Sunday, October 27, 2013

Week In Review: October 21-27

One of the things about being a self-publishing amateur is you can have a writer's block week if you feel like it. and that's been this week: discouragement leading to silence.

From the beginning I've been doubtful that the 21 bar repeal effort had a chance to win, and I've been frustrated by both sides. Frustrated by my "progressive" (?) friends who can't seem to read the Constitution and get that 18 year olds are adults. Frustrated by the 19 side for having, as the Press-Citizen rightly pointed out in their inevitable endorsement, "written off trying to persuade the broader community."

My goal in all this was to do exactly what the justice center opponents did: use this issue as a springboard to discussing a larger, systematic problem, in this case the drinking age itself. I think I did pretty well on that score. But with the surprising exception of the Gazette's Jennifer Hemmingsen, who I've sparred with in the past on this issue, no one seems to engage. Criticism of the 19 side for refusing to comment is fair, but that same critique should be directed at "21 Makes Sense" (sic) for refusing to address the larger issue.

Enough meta. Let's look at numbers. Are the students getting out in enough numbers to win this? The 2010 election is hard to compare, because that was also a general election with some unimportant stuff like governor on it.

Factoid: Iowa City saw 1,970 fewer votes for governor in 2010 than total voters. Factor in that X number of people voted straight ticket and left the bar question blank, that means roughly 2,500 people voted ONLY on the bar issue.

That's… a likely indicator of what's happening in the city council races. Outsiders Rockne Cole and Kingsley Botchway quietly supported 21 with only Royceann Porter taking the Let The Voters Decide stance. The bar-owner driven 19 campaign wasn't going to expend any effort for anyone who wasn't a loud and proud Yes, so there's probably a lot of empty ovals on those ballots.

So let's look back at Round 1 in 2007. The on-campus sites are now over, as they mostly were in 2007. The sites were a little different; the Campus Rec Center did not exist in 2007 and instead there was a fully functioning Iowa Memorial Union.

Site 2007 2013 difference
Burge/Hillcrest 1662 1405 -257
Mayflower 174 74 -100
UI Library 718 161 -557
Other campus sites 418 438 20
mailed absentee under 21 1131 7 -1124
total 4103 2085 -2018

So student voting is running roughly half what it was in 2007.

The ball game isn't over yet. It WAS in 2007, because that was the last election before Iowa got election day voter registration. If you weren't registered by now, you were out of luck. Now students CAN still register, though it's a little harder with ID and proof of address.

We're also in the year AFTER a presidential election, rather than the year before. So a lot of the 19 and 20 year olds are still registered, though at last year's addresses. Changes of address before Election Day are simple, just fill out a form. There are still sites downtown this week, not on campus but nearby. Old Capitol Mall's food court is the de facto post-flood IMU, and the public library is just a short stroll down the Ped Mall. Those sites will draw both students and townies.

But it IS too late for a vote by mail drive to get those 2007 numbers. My gut feeling is that the student turnout so far has been the worst of both worlds: not enough to win, but just enough to freak out the townies. The natives are likely to be more solidly pro-21 than they were in 2007, and while they're voting against the students - and don't pretend there isn't a big element of Love The Hawkeyes Hate The Students in this fight - that's a boost for the Good Old Boy And Gals slate of Dickens, Mims, and Champion Jr.

Enough of this thoroughly depressing analysis. Here's a cheerier story.

Ed Reggi and the Marriage Bus visited the county admin building Thursday. Someone asked and no, this isn't like Bob Vander Plaats' marriage bus. It's pretty much the exact opposite. Reggi organizes bus trips from St. Louis to bring couples who can't get married in Missouri here to Iowa City where they can. They send their info ahead of time, pick up their licenses at Kim Painter's office, and go to the Unitarian church for the ceremonies. This was the 14th trip. Everyone was happy and excited but I think that was just because of the Cardinals in the World Series. Wish they could get married at home, but since they can't - YET - proud they choose Iowa City.

Republicans had their first Senate debate Wednesday and even Craig Robinson admits:
The biggest loser was Some Dude Paul Lunde. The Sixth Man spent most of his time pitching books and probably has gotten himself dis-invited to future forums.

Anesa Kajtazovic picks up her first labor endorsement from the United Food and Commercial Workers, while Swati Dandekar "forgot" to file personal finance disclosures.

And in an anti-climactic election, Democrat Brian Meyer easily held House 33 for the Democrats Tuesday.

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