In Tuesday’s D.C. election, 244,770 voters cast ballots for everything from president to school board. Unlike most of the contests, though, the race for the At-Large seats on the D.C. Council allowed voters to choose two candidates, instead of the usual one. Many of them didn’t.
On Tuesday, there were 328,659 votes cast for the At-Large seats, but there were also 160,655 ballots that came in as “under-votes” — when a voter either chose fewer options than he could or when his vote wasn’t read properly. In 2008, the same thing happened — 361,442 votes were cast for the At-Large race, but there were also 168,469 under-votes. Four years before that was no exception; there were 303,047 votes cast and 151,363 under-votes in the At-Large race.
Does this mean that half of the city’s voters aren’t using both of their votes? Not necessarily — if one voter chose no candidates in the At-Large race, for example, it would come up as two under-votes. Still, the numbers are evidence that many voters aren’t voting to their full potential. In many precincts the under-votes were half the number of votes cast in the At-Large race, while in some, such as Precinct 103 in Ward 7, the numbers were much higher — 2,679 votes were cast for At-Large candidates, and there were 1,949 under-votes.
[Continue reading Martin Austermuhle’s post at DCist.com.]