Friday, November 09, 2007

Why you need bloggers

If you've been relying on the newspapers to cover the election results, you're probably a bit confused or blissfully misinformed:

1) ThisWeek reported that turnout was about 3,300 out of 10,000 registered voters, and they restated later that turnout was 33%. This is simply flat out wrong. They reported the correct percentage for Brennan, 24.86%, so they obviously had access to the right numbers, so there really is no good excuse for that. I can't be too hard on them, though, as even though turnout was better than 40%, it appears that I double-counted the absentees (the original count didn't include them, then the absentee report went up, and I added that number to the unofficial count, as (oops) did the BOE). So go to the Board of Elections results page, and do the math yourself. You'll find 4239 votes.

2) The Dispatch reports that there are several local races that could be subject to mandatory recounts, but they do not mention the School Board race here in Bexley. The election night margin of 13 votes between Joan Fishel and Michele Kusma is well within the 1/2% of the total votes cast. That margin does not include provisional ballots and there are potential overseas absentee ballots that could be added to the total. There are therefore three possibilities: 1) Joan Fishel could pick up enough extra votes (about 10 more than MK) in the official count to bump the margin to more than 1/2%*, and a recount would only happen if Kusma requested it. 2) The margin could stay roughly the same, and an automatic recount would be triggered to confirm a Fishel victory, or 3) Kusma could pick up 13 more votes than Fishel, and an automatic recount would be triggered to confirm a Kusma victory. I'll let folks know what I hear about updated vote totals.

3) The Dispatch speculates that provisional and absentee ballots could cause the mayoral margin to move into automatic recount territory. That's some ridiculously unrealistic speculation. You'd be looking at Lampke picking up approximately 30 more votes than Brennan. I highly doubt that there are even as many as 50 outstanding votes. Brennan and Lampke took fewer than half of the votes overall in the unofficial results, so giving them 80% of the outstanding votes is another stretch. Then, Lampke would have to defeat Brennan 35 to 5 among those 40 votes. Mr. Lampke is not talking like he expects a recount, and nobody else should be holding their breath, either.

*Thanks to those who pointed out the correct margin - I had said elsewhere that off the top of my head I thought it was 1/4%, which was incorrect recall on my part.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Bexley Turnout

4567 Unofficially, 4239 votes were cast for mayor of Bexley, including 4239 3911 at polling places and 328 cast absentee. [Note on changes: I had updated the vote total with the absentee votes at a point at which the BOE had already gone back and updated the totals, resulting in me double-reporting absentees) A year ago in 2006, 4806 votes were cast at polling places in Bexley, and it is likely (based on the counts from the 20th house district), that approximately 1000-2000 more Bexleyites cast votes absentee for a total of 5800-6800.

I know people thought turnout was light today, and given the races we had, higher turnout wouldn't have been a shock. On the other hand, pulling 7060-75% of the most recent Statewide and Congressional in an odd-numbered year is actually not bad. 4567 is 46% 4239 is 42% of the number of 2006 registered voters.

And speaking of numbers of people... BB had 379 visitors/837 pageviews today, the busiest day in Blue Bexley's history... including Election Day 2006.

Blogging will be sporadic (again) this week, as I will be at the annual meeting of the National Council on Family Relations (which really sounds like a right wing 527/think tank/ministry, but I assure you is actually an academic/professional society).

Good Night.

The Curse of Blue Bexley

So I started this blog in 2006, a year in which Democrats made huge gains in Ohio and nationwide. They did not, however, win in the 12th U.S. Congressional District, the 3rd State Senate District, or the 20th Ohio House District. When the Ohio blogging community was ecstatic, I was moping.

So, it's not so bad this time, in part because I wasn't actually advocating for anyone in the Bexley municipal and school board races. But I can't help but notice that there are seven candidates with links over on the right, and the one mayoral candidate who didn't have his name permanently on the front page was... John Brennan.

The whole thing may seem to break down with the City Council race as Ben Kessler, the only council candidate to sit down for one of my October interviews, ran much stronger than many expected. But not really. Someone, unfortunately, had to be the odd man out in that race, and there was widespread surprise that it was Hanz. Hanz was the very first Bexley officeholder I met in person. Sorry, Hanz.

And finally, in the Bexley Board of Education race, we had some very good candidates. The one who sat down to talk with me missed by a small enough margin that it will probably trigger an automatic recount.

So, when I said "congratulations and otherwise" in the last post, that was "congratulations... and my apologies."

Congratulations and otherwise

John Brennan is the mayor-elect of Bexley.
Masser, McClelland, Morison, and Kessler have been elected to city council, Hanz Wasserburger has not.
Craig Halliday and Joan Fishel have been elected to the Bexley Board of Education. Unofficially, Joan defeated Michele Kusma by 13 votes, 2092 to 2079.

Congratulations to the winners, they're all perfectly competent and will do a fine job for Bexley. Best of luck to those who didn't win this time around, I have to say I'm still surprised at some of the results.

