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Post-Election Analysis: Missouri Getting Redder, St. Louis Turnout Declines

November 9, 2020 Featured, Missouri, Politics/Policy Comments Off on Post-Election Analysis: Missouri Getting Redder, St. Louis Turnout Declines

One of the big stories from the 2020 election was the huge turnout nationwide.

While more people have voted than at any other time in American history, percentage-wise, this number does not quite break records. Given that around 239.2 million Americans were eligible to vote in 2020, the projected number of voters brings us to a 66.8% turnout rate. This makes 2020 the year with the highest voter turnout since 1900, when Republican William McKinley won reelection with 73.7% turnout.

The highest voter turnout in history was in 1876, when 82.6% of eligible voters cast ballots in the race between Republican Rutherford Hayes and Democrat Samuel Tilden. Hayes eventually won the presidency in a close, contested election. (Town & Country Magazine)

Missouri voters exceeded the national average this election, by a few points.

More than 70% of all registered Missouri voters turned out to vote this election, Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft tweeted last night. That’s the highest turnout level in more than 20 years. The 1992 presidential election between Bill Clinton and George George H.W. Bush brought out 78% of registered voters. (St. Louis Public Radio)

The St. Louis Board of Election Commissioners is on the first floor at 300 N. Tucker (@ Olive)

I was curious how we did in the City of St. Louis. Turnout was less than four years ago, and 2016 was less than in 2012. I decided to delve into the data to seek an explanation for the decline in turnout.

Here are my findings:

  • Turnout in 2016 was 69.43%, but 65.05% in 2020.
  • Four wards (10, 13, 23, 24) had slight increases in the percentage of registered voters who voted, the other 24 wards all had declines.
  • Over 12,000 new registered voters compared to 2016, a 6.3% increase! Comparing 2020 to 2012 the increase in registered voters was 4.61%.
  • Despite the increase in registered voters, six contiguous north city wards (1,2,3,4,21,22,27) had decreases in registered voters. These same six also had decreases in 2016. When the 2020 census numbers are released next year we’re going to see population loses in the north side, but increases in the central corridor — the same pattern happened a decade ago. The overall increase in registered voters tells me the overall population loss slowed again or we might even see a very slight increase in population. A loss is more likely. More on this in a future post.
  • In all three (2012, 2016, 2020) some voters in every ward didn’t vote in the presidential race which is first on the ballot. In 2016 a few wards this approached 1% of voters, but in 2020 non exceeded half of one percent. It’s good that voters aren’t skipping down ballot races, though that likely exists too in fewer numbers.

Ok, on to Missouri.

I’ve voted in nine presidential elections, eight of those in Missouri. Democrat Bill Clinton won Missouri in 1992 by 10.15 points. Clinton won Missouri again in 1996, but only by 6.3 points. This was the last time Missouri went blue. Four of the next six elections have been redder than the last. The exceptions are 2008 & this year.

Here is the point spread, all favoring the GOP nominee.

  • 2000: 3.34 points
  • 2004: 7.2 points
  • 2008: 0.13 points (Obama nearly flipped Missouri blue)
  • 2012: 9.38 points
  • 2016: 18.51 points
  • 2020: 15.57 points

Biden this year lost Missouri by a smaller margin than Clinton, but still worse than Obama in 2012. As I said in December 2019: Missouri Is A Solid Red State. A poll in June had some thinking a blue wave would sweep across Missouri.

In total, the poll found that Biden claimed 48 percent of the likely voters in Missouri and Trump claimed 46 percent. “This result is consistent with national polls showing a double-digit Biden lead and state polls showing Biden ahead in other states Donald Trump won in 2016,” pollsters said in a release.

Biden’s campaign did not respond to Newsweek’s request for comment before publication.

“The political environment in Missouri has shifted slightly away from Republicans,” the pollsters concluded. Missouri is not the only battleground state in which recent polls indicate this is true. Earlier this month, election forecasters estimated Biden had an 86 percent advantage over Trump nationally, with his edge in some important swing stages ranging between 2 and 8 percent. Even so, the president has said that he holds a lead in all of the states likely to be critical in the general election’s outcome. (Newsweek)

I was highly skeptical when I saw this poll in late June because Missouri hasn’t been a battleground/swing state for years. It may be in play in the future, but it won’t happen in my lifetime.

