Friday, July 15, 2011

Why I am Voting for 2 and not 5 in the At-large Race

In the upcoming election, I am only voting for Ken Jakes and Eric Crafton in the at-large race. While one may vote for five at-large candidates, one does not have to and if you vote for fewer candidates your vote carries more weight. By voting for one candidate instead of five you are denying four other candidates a vote. Here is the way at-large candidates are elected: Of all votes cast, if any candidate gets 10% of that total, that person is elected and does not have to face a run-off. After any candidate who gets 10% of the vote is taken out of consideration, then there will be a runoff between the top vote-getters, two candidates for each remaining seat.

We have 18 candidates running for at-large. Assume 25,000 people vote and each voter votes for five candidates, that is 125,000 votes cast. Assume one candidates gets 12,500 votes. That candidates is elected and does not have to have a run-off. That leaves four seats to be filled. The next eight candidates with the most votes will compete in a run off for the remaining four seats.

Now, assume 25,000 people vote and 20,000 of them vote for five candidates and 5000 people vote for only one candidate. That would be a total of 105,000 votes cast. To win without a run off would require 10,500 votes. Assume one candidate gets 10% of the votes cast, the next 8 candidates split 62% of the vote and the remaining 10 candidates only get only 28% of the votes cast. The candidate getting 10,500 votes wins and will not have to be in a runoff. The eight candidates split 65,300 votes and the bottom ten split 29,200. Assume the eight candidates who make the runoff get these votes totals: Candidate 1 gets 5,000 votes: Candidate 2 gets 6,000 votes: Candidate 3 gets 7,000 votes; Candidate 4 gets 8,000 votes; Candidate 5 gets 9,000 votes; candidate 6 gets 10,000 votes; candidate 7 gets 10,100; and candidate 8 gets 10,200. In this case a candidate who got 5,000 people to vote for him and him only makes it to the runoff. You may play with the numbers and make different assumptions but voting for fewer candidates makes your vote carry more weight.

While I am only voting for Crafton and Jakes, there are two other candidates I hope get elected. If you feel you must vote for more than two candidates, I recommend Tim Garrett and Charlie Tygard. Charlie Tygard is a conservative, is thoughtful and pragmatic and well qualified. He is a Republican.

Tim Garrett is a Democrat and has served in the State Legislature as a Democrat. Nevertheless, I like Tim Garrett. He is a conservative Democrat and is a common sense legislator. He is smart, does his homework and is conscientious. In addition, Tim Garrett is just a nice guy. Any time I have ever written Tim or called him he has called me back. Last year when we were fighting to get early voting restored, after the election commission had drastically reduced the number of voting places and days of early voting, Tim Garrett was one of the first to go to bat to get early voting restored.

While I like Charlie Tygard and Tim Garret, I am not going to vote for them in this first round. In 2007 Garrett was the only candidate to get elected in the first round and avoided a run-off, so I am sure he can get in the run-off without my help. I feel pretty certain that Charlie Tygard will also make the run-off without my vote, so I am going to vote for only Jakes and Crafton and hope they make the run-off.

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