Friday, March 20, 2015

A League Of Their Own

Amherst League of Women Voters Candidates Night

If last night's turnout for the annual League of Women Voters Candidates Night is any indication the voter turnout for Amherst's 256th annual spring election March 31st will be pretty darn good.

But by usual standards -- 13.6% last year and a pathetic 6.6% in 2012 -- it really doesn't take much to deem a local election turnout as "good." In fact my threshold for a "good turnout" is a pretty modest 15%. Even the recent UMass Student Government Election managed to muster that.

 Standing room only crowd last night almost none "college aged"

Although to be fair (and balanced), I suppose UMass SGA was a "presidential" election, and when it comes to the once-every-four-years presidential election Amherst falls all over itself to vote:  turning out 69% in 2012 and a whopping 89% in 1992 when Slick Willy was at his peak.

With no controversial ballot questions (aka Charter vote to dump Town Meeting or Proposition 2.5 Override) and no contests for Select Board -- the top executive position in town -- the turnout will be low. Very low. As in maybe not ever double-digit.

While the School Committee technically does not have a race according to the official ballot, the write in candidate, Victor Nunez-Ortiz, certainly has a chance to ride a wave of discontent over racial issues which have roiled school operations over the past few years.

The League of Women Voters Candidates night still has that old fashioned meet and greet, press the flesh campaign feel to it.  Something that's starting to get lost in the digital age of Facebook, Twitter, blogs and of course in the national Big Leagues of campaigns, radio and television ads.

Perhaps the clearest loser last night was Emilie Hamilton, who failed to show up to state her case for being elected to the Amherst Housing Authority, thus leaving candidate Tracylee Boutilier even more time to speak directly to the voters.

And if I had to guess, of the 75 people in the room last night almost 100% of them will show up at the polls March 31st.


Anonymous said...

Larry ~ I chose not to attend the program for a very particular reason that may or may not become known over the remainder of this 'election' ~ it really does not matter to me at this point.

Larry Kelley said...

Well if it's a "very particular reason" then why not share it?

Anonymous said...

I prefer stories about the League of Men Voters. We never hear about them...

Anonymous said...

The League of Women Voters lost ists's relevance when women started running for public office themselves.

And to call the Amherst organization objective is a farce. Far left all the way

Anonymous said...

I always feel as though the reported voter turnout numbers are lower than they actually are. There are so many college students & grad students in town coming and going (as well as other residents who don't stay long-term). I believe that when they depart Amherst many stay on the voter rolls for a number of years as "inactive voters" before they are finally removed from the list of Amherst voters. Only if those who are departing register to vote somewhere else in MA are they removed from the voter rolls more quickly. When I bought my current house the former owners were still listed on the voter rolls at my address for a number of years. I believe that all those inactive voters are still counted in the denominator for voter turnout percentages.

Larry Kelley said...

Well, the November Presidential elections still turns out four or five times that of the typical local election.