looking ahead to 2009

DebSF -- November 18th, 2008

Yesterday’s 11/17 RTD article  Turnout sets record, just barely notes that 74 percent of Virginia’s voters cast ballots, up from 71 percent four years ago. Of course, many more people were registered to vote this year than four years ago — 3.72 million cast ballots, about 500,000 more than in 2004.

In Harrisonburg, 2004 turnout (as a percentage of registered voters) was 64.5%, well under the state average of 71%. This year, turnout in the city was 72.8%, a big increase from four years ago, and a significant narrowing of the gap between city and state turnout averages.

Registration drives and enthusiastic interest in the election added 4,722 folks to the city registration roles, a 29.5% change despite the well documented problems in the registrar’s office.

4,345 more people voted this year than in the 2004- that’s 92% of the newly registered voter totals.

Looking ahead to the 09 delegate and governor races, any useful conclusions to draw going forward?

5 Responses to “looking ahead to 2009”

  1. I wonder – to calculate our turnout percentage, are they using Census data or registrar data? If Census data, then that would include all students who live in the city, even if they are registered by absentee ballot elsewhere.

    To further complicate the statistics, it seems that the rules for calculating registered voters would also include people who were registered in the city four years ago but had moved without alerting the registrar to their new address.

    In other words, our actual voter turnout percentage might be much higher than it appears.

  2. JGFitzgerald says:


    In almost all instances turnout is based on number voting divided by active voters registered. People who hadn’t voted for four years would probably be in the inactive voter category (577 out of 20,728 according to the November spreadsheet on this page, knock yourself out.)

    If you really want to make your head hurt, take a look at number voting as a percentage of voting age population, VAP, which can, I’m pretty sure, be found somewhere.

    Regardless, any focus on pure percentage may be secondary to the fact that we had 40-some percent more people voting than four years ago in the city. The question, as with new situation comedies, is whether they’ll be back next year.

  3. JGFitzgerald says:

    OK, I had to know. About 31 percent of voting age population in Harrisonburg voted for president in 2004 in the city. This year, about 40 percent.

    Participation was up this year. Really.

  4. Peppa says:

    Congratulations on your new appointment! You will be the best they ever had!

  5. Lowell says:

    Why thank you Peppa, I’ll work and try really hard.

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