Sunday, November 15, 2009

FM #49 - The week ending 11/15/09

Give me about ten minutes and I'll fill you in on what matters in Franklin, MA. In this session, I review my five findings from the recent town election and look over the busy week ahead.

Time: 8 minutes, 10 seconds

MP3 File

Session Notes
Music intro
My intro
FM #49

This internet radio show or podcast for Franklin Matters. This one is number 49 in the series.

In this session, you give me about ten minutes and I'll fill you in on what matters in Franklin. I'll cover my 5 findings from the recent election. And review the week ahead.

While I am not finished with my analysis on the results from the election, I would like to share what I have found thus far.

By the way – I'll make the numbers from which I draw these thoughts available. There will be a link in the posting to a doc. If you want a live spreadsheet version, all you'll need to do is contact me.

1 – population shifts

Precincts 6, 1, 2 and 5 are declining in their voter percent relative to the whole of Franklin's registered voters. (in that order) as the population shifts within Franklin.

Precincts 4, 8 and 7 are gaining in relative voter percent (in that order) for the same population shift. The numbers were calculated as a change in 2009 versus 2006.

2 – voter participation

Year   2005       2007        2009

Votes 3,119       3,845       3,244

Percent 17.6%    20.7%     16.6%

Reg Voters        18572      19509

2005 estimated to calculate out at 17,772 (avg 425 voters inc per year)

3 – ballot position

an old marketing adage says, location, location, location

Ballot position does not make a difference. The voters worked to select their candidates. Yes, the first six listed on the ballot were ultimately selected but it is more important to note that the #1, 3, 5 overall finishers were well down on the ballot. The voters knew who they wanted and weren’t overwhelmed by the total number of candidates (13).

This was also observed in the 2007 election results where Vallee, Whalen, Yurgenson and Zollo held the bottom four positions and three of them were elected. Valle took the top number of votes and Zollo was 3rd only one vote behind Chris Feeley.

4 – hidden message?

There may be something to the “elect all newcomers” attempt that was referenced in a few of the exit poll comments as reported in the Milford Daily News. That would help explain how the one candidate who withdrew from the race too late to come off the ballot actually still received 592 votes.

5 – what majority?

In the 2007 election, three Council candidates gathered more than 50% of the voters who actually cast their ballots. This year, four achieved that mark. It is still disconcerting, one that so few bother to vote and of those that do, so few of the candidates actually achieve a majority vote.

In a standard two person race, you have one vote. One person gets it, the other doesn't. In the TC, we had thirteen candidates and each voter had 9 votes. What the blanks tell us is that most folks found 5 or 6 candidates to vote for but not 9.

Given the number of blanks recorded in the elections, it seems rare that a voter actually will cast their vote for all nine of the Town Council candidates and all seven of the School Committee candidates. How significant is the blank? Almost 35% of the ballots for Town Council included blanks, and just over 50% of the ballots for School Committee.

What does this all mean? We need to understand how to better engage the Franklin voters. If you have any ideas, please let me know. I'll be spending some time on this over the next several weeks at least.

6 - A busy week ahead

Gallery 218 opens a Portrait 2009 show on Tuesday

School committee meeting Tuesday

Town Council meeting Wednesday

Third Thursday sponsored by the Downtown Partnership

FEF Casino Night on Friday

The vote results by precinct were previously published here

The spreadsheet I reference during this can be found here

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This podcast is my public service effort for Franklin but I can't do it alone. I can use your help.
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Thank you for listening.

For additional information, please visit

If you have questions or comments you can reach me directly at shersteve @ gmail dot com

The music for the intro and exit was provided by Michael Clark and East of Shirley. The piece is titled "Ernesto, manana" c. Michael Clark & Tintype Tunes, 2008 and used with permission.

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