(This news article is based on this
report (in rich text format) by professor David Rausch.)
analysis: Cumulative voting OKAmarillo voters are getting the hang of
cumulative voting, a West Texas A&M University professor's study
Study shows voters understand process
By Jennifer Wilson
August 19, 2004
The Amarillo Independent School District's May school board
election marked the third time the district used the cumulative
voting system, which lets each voter cast more than one vote. School
officials were concerned that the public didn't fully understand how
the system works.
But only 1.3 percent of ballots cast were "overvotes" -
ballots that had to be thrown out because they had too many votes,
said David Rausch, assistant professor of political science at WT.
Only 1.2 percent voted fewer times than they should have.
Amarillo ISD officials say the numbers show residents have a good
understanding of cumulative voting.
"I was very encouraged by his analysis," said Les Hoyt,
assistant superintendent of administration.
"Clearly, based upon his analysis, they understand the
system that much better."
Rausch recently finished analyzing the May 15 elections of the
AISD board of trustees and the city of Canyon. He sifted through
thousands of ballots by hand at the Randall County Courthouse,
tallying results from nearly 5,000 voters.
"I think I was over there for three days," Rausch said.
Cumulative voting, used by AISD, gives each voter four votes -
one for each seat open on the board. The system was put in place to
give minority candidates a better chance to be elected.
Rausch also analyzed the city of Canyon election, which asked
residents to vote on a mayor, two commissioners and two tax
Rausch found that three-fourths of voters either chose all
incumbents or all newcomers for the commission seats.
"I saw definite evidence of ticket voting," he said.
Political yard signs sprouted up in threes - Lois Rice, Jed Welch
and David Logan together or Kenneth Crossland, Gary Houlette and
Joan Van Doren together, Rausch said.
Rice, Welch and Logan won.
Logan, a newcomer who agreed with the established commission's
philosophy, said he wasn't surprised that residents chose sides.
"It was two general lines of thinking on the direction of
the city," Logan said.
The incumbents thought that Canyon's current, steady growth rate
is good, but the newcomers thought the city should be growing
faster, Logan said.