— Steve Patterson

 

My Absentee Ballot Has Been Received

October 17, 2020 Featured, Politics/Policy Comments Off on My Absentee Ballot Has Been Received

As a disabled voter I’ve been on the St. Louis Board of Election Commissioners absentee ballot list for years. However, they don’t just mail me a ballot. They mail a ballot request form which must be signed and returned. Once received, they mail the ballot to me.

New this year is a tracking feature.

I tracked it the day after I mailed off my completed ballot, knowing it wouldn’t have been received yet.
I waited a week to check again and there was the proof my ballot arrived.

I vote as soon as I can I’m never worried about my ballot arriving on time, but it’s nice to see proof it did. If only there was a 4th check box to know when my ballot has been opened and scanned.

— Steve Patterson

 

St. Louis Businesses Ordered To Shut Down — 102 Years Ago Today

October 7, 2020 Featured, History/Preservation, Politics/Policy Comments Off on St. Louis Businesses Ordered To Shut Down — 102 Years Ago Today
I bought this book at Washington University on June 6, 1991 for $7.95.

The city’s health commissioner has just ordered many businesses to close, effective tomorrow. That was the order on October 7, 1918.

City Health Commissioner Max B. Starkloff announced that public gathering places would be closed immediately to prevent the spread of influenza, which was just then becoming an epidemic in the city. Some 115 new cases had been counted that day in St. Louis, and at Jefferson Barracks the total number was 900.

Closed under the commissioner’s order were theaters, movie houses, open air meetings, dance halls, conventions, and public funerals. Church leaders agreed to go along with the ban on public gatherings, and Archbishop John J. Glennon suspended the obligation of Catholics to hear Mass each Sunday. Downtown stores were enjoyed to hold no sales or special attractions. Throughout the fall, the epidemic raged, with a final official death count of 2,063 deaths — the worst disaster of its kind in the city’s history. (From ‘St. Louis Day by Day’, by Frances Hurd Stadler, Pages 191-192)

The above simplifies the back and forth that happened through December. Restrictions were eased, the flu roared back, restrictions were tightened. But it worked.

Thanks to the quarantine, St. Louis’ death rate was lowest among the 10 biggest cities at the time. In Philadelphia, where bodies piled up on sidewalks when the morgues overflowed, the death rate was nearly twice as high. (Post-Dispatch)

After their influenza pandemic was over life resumed. Ours will too, but first we must all do what’s necessary to prevent it from spreading.

— Steve Patterson

 

Our November 3rd Ballot Is Long, Begin Your Research Now

September 23, 2020 Featured, Politics/Policy Comments Off on Our November 3rd Ballot Is Long, Begin Your Research Now
The St. Louis Board of Election Commissioners is on the first floor at 300 N. Tucker (@ Olive)

I’d imagine most of you know how you’ll vote in the upcoming presidential election. There are five tickets for president, but it’s only between two for most voters. But what about the rest of the ballot? Your civic duty doesn’t end with the presidential race.

In-person absentee voting began yesterday, so now is a good time to review the ballot. This post doesn’t include any endorsements, nor do I try to persuade you from voting one way or another. My goal is that each of you makes informed decisions on all items on the ballot — not just the top race or two.

Here are some resources to help you:

Here are the races on our ballot:

  • President & Vice-President
  • Missouri Executive Offices: (Governor, Lt. Gov, Secretary of State, Treasurer, Attorney General)
  • U.S. Representative (this depends on your district. Cori Bush will win district 1 while District 2 is a close race between Ann Wagner & Jill Schupp).
  • State Senator
  • State Representative
  • STL Circuit Attorney
  • STL Sheriff
  • STL Treasurer
  • Retain judges? From state Supreme Court to circuit judges: St. Louis City & St. Louis County
  • CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT 1
    Do you want to amend the Missouri Constitution to extend the two term restriction that currently applies to the Governor and Treasurer to the Lt. Governor, Secretary of State, Auditor and the Attorney General?
    State and local governmental entities estimate no costs or savings from this proposal.
    YES – FOR THE AMENDMENT
    NO – AGAINST THE AMENDMENT
    .
  • CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT 3
    Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to:
    * Ban gifts from paid lobbyists to legislators and their
    employees;
    * Reduce legislative campaign contribution limits;
    * Change the redistricting process voters approved in 2018
    by: (i) transferring responsibility for drawing state legislative districts from the Nonpartisan State Demographer to Governor-appointed bipartisan commissions; (ii) modifying and reordering the redistricting criteria.
    State governmental entities expect no cost or savings. Individual local governmental entities expect significant decreased revenues of a total unknown amount.
    YES – FOR THE AMENDMENT
    NO – AGAINST THE AMENDMENT
    .
  • PROPOSITION D
    Shall the City of St. Louis adopt an ordinance to:
    * establish an open, non-partisan system for elections to the
    offices of Mayor, Comptroller, President of the Board of
    Aldermen, and Alderman
    * enable voters to choose all the candidates they wish in the
    open, non-partisan primary
    * allow the top two candidates to then compete in a runoff
    general election?
    YES – FOR THE PROPOSITION
    NO – AGAINST THE PROPOSITION
    .
  • PROPOSITION 1
    Shall Section 2 of Article VIII of the City of St. Louis Charter, which requires all officers and employees of the City of St. Louis to reside within the City’s boundaries, be amended to permit the employees of the City of St. Louis except for City agency and department directors appointed by the Mayor to reside outside of the City’s boundaries?
    YES – FOR THE PROPOSITION
    NO – AGAINST THE PROPOSITION
    .
  • PROPOSITION R
    Shall the City of St. Louis levy an additional tax of six cents per each one hundred dollars ($100.00) of assessed valuation as authorized by Section 210.860 R.S.Mo. for the purpose of providing additional funding for community children’s services, in particular early childhood services for children aged five years and under, in addition to the current levy of nineteen cents per each one hundred dollars ($100) of assessed valuation?
    YES – FOR THE PROPOSITION
    NO – AGAINST THE PROPOSITION
    .
  • PROPOSITION T
    Should Chapter 23 of the Revised Code of the City of St. Louis be amended to impose a gross receipts tax of seven and one half percent of the gross receipts obtained from Telecommunications Providers, which are and include every entity now or hereafter engaged in a general telecommunication business in the City, providing telecommunication, telecommunications exchange, or local, toll, or long distance, telephone service to its customers with a service or billing address within the St. Louis City limits; and Fiber Networks Providers, which are and include every entity now or hereafter engaged in providing fiber networks, built whole or in part in the City’s public right of way, which are not internet or service providers subject to franchise fees, to customers and other users of fiber networks?
    YES – FOR THE PROPOSITION
    NO – AGAINST THE PROPOSITION

Again, I ask that you take the time to look into all the races & ballot questions before you’re voting absentee or in person on November 3rd.

— Steve Patterson

 

 

Literature Review: Women’s Suffrage in St. Louis

August 26, 2020 Featured, Politics/Policy Comments Off on Literature Review: Women’s Suffrage in St. Louis

It was 100 years ago today that the 19th amendment to the constitution was certified, just in time for millions of women to cast their first votes in the 1920 presidential election. By the time the 19th amendment became effective women in some states had been voting for decades, but now all women could vote in all elections.

DATE: 1916-06-14 Suffragists gathered on the steps of the old City Art Museum at Nineteenth and Locust Street for the Golden Lane demonstration during the 1916 Democratic National Convention. The crowd is gathered on the steps of the museum and on both sides of the street. A sign on the left reads: “Headquarters of the National State and City Woman’s Suffrage Association. Welcome!”

Last month we watched The Vote on American Experience/PBS which demonstrated women weren’t given the right to vote — they spend many decades fighting for the right.

One hundred years after the passage of the 19th Amendment, The Vote tells the dramatic culmination story of the hard-fought campaign waged by American women for the right to vote — a transformative cultural and political movement that resulted in the largest expansion of voting rights in U.S. history.

In its final decade, from 1909 to 1920, movement leaders wrestled with contentious questions about the most effective methods for affecting social change. They debated the use of militant, even violent tactics, as well as hunger strikes and relentless public protests. The battle for the vote also upended previously accepted ideas about the proper role of women in American society and challenged the definitions of citizenship and democracy.

Exploring how and why millions of 20th-century Americans mobilized for — and against — women’s suffrage, The Vote brings to life the unsung leaders of the movement and the deep controversies over gender roles and race that divided Americans then — and continue to dominate political discourse today. (American Experience/PBS)

Highly recommended. It got me thinking about the effort here in St. Louis, so I thought I’d look up old Post-Dispatch articles.  I found thousands of of articles on my search. Not all were relevant many about events elsewhere. I’ve spent days going through search results from 1874 – February 16, 1913. I’d hoped to at least get though this day 100 years ago, but time ran out. I will finish and update the research found below.

— Steve Patterson

… Continue Reading

 

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