Ladies & Gentlemen – Your New Board of Education

December 6, 2013

BOE Headshots 120313

Eshe’ Collins victory in District 6 Board of Education runoff was a mirror image of the general election

December 6, 2013

EsheCollins head shotThe District 6 Board of Education runoff, in which Eshe’ Collins defeated Dell Byrd by an 18 point margin, almost exactly mirrored the general election last month.

The following chart pretty much tells the whole story. As you can see, if you exclude the general election votes from the candidates that did not qualify for the runoff, Collins received 58.7% and Byrd received 41.3% of the votes. This compares to Collins receiving 59.1% and Byrd 40.9% in the runoff – there was almost no change.

D6 Collins Runoff summary 120313

A couple of observations:

  • The 6.1% turnout in the district was reasonably consistent with the citywide average.
  • Essentially, both candidates did a good job of retaining a portion of the voters who pulled the lever for them in November – Collins retained 48.6% and Byrd 47.9% – nearly identical.
  • While Collins subsequently received the endorsements of both of the candidates that did not qualify for the runoff, given the vote totals, it appears that the voters who cast their votes for Anne McKenzie and Shawnna Hayes-Tavares in the general election split their votes for Collins and Byrd in a manner consistent with the runoff election percentage outcome.

Ms. Collins – congratulations on your victory – it was a hard-fought campaign from the beginning and your efforts paid off. We look forward the contribution you will make to the Board – especially with your extensive experience working with early education initiatives.

Eshe’ – Nicely done!

Below is a chart with all the details – precinct by precinct (click to enlarge).

D6 Collins Runoff detail 120313

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District 5 Board of Education Steven Lee gets out the vote & wins handily

December 5, 2013

XX Steven Lee Standard HeadshotSteven Lee won the District 5 race with 59.4% of the vote as compared to his opponent Mary Palmer who received 40.6% of the total votes cast in this past Tuesday’s runoff election. The voting patterns indicate that Lee was very successful in getting his supporters to the polls which resulted in his strong margin of victory.

In the November general election, when Lee and Palmer qualified for the runoff, the candidates were in a virtual tie with Lee garnering only 45 votes more than Palmer. Put another way, if we look only at the votes they each received and exclude the votes the two other challengers received, Lee had 50.4% to Palmer’s 49.6%. So the runoff was going to hinge on who could most effectively get their vote back out and who could garner the votes from the two unsuccessful candidates. To this last point, both candidates that did not qualify for the runoff subsequently endorsed Palmer. With the endorsements in hand, Palmer seemed to have the strong hand going into the election. However, as we know, Lee won decisively.

Below is a detailed chart of the voting patterns in D-5 and it tells the story of how Lee, who was the apparent underdog going into the runoff election, ultimately won the race decisively (click on chart to enlarge).

D5 Lee Runoff summary 120313

The chart is broken down into the precincts each candidate won – Lee won 20 with 68.2% of the votes and Palmer won 8 with 68.0% of the votes. This was a complete reversal from the general election in which Palmer won 16 precincts to Lee’s 12. And the chart is clear that the race results came down to one thing – which candidate could get their supporters in the general election to the polls for the runoff. In total, Lee was able to get 60.5% of the votes he had gained in the general election while Palmer was only able to get 41.9%.

No further analysis needed, but the lesson is quite simple – getting your supporters to the polls simply wins elections. Lee was very successful at doing so and won handily.

Mr. Lee – congratulations on your victory. We look forward to seeing you at future Board meetings, and based on your experience as a community activist working with troubled youth, we also eagerly look forward to hearing your views and recommendations on how to solve the dreadful dropout rate at APS.

Also for those of you that want to see all the nitty-gritty details of the vote, see the chart below.

D5 Lee Runoff detail 120313

Board of Education AL-9 candidate Esteves’ wins 5 of 6 Districts – challenger’s support collapses in runoff election

December 5, 2013

XX Jason Esteves Std HeadshotOn Tuesday the voters in Atlanta gave attorney and former teacher Jason Esteves a landslide victory with 71.5% of the vote total in the At Large 9 Board of Education race. Esteves won five of the six districts outright and essentially tied his opponent, Lori James, in District 6. The voting data also indicates that support for his opponent essentially collapsed as James received a lower percentage of the votes in the runoff election (28.5%) as compared to the general election (30.7%) last month.

