Obama’s odds of getting Nebraska EV increase

No — I don’t mean Obama will get an electric vehicle made in Nebraska, I mean he may win that obscure electoral vote from the Omaha area second Congressional District.

I promised to post the winner of the Climate Progress punditry prize for calling the US election yesterday (see “My election predictions … and yours“). But there remains too much uncertainty about the electoral votes and the makeup of the House of Representatives, and, to lesser extent, the Senate.

I’m going to wait until Monday, and whatever are the best numbers then I will probably go with, even though Georgia appears headed for a runoff for the Senate seat. I don’t think that will affect which of the five people who have a plausible chance of winning at this point proves to be the victor.

The oddest uncertainty remaining in the presidential race is that lone electoral vote in Omaha. As the Omaha World-Herald reports today:

Good news for Barack Obama supporters.

His odds of bagging an electoral vote in Nebraska grew stronger this morning, with word that 10,000 to 12,000 early ballots and 5,200 provisional ballots are left to count in Douglas County.

Obama won about 61 percent of the early votes counted before Tuesday’s election. If that percentage holds with the early ballots left to count, Obama stands a strong chance of winning the Omaha-area 2nd Congressional District.

Republicans did not concede defeat this morning, but they acknowledged the long odds.

John McCain held a 569-vote lead over Obama in the 2nd District at the end of Tuesday.

“I will remain cautiously hopeful but not cautiously optimistic,” said Hal Daub, state director for McCain. “I’m disappointed (in the numbers). We really worked hard here, against substantial resources being poured into Nebraska.”

Democrats said the news gave them hope.

“All Democrats should be very excited about those numbers. Let’s wait and see, but we’re certainly cautiously optimistic,” said Steve Achelpohl, chairman of the Nebraska Democratic Party.

Obama pursued an electoral vote in the 2nd District. He opened three offices in Omaha and deployed 16 paid staffers.

McCain relied on an effort led by the Nebraska Republican Party.

An Obama win in the 2nd District would make history. The last time a Democratic presidential candidate won an electoral vote in Nebraska was in 1964, when Lyndon B. Johnson rolled past Barry Goldwater.

The final results in the 2nd District won’t be known until next week, but election officials planned to begin counting the early ballots Friday, said David Phipps, Douglas County election commissioner.

They were opening the ballots Thursday and getting organized, Phipps said.

Phipps said the remaining early ballots landed in his office late Monday and all day Tuesday. He said they were set aside until this morning, when his office began to organize them.

Phipps also must process about 5,200 provisional ballots.

Those are ballots cast by voters when their names do not show up on voting records, or when questions are raised about their eligibility. Election officials then verify whether they are registered and have not voted twice.

For example, voters who moved but did not update their registrations would be allowed to cast provisional ballots.

Typically, Phipps said, about half of all provisional ballots are counted.

He said counting the 5,200 provisional ballots would not be done until next week.

It takes time, he said, because election officials must go through records and verify each provisional ballot.

There are about 500 provisional ballots left to count in Sarpy County, a part of which is in the 2nd District.

One Response to Obama’s odds of getting Nebraska EV increase

  1. Monica says:

    As a Nebraskan (though in the 1st District, not the 2nd) this makes me very excited! Not that Obama needs one more electoral vote, but I think it’s good that so many other Nebraskans are thinking outside the box and not allowing the fact that Nebraska has always been an overwhelmingly red state to deter them from voting their consience.