Monday, May 16, 2011

Mayoral turnout: Heavy so far, but...

Posted By on Mon, May 16, 2011 at 12:50 PM

The City Clerk’s office reported this morning that 77,536 mayoral runoff ballots had been received as of the close of business on Friday.

That represents a turnout so far of 51.93 percent.

In the April 5 election, 90,558 ballots, or 59.81 percent, were returned, but only 88,960 voters indicated a choice in the mayoral election.

Do these figures suggest another avalanche of last-minute votes, with turnout soaring to more than 100,000 in the end, or will the final numbers show little change from April?

Here are the arguments, pro and con.

Mo’ voters!

With more than $1 million spent by the two campaigns, this has been the most expensive, and the highest-profile, municipal election in the city’s history. Two very different candidates have duked it out in public forums for weeks, firing up their bases and engaging undecided voters. They offer very different visions of what the city ought to become, and how it can thrive.

Given that nearly 3,000 Colorado Springs residents have contributed money, volunteer time, or both to the two combatants, it’s hard to imagine that any registered voters would be indifferent to the outcome — so Kathryn Young and her employees had better prepare for an all-nighter!

So what? (yawn)

Do you really think that all of the Bahr, Gallagher, Munger, and Gilmore voters are going to obediently vote for someone they passed over the first time? Some of them will, and some won’t bother. And as for the flood of ballots from folks who didn’t bother the first time ... don’t be delusional!

The difference between voters and non-voters in April elections is simple: voters vote. Besides, there’s not that much difference between the candidates. They’re both boring old guys who want an easy, well-paid job without anyone to report to. Under this scenario, Kathryn’s team will have a quiet Tuesday, and turnout will stall at 84,000 or so.

Nice theories, aren’t they? And by tomorrow evening we’ll know which one is accurate.

But remember, the new mayor, whoever he may be, won’t have much time to savor his victory. The Denver Post reminded us this morning that a millennial sect expects the world to end on May 21 … so the election may not matter.



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