2011 Greene County Election Report Update–Issue 16 & Voter Turnout

Since posting my election report, additional results have been made available by Greene County Board of Elections. The following includes both the results on Issue 16 and on voter turnout.

Issue 16 was the proposition that would allow Greene County officials negotiate pricing with the electricity providers. It would have likely lowered the overall cost of electricity for residents and businesses while increasing County revenues a little. What might have been will never be known because it was defeated.

The number of voters who opposed the proposal was 6,875 while 5,646 voters who liked the idea. Likers were defeated by dislikers by a mere 10% margin.
You can bet your next electricity bill on 100% of the likers disliking the naysayers when their electricity bills increase by at least another 10 percent. Yet, less than 50% of registered voters didn’t even show up to vote. They will get what they deserve either way.

Countywide voter turnout was a pitiful 45 percent. Greene County residents should be disappointed that only a majority of their fellow citizens failed to live up to their end of the social contract. Enjoying our political rights also requires us to fulfill the obligations that are necessary to maintain those rights–voting is but one of part. Yet, low voter turnout is also typical of off-year or non-presidential elections.

In a number of cities, villages and townships, a majority of citizens did vote. Among them were Beavercreek (51%), New Jasper Twp. (51%), Yellow Springs (52%), Spring Valley (52%), Silvercreek Twp. (53%), Ceaserscreek Twp. (54%), Miami Twp. (55%), Beavercreek Twp. (57%), Spring Valley Twp. (57%), Ross Twp. (57%), and Cedarville Twp. (59%). I wonder how many of Cedarville Twp. voters were actually family and friends of the DeWine clan?
Bellbrook straddled the fence with a 50% voter turnout. Voter turnout in all other cities, villages and townships declined to a dismal 29 percent. Among the minority were Sugarcreek Twp. (49%), Jefferson Twp. (48%), Jamestown (45%), Xenia (41%), Bowersville (39%), Xenia Twp. (36%), Bath Twp. (35%), Fairborn (34%), and lastly Cedarville Village (29%).

What could explain the above outcomes? In most places, voters had the opportunity to elect public officials. Where no viable candidate is competing with incumbent office holder, the incentive to vote is minimal. Unless most residents of Ross Twp. are relative or personal friends of the two candidates vying for two different offices, this explanation is not adequate.

A better reason for high voter turnout may be money. Most local governments in Greene County had some sort of levy on the ballot. However, Xenia and other localities had highly publicized levy issues that failed to motivate most registered voters to vote.

In Beavercreek and Cedarville Township, two legislators with local, state and national distinction reside. Except for a few places, most localities showing high voter turnout are near larger suburbs like Beavercreek, Centerville, and Kettering. It is also possible that socio-economic factors are determinates of high levels of voter turnout. In other words, a higher socio-economic status tends to result in higher motivation to participate in public decision-making–voting.

In Xenia, the greatest turnout was from precincts 317, 320 and 321 and precincts with the lowest turnout were 302, 313 and 316.1 These precincts not only reflect high and low economic status but also populations more and less likely to work within Xenia’s public institutions.

1. The curious will find precinct maps at http://www.co.greene.oh.us/precinct/precinct.htm.

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