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Primary Turnout Is Worst in at Least 16 Years; Black Voters Shrug Off 3 Black Candidates

| August 25, 2010

buddy taylor voting precinct

They weren't lining up, especially at the third-worst precinct by turnout, at Buddy Taylor Middle School. (© FlaglerLive)

Supervisor of Elections Kimberle Weeks sustained severe criticism in the past year over budget issues and her clashes with the Flagler County Commission. But Commission Chairman George Hanns, who is also one of the three members of the county canvassing board (Weeks and Circuit Judge Sharon Atack are the others) had only praise for her after Tuesday’s primary. “The operation went very smooth as far as Ms. Weeks’ office went,” Hanns said, “her employees were on the move constantly and seemed to be well organized, and the election in my opinion went off like a well-oiled machine.”

The first release of numbers shortly after 7 p.m. was slightly confusing as tallies pointed to all 35 precincts being counted, when in fact just over half the ballots had been counted. But all ballots were tallied and the results posted at 8:34 p.m., even after several thousand had to be re-counted.

flagler county 2010 primary election turnout graph chartOne factor helping the rapid count: a dismally low turnout. Just 14,100 voters out of Flagler County’s 64,277 registered voters cast a ballot, for a turnout of 21.94 percent. That’s the lowest turn-out since computer records have been kept, beginning in 1996. The 2006 primary, also an off-year election, had produced the lowest turn-out until yesterday, at 23.4 percent.

A precinct-by-precinct analysis shows that voters were likeliest to vote in whiter or richer precincts. They were least likely to vote in poor and black neighborhoods.

That’s the usual trend in elections. White, older and richer voters go to the polls in larger proportions across the country. There was reason to think this primary would buck the trend at least a little, because three black, high-profile candidates were in local races–Sid Nowell and Marc Dwyer in the circuit judge race for Kim Hammond’s circuit court seat, and Raven Sword in the District 5 race for school board. If any of those candidates were counting on a heavier black turnout, they didn’t get it.

The top five precincts by turn-out, which got between 32 percent and 34 percent, were the Haw Creek Community Center in the western part of the county, Grand Haven Village, Beverly Beach, the Palm Coast Yacht Club and the Portuguese American Club.

The precincts that drew the lowest turnout were Rymfire Elementary School, Central Baptist Church, Buddy Taylor Middle School, the St. Johns Park Fire Station in Bunnell, Wadsworth Elementary, and the African American Cultural Center.

In sum, whiter, richer precincts turned out at nearly double the rate of precincts where voters tend to be poorer, and black populations larger.

Overall, Fischer won 26 precincts to Sword’s seven. They tied in one precinct. Generally, where Fischer won, he won with comfortable leads. For example, he won with more than 50 percent of the vote in six of those precincts, including 58 percent at the Haw Creek Community Center in western Bunnell, 56 percent at the Flagler Beach Community Center, and 57 percent at Santa Maria Del Mar in Flagler Beach. (Fischer, a Catholic, drew heavily on Catholic congregations.)

Sword in comparison did not win a single precinct with 50 percent or more. Her best result was 46 percent at the Indian Trails precinct, and 45 percent at the St. Thomas Episcopal Church precinct. St. Thomas Episcopal happens to be the church former school Board member Jim Guines attends. Guines is Sword’s campaign manager. Sword also won the African American Cultural Center precinct, but not by much: 42 percent, to Fischer’s 38 percent. She won at the Belle Terre Elementary precinct, adjacent to Indian Trails. The two candidates tied at the Buddy Taylor Middle School precinct, which takes in neighborhoods east of Belle Terre and north of State Road 100.

The third candidate in that race, Peter Peligian, did not win a single precinct, though he tied with Sword at the Rima Ridge polling station, with 34 percent there. That polling station drew the second-lowest number of votes in that school board race, out of the 35 precincts, with just 56 votes cast. Peligian and Sword got 19 each, Fischer got 18.

