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Thursday, November 29, 2012

Bloomfield School Board Election Final. Updated stats. Missed Voter stat a factor in West Bloomfield decisive outcome ?

Welcome  to  City of Bloomfield Hills, Bloomfield Hills School Board Election Special Edition. Here you will find that election analyzed  in a variety of ways. As you may recall there were two races with three candidates each.  In the first candidates sought six year terms and the results appear below. Early reports had the election as a tie but the official  results gave Incumbent School Board President Ingrid Day a one vote margin of victory. The reasons for that are explained in the Special Edition. You will note that there are precinct votes where one voted  in person on Election Day at a designated polling place. and  absentee votes where one who qualifies by age or circumstance receives  a ballot in the mail which is returned by mail. It is an important distinction because campaigns must have to strategies in place to get both type of vote. Our special edition will also discuss a third type of vote,"the missed voter" which we believe was a factor in this election.It is important to note that voters voting in the Six Year Term Election had two votes. That is because two seats were being contested. When we will compare the results of the Six year term with those of the Two year term  where  voters could only vote once for one candidate  we will divide the number of votes in the six year term by two. That is because the key factor is the number of  voters regardless of how many votes they were allowed to cast. What is curious about the six year term is that  it was a virtual dead heat between a first time school board candidate (although well known and popular) and the sitting School Board President. That is not a vote of confidence for the status quo.
Six Year Term Official Election Results

Precinct
Absentee
Total
Percent
Ingrid Day
6,274
4,481
10,755
39.73%
Howard Baron
5,664
5,090
10,754
39.73%
W. F. Moigis
2,966
2,490
5,456
20.16%

Now let's consider the two year term. Here there is two stories. One is incumbent board member Rob Herner getting re-elected with a vote total more  substantial than the below chart indicates  and Jenny Greenwell age old school board contrarian losing by only 250 votes.

Official Results Two Year Term of Office

Precinct
Absentee
Total
Percent
Robert Herner
3,379
2,348
5,727
37.58%
Jenny Greenwell
2,846
2,631
5,477
35.94%
Joan G. Berndt
2,250
1,725
3,975
26.08%
With that in mind, lets combine both elections and divide the Six year term votes  by  two to even out the one vote two year term election.  With that done (see below chart) the top vote getter in any category  is Robert Herner with 3379 in precinct votes. He also has the highest combined vote  total as well. In second place is Jenny Greenwell with the highest absentee vote of any candidate.  
Greenwell did not do well with the in person precinct vote.She was beaten by Herner by 533  in  precinct votes. Her in precinct vote was a mere 14 votes ahead of the fourth place in that category Howard Baron and 291  behind second place Ingrid Day.  In the combined vote Greenwell is the second highest vote recipient.She was 100 votes better than Ingrid Day and Howard Barron. If she ran in the six year term race and all things  stayed the same she would been elected to on the board. Of course if Greenwell ran against them  Baron or Day may have made more of an effort in order to defeat her. 
All of Herner's numbers are impressive and indicative of a well run campaign except for his anemic  third place absentee vote which left him a mere 250 votes ahead of Greenwell. As a rule absentee votes are the hardest to focus on and  have one short coming. That is there is only a finite number of them. The school election which was coupled with a Presidential election  however gave the  candidates  a seemingly  infinite supply of voters that could be tapped if the campaign had the resources.


All Six Candiates  Combined Results

Precinct
Absentee
Total
Robert Herner
3,379
2,348
5,727
Jenny  Greenwell
2,846
2,631
5,477
Ingrid Day
3,137
2,241
5,378
Howard Baron
2,832
2,545
5,377
Joan G. Berndt
2,250
1,725
3,975
W. F. Moigis
1,483
1,245
2,728
Of course on the morning of Election Day, November 6th, none of the candidates had any knowledge of the numbers we just shared with you. They didn't exist until counted some 14 hours later. Some candidates got  up at crack of dawn with big plans.Others slept in already confident of an easy victory based on prognostications about how the candidates aligned in the two elections.

Some may have decided the election was already over with everybody having pretty much made up their mind on who they would vote for. 

That assumption was wrong. Dead wrong, because for every person who had made up his or her mind was another person who would indeed vote that day but had no knowledge  or plans to  vote in a school election. That is our  so-called missed voter. This number was quite large  in West Bloomfield where interest in the school district is also very high. In short for every voter coming to the polls fully informed on the issues and the candidates of the Bloomfield School District , there would be another voter who 
if asked would vote in the school election as an  after thought. Everybody likes to help the schools but some don't know how or even know that there was a local school election.


Is this a good situation ? Not really but it exists because a Michigan Governor (who might tell you more  more than one Governor of our State  was involved )  decided money could be saved by consolidating elections. The Governor can mandate what  School Districts do and  less elections mean less cost.  In the last year or so our Governor mandated six year terms for school board members. The public outcry however  prompted  him to allow school boards to choose between four and six year terms.

