Something broke in the May Special Election

by David Esrati on July 6, 2013

in Dayton Government

Considering that record money was spent in the May primary, the turnout was incredibly low. 9,704 voters cast a ballot, and it’s hard to figure out what percentage of voters there really are in Dayton because of the changes in the registration process.

In the 2012 presidential election, 58,441 cast votes. If we take that as everyone who could vote did- we had a turnout of about 16% for the special election.

Of the total votes- 9,486 voted in both elections. Meaning only 218 people were either new voters, or missed the presidential.

But, what’s surprising- of the “Supervoters” who vote in every election- say the last 5 not including the primary, Dayton had 4,973 before the special election, but only 3,097 of them voted in the special- reducing their ranks by 1,876. Somehow, 1,876 people who have been proven voters- chose not to, or left our city, or didn’t feel compelled to vote.

This leads me to a few thoughts, especially since the “Dayton Independent” candidates focused on those people “most likely to vote.” The Whaley campaign was utilizing data collected to make sure that those who were biased toward her got to the polls. Yes, she spent ungodly money to do it- but, her investment in NGPVan and her help with data from the party- like lists of emails of donors, and massive mailings, and email campaigns were focused on Dems who vote the party line. In fact of the special election voters, 6,508 are identified as Dem and 2,006 as Rep – leaving 1.190 as undecided, undeclared, or other.

Considering that the Dayton special election is a nonpartisan run-off, and open to all, and the city skews Dem traditionally, these numbers aren’t surprising. Nor is the turnout, despite not having had a runoff for Mayor and Commission in 20 years.

The 1,876 supervoters who chose to sit this one out are the oddity. Had only 229 more of them voted for Leitzell, A.J. Wagner would have spent $106,000 for naught. Combined, Wagner and Leitzell had 4,904 votes to Nan’s 4,965, a 61 vote gap. If every Leitzell voter votes for A.J., and the turnout is similar, we have a very even race.

Elections are no longer won by rhetoric, they are won with databases. I’ve worked hard from outside the system, without party support or much help from the partisan Board of Elections to build the tools to analyze the data and work with it. Unlike my previous runs for office, I never had the test data from a primary to know where I did well and where I didn’t- and didn’t have the money to do proper polling. This time is different. The real question is, can I reach the voters I know I need to reach between now and November 5th for under $10,000, and can I get those who indicate they are most likely to give me their support to get out and vote. It’s hard for some people to back the underdog- I had the least number of votes in the special to get on the ballot with 2,087, but my goal was never to win the primary- just to place.

Everything is different for November. If you’d like to help, we’re having an organizational meeting of volunteers on Tuesday, July 9, at 6 p.m. at Top of The Market- 32 Webster St. near the corner of E. Third St. It’s a joint effort between my campaign, David Greer’s campaign and the mayor’s petition-signing campaign to collect the huge number of signatures it takes to run as an independent candidate for County Commission in 2014. We’ve invited A.J. Wagner’s people to attend as well- but, we’ve not heard a definitive reply.

I know that I will be willing to distribute A.J. Wagner literature as I canvass, but doubt he’d do the same for me. I believe the best-informed voters make the best voting decisions, and have no problem working for change.

There is one thing to realize about the Dayton City Commission- it takes 3 votes to accomplish any substantial change. Joey Williams has had 12 years with easy access to at least 2 supporting votes, Nan Whaley has had 8 years of at least 2 supporting votes- and what have they accomplished, or not accomplished so far? If you want to see change, this year, for the first time in 20 years, it’s possible to put three new faces on the commission.

 

 

 

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Larry Sizer July 6, 2013 at 3:01 pm

David: You sold me and my better half, so you can count two votes from the House of Sizer, if you count my dawg’s,  you have four. Wake up Dayton; let’s make a change?

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Allie Dillard July 23, 2013 at 4:54 am

Under the contingent vote voters cast only one vote, by ranking all of the candidates in order of preference. However it involves only two rounds of counting and uses the same rule for eliminating candidates as the two round system. After the first round all but the two candidates with most votes are eliminated. Therefore one candidate always achieves an absolute majority in the second round. Because of these similarities the contingent vote tends to elect the same winner as the two round system, and often produces different results to instant-runoff voting. A variant of the contingent vote, called the supplementary vote , is used to elect some mayors in the United Kingdom . Another variant elects the President of Sri Lanka .

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Trevor Hawkins July 29, 2013 at 6:40 am

Voters also have until 5 p.m. on the Thursday immediately following Election Day to submit any supporting documents to the Election Board to show that they were valid registered voters in the precinct where they cast the provisional ballots. Provisional ballots are separated from others cast on Election Day. After Election Day, Board employees evaluate provisional ballot applications in a public process to determine whether the corresponding ballot can be released into the count. The ballot itself is not visible during this evaluation process.

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