Monday, November 05, 2007

The last campaign interview

I sat down with Gene Weiss on Saturday morning. I was glad we got the chance, as the single least fair thing I had written in this campaign was about Mr. Weiss, and I was hoping to get the chance to write something else before it was all done. What I had written was that something about him had rubbed me the wrong way at the Chamber of Commerce's forum at the library, and then I just left it at that. The first thing he asked me Saturday was if I had figured out what it was. I haven't, and I've given up trying to figure it out. Every time I think 'maybe it was...' I run the danger of basically making something up and believing it for lack of a better alternative. Anyway, whatever it was, I didn't really pick up on it again this time.

We talked about this campaign and election, and how it really seems up for grabs. In any election, you have two sources of votes: people who will vote for you, if they in fact actually vote, and people who might vote for someone else, but might be convinced to vote for you (if they do, in fact, end up voting). So I asked Mr. Weiss: what is your base? How would you characterize the group of people who will vote for you if you can get them to the polls? He told me that he's been a Bexley resident for decades, and that most of the people he knows are the families of his children's schoolmates. Additionally, he cultivated many relationships during his tenure on the school board.

So then, what about the undecideds? What do you tell the people who answer the door on Sunday or are surfing the net for candidate info on Monday night? Mr. Weiss replied that you'll want to vote for him if you want Bexley's mayor to have a plan. At this point he gave as an example the Police Station and the cascade of municipal building conundrums this has engendered. In addition to explaining how having a long-range master plan means at minimum that you won't move forward with decisions about one building until you know how it will affect your other physical assets, he offered up his preference for a Police Station on Delmar and a Service Facility placed outside of the city limits. Without speaking to the merits of this plan otherwise, I immediately noted the way in which he explained in passing that the Delmar site creates a northside gateway, and that the proposed south-western Bexley site for the Service Facility would negatively impact the quality of life for residents there. It's pretty rare for a candidate to address the needs of residents in all of Bexley's regions without calling attention to the fact that they are talking about all of Bexley's regions. I liked that.

Not to short-shrift the rest of Mr. Weiss's platform and ideas, but much of the rest of our conversation dealt with the same sorts of things that always come up - cutting expenditures, developing Main Street, etc. We did talk a bit about making the city more friendly and receptive, both in terms of regulation and code enforcement. I thought about bringing up the FOP thing, but decided against it. I started some speculative conversation about how to work with Columbus to make the Eastside more of a priority (Mr. Weiss was cautious and skeptical, but listened politely). I sat and listened while folks came in and out and said hi, and I eventually had to take off.

This brings to a close my pre-election campaign coverage. For those who haven't been reading, I explain my methodology in this response to someone less than thrilled with my sunshiny approach (possibly given my less friendly approach to the state and federal legislators).

If you haven't already voted, please make sure that you take the time to exercise that right and privilege.

To all of the candidates, especially those who have taken the time and made the effort to talk to me as both a citizen of Bexley and a guy with a website, best of luck to you.

I'll be working my 9-5 tomorrow, but I will be blogging the election returns tomorrow night, live if I can swing it.

Election Eve

I've got one more interview to post on, as I sat down Saturday Morning with Gene Weiss to discuss his candidacy for mayor of Bexley. Before I do that post, let me take care of some business:

#1) The Franklin County Board of Elections has an excellent set of resources to answer your voting questions, including a form that will tell you exactly where you are supposed to vote, what ID you need, the hours the polls are open, and even a replica ballot, so you can do last minute research on the judges or read the text of the charter amendments before you step into the booth (this is actually the ballot from my precinct - other precincts have the same candidates and issues, but with different names at the top of the lists).

#2) I ran out of time at the end of the campaign to get to everyone who had wanted to talk, as I had to go up to Michigan and chaperone an overnight birthday party with a handful of sugar-buzzed pre-teen boys. I'd like to apologize to Joan Fishel, Travis Irvine, and Robyn Jones, all of whom made unsuccessful attempts to sit down with me. Hopefully we'll still get a chance to converse regardless of what happens tomorrow night.

#3) If you're not from Bexley, you still might very well have an important election tomorrow. I've had a chance to sit down and talk with all of the incumbent Columbus City Council Candidates with the exception of Priscilla Tyson, and my view from the sidelines is that they're all doing an exceptional job. If you live in Franklin County, you've got a chance to vote out Municipal Court Judge Amy Salerno and replace her with Joseph L. Mas. You may remember her as the judge who excoriated the Buckeye QB who was pleading not guilty in a solicitation case.

#4) If you're looking for endorsements from me in the Bexley races, you won't find them, I'm not doing them. I've decided, finally, who I'm voting for in each of the races tomorrow. Having said that, the odds are that the winner of the mayoral election won't be the candidate that I voted for, but I'm pretty confident I'll be comfortable with the winner, regardless.