The chart below presents the vote totals by district as well as voter turnout information (click to enlarge).

AL9 turnout 120313

The following are a few observations based on the data in the chart above:

  • In D-1, Esteves polled over 80% and James’ support dropped nearly 10 points from the general election.
  • In D-2 which had the lowest turnout in the City with only 2.6% of the voters coming to the polls, James increased her total percent by nearly 10 points as compared to the general election, but still lost the District 57.8% to 42.2%.
  • In D-3, Esteves received almost 83% of the vote – his highest percent in any district. At the same time, support for James plummeted by 11 points as compared to the general election.
  • In D-4, the story remains the much better than average turnout – which at 9.8% – exceeded the Citywide average by 58%. In addition, D-4 accounted for 43% of Esteves’ vote margin of victory.
  • In D-5, the turnout was also above the Citywide average and James’ percentage of the vote increase by 6 points over the general election. However, Esteves still claimed 63.7% of the vote.
  • In D-6, turnout was about average – which is surprising given that voters also had district candidates to choose from. In addition, James won D-6 with a margin of victory of three votes.

Overall, it appears that there two factors at play in the voting patterns. First, it is likely that the voter that cast their ballots for Sean Norman and Eddie Lee Brewster in the general election all went to Esteves in the runoff. Second, there was a clear shift in support between the two candidates as James’ was unable to retain the voting percent across the City that she had gained in the general election. These two factors combined propelled Esteves to a landslide victory across the City.

Esteves’ message resounded with voters across the City and he now joins the Board of Education with an overwhelming mandate for the principles he espoused during his campaign. His very likeable manner and his ability to persuasively articulate his positions should make him a strong and consensus building force on the Board.

We are all expecting a tremendous amount from the new Board and Esteves will likely be a leader in the effort to enact positive changes.

Jason – nicely done!

[Follow me on Twitter @Financial_Decon]

Turnout ruled the day in the AL-8 race – D-4 turns out 52% of general election voters – rest of the City only 30%!

December 4, 2013

XX Cynthia Briscoe Brown Std HeadshotThe turnout in the Board of Education AL-8 race, in which Cynthia Briscoe Brown defeated incumbent Reuben McDaniel, was determined by the voter turnout or lack thereof. While the City as a whole turned out 34.4% of the voters who cast a ballot in the general election, District 4 turned out 52% and 93.4% of those voters cast a ballot for challenger Cynthia Briscoe Brown. In fact, District 4 – by itself – delivered 85.1% of Brown’s margin of victory.

The numbers in the chart below are just stunning – in total, only 6.0% of registered voters across the City bothered to show up for the runoff as compared to 19.7% in the general election. That means that nearly 70% of the voters that showed up for the general election decided to stay home yesterday. (Click the chart to enlarge.)

AL8 turnout 120313

So let’s take a look at what happened district by district and keep in mind several things.

  • Runoff election turnout traditionally comes in at about 50% of the general election turnout – but yesterday’s 34.4% turnout was significantly lower than expected;
  • Traditionally the incumbent has a difficult time increasing their voting percent in a runoff; and
  • Excluding D-4 (which skewed the results upwards by nearly 5 points), the average turnout in the City was 29.8% of voters who had voted in the general election.

District 1 – The local race was decided in November and so there was no local candidate to attract additional voters. The 29.2% turnout was below the average for the City, but right on the average when D-4 is excluded. The voting pattern remained essentially the same as in November when McDaniel received 37.4% as compared to 40.0% yesterday. This percentage was a slight improvement, but insignificant to the final outcome.

District 2 – Again, no local candidate in the race and the general election was uncontested. The turnout just cratered and came in at 19.5% of the previous general election voters – the lowest turnout in the City. Even worse, only 2.5% of the registered voters showed up at the polls on Tuesday. Additionally, contrary to the assumption above, incumbent McDaniel did increase his share of the vote and garnered 59.1% yesterday versus 51.9% in the general. However, the turnout was so low that the difference was irrelevant.

