The Cuyahoga County Board of Elections (BOE) on Tuesday certified the final results of the November 3, 2009 general election. The additional 714 provisional and overseas ballots absent from the preliminary totals did not change the outcome of Lakewood’s at-large city council race.
The final standings look like this:
Voter turnout modest at best
According to a 2008 U.S. Census Bureau estimate, Lakewood had a population of about 50,704. In 2000, the Census Bureau reported that around 79% of people living within city limits were 18 years old and older. So, one could estimate that Lakewood has a pool of approximately 40,000 voting-aged residents.
The BOE’s Lakewood voter registration list has around 38,995 names. Although the names of ex-residents are purged on a fairly regular basis, it still contains a lot of outdated information. It’s not an especially great tool to use when gauging voter turnout, but can provide a rough view of who is fulfilling their basic civic duty, and who is not.
Presidential general elections usually bring out high-water marks in voter participation. In 2000, when Bush was elected, 21,651 Lakewoodites voted. Obama’s 2008 victory brought 26,557 residents to the polls. Only 13,839 people chose to vote in the November 2009 election, an overall turnout of 35%.
A glance at the percentage of registered voter turnout at the ward precinct level shows people living north of Clifton voted at rates greater than most other parts of the city. Precincts 3-A (between Nicholson and Belle) and 1-H (Clifton Park) had the highest rates of participation at 51.2% and 47.9%, respectively. Alternatively, with the exception of a couple of Gold Coast precincts, residents of Ward 4 had the most dismal results. Precincts 4-E (between W 117th and Cove) and 4-K (between W. 117th and Ridgewood) had the lowest rates at 17.65% and 21.29%, respectively. (Don’t know what precinct you reside in? Check here.)
Where did the greatest number of voters turn out on Election Day? Four of the top ten precincts were in Ward 2. But the three most active precincts were 3-A (between Nicholson and Belle), 1-J (Maple Cliff to Webb), and 4-A (Gold Coast/Winton Place) with 506, 476, and 455 voters, respectively. How about the lowest number of voters? Four of the least active precincts were in Ward 4. Precincts 4-E, 4-K, 4-G, and 4-C, all along West 117th, had 153, 188, 192, and 197 voters, respectively. It’s also a disappointment to see precincts 1-F and 1-G, home to all of those apartment buildings in the West End, had just 229 and 275 voters, respectively.
What do the city council election results say?
The slate of candidates aggressively pushed by Mayor Edward O. FitzGerald finished on top. Nickie Antonio was elected to another term. Brian Powers, who had held the position through appointment, gained legitimacy as the second leading vote-getter. Political neophyte Monique Smith bested a couple of more qualified candidates – including former Ward 2 councilperson Ryan Demro – to become the newest member of the go-along to get-along gang. Overall, the election results suggest that the majority of Lakewood residents who voted are satisfied with the direction of their city and trust their mayor.
How did a no name beat an established name by 254 votes?
Love him or hate him, Second Lieutenant Ryan Patrick Demro has an established base of followers and a concrete record of accomplishment. He attended all of the candidate forums and pumped out plenty of mailings, literature drops, e-mails and robocalls. How did he get aced out by Monique Smith, a prefabricated mayoral creation?
One critical setback was the abandonment of Demro by voters in Ward 2, where he was a councilperson from 2004 to 2007. Smith outpaced him there by 31 votes. Demro also fared exceptionally poorly in the Fighting 4th Ward, where Smith bested him by 200 votes. These two outcomes, combined with a weak showing in Ward 1, sank Demro’s comeback attempt.
|Candidate||Ward 1||Ward 2||Ward 3||Ward 4||Total|
Powers for the (wealthy) people
Any ill will created by Brian Powers during the pit bull ban debate evaporated on Election Day. He triumphed big time in the wealthier northern portions of the city. Powers blew the doors off of Precinct 3-A (between Nicholson and Belle) with 347 votes, the most votes any candidate received in a single precinct. Nickie Antonio was a distant second with 242 votes. Precinct 1-H (Clifton Park) granted him 258 votes. Nickie Antonio placed second in the precinct with 195 votes.
Antonio’s future plans don’t bother voters
Nickie Antonio is a political fund raising machine, at least when compared to her city council cohorts. It is a surprise to no one that she is a likely candidate for state representative. What is a bit of a surprise is that the electorate doesn’t seem bothered that Antonio, were she to win state office, would leave city council just one year into her term. In addition to being the leading overall vote-getter, she performed well in the northern precincts and in Wards 3 and 4.
Is it something they did?
Despite being the top two vote-getters, neither Powers nor Antonio occupied any of the top three spots in Precincts 2-H and 2-J (South Central Lakewood) and Precinct 1-F (West End apartments). I wonder what the people in those areas know that the rest of Lakewood doesn’t.