Recent Turnout Decline

For the 2007 Cambridge elections, everyone knew there would be a big drop. One contributing factor was that two long-time major vote-getters, Anthony Galluccio and Michael Sullivan, had been elected to other offices and were out of the running. Normally this draws out new candidates who bring out new voters, but the timing of the departures was late enough that few new, credible candidates emerged. Open seats usually bring greater turnout, but not this time. The lack of any significant issues also led to a decline in turnout.

Voter turnout in municipal elections and primary elections has plummeted in many places in Massachusetts in recent years. The drop in Cambridge wasn't nearly as bad as the drop in Boston, and cities like Worcester saw drops that were well below even the most pessimistic predictions. This can be explained by the fact that people are likely not to see as much relevance in local elections now, especially now that rent control has gone and access to City jobs is less of an issue as higher-income people buy up condominiums in Cambridge. Voter turnout generally rises when the stakes are higher and they were a lot lower in 2005. How the current economic situation influences voter turnout is yet to be seen.

Recent Articles
October 19th 2009
A better election system
Lowell Sun

Election expert Doug Amy explains how choice voting can "inject new blood" into the elections of Lowell (MA), and give voters a greater incentive to participate.

October 16th 2009
Haven't Detroit voters spoken enough?
Livingston Daily

In Detroit, there have been three mayors in the past two years and the current one has come under scrutiny. Perhaps a system like instant runoff voting will help bring political stability to motor city.

August 21st 2009
Black candidate for Euclid school board to test new voting system
Cleveland Plain Dealer

Limited voting, a form of proportional voting, will be used in Euclid (OH), in the hopes of allowing better representation of minorities.

July 2nd 2009
Reforming Albany
New York Times

FairVote's Rob Richie responds in a letter to the editor making the case for proportional voting systems to bring substantive reform to New York's legislature.