Something in the neighborhood of 45,000 people who could have voted in the election on Tuesday did not cast a vote. So while Mark Ciommo topped the ticket with 31% of the vote (1,406 votes), he actually received votes from only 3% of the 50,000 possible voters!
While talking to people in North Allston on Tuesday it became clear that many people:
- Didn't know there was an election
- Realized there was an election but didn't feel they knew enough about any of the candidates
- Didn't realize they were eligible to vote (Some confusion resulted from the Democratic primary special election held earlier this month to elect a new State Senator. One registered Republican I spoke with was turned away from the polls at that election and incorrectly assumed he also was unable to vote in Tuesday's election)
- The city puts a variety of pamphlets in our water and real estate tax bills. How about one with information about upcoming elections?
- A few times a year the city hires people to go door to door to every home in city distributing information about winter parking rules (that don't ever seem enforced) and pickup of leaves and yard waste for composting. How about a reminder flyer the day of the election?
- As I mentioned in a posting last week, the city's election website could be so much better. At the very least it could be very clear about when elections are happening, how to register to vote, who is eligible to vote (Dem/Rep), and have links to the websites of each candidate.
- The WallUSA bus shelters all over the city are natural places to inform people about important civic events. These are highly visible billboards on city property that, for a few days a year, could publicize elections instead of the usual advertisements.
The total population of Allston/Brighton is 70,000 and 63,000 (85%) of us are old enough to vote. 14,000 (20%) Allston/Brighton residents are not US citizens. This means there are approximately 50,000 eligible voters who live here. 36,000 (72%) of those people are registered voters. (Some people who are not old enough to vote are also not US citizens, but that breakdown is not readily available from the census data)