Thursday, January 10, 2013

Cheshire election history (1979 - 2011): District 1

As I mentioned in my last post, over the past couple months I've spent some time in the Cheshire Town Clerk's office aggregating election data. Now I offer the trend in election results by Council district, starting with the 1st district.

When you look at the graph, you may wonder why there are three trend lines. You'll probably recognize the blue Democratic line and the red GOP line, but the green line may be less apparent.

The green line represents "blank" votes. In other words, some people may have come out to vote, but not have cast a ballot in the 1st district election. I know people who have done this because they vote for a friend, but not anyone else.

My view is that these blank votes are relevant, particularly when an elected candidate wins with a plurality of the potential votes,* but not a majority of the potential votes. In the 1st district, pluralities won elections in 1987, 1989 and 1999.  One election in which this situation arose was in 1989 when David Schrumm (R) defeated Chris Robertson (D) by about 115 votes. Yet there were about 240 people who voted and cast no ballot in the 1st district race. Though the most pronounced election may be the 1999 race won by Sheldon Dill (R) by only 29 votes with 175 blank votes.**

As for the election results, you can see them here:

In retrospect I realize I could've formatted these results in a more user-friendly way. But that was after I had printed, scanned and uploaded the images... each somewhat time-consuming. Nonetheless, I'll put up a link to the raw data, including precinct vote totals, in the next few days. So if you want to get into the details a bit more you'll soon have that option.

Tim White

* Potential votes based on the actual number of people who vote.

** I'm unaware that this election's results were officially contested. But in the past I have heard rumblings that the vote count was done incorrectly with the vote totals -- of one of the old voting machines -- being transposed.

UPDATE: I reformatted the election results so that it's more user-friendly.

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