By Andrew Kramek, March 28, 2020
I have seen some fairly negative comments about the levels of participation in the recent Board election, so I thought I would take a quick look at just how the 2020 election stacked up against that of 2019. The results are actually quite interesting (at least, I found them so). So let’s start with the number of ballots…
In 2019 a total of 23,248 ballots were sent out, 9,301 to residents and 13,947 to non-residents.
In 2020 only 23,074 ballots were sent out, that is 174 less than last year (could this reduction represent lots in default and now owned by the POA?). Residents accounted for 9,369 of these – an increase of 68 over last year, while non-residents, with 13,705, were 242 fewer.
Of this year’s 9,369 Resident ballots, 6,506 were returned which is 69.44%. Last year Residents returns were 5,909 out of 9,301, or 63.53%. So participation by residents definitely increased this year.
Of this year’s 13,705 non-resident ballots, 2,686 were returned which is 19.60%. However, last year non-residents returned only 2,320 of the 13,947 ballots, or just 16.70%. So, although we may think that a non-resident participation rate of just under 20% is poor, it is also significantly up over last year.
So, to summarize, out of a total of 23,074 ballots sent out, 9,192 (39.84%) were returned. This compares to 8,238 out of 23,248 (35.44%) in 2019. So we can definitely say that participation this year was greater than last – the numbers show a 12.5% increase overall. This does seem to indicate, particularly among residents, a greater degree of involvement in this year’s election.
There is an interesting aside to all of this. In the 2020 Board Election Results, the following statement appeared:
“According to an unnamed source, information from the United States Post Office verified that the total number of envelopes returned was 8,472. Three hundred and thirty were returned undelivered to the Property Owners’ Association”.
By my reckoning that accounts for 8,802 ballot envelopes (8472 + 330 = 8802) but according to the published results 9,192 ballots were returned, so where did the other 390 come from? Probably from people who own multiple lots and received multiple ballots, but returned them all in a single envelope.
In terms of the votes cast for individual candidates it is not really possible to make any meaningful comparison to last year’s election because there were 10 candidates for three seats then, and 5 candidates for four seats this year. Having said that, the total of votes cast was 30,952, with resident votes totaling 21,750 and non-residents casting 9,202. What is, perhaps, interesting about these numbers is that in both cases the average votes cast per ballot was less than four! For residents the average is 3.34 (21,750 votes from 6,506 returned ballots) while for non-residents it was 3.43 (9,202 votes from 2,686 ballots). Clearly a significant number of people chose not to cast the full four votes to which they were entitled!
It is also interesting, in terms of the campaigns if nothing else, to note that the top three candidates (Omohundro, Sherman and Garrison) each had strong support from both residents (about 26% each) and non residents (about 24% each), and also that all three fared slightly better with residents.
Conversely the other candidates both fared better with non-residents than with residents. In the case of Denger the difference was small (15% vs 13%) but for Choyce it was much greater (13% vs 7%).
So what conclusions can we draw?
First, it appears that both residents and non-residents were more engaged this year than last.
Second that there was a significant difference in the source of support for candidates with both residents and non-resident favoring Omohundro, Sherman and Garrison, while Denger and Choyce generally fared better among non-residents.
Third that the top three candidates accounted for 80% of resident and 72% of non-resident votes.
Fourth that, if the votes cast for the fourth and fifth places were added together, the result would still have been 1,028 votes fewer than those received by the third placed candidate.
By Andrew Kramek March 28, 2020
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