Thursday, October 16, 2008

Not all local primaries are equal drivers of voter turnout.Some Context for Assessing Relative Voter Turnout Performance

My theory stated before the primary was that the presence of local primaries would possibly drive up the turnout in the statewide races in those districts that have local (state representative or county council,for example). It appears that may be on target with a couple qualifications.

It appears that within a Representative District at least 3 election districts (the voting unit in Delaware, often called a precinct in other areas) must be part of the local primary which is not always the case. A state senate district or county council district may overlap 4-6 state representative districts. In some it may encompass the entire district, for example the 6th Senate District takes in the entire 23rd Representative District, but takes in only one election district in the 25h Representative District.Turnout in the 23rd Representative District was 34.2% and turnout in the 25th Representative District was 24.6%.These are adjacent Newark Districts. Both are in the Christina School District.They appear similar areas in a lot of ways,but had 10% turnout difference on 9-11-08.
In Southern Delaware 2 adjacent districts in Sussex County further illustrate that local primaries can drive up statewide primary votes. In the 41st Representative District, where John Atkins seeks to represent a district as a Democrat he previously represented as a Republican, the 2008 turnout in the Governor’s race was 33.1%.Atkins won a primary to be on the ballot for his old seat. The 40th District, just to the west of the 41st, had no local primaries and had a turnout in the Governor’s race of 22.1%. Once again , adjacent district with a 10% difference in turnout and the one with higher turnout has a local state legislative primary.

It seems state legislative races (at least for the 2008 primary) were the local turnout drivers and not county government county council races in New Castle County,although the only Levy Court Democratic primary in Kent County had a turnout above the statewide 27.8 %. There were no Democratic primary county races in Sussex County which has a county council.

Below are some examples for New Castle County that illustrate:

The 15th RD has only a 23.3% turnout in the governor’s race despite having 6 EDs in the 12 th County Council District primary. The 9th RD had 5 EDS in the same county council primary and had 28.8% turnout ,so the race did not push RD turnout much above the average turnout

The 12th RD has 5 EDs that were in either the 4th or 6th State Senate primary and its primary turnout for the Governor’s primary was 36.7%.

Below is the turnout in each of the six local races for either the Delaware General Assembly or county goverment for the local races themselves
State Senate District 4:
10,778 Dems registered, 3854 voted, 35.8% turnout
State Senate District 6:
8,353 Dems registered, 2629 voted, 31.5% turnout
State Representative 41:
6,370 Dems registered,2033 voted,31.9% turnout
New Castle County Council 8thDst:
14,608 Dems registered,3456 voted, 23.7%
New Castle County Council 12th District:
18,576 Dem Registered,4693 voted,25.3%
Kent County Levy Court 3rd District:
4,245 Dems registered, 1427 voted, 33.6% turnout

No comments: