Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Still More Thoughts on Turnout

Bill Callahan has tracked down information showing conclusively that Cuyahoga County turnout was overstated.
recalculated the turnout percentage in light of the revelation just to make sure they didn’t change so radically as to undermine the basic point. In fact they drop the Dem turnout of the Kerry vote to 80.7 and Republican turnout of the Bush vote to 66%. Pretty much the same.

The primary lesson from Callahan’s discovery is that the Cuyahoga Co. Board of Elections remains a train wreck. After his comment about the difficulty judging turnout in urban counties, I’m not sure what to think about actually turning out that vote.

Similarly, I wonder about judging turnout in counties with large college populations. Athens Co. is a horrible 41.2%, but that’s mostly because the college-based party clubs register lots of students. Once the students move on an register elsewhere, the Athens board hears about the new registration rarely if it is in-state and pretty much never if it’s out of state.

Nonetheless, the Dems need to look at whether they can improve their turnout in urban centers. Bumping up the turnout in Columbus and Cincinnati may have made the difference in some of the legislative races there, and adding a bumped-up turnout in Cuyahoga may have put Barbara Sykes over the top despite her invisible campaign.

For that matter, if the Dems in the future recruit a diversity-for-the-sake-of-diversity candidate again, it would be nice if that candidate would take the lead in the turnout effort. Reading about Sykes’ campaign manager complaining that Dems didn’t turn out the vote for her made my blood boil. I talked to very politically active people in Toledo, Cleveland and Columbus who confirmed my impression that Sykes was pretty much nowhere to be seen.