% Biden
needs 58% of remaining, T’s lead 2.13

Another tailgate update
12:24pm 30,208 added, 83.6% Biden
needs 57% of remaining, T’s lead 1.79

1:56pm 10,504 added, 67.4% Biden
needs 57% of remaining, T’s lead 1.73

4:42pm 32,217 added, 71.5% Bidenneeds 56% of remaining votes, T’s lead 1.51NB: Since I started this tally yesterday, the lowest proportion of added votes to Biden was 67.10% (highest prop was 83.6%)

5:07pm 20,664 added, 65.6% Biden (that’s the lowest margin yet of added votes) needs 56% of remaining, T’s lead 1.40
According to Inquirer/AP, still have 12% of votes left to count

6:06pm 37,203 added, 65.8% Biden
T’s lead 1.20

NYT reporting similar numbers but saying 93% counted, while Inquirer says 89%. “Worse” case is NYT, for which Biden would need at least 59% of the remaining 7% of votes. If it’s 89% votes in, Biden needs 55% of remaining 11% of votes. (Annoyingly, NYT isn’t reporting Jorgensen votes, so their available info is incomplete.)

7:01pm 22,064 added, 81.4% Biden, T’s lead now 0.98 points
Wish I had a better sense of how many left to count, but apparent range of estimates suggests Biden safe with 57% of rest.

8:34pm 13,933 added, 70.6% Biden
T’s lead is 0.89 points, the margin is 58,281 votes

9:08pm 12,768 added, 75.7% Biden
T’s lead 0.79 points, margin is 51,622 votes

November 6, 2020

7:22am 64,430 votes added, 75.5% Biden
T’s lead now 0.27 points, 18,042 votes

Biggest unknown is how many votes left to count. Estimates vary widely. According to PA Secretary of State’s (very clunky) site, there are 163,501 mail-in ballots yet to be counted and 17 precincts from Philly yet to report Election Day counts. (Super duper wtf on the Philly precincts.)

Anyway, if Biden gets 56% of remaining votes (however many there are) he wins PA.

9:32 am 31,342 added, 87.4% Biden

With that, PA has flipped to Biden.

Biden’s lead is 5,596, or 0.08 points
And others reported additional returns the Inquirer hasn’t yet included, putting Biden ahead over 25k votes, with no remaining path for T.

1:10pm Added 18,828 votes, 67.5% Biden
Biden’s lead is 0.19 points, 12,497 votes

Somewhere around 120,000 or more votes yet to be counted. Nate Silver is reporting that Lehigh County’s 7,000 added were 68% Biden. Thank you, Allentown, Bethlehem, and Easton! Lehigh County has a small but not insignificant minority population, including LatinX, and those are not generally Cuban (or Mexican), more frequently Puerto Rican or Central American. We know the Latinx population is much more politically diverse than Black Americans.

Subsequent returns only widened the margin until the race was called midday November 7.