hold your council

      5 Comments on hold your council

Well, and the municipal election went more or less as I expected it to. As Gentle Readers will recall from an earlier rant, we have a bizarre system where voters choose six out of twelve candidates, and the top nine sit on the council. It turns out my town has something like 40,000 potential voters, of whom 40% are Democrats, 37.5% are unaffiliated, and the rest are Republicans. So you can see how this is going to go.

I don’t have, unfortunately, the final official tallies. It looks like around 12,750 people voted; the following approximate numbers are based on an estimate of 13,000 total votes, just to make my typing easier. The top vote-getter was a Democrat; 70% of the voters cast votes for him. The next was a Democrat with 65% of the vote, then another Democrat with just under 65% of the vote, then a Democrat with 64.3% of the vote, then a Democrat with 64.2% of the vote, then a Democrat with 62% of the vote. Those were the six Democrats, and they are all on the Council.

Then we go to the Republicans. 34.5% of the voters cast ballots for the top Republican, followed by another Republican with 34% and a Republican with 33.8%. Those all sit on the Council, too. Then there’s a drop down to a Republican with 32% of the vote, one with 31.5% of the vote, and one with 31% of the vote. They are out. The difference between the third and fourth Republican (the ninth and tenth candidate, the difference between on and off the council) was 232 votes, or about 1.8% of the vote. This makes me a bit cross, because that third Republican is the one I knew was crazy, who is quoted in this morning’s Hartford Courant as saying “We’re going to root out the Democrats.”

Now, I’m a trifle cranky about the outcome of the election, because I think that twelve-choose-six-get-nine is a bizarre way to choose a Council, and because I don’t want to be rooted out. On the other hand, since broadly speaking two-thirds of the voters preferred Democrats and one-third preferred Republicans, and the Town Council will be two-thirds Democrats and one-third Republicans, it seems almost representative. And voting was clearly far more along Party lines than I had anticipated, which I think is largely a Good Thing, so I shouldn’t be cranky about that. One crazy on a nine-person Council might not be such a bad thing, either, although, you know, yes, it probably is a bad thing.

Well, I’ll see how it works out. This may be a quietish term, actually, since we’ve just finished both an enormous downtown development project and a massive property tax reappraisal, so this should be a term of settling down and doing the little things, like keeping bears out of our schoolyards.

And in a couple of years, they’ll have another election.

Tolerabimus quod tolerare debemus,

5 thoughts on “hold your council

  1. Chris

    It didn’t work out quite so well here in Virginia. We needed to pick up 4 Senate seats to end Republican rule here, but only got 2. I find it hard to believe that former 1-term Roanoke mayor Ralph Smith won after a particularly uninspiring, yet nasty, campaign. He’s got a record that people could look at and say, “… ewww!”

  2. fran

    As a WH voter, I actually went to the WH blog to vent this morning; I got as far as typing my comment before going away without hitting send.

    I don’t really get this policy of placing the three top vote getters from the minority party on to the council. I don’t actually think it fosters dialogue but rather that it bolsters contention. Especially when you get someone who considers it his mission to be a roadblock to anything the Dems propose. Mr. Visconti (I’ll say his name; he probably googles for comments and he’s welcome to my angry opinion) clearly is interested in his own little world to the exclusion and frustration of anyone else who has to live around him. He does not seem to play nicely with others. How does this further our town policies if you begin from this exclusionary, hostile, obstructionist attitude?

  3. Michael

    At least the bizarre West Hartford system resulted in some new people. We had 7 out of 7 incumbent city council members reelected, and 6 out of 6 incumbent school committee members reelected. I’m baffled, since there aren’t many people saying they’re happy with the current leadership.

    The only good thing I see about our current election system here is that there are no party affiliations listed. Though perhaps our rabid Republican would get voted out if there were.

  4. Vardibidian

    Chris, it looks like you are in for some happy news. And it looks like the Dems will be in charge for the 2010 Census redistricting, too…

    Fran, just for curiosity, if the process had been like the Israeli one, where the candidates put up slates, and the voters voted only for the party, and the proportional allotment was 6 Dems and 3 Reps, would you feel better? That is, I’m wondering if it’s the crazy mechanism that’s bugging you, or the result. Of course, if the Parties put up slates, there’s no way that Mr. Visconti would be third on their list, or even sixth. The crazy mechanism, which I hate, is to blame for that.

    Michael, I think that all the incumbents who ran were re-elected. The strange part is that one of the incumbents had run as a Republican in the last election, then switched parties partway through his term, meaning that there were seven Democrats and not six. He did very well this time as a Democrat, which I thought was interesting, too.


  5. Chris

    Why, yes it is happy news after all! I think the Old Dominion’s Old Democratic Party machine is being replaced by a younger, friskier model.


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