Wednesday, November 25, 2009

District 4 results

To me, the big story of this District 4 race was that - as Clive and many others predicted - the "infrequent voters" Grace Ross was trying to engage did not turn out.

The unofficial results of this race were

Haller 62%,
Ross 38%.

The vote totals were almost exactly the same as for the Haller-Simonds race two years ago. Perhaps mostly the same people, voting the same way.

But the real winner was "Not Voting".

As percents of District 4's 14,985 registered voters, the results were

Haller 8.7%
Ross 5.3%
Not Voting 87.0%

I did a little playing with numbers from Wikipedia, and came up with an estimate that District 4 has about 24,500 adults age 18 and over. As a percent of that, the results were

Haller 5.3%
Ross 3.8%
Not Voting 91.4%

Many say that those 87% (or 91%) who didn't vote just don't care, but I've been in enough peoples homes, listening to them talk about their issues, their concerns and their feelings, to know this isn't true.

The problem is that most working people don't believe their vote will matter, that it will make their lives better, or that anyone they send off to represent them will remain on their side. And they are afraid of stirring up a struggle that they aren't ready for.

We're not going to just talk them out of those beliefs. We will have to be there talking and working with them, organizing and leading them and teaching them how to struggle and win *between* elections.

One ray of hope came from an election worker I sat next to at a polling station. At 4 pm he pointed out that there were entire streets where no one had voted, but then there were a few - no different from the others to look at - that always had a good turnout.

He used to live on one of those streets, and he had organized his neighbors to get out and vote, and to get each other out to vote.

Eleven years after he moved away they were still doing it!
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