Post mortem on the school election (part 1)


On September 12th, the Board of Supervisors certified the votes from the September 9th school election and Supervisor Langston determined the winner of a tie in Central City between Crystal Murphy and Kevin Schlotterbeck – Murphy won.

Before we move onto the November 4th general election, I think it’s worthwhile to reflect upon the changes implemented in this year’s school election. Those changes were: extended office hours (8am – 10pm on Mondays – Fridays and 10am-9pm on Saturdays) at the Elections Office in Westdale Mall starting on September 2nd, vote centers, and uniform hours for the polls, i.e., noon – 8pm.

Did any and/or all of those changes hurt or enhance voter turnout? Were the changes publicized enough by my office? By the schools? Did the media cover the election enough? How did the flood affect the turnout?

I don’t have enough data to draw a conclusion. Yes, voter turnout was down, but it’s been on a downward trend for the last several years. For the record:

2008 – 2.19% – 3260 votes cast

2007 – 3.74% – 5378

2006 – 3.76% – 5428

2005 – 5.14% – 7415

In 2008, Linn-Mar had the lowest turnout (1.9%) and Lisbon had the highest (15.5%).

In 2007, Cedar Rapids and Center Point tied for the lowest turnout (2.74%) and Alburnett had the highest turnout (21.48%).

In 2006, College Community had the lowest turnout (0.90%) and Alburnett had the highest (20.52%).

In 2005, Center Point had the lowest turnout (2.45%) and Alburnett had the highest (21.21%).

What do the school districts with the lowest and highest turnouts have in common? What’s the answer to getting more voter turnout? Did all of the school districts’ employees vote? Did all of the school board directors and administration vote? Why did anyone vote? What motivated them?

At the moment, I have more questions than answers.

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