Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Lincoln City Council Election Results

The Lincoln City Council election was held "today." (It's after midnight here.) The Lincoln Journal Star has the full story. The winners are: incumbent Ken Svoboda (R); Robin Eschliman (R) and Dan Marvin (D). Thus the previous 4-3 edge to the Democrats is maintained. However, incumbent Democrat, Terry Werner, finished 5th in the field of 6.

These results were surprising, as we did not expect Werner to lose in the absence of a Republican sweep. Despite the hard-fought campaign, there could actually be less partisan infighting on the council without Werner's polarizing influence. The turnout was heavier than in the primary, which is not saying much, but still only 29.3% of registered voters. [Beat that, Omaha. :-D ]

Voters also approved a $10 millon bond issue for storm drains and sewers. There have been considerable flooding problems during heavy rains, particularly in the south part of town, so this is welcome for people in those areas. Interestingly, it also shows that voters are willing to be taxed for something they see as necessary, just not for the Mayor's "bold ideas."

As previously noted, voters could cast up to 3 votes in a field of 2 Democrats and 4 Republicans. This meant that Republican votes would be split, and the Democratic Party encouraged its voters to withhold the 3rd vote to avoid aiding any of the Republicans. This apparently had an effect, as 113,098 votes were cast by 42,242 voters for an average of 2.68 per voter. There would have been an additional 13,628 votes, if everyone had voted for the allowed three. Of course, some of these "missing" votes may have been withheld for other reasons, including failure to realize that three votes were allowed. However, it's reasonable to assume that most of the "undervotes," perhaps 10,000, were from Democrats reluctant to vote for any of the Republicans.

From the number of voters and the votes cast for each candidate we can calculate the % of voters who voted for each candidate. These results are shown below.

Votes% of Ballots
Ken Svoboda * (R)
Robin Eschliman (R)
Dan Marvin (D)
Mark Koller (R)
Terry Werner * (D)
Shawn Traudt (R)

Clearly the splitting of Republican votes, combined with the withholding of the third vote by Democrats helped Marvin and Werner relative to Koller and Traudt.

In the primary Werner got 10,554 votes from about 29,500 voters, so he was on about 41% of the ballots in a field of 20. He finished 2nd behind Svoboda then, but was chosen on only 39% of the ballots this time in the smaller field.

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