People Making Maps

Local Elections

So folks are starting to have some fun with the data Wayne posted yesterday (as mentioned in the previous post). In particular, Santiago Rodriguez Rey on Lowell Live Feed has created some precinct maps using shapefiles and that data. (Cue olde blogger griping: “Back in my day, sonny, we didn’t have such things as Google maps or shape files! Get off my lawn!”)

Not everyone is or wants to be on LLF, so I got permission to repost the maps he created. After all, this shiny new blog comes with a shiny new media uploading and management system. No more FTPing direct into site folders or using a third party embedding platform…Rwar, you kids have it so easy and why are you still on my lawn??


Precinct by Precinct Turnout

Lowell votes by precinct turnout

As noted in said previous post, 1-2 and 1-3 are the highest turnout areas. Even 8-3, the Highlands, another high turnout area, is more than 10 points behind. And what has often been called “The Bowl” by some (the Acre/Lower Highlands/downtown-ish) isn’t so much a bowl as a stripe. That includes my own precinct, 10-1, a chronically low-voting area. In some precincts that’s largely a function of a much lower percentage of voter registration, much of it due to immigrants who are not citizens so therefore not qualified [edit: while true, turnout percentage is based on the total number of registered votes; blame many years off blogging for the mistake, sorry! but immigrant citizens face other barriers like language, among others]; and some are areas which are full of students and other mobile apartment dwellers, who you might expect to turn out in presidential or gubernatorial years but might not have interest  in local elections. But there are areas shaded in light yellow which can’t say either, so that’s puzzling. My area is, I think, largely owner-occupied, with some apartments mixed in, and with a mixed citizen/immigrant contingent in places as well, but I see the area as a lot more US-born citizen than not.

When I went to the polls both in the preliminary and this past week, I had conversations with some fellow voters, who had very strong opinions on the high school question. Our turnout in 2013 was 18%, and 2015 we saw 15%, so while 17% is a jump from 2 years ago, it’s not even what we saw 4 years ago. So apparently the ballot question wasn’t a huge motivating factor. Considering how many people I know of in my immediate neighborhood whose kids, if they had them, are grown up and moved out, I suppose that’s not surprising, but I don’t know about the rest of 10-1.

Speaking of the referendum…

Referendum Results

Lowell votes by precinct referendum results

What’s clear here is that the center of “the bowl”—the Acre, Lower Highlands, Downtown—largely agreed with Belvi on keeping the high school downtown. With accusations of NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) levied at Belvidere voters, I wonder how that possibly squares with those other areas strongly for downtown? YIMBY?

None of the Above?

Lowell votes by precinct leaving referendum blank

Santiago also mapped voter cards which skipped the ballot question. Again I am struck by 10-1. Do we just not care? The anecdata from talking to voters at the polls (all two pairs of them) made me think people did care, but looking at this, I see a collective 10-1 yawn.

Whereas, 6-1 cared very much, but was almost evenly split between Yes and No, with Yes edging out at just 1.6% net in favor. 6-3 had a moderate amount of blanks, but the people who did care voted for No more than 7% net votes, the largest the No’s got.

Lots to parse, and I’m sure people will be using their shiny new toys—I mean, the tools now available to cheat and make pretty maps—I mean, hey I see you there! Yeah, you! Don’t you dare step one foot on my lawn!

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