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Letters to the Editor

Skewed figures

April 7, 2007

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To the editor:

Indeed voter turnout is not the pride of Lawrence.

But to say the leading candidate for City Commission received only 20.6 percent is misleading. In fact, no one could receive more than 33.3 percent if all voters cast three votes and one received votes from all residents who came to the polls. There were 14,618 ballots cast in city and school board voting and Mr. Dever received 7,349 votes or 50.2 percent (and not all the 14,618 were inside the city to vote on City Commission). The percentages for the others were 46.5 percent for Rob Chestnut and 42.4 percent for Boog Highberger. These percentage would be higher, if I knew how many of the 14,618 ballots were not voting for City Commission.

The same critique is merited for school board reports. Scott Morgan received 7,865 votes or 53.8 percent. Percentages for the other winners would be: Rich Minder 38.7 percent, Mary Loveland 37.2 percent and Marlene Merrill 35.0 percent.

American voting is nothing to brag about, but this reporting diminishes it unnecessarily.

Let me also express my preference for the tabular format for reporting votes by precincts. I choose not to go across the many reports to find more specific results. The old way was better.

Donald Conrad, Lawrence

Comments

oldgoof 7 years, 8 months ago

Glad to see that teaching "new math" is working.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 8 months ago

"Public participation in local governance in Lawrence, and many communities like it, is a sham."

Quite true. With an 18% turnout, even the top vote-getters recieved the votes of fewer than 1 in 10 of elegible voters. So we'll be led by commissioners and board members who more than 90% of registered voters either don't want, or don't care enough about to bother voting for.

I think the city should consider enacting an ordinance that requires at least 50% turnout for an election to be certified.

Jamesaust 7 years, 8 months ago

I suppose the date of the elections could always be set to the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November in even-numbered years so that the multiple ballot races could attract voter attention.

But then, that would attract voters whose votes are not desired, now wouldn't it?

sourpuss 7 years, 8 months ago

Perhaps if there were candidates worth voting for who actually forwarded reasonable ideas for improvement, rather than simply pointing fingers, complaining, and promising a "return to the good old days."

I didn't vote because I didn't like any of them. Period.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 8 months ago

I agree, b3. Even if you don't like the candidates, there was a very clear difference in what they would do as commissioners. Choose one direction or the other, but at least choose.

Richard Heckler 7 years, 8 months ago

I say change the voting day to Saturday 9AM - 9PM for all elections. Do them all in November.

Kathy Getto 7 years, 8 months ago

Sunday elections like they have in some parts of Europe? Tuesday elections were originally set so folks could go to church on Sunday, drive to the polling place on Tuesday (Monday if they lived 'way out in the holler'), then return to their homestead. Like many parts of our political systems, Tuesday voting is 18th or 19th century in origin. On the other hand, if we can't engage the populace more effectively, it won't matter when elections take place. If the downward trend of voter participation continues, in my humble opinion, our republic will eventually be in extreme peril. Incidentally, the size of the counties was set so a farmer could drive his team to the county seat and return in the same day. We need to revisit the number and size of counties sometime to bring them into the 21srt century.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 8 months ago

Very good points, VoR. There really isn't any reason voting can't be done by mail, as it's done in Oregon, which means everybody can vote when they're ready and it's convenient--

http://www.sos.state.or.us/executive/Southwell.pdf

altarego 7 years, 8 months ago

The radical thing about increasing voter turnout is registered voters getting off their lazy apathetic asses and voting. I they won't do that, then good. They always get the government t they deserve.

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