IBJNews

Mayoral election outcome could hinge on turnout

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

The fate of mayoral and City-County Council candidates in Tuesday’s election is likely to come down to turnout in a few key districts, including Center Township and southern Marion County.

Political science experts say each party’s get-out-the-vote efforts will be critical this year, particularly for council races that have drawn little voter interest.

“It’s basically who turns out their base,” said Brian Vargus, a political science professor at IUPUI who studies voting patterns. “The Democrats have a bigger base, but will they vote?”

Democrats indeed have the demographic advantage; the party led Republicans in straight-party voting in Marion County by 20,975 votes in the 2010 election.

But that didn’t bring them victory in 2007, when Republican Mayor Greg Ballard defeated incumbent Democrat Bart Peterson and Republicans took control of the council, due in part to lower-than-usual turnout in traditionally strong Democratic areas.

This time around, targeting large swaths of voters in Center and Warren townships will be particularly important for Democrats, Vargus said, as will drawing high turnout among African-Americans, who make up a major part of the Democratic base.

For Republicans, the southern Franklin, Perry and Decatur townships will be key.

Ed Treacy, chairman of the Marion County Democratic Party, said his party’s strategy since 2004 has been to target every Democratic voter in every precinct, including those that have as few as one Democrat. That was a shift in strategy from earlier years, when Democrats focused on the areas where their base was strongest.

 “Once we started working every precinct, we starting winning the elections,” Treacy said.

Republicans, meanwhile, have been making a strategic push to conduct “the largest get-out-the-vote effort in possibly the history of Marion County Republicans,” said Kyle Walker, the party’s chairman. That has included phone calls, door-to-door efforts and community meetings.

And while Republicans lag demographically, Walker said there’s a strong base of independent voters in the county, as evidenced by the 2008 election, when Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels and Democratic President Barack Obama both won the county by strong margins — 48,357 and 105,816 votes, respectively.

Drawing independents is a viable strategy, Walker said, “particularly in a municipal election when the issues that will be governed by the ultimate winners are very close and very important to voters.”

“Municipal elections are very candidate-driven,” he said.

It’s unclear how many independent voters reside in Marion County, but Vargus agreed that a large swath of independents could tip the balance for either Ballard or Democratic challenger Melina Kennedy. Still, he thinks party-based voting will drive turnout in this election, as it does on the national level.

So far, early voting, including in-person, absentee and overseas ballots, has been stronger this year than in 2007, when there were 10,267 early ballots cast with three days remaining until the election. As of Sunday, this year's tally was 18,055.

But Vargus said that’s not necessarily an indication of strong turnout on Tuesday. He anticipates turnout will be lighter than in 2007, when it was about 27 percent.

ADVERTISEMENT

  • voters
    not to be offensive even though some will be, but anyone that votes a party line just because they call themselves a party member should have their right to vote removed. come on people look at the individuals running and what all they stand for. i am not a republican and i am not a democrat. i am an AMERICAN. we talk about equality yet divide ourselves on everything. in this election there is not much seperating ballard from kennedy. but the differances that are there is what makes me vote. in this case it isn't so much the better person but what they stand for. i can not in good conscience vote for someone that wants to trample on my constitutional rights the way that kennedy wants to. i, a registered voter in this city, will not vote for someone that gets on tv and acts like they are so smart that i can't see the BS they are spreading. i hope and pray that each one of you votes your conscience and your heart and not a party line. amen
  • voters
    not to be offensive even though some will be, but anyone that votes a party line just because they call themselves a party member should have their right to vote removed. come on people look at the individuals running and what all they stand for. i am not a republican and i am not a democrat. i am an AMERICAN. we talk about equality yet divide ourselves on everything. in this election there is not much seperating ballard from kennedy. but the differances that are there is what makes me vote. in this case it isn't so much the better person but what they stand for. i can not in good conscience vote for someone that wants to trample on my constitutional rights the way that kennedy wants to. i, a registered voter in this city, will not vote for someone that gets on tv and acts like they are so smart that i can't see the BS they are spreading. i hope and pray that each one of you votes your conscience and your heart and not a party line. amen

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
 
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. Choice between a democrat and a question mark? Take the question mark. We have all seen what the democrats will do.

  2. Its easy to blame workers. What about the Management of the Mill. Its not smart in business to not have a back up plan. Workers are afforded sick days in most cases. Union or not. Whether drunk partying, or a real sickness. Why would you as a businessman/woman not have a rotation of workers incase this happens. This is not an exclusive union protection. If the company can prove bad intentions on the part of any union employee. They can take action. Most CBA's have a 3 strike policy. Just like most Non-union company policies. You should read a CBA sometime. There are protections for companies too. Unions understand that businesses need to make money. If they don't, the union's member won't have a place to work.

  3. My kids play hockey on the North side and we have been very happy with the youth program. More Ice would create more opportunity for kids to pay this great sport. With 3 rinks that would also create more figure skating opportunities. What better gift to give your kids than a sport they will love!

  4. Naah, only Indy place fans were robbed of seeing Zanardi race. CART fans saw his amazing talents just about every weekend. And F1 fans saw him too. Zanardi didn't care he wasn't at Indy, neither do 99.18% of other race fans world wide. And CART fans are quite pleased of the domination of their drivers and owners have had at Indy, in the IRL, and in the current Indycar series....almost 99.18% of the time since 2000 Indy 500. I respect Zanardi, but his life goes on without Indy. Sucks to be you Capt.

  5. So let me get this right: gun permits online are fraud proof, but voting is as easy as 1-2-3.--But at least we agree that someone without a photo ID cannot be trusted with a gun.

ADVERTISEMENT