Years ago School Board elections were held in the spring. Then a much smaller number of people voted. Usually the voters were people with interest and  knowledge about the schools in the district. While all registered voter could vote and all were invited to do so many did not . A  move to a fall election was at one time considered a way  to insure a high turn out. This year when the the turnout ran as high as 80% the The  School Board vote lingered below 50%.


Thus in the early AM hours of election day a victory was a very real possibility for five or perhaps even all six candidates.  There was no shortage of people willing to vote in a "school election" they should know something about but unfortunately didn't.

Very cold weather did not deter the vote turnout but it did mean a significant shortage of campaign workers willing to freeze for hours on end at the polling place.The weather also meant that school board election proselytizers had to talk fast and in some cases where allowed walk with the voter. It was too late to change a committed mind, but not too late to broaden the minds of the non committed willing to flip to page two and fill in an oval before turning in a ballot.

The math to determine the missing vote is  fairly easy. Go precinct by precinct through the School District. Note the number of  number of voters who voted in the Presidential Election. Subtract from that number of people who voted in Bloomfield Hills School Board Election. School voters  probably voted for President first. Then Subtract from that the number of people who voted by absentee vote. Now you have the  number of people who voted on in person at the polls on election day but did not vote in the school district election. In virtually every case these "Missed  voters" by walked right by the candidate's  supporters at the various precincts.

On the last hour before dawn on Election Day November 6th 2012, only three candidates and their supporters took the field. 

 The Herner forces were the most numerous.  Mrs. Herner was observed campaigning at Way Elementary. She said Rob who had been ill over the weekend was campaigning at The City of Bloomfield Hills Precinct 1 City Hall. That's where Candidate Joan Berndt's better half  Bill was carrying the flag. Also at City Hall  that morning was State Rep Candidate Michael McCready. A quick look around revealed Herner supporters at  Bloomfield Baptist Church, Bloomfield Middle School, West Hills Middle School, and a surrogate  stumping for Herner while running for West Bloomfield City Supervisor at the Holy Spirit Lutheran Church on Orchard Lake.

On the other side of town Berndt supporters were the Farm, The Heather's Club , and the International Academy. Joan the Candidate, was working the Farm and looking forward to going  toe to toe with fellow candidate and neighbor Jenny Greenwell at IA in an apparent election day tradition.

On that day however the tradition was broken. Neither Jenny or her supporters were anywhere to be seen on Election Day. An oddity that would be noted in final 250 vote outcome.


In the six year term election despite a weekend flurry of emails about polling places and  volunteers offering  to work wherever, no one from the Baron or Day campaign ventured forth. 

Candidate Moigis however had workers at the Doyle Center. His  supporters and had carefully arranged Moigis  signs on Wing Lake Road to emphasize his candidacy  for those en-route to the largest polling place in Township.

During the day the Berndt people  moved east to west and  were later sighted at Fox Hills, Model and Lahser High School before making cameo appearances at WB Holy Spirit Lutheran Church, Lone Pine Elementary before settling in at West Hills Middle School for the last Hurrah. The Herner people generally froze in place and seemed to be emphasizing  key precincts.

There were a few reports of kamikaze One Bloomfield United  teams proselytizing  for Baron and Day, Usually they appeared and disappeared in a blink of an eye. The weekend before the election  OBU was raising money and distributing handbills for Baron and Day.  They said they were concerned about the possibility of  Candidate  Moigis  upsetting School Board Ingrid Day which they saw as a definite  possibility. Maybe they did  the "Missed  voter math".

At seven pm that evening  Cathy Bank wife of the Herner Campaign  manager Mark Bank called it a day at West Hills Middle School. She had done two hours in the morning and three in the evening. When someone asked if she thought she did any good, she said she hoped the sight of someone freezing to death and holding a campaign sign  might prompt voters to at least consider the candidate's message. Actually she did much more than she may have realized. The "missed voter math" said 658 voted that day at West Hills Middle School  for Presidential candidates but did not vote  in the School Board elections. Including all of the Bloomfield Hills Schools Precincts in West Bloomfield, that number increases to 2574 which is ten times the WB winning  actual margin of victory. In the afternoon and evening of  November 6th  in West Bloomfield the Herner and Berndt campaigns were the only ones asking for votes.
 Total
 Presidential Voters
 President voters who did not vote in school election
Precincts
Berndt
Greenwell
Herner
Absentee
polls
WB
618
724
1181
2523
5097
2574
2365
2732
West Hills#13
252
279
403
934
1592
658
716
876
Lone Pine #16
220
274
411
905
1801
896
855
946
Lutheran Church #17
146
171
367
684
1704
1020
794
910





























West Bloomfield is where the School Board Election was decided. Greenwell won everywhere else. Herner's 250 margin of victory in West Bloomfield was the total  margin of victory in the school board's "Two year  term."

Grand Totals




 Herner Victory Margin





Berndt
Greenwell
Herner
B Township
2927
4098
3911
-187
WB
618
724
1181
457
BH City
354
506
499
-7
Orchard Lake
6
16
5
-11
Troy
70
133
131
-2
Total
3975
5477
5727
250


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