I work at a public library and we just had a mill levy request on the ballot. The current count is 4582 for, 4461 against. There are 200 ballots yet to be counted.

Is there a quick way to determine the most likely outcome once all the votes are in, assuming a random distribution of fors/againsts/neithers?

Given only that information, the most likely outcome is that the 200 uncounted ballots will split the same way as the counted ballots. “4582 for, 4461 against” means 50.67% for, so the 200 uncounted votes would be most likely to be 101 for, 99 against. But you’d expect an error of about sigma=10, so the only thing you can say is there’s 68% chance it’s between 111/89 and 91/109.

Of course, if there 200 ballots are from a different distribution (e.g. different demographic - cast at different time of day, different location, different method, etc), then the uncertainty is much greater.

What’s a mill levy? A tax on flour?

Tax rate applied to the assessed value of a piece of real property. It’s usually a rate per $1,000 of assessed value.

Depends on what you mean by a random distribution.

If you mean random with respect to the outstanding votes, it would presumably be 50/50, so the final result would be 4682 to 4561.

But perhaps you mean that the uncounted votes will be cast in the same proportion as the counted votes. The proportion of yeas is 50.7% of the total, which indicates that the remaining votes will go 101 to 99, for a final total of 4683 to 4560.

Were these 200 ballots all cast seconds before the polls closed … were they all cast in alphabetical order … how shady are the business interests in that district … there’s a lot to consider here …

In other words, “mill”, related to “milli-”. 1/1000th of one dollar. One mill is 1/10 of one cent, so a mill levy is assessed on a mills-per-dollar-valuation basis.