In the race for the Flagler County-based 7th Circuit Court judge seat held by Kim Hammond, Marc Dwyer won 19 precincts. He tied one, with Sid Nowell, who won five precincts. Dennis Craig won eight precincts, Joe Horrox won just one. In the end, Craig and Horrox, on the strength of their votes in Volusia, St. Jons and Putnam counties, eliminated the four other candidates in the race. Their race will be decided in a run-off on Nov. 2. So will the race between circuit court candidates Don Holmes and Scott DuPont. In the third 7th circuit race relevant to Flagler residents, Matt Foxman beat George Pappas outright.

Election Turnout: Who Voted Most and Least

Precinct # and nameNumber of registered votersVotes castTurnout percentagePercentage of votes cast early
Precinct 3 - Haw Creek Community Center31510834.29%9%
Precinct 31 - Grand Haven Village218172733.33%13%
Precinct 11 - Beverly Beach Town50516833.27%10%
Precinct 8 - Palm Coast Yacht Club168654432.27%16%
Precinct 34 - Portuguese American Club134342931.94%17%
Precinct 15 - St. Mary's Catholic Church142742529.78%16%
Precinct 27 - Hammock First Baptist Church183352428.59%14%
Precinct 22 - Shepherd Coast Lutheran Church227464728.45%25%
Precinct 10 - Hammock Community Building165647028.38%14%
Precinct 20 - Flagler Beach Fire142539427.65%23%
Precinct 12 - Flagler Beach Methodist Church153140826.65%24%
Precinct 9 - Temple Beth Shalom198752826.57%23%
Precinct 30 - Old Kings Elementary School124032526.21%24%
Precinct 18 - Rima Ridge Fire2907525.86%3%
Precinct 2 - Flagler Beach Community Building128432825.55%23%
Precinct 13 - Palm Coast Community Center197649024.80%18%
Precinct 32 - Flagler Schools370585723.13%33%
Precinct 5 - Espanola Community Center2435522.63%4%
Precinct 7 - VFW Post 8696308569122.40%16%
Precinct 14 - Parkview Baptist Church172937821.86%26%
Precinct 23 - Hancock Bank158034221.65%15%
Precinct 25 - Flagler County Library166835621.34%31%
Precinct 19 - St. Thomas Episcopal Church212844721.01%23%
Precinct 16 - Belle Terre Swim and Racquet Club295861820.89%24%
Precinct 21 - First AME Church216444120.38%24%
Precinct 1 - Bunnell City Hall127923618.45%14%
Precinct 26 - Palm Coast Bible Church245041316.86%28%
Precinct 36 - Belle Terre Elementary203734016.69%29%
Precinct 29 - Indian Trails Middle School207934216.45%28%
Precinct 28 - African American Cultural Center237236315.30%28%
Precinct 33 - Wadsworth Elementary School184627114.68%34%
Precinct 4 - St. Johns Park Fire206229514.31%19%
Precinct 37- Buddy Taylor Middle School245034514.08%30%
Precinct 35 - Central Baptist Church316644213.96%19%
Precinct 38 - Rymfire Elementary School232327811.97%29%
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25 Responses for “Primary Turnout Is Worst in at Least 16 Years; Black Voters Shrug Off 3 Black Candidates”

  1. Rafael Gomez says:

    Black Voters Shrug Off 3 Black Candidates? Does that mean when a Hispanic politician is on the ballot I’m more prone to vote for him/her. That part of the headline is straight out of Glenn Beck’s handbook on how to be a racist. Stereotype much Pierre?

  2. Mr. Rob says:

    Dear Flagler Live,

    Your inference that a heavy black voter turnout would have helped the black candidates is not necessarily so.

    In my case I don’t vote for a candidate because they are black. Likewise I will not decline to vote for a candidate because they are white. I vote for the person who at least starts out espousing positions that are similar to mine. I don’t rush out and cast my ballot for the first black face I see. The “we have to vote for this black man or woman “, syndrome does not work with me any longer.

    I voted for both of the black council members in Palm Coast based on what I heard from there regarding their positions on certain issues. One did not win in a previous election and was appointed; one did win in the most recent election. I did not vote for Mr. Frank Meeker for city council and as events unfold he appears to be the lone council member who shares similar visions and perspectives as I do. Casting a ballot based on race may not yield the desired results.

