In a run-off election the turn-out always comes down – and in most cases it comes down by 50% or more. So your vote tomorrow for your preferred Board of Education candidate means twice as much as it did in the first election on November 3rd.
How important is it that you vote? Let’s take one example and go through the math.
The At Large 8 seat places incumbent and current chairman Reuben McDaniel against Cynthia Briscoe Brown. In the initial election, McDaniel received 36.7% of the votes as compared to Brown’s 25.8%. In addition, Riley and Tidwell each received 18.2% and 15.1% respectively. While there are many reasons the votes split the way it did, one of the driving forces was the anti-incumbency vote – which was heavily in favor of the challengers. In all, 63.3% of the citywide vote was against the current incumbent.
Now let’s look at how the vote was spread across certain Districts. In D-4, of the approximately 8,900 votes cast, 90% went against the incumbent. On the other hand, in D-5 and D-6 the Districts split 50% and 57% for the incumbent. Both D-5 and D-6 are critical to the run-off election and the turn-out should be higher as all four candidates in those two Districts are working hard to get their voters to the polls.
However, given the historical voting pattern in a run-off election, the turn-out will likely be 50% – this means that the winner of the AL-8 race will have to get around 10,750 votes across the City.
How does each of the AL-8 candidates get there?
Let’s assume that the pro/anti-incumbency voters split along the same lines in D-5 and D-6 and the voter turn-out is higher than the normal 50% of those voting in the previous election and comes in at approximately 58% in those two Districts as voters go out to support their local candidates. With these assumptions (plus some cross-over voting), McDaniel’s gets approximately 5,200 votes and Brown 4,200 votes. There is still a long way to go for the needed 10,750 votes required for a victory.
Again, let’s assume voter turn-out in D-1, 2, and 3 is a bit below the 50% turn-out norm as the District level races have already been decided. If the vote splits along the same pro/anti-incumbency lines as it did in the initial election, McDaniel’s get 3,900 votes and Brown gets 4,200 votes. Add these to the previous numbers and McDaniel’s would have 9,100 votes and Brown would have 8,400 votes.
And now you can see why the District 4 is so critical to this election – it will decide who wins the At-Large 8 seat.
As noted above, 90% of the D-4 votes were likely anti-incumbency. However, since Meister won the D-4 seat, there is not a local candidate to increase the turn-out – and turn-out is all that matters.
My prediction – if the turn-out of voters in D-4 is above 4,450, then Briscoe Brown wins – if turn-out in D-4 is below that level it will be very close with the odds favoring McDaniel.
There were 8,900 voters in November – and how these voters view their civic responsibility to come out again and vote will determine the AL-8 race.
As you can easily see – your vote does matter regardless of the District you are in. However, if you are voting in D-4 – your vote – or failure to vote – will determine the AL-8 seat.
Still don’t think your vote matters? With four seats still up for grabs, the composition of the next Board of Education rides in the balance – please vote tomorrow!
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