Progress 2007 Behind the scenes

Western part of city’s voter turnout highest

April 21, 2007


The west was best.

At least in terms of voter turnout, that's the clear conclusion from the April 3 election results.

An analysis of voter turnout numbers found that of the 10 precincts that posted the highest percentage, eight were west of Iowa Street. All 10 of the precincts with the lowest voter turnout were east of Iowa Street.

Candidates are convinced the split made a difference in the outcome, which saw political newcomers Mike Dever and Rob Chestnut - the top two fundraisers in the race - take the top two spots in the election.

"I think what this election represented was not just a message about money and the candidates who raised the most of it, but it also was about voter discipline," said City Commissioner David Schauner, who lost his seat by finishing fourth. "Their base went out to the polls and voted."

Some people, though, said the west-side turnout was driven by the fact that four of the six candidates live west of Iowa Street. Highberger and Maynard-Moody are the two candidates who don't.

Lois Liebert, a poll worker at Kennedy School, 1605 Davis Road, said she thought west Lawrence residents were getting out to vote either for or against their neighbors that they know personally.

"Name recognition means a lot in these city elections," Liebert said. "A lot of people don't pay a lot of attention to how the candidates stand on the issues."


swan_diver 6 years, 12 months ago

These precinct statistics are NOT news. Except for a couple of election cycles more than twenty-five years ago, when the older neighborhoods first organized -- the more affluent suburban districts have consistently registered and voted in higher proportion than precincts east of Iowa Street. This demographic phenomenon holds across the board, in almost every American town and city.

Neither is it news that even the top voter-getters in every city commission election actually represent almost no one. Rarely does a first-place finisher have more than 12-13% of the registered voter's approval. Figure in the number of qualified voters -- and their totals are truly miniscule.


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