Last week we showed you how the primary election on August 2nd was a tremendous victory for moderate values. We also took pains to remind you that there is more work to be done, we've only begin to turn the ship around, and more critical races are being decided in November. We will talk about those races, but today, we wanted to talk about how these primaries were won.
It's going to end like this: where people worked hard, voting was way up, and moderates won.
Like many of our partners in advocacy, MainStream organized volunteers. Our interns canvassed to get out the vote, and our PAC supported candidates in Johnson County. Specifically, a few races in Johnson County where we thought we could make a difference. Moderates won a majority of those races, and looking at the data from this year, from 2014, and from 2012, there are a few lessons we can learn.
The number of votes went way up
Since 2012, voter registrations have risen in Johnson County by 16,755 (4.5%). The areas with the most grassroots energy and the ones we targeted account for just 44% of all registered voters, but 62% of the increase, or 10,454 voters.
But the number of votes cast in Johnson County went up 14,194, a whopping 22% over 2012. In the areas we worked, accounting for 51% of all votes cast, votes cast were up 8,558, or 60% of the increase.
Clearly, while voter registrations did increase, voters were much more engaged, and in the areas where moderates won, even more so.
As a result, turnout was up
But in the areas we worked, we saw 23% turnout on average, with some races as high as 27.8%!
Is that what made the difference?
Yes, turnout made a difference, but those are the results of the work done in those races by candidates, by grassroots organizations, and by organizations like ours. Turnout isn't a cause, it is the yardstick we look to at the end. Was it voter registration? Was it door to door canvassing? Get out the vote efforts? Phone calls?
Or was it just Sam Brownback dragging all the incumbents down?
What about canvassing, calling and mailing?
We have evidence that it wasn't just Brownback's shadow that made the difference, that it was, in fact, the efforts, the work, that was put in.
In two races where we worked, we overlapped our work in a Senate district with the House districts it contained. There were a number of precincts in those House districts that we did not call, canvass, or mail, because they weren't in the Senate district. That lets us compare the results of the election in those districts, where we worked and where we did not.
Where we worked in House district 14, turnout was 5.4% higher in the precincts we did not. And 10% more votes were cast. Where we worked in House district 17, turnout was 6.3% higher, and 12% more votes were cast. In fact, turnout in the areas we worked of House 17 reached 29%!
Confirmed: your work counts
You know your vote counts. But we have the evidence now that your work counts, too. When we ask you to do more than vote, you know it will make a difference.
Over the next two months we will be asking you to get out and work some more. We have the opportunity to flip the Senate in Topeka, and to wrest the House back towards the middle.
Do more than vote. It works.
P.S. - many thanks to the dedicated staff at the Johnson County Election Office for their work compiling and making data available.