Gee whiz, Dems. I know your ballot wasn’t as full as Repubs, but don’t you know that real change comes on a local level?
Statewide, voter turnout was crappy in yesterday’s elections (34.5%), but those who proudly pronounce themselves the party of “community organizers” weren’t very well organized, with a pitiful 18.89% turnout to the elephants’ also-kinda-pitiful 36.24%.
In Clay County (arguably the most blue of all this red state’s counties), the overall turnout margin was much closer: Dems at 26.75% and Repubs at 30.4%.
In Vermillion’s Central Ward (the bluest of the blue–our little “Berkeley on the Prairie”), Republican turnout barely topped Dems by a .02% margin–that’s 141 out of 647 registered Dems showing up to vote (and some Independents are also counted in there, making things a hair confusing) compared to 53 out of 243 Republicans.
In all other wards in the county, registered Republican turnout percentages topped Democrats by 7-17 percentage points. What the heck? There were no candidates running unopposed in the City elections, there was a primary for county commission, and still we couldn’t get our butts in gear to get to the polls?
Even with a number of self-identified progressive candidates on the ballot in our city elections, the status quo was cemented by low voter turnout and the apathy of our registered Dems. In some wards, barely over 100 votes were cast to decide the election.
That’s not to say that a high turnout would’ve necessarily been a “throw the bums out” referendum (and that’s not to say I think all the incumbents are bums), but a higher turnout would’ve felt a little more like a input-based decision and less like an, eh. whatev.
The only incumbent candidate running for city council who didn’t win was in Central Ward, where the percentage turnout on both sides was almost equal. And the margin by which John Grayson bested Mary Edelen was only 5 votes. While city election aren’t party-identified, Edelen is registered “red” in a very blue ward.
In the mayoral race, Nick “Tick” Severson garnered 23.35% of the total vote–pretty impressive numbers considering such a low turnout on the side of the aisle that (c’mon, you know it’s true) would be most likely to vote for a young, first-time progressive candidate who’s not afraid to say he inhaled.
Looking at the Secretary of State’s site for turnout and results, it looks like voter apathy is a problem all across the state, but next time I hear someone “blue” bitch about our city’s elected officials, my first question will be, “well, did you vote in the last election?” The second will be, “and how many other people did you encourage to vote?”