The nonstory of the election

The nonstory of the election

The big furor over Democratic pollwatchers challenging Republican voters in Urbana's Democratic primary Tuesday turned out to be a nonstory.
Only 11 provisional ballots were cast.
The supporters of mayoral candidate (and now Mayor-elect) Laurel Prussing were at just four out of Urbana's 23 polling places to contest Republicans who had signed nominating petitions for Republicans but wanted to vote in the Democratic primary.
It turns out that two well-known Republicans -- retiring 6th Ward Alderman Joe Whelan and 4th Ward hopeful Anna Wall Scott -- had no problem casting Democratic primary ballots. Whelan told me he voted at 9:30 a.m. and that no one tried to stop him.
Esther Patt, who was Prussing's campaign chairman, said they weren't going to waste a pollwatcher just to stop Whelan. He and his wife, Patt said, were the only people in their precinct who had signed petitions for Republican candidates.
The whole issue of challenging voters turned out to be moot, though, since Prussing won Tuesday by 270 votes. (The unofficial totals are: Prussing 2,507 Satterthwaite 2,237 and Shirley Hursey 125).
I suppose the question could be asked whether the threat of a polling place challenge may have discouraged Republicans from trying to cast ballots on Tuesday.
Maybe, but it doesn't look like it.
4,923 ballots were cast in the Democratic primary on Tuesday.
4,688 ballots were cast in the GENERAL mayoral election four years ago -- 2,701 for the Democrat (Tod Satterthwaite).
5,427 ballots were cast in the GENERAL mayoral election eight years ago -- 3,619 for the Democrat (Tod Satterthwaite).
6,487 ballots were cast in the GENERAL mayoral election 12 years ago -- 3,216 for the Democrat (Tod Satterthwaite).
Subtract 4,923 from 3,619 (the greatest vote for a Democratic candidate in the last three elections) and you get 1,304. You can figure that as the number of possible Republicans who crossed over on Tuesday. That 1,304 is almost as many votes as the Republican mayoral candidate, Eddie Dalton, got four years ago. He received 1,617 votes.

For more analysis of Tuesday's Urbana election, see today's News-Gazette.

For election junkies, the good news is that the next voting -- the last one in Champaign County that will feature punch-card voting -- is just 42 days away.

One more thing: some of the precincts turned out phenomenal numbers for an election where there was one -- and at most two -- races on the ballot. Cunningham 10, which votes at Lincoln Square, had a 54 percent turnout! Cunningham 14, which votes at Clark-Lindsey Village, had a 47 percent turnout. Cunningham 15's (Urbana Assembly of God Church) was 46 percent. Pretty impressive, Urbana.

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