Saturday, November 07, 2009

more numbers

Misc election numbers I have not seen talked about much anywhere. 

Write in votes in City Council District 6 came out to 847 of 3,961 votes cast in that election. So 21.4% which is actually quite an amazing showing for a write-in candidate. Some day folks on the Hill will stop fighting with each other more than with others.  Just a question I wonder about:  Does TP try to keep her seat on the URA board?

City wide straight ticket Republican votes = 1,361. So about half of the 2,697 in the 2007 mayoral race. Not quite sure what it means. Remember LR was the nominated R because he got I think 1000+ republican petition signatures. Who knows if those folks are the same as who pulled the R levers… probably not… Consider though that the 2008 presidential election… 10,847 straight ticket Republican votes. No, not a typo. Over 10K Republican level pullers are out there somewhere in the city proper and just don’t bother to show up in these city elections just as most Democrats stay home as well. But that still is a larger number than most would assume is out there. Not that anyone has ever found a way to motivate them to show up in off-years.

1,259 people showed up at the polls in the city but did not vote for anyone for mayor.. not even a write-in. Not the biggest of numbers and I am not sure what it means. I suspect it's part of the general showing (or no-showing that is) of Democrats across the state.  If statewide D's had motivated folks to come to the polls to support the statewide judicial races, I suspect you would have seen more folks casting ballots without a selection for mayor.  I know burghosphere denizens may find this hard to believe, but a lot of folks who are above average in their interest in politics and the news on bigger issues still don't care a whit about local races like mayor. I think it all comes across as noise to them.  these are folks who skip the local evening news but will often watch the national news with interest. 

It's not atypical for some folks to show up and not vote in particular elections, but I have always wondered a bit  about the final ‘confirm’ button on the new machines. I know people in other contexts don’t quite get the idea and I really wonder if there are not a few people out there who walk away without hitting the button that last time. I think the poll workers are trained to void the vote if someone really leaves a machine in that status, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they don’t hit confirm for a few folks.

The uber cynical have considered that poll workers could change some of those votes left like that. I don’t believe that at all and I am pretty cynical.. but the nature of the new machines does leave the whole process a lot more ambiguous than the old mechanical machines with curtains that only opened once you submitted your vote. That and I always jumped a bit when it happened. You always felt like those old machines were going to shake themselves to pieces as they recorded the votes and then opened the curtain. What could possibly have been going on inside the machines to make all that noise? The gnomes inside could have been engraving the vote with chisels in granite for all the fuss… but you for sure knew when you had submitted your vote.


Anonymous MH said...

I liked the old machines better also. But at least it is now easier to vote for "Richard Hertz" when you have an unopposed incumbent.

Sunday, November 08, 2009 7:05:00 PM  
Anonymous Mermaid said...

I too miss the old voting machines. They were marvelous mechanical monstrosities. Voting was much more satisfying when the machine registered your vote with a loud "Chunk!" that vibrated the floor boards. And the parting curtains always reminded me of the Wizard of Oz! Did any of them wind up in the Heinz History Center by any chance?

The old voting machines may be gone, but they've left their mark on the Pittsburgh dialect in an expression you used in your post: "pull the lever," i.e., make a straight party line vote. Now, instead of pulling a big mechanical lever, we just press a touch screen button to vote the straight party ticket. But saying "press the button" just lacks something.

Monday, November 09, 2009 11:25:00 AM  

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