Voter turnout in the 7th District among the lowest
There were grumbling remarks about low voter turnout at 5 p.m on election day. The polls would close in just a few hours, and only 90 of nearly 700 registered voters in a 19th Ward precinct had made it out so far.
It wasn't a competitive election. The mayor's race was already decided. Most voters don't understand the importance of the Supreme Court race.
Such was the chatter among poll workers.
In the end, voter turnout citywide was pretty bad. About 26 percent of registered voters cast a vote in the mayor's race last week.
While a conclusive tally of voter turnout by council district is still unavailable, a preliminary survey of last week's primary election shows us where it was the worst.
Under 10,000 registered voters in the 7th District came out to re-elect Councilwoman Maria Quiñones-Sánchez. The councilwoman scored the lowest number of votes out of all the district council races. No other district council person — even the unchallenged incumbents — gained fewer than 10,000 votes.
Back in the May primary election, over 12,000 district residents cast a vote in the contested race between the incumbent councilwoman and controversial newcomer Manny Morales. And as with the primary, the 7th District general election had one of the lowest turnouts in the entire city.
Weak votership is long-standing trend in the city’s most Latino district. At best, turnout was slightly above average in the majority-Latino wards for the May primary, but it looks now as though even fewer came out to vote in last week.
It is important to note that the district council race does not accurately reflect the total voter turnout. Hundreds of voters did not even bother to cast a ballot in the council race at all. In the 23rd ward, for example, almost 2,500 voted for the mayor’s race, but just over 2,000 voted for the unchallenged Quiñones-Sanchez. Similarly, in the 33rd ward, 300 more people voted in the mayor’s race than they did in the district council race.
In Quinones-Sanchez’s home ward, the 19th, just over 1,000 residents cast their vote for the councilwoman, but over 1,200 cast their vote in the mayor’s race.
The 7th Council District has 92,868 registered voters, of which 72,266 are Democrats. Using those numbers, the recent turnout hovers around 10 percent. But Quiñones-Sánchez’s office notes that about 30 percent of those registered voters are inactive, meaning they haven’t voted in at least the last four elections.