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A blog that takes a look at West Chester area government, politics, and community events.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Congrats to the winners

I want to congratulate the local legislators who won election and reelection on Tuesday.

And I want to revise something I wrote earlier.

I had argued that newly registered Chester County voters would not split their tickets. I said that they probably had no idea who was running for state rep in their district and would, by their straight party ballots, negate the efforts that a lot of state level candidates have put forth to let the more informed voters know about their positions.

It turns out I had left the subtlty out of my argument.

As I expected, enough voters crossed party lines to gaurantee Democratic State Senator Andy Dinniman and Republican U.S. Rep. Jim Gerlach comfortable margins of victory. Gerlach got 56 percent of the Chester County vote, while Dinniman got 58 percent.

Still, more than half of the votes cast in Chester County were straight-party. Of the 252,674 people who voted, 128,298 handed in a straight party ballot. Of those ballots, 63,717 were Republican, 61,768 were Democrat 2,555 were Independent, 237 were Libertarian, and 21 were Constitution.

The straight-party voting might have made the difference for a few state house candidates. I think it really helped Democrat Paul Drucker in the 157th District, but the election returns are such that, without outside polling data, I can't really make a convincing argument.

I can make a convincing argument, however, about the 13th District State House Race.

In the district's Lower Oxford East precinct, where Lincoln University is located, 1,031 of the 1,462 ballots cast were straight-party Democratic (98 were Republican). Democratic State House candidate Tom Houghton got 1,252 votes, while Republican John Lawrence got 147. This is significant because Houghton beat Lawrence in the 13th district, which has been reliably Republican for as long as anyone can remember, by only 443 votes.

I imagine that many of the Lincoln University student voters were familiar only with the candidate on the top of the ticket. This is probably also why Centre County, where Penn State is located, appears on maps as a lonely splotch of blue in the middle of a very red Central Pennsylvania.

But Lincoln University is a historically black college, which makes it very difficult for whoever dares to challenge whether the students really should have voted at the school. Put forth a legal challenge, and national and international media will parachute in with dreams of writing articles on black voter disenfranchisement.

For the record, I believe the vote of the Lincoln University students, as well as the vote of all college students who cast ballots where they go to school, is legitimate and should not be challenged. College students who live on campus tend to spend the majority of their year at school, and many end up identifying with and staying in the town where they are studying. If they feel they want to have a say in how this new home is governed, that's their right.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

The right of the Linclon students to vote where they live may not have been challenged, but the County Commissioners sure did make it difficult for them! I'm not certain of the details, but I think that the majority of the students had to find a really out-of-the-way polling place, and endure a seven hour wait. Lawrence absolutely deserved to lose just because of that stupid political ploy by the Republicans.

November 15, 2008 4:42 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ploy by the Republicans!?! You're an idiot. The ACORN criminals designed the outcome, and I know for a fact that multiple Lincoln students had already voted absentee in their own locality...and bragged about the mess they caused while standing in line.

September 12, 2009 7:06 AM 

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