By A.C. Hall
It was easy to reason that tying in the local city election with the presidential election was bound to increase the number of ballots cast. What was less easy to figure out was just how big of a jump the numbers would take. One week into early voting, it’s now clear that White Settlement is setting a historic pace that will likely lead to the biggest election in the City’s history.
Through eight days of early voting, 1,609 local ballots have been cast with an average of 201 ballots per day. If that average holds through the rest of the early voting period, the City will end up seeing around 804 more early votes cast for a grand total of 2,413.
That number would already account for the second largest election in the history of White Settlement, behind only the controversial name change charter amendment vote from 2005. 2,656 votes were cast in that decisive election.
In most recent years, more votes get cast early than on election day, with the election day votes totaling somewhere around seventy percent of the early voting totals. If that trend holds, then it can be expected that another 1,689 votes will come through on election day for a history setting total of 4,102 votes cast in this election.
This won’t just be the first time a city election has passed into the 4,000 vote mark, it’ll be the first time a city election even passed into the 3,000 vote mark.
The only comparable numbers throughout White Settlement’s history are the above mentioned 2005 name change election (2,656) and the 1986 wet/dry election (2,121 votes). Looking back through voting records all the way to 1941, those are the only two years that vote totals broke the 2,000 mark.
If this election does end up in the 4,000 vote total range, it’ll mean that around fifty percent of registered voters in the city took part in not only naming the next president, but also in naming two of the next City Council members and deciding upon the fate of five proposed charter amendments.
Instead of the usual ten or fifteen percent of registered voters who take part in shaping the future of their city, this year it will be around fifty percent. Obviously it’s mostly the presidential election that has caused such a historic boom in local voting, but don’t discount the monumental impact that this will have on the city itself.
Look for next week’s Grizzly Detail where you’ll see how close our voter turnout projections are, and how a historic number of you have chosen to help shape White Settlement for the next three years.