I finally pulled all the voting data for 2017, 2009 (last contested Queensbury supervisor race), 2016 (presidential) and 2014 (governor).
Of course, we all knew that no matter how many absentees ballots wandered in, the 2017 race broke the record for turnout for a local election. Now that’s official: turnout was 42 percent, much higher than the 34 percent back in 2009, but not as high as in gubernatorial and presidential years.
What I found more interesting was the participation rates by enrolled party.
In 2017, 43 percent of enrolled Democrats voted, for a total of 2,041 votes. Many more Republicans voted: 3,955 voters, which is 49 percent of the enrolled Republicans in town.
Now compare that to 2009. Just 29 percent of enrolled Democrats voted. Granted, there wasn’t a Democrat running for supervisor – the Republicans and the Conservatives each endorsed one candidate.
Of the Republicans, turnout that year was 43 percent.
Now, in number of voters, the Democrats didn’t see a huge shift. They had 1,295 voters in 2009 and just 746 more voters in 2017.
Republicans had 3,804 voters in 2009 and 151 voters more in 2017.
Democrat John Strough won the election by 1,264 votes, for a total of 4,414 votes. There were 897 more voters (in the two main parties) in 2017, so we can’t say that either party gave him the win. Voters from both parties had to choose him for him to win.
In fact, every party saw more voters. The Conservatives had 41 more voters. The Independence Party had 199 more voters. The “blanks” (known officially as those who do not affiliate with any party) had 479 more voters show up at the polls.
Given that every party brought in more voters for this election, I think it’s clear that Strough won across the board. There’s been a rumor going around that tons of Democrats materialized and that’s how Strough won.
Well, even if all 2,041 of them voted for Strough, that wasn’t enough for him to win.
There were clearly many non-Democrats who, as they told me on Election Day, voted on the Democratic line for the first time in their life.