District 3 – This district did not have a local candidate to generate additional excitement, but still managed to beat the City average (excluding D-4) by a couple of percentage points. The district went strongly for Brown who polled 75.5% of the voters that showed up and contributed 1,206 votes to Brown’s margin of victory. McDaniel’s, who had received 29.4% of the vote in the general lost ground and only received 24.5% – a drop of nearly 5 points.

District 5 – In light of the general decrease in voter turnout, District 5 outperformed the City-wide average (both with and without D-4) and had 35.5% of the general election voters show up. It appears that the get out to vote initiative led by local candidate Steven Lee had a positive effect on turnout and this benefited McDaniel as well. McDaniel saw his percent of the total vote increase by 4 ½ points to 51.6%.

District 6 – Besides the D-4 surprise turnout, this district surprised me the most. The local candidates – Collins and Byrd – should have generated additional excitement resulting in a strong turnout. Instead, only 28.0% of the general election voters showed up – nearly 6 ½ points below the City-wide average. McDaniel did well here and improved his percent of the total from 53.6% in the general to 63.4% yesterday. However, as a result of the low turnout in the district, his 604 vote margin of victory in the district barely dented Brown’s overall margin across the City.

And again, reflecting on the District 4 turnout performance – simply amazing in comparison to the rest of the City! Yesterday, as I communicated with the various campaigns and the individuals that were pressing for turnout throughout the day, it was an amazing operation to watch. No one was paid a nickel, no one was in charge and no one was pulling the levers of a political machine. Instead, a number of concerned citizens decided to take action – and the emails urging their neighbors to vote went viral – and the results speaks for themselves.

Concerned and engaged citizens make a huge difference. The energy and self-organization that the friends and neighbors in D-4 showed yesterday was outstanding and should be held up as the model for future election participation and engagement.

Well done!

Next up is an analysis of AL-9 – but it may take a while as I need to finally get some sleep.

[Follow me on Twitter @Financial_Decon]

Atlanta Public School Board of Education runoff election results – four new members win seats – turnout very low

December 4, 2013

In the runoff election for the Atlanta Public School Board of Education, four new members were elected in a race that had very low voter turn-out. The four new members are:

  • In District 5, small business owner and non-profit organization executive director Steven Lee received 59.4% of the vote and defeated academic coach Mary Palmer.
  • In District 6, Eshe’ Collins, a former attorney, teacher and who now runs an early education program at GA State received 59.1% of the vote to defeat property manager and former teacher Dell Byrd.
  • In the At Large 8 citywide election, attorney Cynthia Briscoe Brown received 71.5% of the vote and defeated investment banker and current chairman of the Board Reuben McDaniel, who was the only incumbent in the runoff election.
  • In the At Large 9 citywide race, attorney and former teacher Jason Esteves received an overwhelming 71.5% of the vote and defeated education administrator Lori James.

The details of the votes are in a table at the bottom of the post.

In each race, the results were decisive with the winners earning nearly 60% of the vote or more. The race was marked by a very low voter turnout in which only 6.2% of registered voters returned to the polls to cast their vote in the runoff. This means that less than one in three voters who went to the polls in the general election in November returned to vote in the runoff.

With the decisions made by voters yesterday, the new Board of Education will be seated in early January with three returning incumbents and six new members. The new Board will be as follows:

  • D-1 – Leslie Grant
  • D-2 – Byron Amos (I)
  • D-3 – Matt Westmoreland
  • D-4 – Nancy Meister (I)
  • D-5 – Steven Lee
  • D-6 – Eshe’ Collins
  • AL-7 – Courtney English (I)
  • AL-8 – Cynthia Briscoe Brown
  • AL-9 – Jason Esteves

Congratulations to the winners!

[Added] See the following links to over coverage of the runoff results:

I will post more analysis on each race throughout the day.

Runoff election results 120313

Voters guide for today’s Board of Education runoff election

December 3, 2013

District 5

Mary Palmer – Academic coach & former IT professional

Steven Lee – small business owner and non-profit executive

District 6

Eshe’ Collins – Attorney, former teacher and early education project at GA State

Dell Byrd – Property management & former teacher

At Large 8

Cynthia Briscoe Brown – Attorney

Reuben McDaniel (I) – Investment banker

At Large 9

Jason Esteves – Attorney and former teacher

Lori James – Education consultant

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