Sunday, November 30, 2008

Weather Not A Likely Factor in the 6th District Special Election Unless Extreme for Area

When I looked at turnout for the four legislative special elections during 2007the first thing that struck me was that the two held in Nov and Dec each had 18% turnout and the two held in April and May each had 28% turnout. Could the weather have been a factor? Could the weather have convinced 10% of the electorate the trip to the polls was not worth the effort?

I reviewed what the weather was on each of these dates in the voting areas and it looks like the weather had minimal , if any, impact. The November election and the April election has similar temperatures, although mid-day was windy for the November election and the April election had some late afternoon light rain. The December 200 election had temperatures about 10 degrees less than the others and had light rain in the early voting hours, but winds were mild.

None of the 2007 weather conditions would have interfered with travel.

A review of the last ten years of weather on Dec 20, 2007 in zip code 19803 shows it to be chilly,but with minimal precipitation in recent years. It only snowed once in the last ten years on that date and then it stopped hours before the polls opened and left only 2/10ths of an inch of snow. It also rained three times out of ten which means there was no precipitation 6 of ten dates. Ten years is a small sample,but for at least the last ten years it looks like weather would not have impeded travel in the 6th Representative District and will not have much of an impact on turnout in the Dec 20,2008 Special Election unless that day has weather this year that is extreme compared to recent years.

Weather data is from:

Weather Underground is weather related website which was founded by Jeffrey Masters, a Ph.D. meteorologist from the University of Michigan. For some entries, there may be a minor discrepancy in local weather since the search device sometimes defaults to nearby zip codes with larger population centers. For example, when I typed in the zip code for Millsboro (19966)(the 41st Rep District) it defaults to Georgetown, the Sussex County seat.

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