Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Election Day Pre-Cap

So it's Election Day. Routine stuff that I take for granted but get asked:
  • Polls open 7 AM except Oxford and Shueyville at noon. All polls close 8 PM.
  • Only voters who live in cities can vote. There's no county issue. Yes, the supervisors are TALKING about the justice center, but there's no plan, no election date, and frankly no consensus.
  • Only voters who live in IOWA City vote on the bar thing.
  • Early voting ended at 5:30 yesterday. Go to your REGULAR polling places. (School elections confuse everyone for all elections). Exceptions: Lone Tree, Hills and Iowa City 16 have temporary sites. Not a secret:Those temporary sites might get made permanent in the spring. Also North Liberty for this one election has a vote center at South Slope. That's not permanent, it's kind of a test. Here's the whole list.
Now, a look at the early voting numbers.

Iowa City had 5356 absentees - a lot by normal standards but well below the 7255 from 21 Bar Round 1 in 2007. That year set a city turnout record of over 15,000; it's already clear we won't see that tomorrow.

Much of that dropoff was among young voters. In `07 there were 5235 early voters 18 to 24. This year that's down to 2376, less than half. And only 1895 of those are under 21. Opinions shift fast as soon as voters turn 21, and indications are the under-21 vote isn't as solidly pro-19 as it used to be. The townies, for their part, voted about 60-40 pro-21 in 2007 and are probably even more opposed to 19 now.

Is that outcome pre-determined? Watch the turnout from student precincts - 3, 5, 11, 19, 20 - but by mid-day we'll know.

How does that ripple into the overshadowed council races? The student ballots are probably blank in the council races. The old guard "Love The Hawkeyes Hate The Students" types will likely vote for the incumbent/pseudo incumbent slate of Dickens, Mims, and Champion Jr. The public health do-gooder faction thinks 21 is In The Student's Best Interest; they may be reachable for the challengers Kingsley Botchway, Rockne Cole and Royceann Porter. The three are as united a "progressive" slate as we've seen since the mid-90s.

Coralville saw 709 early voters in an election so big that, as you may know by now, even the New York Times took interest. Coralville's turnout record is 2097 from 2003, when the Iowa River Landing, then in the embryonic stages, was also an issue. Between controversy and a decade of growth, look for that record to fall. 

Despite the big conservative investment in the election, the early voting turnout is showing the usual 2 to 1 Democratic breakout that one would expect in Johnson County, and Coralville, based on registration. Partisan lines aren't a perfect measure, of course, but if the plan was working we'd be seeing an obvious Republican turnout spike like we saw in the March supervisor election. Instead, it looks more like the "outside influence" backfired.

If the incumbents - Tom Gill and Bill Hoeft for council and John Lundell looking to move up to mayor - all do well, the question is who gets the third council seat. The third votes are likely to split between Jean Schnake, Laurie Goodrich and John Weber. That could let one member of the three council candidate Americans for Prosperity slate - Mark Winckler, David Petsel or Chris Turner - win, but the vote totals for those three will likely be lock-step close.

If you're wondering: ties are broken by drawing a name out of a hat. No, it's not the beret. I'll suggest Travis Weipert's Uncle Sam hat. Speaking of ties:

The split in University Heights is remarkable not just for how deep it is, but how EVEN it is. Amazingly, a 2011 election with two clear slates produces a split decision and a one-vote margin for the fifth and last seat. This year's 250 early votes are down slightly from the 298 from 2011. We're still looking at governor-level turnout and a close margin as we go into the fourth straight election with the split over what to do with the St. Andrew church lot. Punch line: the church is the polling place.

At the state level: Iowa Republican chair A.J. Spiker again dubbed local election day "Tax Hike Tuesday" and urged votes against local money measures (of which our county has none). 
On many of the ballots voters are being asked to vote on bond issues that will raise local taxes.

You see, local governments often use these bond issues as a way to raise taxes without raising a stink.

Off year elections have notoriously low turnouts and it's much easier to sneak in tax increases.

That's why it's so important to be aware of these sneaky tax increases and protect your family budget.

And even if you don't live in a town that's holding city-wide elections, remember that county-wide bond issues affect all voters.

Support the candidates in your local election that support limiting the size and scope of government.
Looks like a shot at the Polk County courthouse issue on today's ballot. Spiker took a similar shot at school funding renewals in September only that time it was "Tax CUT Tuesday." The big issues in that election, funding measures for Des Moines Area Community College, passed.

You know the drill: I'm at work so analysis and numbers will be very late.

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