Math, and why it matters

If you hate freedom, you might want to skip to the next blog in your daily rotation, or read some website that doesn’t care so much about math.

Go ahead. The rest of us have some things to talk about.

Here’s what I learned last night about Washington State:

1. 3.9 million people are registered to vote.

2. 3 million aren’t.

3. 2.5 million bothered to do so (65% voter turnout).

4. At least 917,197 people, most of whom live on the other side of the Cascades, think it’s ok to tell people in love they can’t get married.

5. 51.79% of Washington voters counted (so far) are of the opinion that they should.

6. Only 7 counties, all surrounding Puget sound, are showing a majority of voters in favor of Washington Referendum 74, a measure to approve or reject an already passed bill that legalizes same-sex marraige in the state.

7. Voter registration in those counties accounts for over half the registered voters in the state (2.04 million).

Things I already knew about Washington State

1. More than 25% of Washington’s registered voters (1.17 million) live in King County.

2. Not all gay people live in Seattle.

As much as I’d like to, I can’t assume any of the 1.36 million people who couldn’t be bothered to put a stamp on an envelope this year are in favor of marriage equality, aka R74.

Washingtonians, look around yourself tomorrow, and wonder who those people are. Statistically, at least three of the people you meet tomorrow did not vote, and three more voted against recognizing gay marriages. Or more specifically, recognizing that our state’s lawmakers think it’s fair and just for our government to do so.

If you live in King County (which math assures me that 29% of you do), the counted votes are running 65-35 in favor of the referendum. Here in our fine hippy commune of awesomeness, 719,083 ballets have been recognized, 163,000 of which have yet to be counted. The distinction of counted votes is the most frightening thing you’re likely to read in this post, because the really impressive number of registered voters above is more than twice the number of votes counted so far. (FACTS according to the intarwebs)

Were we to measure King County ballots versus Washington voters in general (and by now, you have to know that I will), that same pesky ratio of 29% comes up again. 29% of the state’s population lives in one county, as do 29% of the votes cast. But 36% of the votes counted (so far) in support of the referendum are from that county, and 163,000 votes have yet to be counted.

Statewide, there are 618,000 votes extant, some of which won’t be recorded until Friday night.

This morning, 68,111 votes statewide separate marriage equality in Washington from mediocrity. That’s just about the average attendance of a Seattle Seahawks football game. If the remaining King County votes follow the same pattern as those counted so far, that margin will widen somewhat, but a lot more people, or rather, voters, have yet to be heard from.

This morning, pundits around the country, and the world, will talk about why certain issues or candidates fared how they did at the polls. But what they should be talking about is why people didn’t vote at all.

What no-one will be talking about is why so many people who should have no say in the matter whatsoever get to decide whether two people in love, who want to spend the rest of their lives together, may not receive the rights and benefits that are accorded to random high school students who pay a fee and sign a piece of paper.

Why is it that a bill allowing “same-sex couples to marry, applies marriage laws without regard to gender, and specifies that laws using gender-specific terms like husband and wife include same-sex spouses” may be defeated by apathy, rather than antagonists?

Because Math is Hard, that’s why.

If you follow the link above to wikipedia (here it is again) you’ll find a number of opinion polls conducted throughout the last year with almost exactly the same language that appeared on the ballot. Not a single one of them tracks against the measure, and yet here we are a football game away from rejection.

48.62% of all possible voters have been heard from.

Less. Than. Half.

People around the country are calling this a victory. I myself nearly hurt something pumping my fist last night. But in truth, I’m mad as all get out about this issue.

First, because it requires a law in the first place to secure what should be an obvious right and recognition for a persecuted minority. But that’s a rant I’ve promised not to make. I don’t even think the matter is up for discussion (see below).

But second, because more people would rather do nothing than voice an opinion for or against. Either you are a decent human being, or somehow you are dead inside.

If you are the latter, I just don’t want to hear about it. 6 out of 10 people who will pass me on the street tomorrow shouldn’t be able to look me in the eye, and yet I’ll still be smiling and treating you all as if you were the former.

Math is Hard.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: