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1Nov/150

2015 Early Voting by Neighborhoods and Council Districts – Final Edition

Complete City of Houston Early Voting results by neighborhoods and council districts:

Turnout by Neighborhood

========================================================
Neighborhood   15EVTO%   13EVTO%  13TO%  (Precincts)
========================================================

African-American Neighborhoods
--------------------------------------------------------
Southside AfrAm  13.0%     9.3%   18.9%  (31,140,180,219,863)
Northwest AfrAm  17.1%     9.6%   18.1%  (109,157,365,576)
Fifth Ward       12.8%     7.4%   16.2%  (138,144,186,406)
Hiram Clarke     14.4%     9.0%   17.8%  (216,286,292,318,542)

Hispanic/Latino Neighborhoods
--------------------------------------------------------
Lindale          12.7%     7.2%   16.4%  (46,78,196,207,637,846)
East End          8.7%     6.3%   15.2%  (11,64,69,72,218,530)

Anglo GOP Neighborhoods
--------------------------------------------------------
Kingwood         24.6%    11.8%   22.5%  (469,563,590,612,760)
Clear Lake       17.6%    11.6%   24.3%  (473,728,732,744,745)
West             19.3%    11.8%   27.1%  (130,356,437,438,492,499)

Anglo Dem/Swing Neighborhoods
--------------------------------------------------------
Sharpstown       13.2%     9.3%   19.9%  (256,296,297,311,426)
Meyerland        15.1%    12.5%   34.6%  (14,146,176,281,293,403)
Heights - C      13.3%     8.8%   25.3%  (53,57,58,501)
Montrose         17.0%    11.5%   27.6%  (34,37,39,60)

Indexed Early Voting Results

African-American Neighborhoods
-----------------------------
Southside AfrAm  1.405
Northwest AfrAm  1.786
Fifth Ward       1.726
Hiram Clarke     1.601

Hispanic/Latino Neighborhoods
-----------------------------
Lindale          1.766
East End         1.387

Anglo GOP Neighborhoods
-----------------------------
Kingwood         2.081
Clear Lake       1.518
West             1.638

Anglo Dem/Swing Neighborhoods
-----------------------------
Sharpstown       1.419
Meyerland        1.205
Heights - C      1.504
Montrose         1.478

Turnout by Council District

                      2015                    |                    2013         
----------------------------------------------|--------------------------------------
Dist      RV      TO   TO%   Share  13-compare|         RV        TO      TO%   Share
----------------------------------------------|--------------------------------------
A     75,080   9,897  13.2%   7.7%    0.0%    |     70,734    13,560    19.2%    7.8%
B     96,557  12,661  13.1%  10.2%    2.1%    |     95,663    13,780    14.4%    7.9%
C    133,318  18,547  13.9%  14.3%   -4.0%    |    128,427    32,489    25.3%   18.6%
D    113,446  14,385  12.7%  11.4%    0.0%    |    110,678    19,681    17.8%   11.3%
E    110,475  17,696  16.0%  14.1%    3.2%    |    105,417    18,712    17.8%   10.7%
F     70,047   6,367   9.1%   5.0%    0.5%    |     67,105     7,794    11.6%    4.5%
G    117,415  19,438  16.6%  15.4%   -0.4%    |    115,926    27,348    23.6%   15.7%
H     73,921   7,107   9.6%   5.5%   -0.3%    |     71,973    10,271    14.3%    5.9%
I     65,335   6,030   9.2%   4.6%   -0.7%    |     62,833     9,553    15.2%    5.5%
J     47,124   4,186   8.9%   3.4%   -0.1%    |     45,697     5,947    13.0%    3.4%
K     80,621  10,849  13.5%   8.4%   -0.3%    |     78,927    15,485    19.6%    8.9%
----------------------------------------------|--------------------------------------
COH  983,339 127,163  12.9%                   |    953,380   174,620    18.3%   

Obviously, the main eye-catcher is that Kingwood has already surpassed in Early Voting this year what it turned out for the entire 2013 cycle. There's only one datapoint to compare against here and 2013's 22.5% turnout doesn't seem like a terribly high bar to clear in a more hotly contested race such as this year's. While much of the neighborhood comparisons have an unknown variable of how many voters come out on Election Day, there's still something to be said for batting more than double the early vote of the last comparable election. And mathematically, there's nothing to suggest that all of the city vote in Kingwood is maxed out.

The flip side of this is what would seem like a decline of turnout in Meyerland. To be more accurate, Meyerland has turned out in greater numbers than their 2013 Early Vote turnout. And their 2013 EVTO was the highest you see on this list. So I believe that a better interpretation is that they are still just as likely to match their insanely high 2013 turnout of 34.6%. I think it's easier to see Meyerland just doing a great job of matching previously great turnout and possibly not being as capable of flushing out new voters in a city year. There's no inverse of the Tea Party activity that Kingwood benefits from.

Sometimes the motivation to drive out one segment of voters to the polls has a disparate impact in an electorate. And sometimes the motivation in one constituency has an echo effect that motivates competing constituencies. A classic example of the latter was seen in the North Carolina Senate campaigns involving Jesse Helms (in 1984 and moreso in 1990). In both cases, there was a belief that African-American voters could be motivated to vote in numbers greater than usual. In other words - their share of vote could be increased. Unfortunately, the efforts to increase interest among African-American voters also drove up turnout by North Carolina white conservatives. That Sen. Helms relied on television advertisements that were accused of being racist isn't without some parallel to the anti-HERO ads we see and here today in Houston.

Local elections, however, are a different story. About the best example I can think of locally was the 2007 HISD bond election, with many leading African-American elected officials opposed to the bond issue due to the plans it contained for closing a number of community schools in African-American neighborhoods. The bond passed, but with African-American voters rejecting it in their polling places. This election definitely feels reminiscent of that. So it's not that "such-and-such neighborhood/constituency/whatrever didn't turn out" for this election. It's more the case that another such-and-such whatever DID get an additional motivation to turn out.

We'll see some of the usual postmortems about who didn't vote, how baffling it is that so few people end up voting, and other horror stories that accompany elections every year. I still don't buy such stories, though. We'll end up seeing a healthy increase in turnout by the time Election Day is done with. In and of itself, that's better than the alternative. Whether a particular outcome meets my preference or not is a different story. But I doubt we'll see any postmortems that accept blame for not talking to enough friends and neighbors.

Until then, read into the above numbers what you will. For all of the increases in turnout among GOP-friendly areas, the voting behavior is still Dem-leaning throughout the city. Nothing terribly bad can happen as long as that's the case.

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