Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Maybe A Special Election Turnout Pattern

Posted: Thursday, July 2, 2009
For now I am saying 15+% to low 20's% turnout,but it's still early to predict.”

I’ll admit I thought turnout would be less than 27.0% in the 8-3-2009 special election in the 19th State Senate District.

I’ll also let you join me in tracking a theory I am working on. I look for patterns and Special Elections may not occur often enough to develop patterns, but here is what I am considering.

June 30th is the day the Delaware State budget is mandated to be passed and a sizable amount of major legislation occurs within a week or two of June 30th. It is when the General Assembly gets the most media attention and when constituent groups can impact (or at least most closely follow) legislation.
Would scheduling proximity in relation to June 30th have an impact on turnout in legislative special elections?

I have only been able to establish turnout data for special elections held since Jan 2001 using available online data. There have only been seven special legislative elections since Jan 2001. It may be too small a sample to even make assumptions.but a pattern seems to be present.The three held within 80 days of June 30th (before or after) each had a minimum turnout of 27%. None of the four that were held more than 120 days from June 30th (before or after) got above 18%.

I am sure there may be other factors involved,but found this interesting.
The upcoming special election in the 37th Representative District will supply some more data to see if this pattern holds.

2nd Rep District-Jan.20, 2001-14.5% turnout-161 days from June30th

7th Rep District-April 14,2007-29.1% turnout-77 days from June 30th

41st Rep District-May 5, 2007-28.0% turnout-56 days from June 30th

14th Sen District-Nov 3,2007-18.0% turnout-126 days from June 30th

28th Rep District-Dec 8, 2007-18.0% turnout-161 days from June 30th

6th Rep District-Dec 20, 2008-18.13% turnout-173 days from June 30th

19th Sen District-Aug 5,2009-27.0% turnout-36 days from June 30th

Notes on the numbers
For Jan 2001 total turnout was 1343 and I used the registration from the Nov 2000 AGP report since exact registration numbers for Jan 2001 were not available . The Nov AGP report on the Election Commisisoner’s website indicates in Nov 2000 there were 9,244 registered voters.

Here is the link for the 8-3-2009 19th senate special election numbers:

Other numbers can be located in the Election Archive at the Election Commissioner’s website:

and the New Castle County election board’s website:

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