Below is a letter to the editor published on October 11, 2013 in the Record Journal.
After that is the content from a blog post I published on Wallingford Politico titled “The most impactful voters are the ones that show up”.
Both indicate the importance of getting out the vote especially locally.
It’s your town – get informed, get involved and VOTE.
Editor: In 2012, Wallingford voters turned out and voted in the presidential election at an 83 percent rate. In 2011 for local elections it was only 39 percent. One of the differences nationally was that the younger age demographic increased in voting percentage. In 2011 local voters 18 to 25 came out at a 15.5 percent rate, age 26 to 35 17.5 percent, and age 36 to 45 came out at 30.5 percent for the election. In this election Wallingford faces a generational choice. We have a veteran mayor who has served since the days of Ronald Reagan. When the current mayor was elected computers were just beginning to be used by a wider populace, the Internet was an idea and cell phones were in their infancy. Wallingford has integrated as time has gone by but its leader remains rooted for better or worse in a previous time. His challenger comes from a generation that is comfortable with technology and quick to embrace its’ advantages.
This brings us back to voter participation. Will all of our registered voters (25,759) come out and make this a real choice? Will Wallingford’s younger demographic step up and voice its preference on how Wallingford meets the future? Can this election be the one when a new generation makes its choice for a generational change in leadership?
Laurence Morgenstein, Wallingford
The most impactful voters are the ones that show up.
Different ages of people ask me why it seems (to them) that “the government” (and this could be federal, state or local depending on the conversation at the time) always seems to favor [THAT AGE GROUP] over theirs and the [GROUP] always seems to be an older age group.
The bottom line is – the squeaky wheels get the grease.
When you look at total number of registered voters, the older the bracket, the more they tend to be registered. At the same time too, when you look at the percentages of who turns out from those brackets, the older brackets turn out with a larger percentage as well.
The following is the information lifted from the last municipal election (2011) of a total of about 25,000 registered voters:
18-24 year olds – total registered 1,869 and of that 193 (10.5%) showed up to vote. You expect this bracket to be less in total number of voters as it contains only seven years of voters and all the others are ten but the 10.5 percentage across just those registered is very low.
25-34 year olds – total registered 3,051 and of that 456 (14.9%) showed up to vote. Nearly 50% more percentage wise on the turnout, nearly twice as many total registered and more than double the number in turnout which is all better than their counterparts in the 18 to 24 bracket but still low overall as you compare the older demographics.
35-44 year olds – total registered 3,433 and of that 913 (26.6%) showed up to vote. With nearly 3,500 registered voters, this block comes in with less than 1,000 total voters showing up to vote locally. When you consider this group (along with a portion of the prior demographic and the next) to be the main segment of the population that uses the largest portion of the municipal budget (education budget for those with children) you would hope to see higher turnout numbers.
45-54 year olds – total registered 5,167 and of that 1,995 (38.6%) showed up to vote. This group is the second largest in total number on the registration side but at just 38.6% in turnout (while better than their younger counterparts) they impact about the same as the 65 to 74 demographic but less so than the 55 to 64 group. With its sheer numbers matching, they could have more presence if they could move their turnout numbers higher.
55-64 year olds – total registered 5,211 and of that 2,350 (45.1%) showed up to vote. This group is the largest in total number on both the registration side and the turnout number. On the percentage side at 45.1% they turnout at the third highest percentage as well but because of their total numbers of registered, this group’s turnout numbers have the highest impact regarding total vote tally.
65-74 year olds – total registered 3,329 and of that 1,876 (56.3%) showed up to vote. This group is the third largest group with 3,329 registered. Their turnout percentages are very good locally at 56.3% which generated 1,876 voters at the polls. They are the second highest impacting group because of this.
75-84 year olds – total registered 1,958 and of that 1,146 (58.5%) showed up to vote. As people age onward and pass away it impacts the demographic. This group has the highest percentage of local voter turnout at 58.5% but as their total numbers dwindle their voter impact lessens. Despite the handicap, they are still a very impactful group.
85 and older – total registered 1,292 and of that 547 (42.3%) showed up to vote. At just a hair shy of 1,300 registered voters and 547 turning out, this group nearly singlehandedly outstrips the impact of the 5,000 registered voters in both the 18 to 24 and the 25 to 34 demographics combined as in both those groups only 649 people voted locally.
It’s your town – get informed, get involved and VOTE