The old F-150 and I have been out checking polling sites in Lawrence today, and the results are unscientific (almost everything that happens in the F150 is) but it sure appears that the west side of Lawrence is getting out better than the east side of Lawrence.
I was out over the noon hour at several east Lawrence polling places, and only at one did I encounter more than one voter. Shortly after lunch, there was a steady stream of voters at pretty much every west Lawrence site I went to today.
Here are some of the numbers I gathered:
• Checkers, 23rd and Louisiana, at noon: 29 voters of 921 registered; 3.1 percent turnout.
• Prairie Park Elementary, 2711 Kensington Road, at 12:30 p.m.: 123 of 3057; 4.0 percent turnout.
• Douglas County Fairgrounds 19th and Harper, at 12:40 p.m.: 65 of 1,877; 3.4 percent turnout.
• New York Elementary, 936 New York St., at 1 p.m.: 69 of 1,031; 6.6 percent turnout.
• East Lawrence Recreation Center, 1245 E. 15th St., at 12:45 p.m.; 62 of 1,193; 5.1 percent turnout.
• American Legion, 3408 W. Sixth St., at 1:20 p.m.: 142 of 987; 14.3 percent turnout.
• Mustard Seed, 700 Wakarusa Drive, at 1:30 p.m.: 204 of 1,751; 11.6 percent turnout.
• Langston Hughes Elementary, 1101 George Williams Way, at 1:45 p.m.: 325 of 2,450; 13.2 percent turnout.
• Corpus Christi, 6001 Bob Billings Parkway, at 1:50 p.m.: 125 of 1329; 9.4 percent turnout.
• 360 Church, 3200 Clinton Parkway, at 2:10 p.m.: 103 of 1,160; 8.8 percent turnout.
Polls are open until 7 p.m., so there's still plenty of time for this trend to change. But it would be no surprise if the votes from the west side of town far outweigh the number from the east side. That has been the trend the last few municipal elections. There were questions, though, whether the school bond issue would alter that balance a bit. We’ll see.
As for what a heavy westside turnout would mean for the races, I suppose there could be any number of interpretations. On the City Commission race, it probably makes the race more competitive for Rob Chestnut, who finished fourth in the primary election. The primary election numbers showed a good amount of his support came from the west side of town. As it is shaping up, I expect a close contest for that third and final spot on the commission.
Douglas County Clerk Jamie Shew provided this report that showed totals for pretty much every precinct at 10:30 a.m. You can do your own ciphering with it.
As for me, I have to put gasoline in the F-150. Now I see why elections are so expensive.