I'm experimenting with posting surveys in order to gain a sense of what people think about different issues.
My first experiment is geared just toward other Town Meeting members, as I believe I can get the word out to them effectively, and obtain a decent response rate. [Turns out, the survey accepts responses whether you are a Town Meeting member or not - I'm learning things already]
If it works out well, I may try this some more, in order to gain the perspectives of my neighbors on issues coming before me in Town Meeting.
UPDATE: I have revised my projections slightly. Looking at the data, I saw that there was a much larger change in turnout in Precinct 12 between the 2010 election and the elections in 2011 and 2012 (14.37%, compared to an average change of 4.79% across all other precincts). This extra low turnout in Precinct 12 in 2010 was dragging the projected turnout for that precinct down more than it should. I also gave some slight increases in projected turnout in some precincts with contested Town Meeting races. These changes saw an increase in projected voters from 7,697 to 7,718.
This year I have attempted to predict voter turnout by precinct for our Town Election coming up this Saturday.
Label this an exercise in humility. Knowing my aptitude in the math involved in making such predictions, I would not wager $5 that I have this right.
Nonetheless, what follows are my predictions for voter turnout in this year's Town Election.
Results in 2010 were anticipated ahead of Election Day, and many voters were not energized to participate.
2011 saw 2 fairly competitive races for BOS.
2012 had a vibrant contest for BOS, two alcohol related ballot questions, and many Town Meeting members up for re-election due to redistricting.
2013 had 2 ballot questions, one of which was a centerpiece of heated debate in town.
The 2014 election has no ballot questions, but does have a heated race for Town Treasurer, and a potentially close race for BOS, depending on how voters split their tickets.
2014 also has a few contested Town Meeting races that may increase turnout very slightly in those precincts.
I believe that turnout in 2014 will not benefit from the impact brought by ballot questions in 2013, especially in certain precincts in East Arlington.
2014 will continue to see an increase in voter engagement as voters square off against each other on tribal lines, those divisions especially heightened this year with the Treasurer's race.
The base supporters of Bob Tosi and Jennifer Susse will be motivated voters this cycle. Otherwise the races for BOS and School Committee will not motivate an increase in voter turnout.
The primary motivation driving voters to the polls this election will be the Treasurer's race, and motivation will be especially high among voters that perceive the future of the town along tribal lines.
Ultimately turnout will remain higher than we saw in 2010, but will not be higher than we saw in 2011 or 2012, and definately not as high as we saw in 2013. Tribal alliances will work to maintain higher turnout, but not drive an increase in the number of voters going to the polls.
Here is my guess at what turnout will look like by precinct this Saturday:
Update and a disclaimer: My gut says that turnout this year will not fall to levels we saw in 2010, but won't see the boost we saw from ballot questions in 2013. Increased engagement over the years, and a rare contested race for Town Treasurer, will maintain the level of turnout we saw in 2012 and 2011.
Were I to be working this election in a professional capacity, I would take this intuition for what it was, and pay someone good at the math to tell me what would actually happen.