Why Do Strong Democratic Precincts Have Absurdly Weak Voter Turnout? The MCDP Central Committee Should Seek Answers

There are 62 precincts in Montgomery County that voted 80%, or more, for Richard Cordray. Unfortunately, these strong Democratic precincts had a turnout of only 43.0%. The top 62 Republican precincts, meanwhile, voted 72.1% for DeWine and had a turnout of 60.4%

The turnout gap is getting worse. In 2014, the gap in turnout between strong Democratic precincts compared to strong Republican precincts was 14.1%. In 2018, the gap increased to 17.4%. The consequence is that Democratic candidates are losing out on a lot of votes. For example, if the turnout in the top 62 Democratic precincts had matched the turnout in the top 62 Republican precincts, Richard Cordray would have had a net gain of 8330 votes. As would have Russ Joseph.

Poor voter turnout in dominant Democratic precincts is an ongoing disaster for the Democratic Party. It makes sense that in the wake of an organizational disaster, the governing body of the organization should seek to understand what happened. If a company suffers a big loss, the board of directors expects an explanation from management.

The Central Committee is the controlling body of the MCDP. It is the Committee’s obligation to address the GOTV situation and at our December 6 meeting, I will make the following motion:

Mr. Chairman, The statistics are clear that Democratic turnout in the strongest Democratic precincts in Montgomery County in this 2018 election was a disaster. We are losing elections because the turnout in these precincts is absurdly weak. If we are to achieve a better GOTV outcome in 2020, we need to understand the details of the GOTV effort that was made in 2018.

Mr. Chairman, how can we increase voter turnout in dominant Democratic precincts? This is such an important question, I believe it deserves an in-depth discussion within the Central Committee community. I believe we should not delay and that we should make preparations for a good group discussion in January. It is my motion, Mr. Chairman — and I hope you will like and support this motion — that as a foundation for an informed discussion at the January meeting, that the Central Committee urge and encourage you to email each Central Committee member a copy of your responses to these questions:

  1. What was the strategy in this election for Getting Out The Vote in strong Democratic precincts?
  2. How and to what degree was this strategy implemented?
  3. How much money did the MCDP spend on GOTV efforts? How was that money raised, and how was it spent?
  4. What is your evaluation as to the root causes of low voter turnout in strong Democratic precincts?
  5. In your judgement, what would a two-year effort look like that would address the root causes for low voter turnout in strong Democratic precincts?
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2 comments to Why Do Strong Democratic Precincts Have Absurdly Weak Voter Turnout? The MCDP Central Committee Should Seek Answers

  • Bruce Kettelle

    Mike thanks for taking a look at this. If we could drill down a little more on these numbers it might help to pinpoint some of challenges to overcome. I found myself asking what was the democratic turnout in strongly republican precincts? What are the demographics of these precincts ie: age, income, education, etc? Do we need different tactics in different areas? What are the historical turnouts in these areas?

    I know I am asking a lot but this is a complicated issue.

  • Mike Bock

    I am waiting to update my voter data file until the file is complete with all the new data. Amazing what my little iMac can do. I have a FILEMAKER program that has the voting data for all Montgomery and Greene Counties back to the year 2000. I’ll attempt to answer some of your questions. There is no easy or quick fix for the GOTV problem that this article points to. But politics is all about the short term. Our challenge in the MCDP is to envisage a long-term solution, a grassroots solution.

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