Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Curious about the 2015 Election in Highland?

Your Vote CountsThere were no local burning issues and no mayoral contest but there was a county sales tax increase on the ballot. We had a 20.1% voter turnout this municipal election as opposed to 2013 when we had a 32.8% turnout. That means that each voter who turned out represented not only themselves but four other Highland voters. Historically, municipal elections with mayoral races draw a bigger turnout than city council only ones. Also,  there is a long term decline in voter turnout in Utah and across the nation. Below is a charts the shows the long term trend for congressional and presidential elections in Utah.

1962-2014 Utah Congressional Election Turnout 1960-2012 Utah Presidental Election Turnout

The decline could simply mean we have better (or worse) records now. It could also mean that since we now have stringent rules with respect to removing registered voters we have a larger number of “non-voting” registered voters. Utah county policy is that someone needs to not vote in at least 2 presidential elects before their name can be removed from the voter rolls unless the voter makes the request. I don’t know about you but notifying my prior state’s election official that I’ve moved was not high on my priority list the last time I moved.

Since the 60’s voting has been made easier with early voting, and permanent absentee voting so I don’t know that making it easier to vote is the answer.  If you have thoughts feel free to share. But I digress.

We had a good set of candidates who ran campaigns that highlighted their strengths and where they stood on issues. No candidate I was aware of ran a negative campaign that targeted other candidates. It is sad but true that negative campaigning can be effective. Thanks to all candidates for standing tall and running positive campaigns.

I’ve compiled a set of charts using the available election data from the 2015 Election. If you are curious as to the voter turnout by precinct, what percentage of voters used absentee ballots (vote by mail) … . You might enjoy looking at the charts below. If you want to look at the Google spreadsheet from which the charts were generated click here.

2015-11 Percentage of Voters Who Voted for Candidates 
I thought is was interesting that each candidate was supported by no less than 55% of the voters.
2015-11 Percentage of Possible Votes for Council
This pie chart shows % of votes received based on the votes that could have been cast. Each voter could have voted for up to 3 candidates. Some voted for only one or two.
2015-11 Percentage of Total Votes for Council
The race for the #2 and #3 spots in this election was very close. The difference between 3rd and 4th was 36 votes out of 4,752 votes cast for city council (. The margin between 2nd and 3rd was 52 votes.
2015-11 Proposition 1
Proposition 1 lost in Utah County 58% to 41%. In Highland the margin was much bigger 68% to 31%.
2015-11 What Method Residents Used to Vote
The council last year voted to allow residents to vote by-mail or in-person rather than vote-by-mail only. The chart above shows the split in voting methods.
2015-11 Percentage of Registered Voters Who Voted
The % of registered voters per precinct is based on the registered voter count on July 6th versus election day. The election day registered voter count was about 6% higher than on July 6th but I don’t have precinct information for the election day registered voters. The highest voting precinct (HI07) had a 64% higher voting rate than the lowest  (HI04). That is a significant gap. Absentee voting was similar between HI07 and HI04 but election day and early voting was significantly different. Anyone have any thoughts?
2015 Highland Precincts - Turnout


  1. Thank you, Rod, for this interesting analysis.

  2. Great report! By and large the precincts with the highest voting percentages were also the precincts with candidates on the ballot. It's hard to know if personal contact with the candidate drove the vote or the precincts with the most interest ran candidates. It also appears that the idea that vote by mail will increase voter participation is a myth. HI04 is split about 50:50 and had the lowest voter turn out. I watched about 30% of the vote counted and the 91 vote by mail ballots were split 46:45 on the Prop #1 issue and yet Prop #1 went down by a 2:1 margin. Was HI04's low turnout due to all four candidates were fiscal conservatives? Lots of questions. Devirl Barfuss

  3. Thanks for sharing Devirl. The stark difference on Prop 1 between mail-in ballots and in person voting makes me wonder about the claim moving to vote-by-mail will result in a more informed electorate. In the case of Prop 1 the proponent had lots of money to spend on advertising while the opponents little to none. The opponents did mount a grass roots campaign but that takes time. Good observation on which precincts got out and voted.

  4. Wonderful presentation as usual Rod. Thank you so much!

  5. Thanks Rod. I have been proven gleefully wrong when I said that Utah voters never met a tax hike that they wouldn't vote for. I guess I it's better living in Utah county. But still nearly 1 in 3 wanted the government to take more of their money. Crazy.


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