School Board Elections Yield Intriguing Results
Last Tuesday, Delawareans from across the state went to the polls to elect school board members – with the results surprising many as numerous incumbents were defeated and some races decided by paper thin margins. Below is an initial analysis of the data:
- The range of votes in a district ranged from 230 in Delmar to 2,559 in Red Clay;
- The percent of votes earned by the winner ranged from 84% in Laurel (Patrick Vanderslice) to 32% in Caesar Rodney (Melody Heavner – who had three opponents); and
- The margin of victory ranged from 2 votes (Gina Backus in Christina) to 861 votes (Patrick Vanderslice in Laurel).
How did election turnout compare to past elections (2001-2010) where there were at least two people running*?
- Overall, voter turnout in New Castle and Kent counties increased significantly, with 9,261 votes cast (includes Colonial referendum and excludes Lake Forest – which didn’t have an open seat) compared to the previous average of 3,869;
- Brandywine saw the greatest decline in average participation, with 690 votes cast- drastically lower than their previous ten year average of 1,596;
- Milford saw the greatest increase in average participation, with 1,584 votes cast – a significant increase from their previous ten year average of 563.
However, although the increased turnout provides reason to celebrate, it’s important to recognize that there is still extremely limited participation for this crucial part of our democracy. For example:
- A total of 13,018 votes were cast across the state (includes referendum in Colonial School District) – which is drastically lower than the 412,412 votes cast for President in 2008 (3.2% of total votes cast); and
- 690 votes were cast in Brandywine School District, which has an annual operating budget of approximately $130 million ($188,406/vote).
We congratulate the winners of each race and look forward to working with interested partners in the future.
*Analysis does not include Delmar, Laurel, Seaford, Cape Henlopen, Woodbridge, and Indian River due to limited information on Sussex County Department of Elections website.
Related Topics: School Boards