People in the 2nd District may not know there’s an election on

Early voting begins tomorrow, so here are a few numbers/observations to check out about the 2nd District, which is getting a LOT of interest lately.

Historically speaking, the district doesn’t stuff ballot boxes in school board elections. And the seat is elected in presidential election years, which means more people generally show up to polls. (Keep in mind that the county election occurs on the August federal and state primary day, and that federal general elections in November generally don’t feature local elected offices.)

Indya Kincannon has been unopposed since her first win for the term in 2004, when she carried 54.65 percent over Patsy Vittetoe, who had 2,003 votes, or 45.35 percent. Pretty convincing win. But the spread of voters who tipped it for Kincannon was small. A little more than 400 people, in fact. In all, 4,417 people voted in that 2004 election.

Kincannon won unopposed in 2008, taking 5,587 votes in the May primary, and then 3,244 in the August election.

In 2012 she remained unopposed, and received 3,279 in the May primary. She took 1,960 in the August general election.

Participation in the election has declined over the last decade – if you only look at vote totals. Look at the number of challengers to Kincannon and a lack of interest is further supported.

The take away here people in the 2nd probably need to know that there’s actually an election happening.

Why?

  • It’s a special election: The opening is on the ballot because Kincannon left her term early and the county pushed to give voters a choice this year. This isn’t a regular election year for the 2nd, so folks may not know to vote for their school board member.
  • It’s on the ballot on November during a midterm election, which usually draws fewer voters than in presidential years. The regular 2nd District voting is decided in August of presidential election years (when the state and federal primaries are held), so maybe those factors will offset.
  • Folks are used to seeing Kincannon on the ballot. And then maybe-not-really voting for her. That’s if they even show up to the polls: According to the county elections office, there are currently 30,468 people registered in the 2nd District. When Kincannon was elected in 2012, only 6.4 percent of registered voters in the district voted for her. Now, keep in mind that’s not a straight comparison. We’re using 2010 balloting results with current voter registration figures. But also keep in mind that the district hasn’t changed borders during that time, and it’s not an area of booming development. It’s one of the smaller districts in the county, even.

Getting people educated about candidates may be important – and is, surely – but getting people educated that there’s an election in the 2nd District may also need some more airtime. Folks can’t vote if they don’t know there’s an election happening.

Here’s registration numbers for each county district, by the way.

1st County Commission – 25,738
2nd County Commission – 30,468
3rd County Commission – 28,996
4th County Commission – 35,811
5th County Commission – 38,267
6th County Commission – 33,290
7th County Commission – 32,866
8th County Commission – 27,324
9th County Commission – 26,801

About Gerald

A reporter in Knoxville, TN. Work (mostly) inside and play (mostly) outside. I'm a part of the X or the Y generation. None of us claim the other.
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