    Taking it one step further, if it had not been for whites who had their hearts and minds in the right place Barack Obama would not be President. Black folks are not the ones who put him in the White House.

    So if one uses your assumption of voting based on race then John McCain should be President.

    I vote for whom I believe would represent me and my interests best, without regard to race.
    And no I don’t belong to the Tea Party.

  3. Pierre Tristam says:

    That voters don’t consider race in their choice is a nice delusion, but a delusion nonetheless, though race as a factor in one’s decision isn’t in and of itself a negative act. It can be, it often is, and it’s usually interpreted that way, but that doesn’t preclude objective analysis of voting patterns strictly on their own terms.

    Factually speaking, whites didn’t elect Obama: just 43 percent voted for him, compared to 55 percent voting for McCain. What helped Obama was a surge in the non-white vote: 95 percent of the black vote (including a 69 percent turnout among black women, highest in history), 67 percent of the Hispanic vote, 62 percent of the Asian vote, all of that among an electorate with a diminishing white proportion, which amplifies the strength of the non-white vote, combined with a particularly low white turn-out. Some of those figures are available here. Obama’s race, interpreting the word at both levels, and the nature of his campaign, obviously made a huge difference.

    Locally, the fact that three black candidates were running in two high-profile races is notable. Analyses of voting patterns by race are routine. I don’t see them as stereotypical or derogatory, as the implication in these two comments seems to be, though there’s plenty of necessary analysis to draw out of this election, in the Sword race particularly.

  4. Will says:

    Pierre – a question:

    Were early votes – cast at only three locations – assigned to their voting districts to arrive at your numbers above or are they not included above?

  5. Will says:

    Another question:

    Does anyone care to analyze the Haw Creek vote, considering that Mr. Fischer lives in Palm Coast, not in the west county?

  6. Pierre Tristam says:

    Will, those early votes were coded to reflect what precinct the voter is registered in. That’s a telling number. We’ll add a column above to reflect each precinct’s early-voting percentage, out of actual votes cast. Look for the update within the hour.

  7. Liana G says:

    Maybe voter caging was a factor. Did the county offer to provide free transportation for citizens to take them to voting stations? High unemployment in an already poverty stricken area makes it especially difficult for the poor and new poor to have access. And poor and minorities do tend to vote blue.

  8. Bob K says:

    Sorry, Liana. I would say the poorest area is Bunnell city. Bunnell city hall isn’t more than a few blocks from anywhere in the city. Barring any physical malady, if you can’t walk that far, then you’re just not interested. What are we supposed to do, carry people to the polls and pay them?

  9. Liana G says:

    Hi Bob; Below is the list of Title 1 schools in Flagler (Schools with a large low-income student population) according to the proverty guidelines – see below.

    Bunnell Elementary School- Rymfire Elementary School- Wadsworth Elementary School- Buddy Taylor Middle School- Flagler Palm Coast High School- Heritage Academy Charter School – Palm Harbor Academy Charter School

    The 2010 Poverty Guidelines for the 48 Contiguous States and the District of Columbia.
    Persons in family – Poverty guideline
    1 10,830
    2 14,570
    3 18,310
    4 22,050
    5 25,790
    6 29,530
    7 33,270
    8 37,010

  10. Jim says:

    My vote was absolutely influenced by race. It will be a very long time before I vote for a black person again. I have no trust in politicians as it is and the direction that Bam is taking this country is beyond words. Spend, spend, spend. Lavish vacations by his family. It is literally making me sick. Oh yeah, Obamacare will take care of me. He has not brought this nation together…he is pulling it apart. Good Job Bam!

  11. starfyre says:

    the 14 thousand that voted were hired by acorn

    and yes i wont ever vote for a black man–not after what obama has done

  12. Jenn Kuiper says:

    So yeah, let’s judge an entire race of people based on the actions of one person. I guess I won’t vote for any white men anymore because of George W. Bush. Ridiculous.

  13. Joe says:

    Jim, you raise a good point when you consider race at the polls.

    When 95% of the Black communiryt voted for Obam Boom, nobody blinked an eye. It was dicussed and debated all over the media. But let 95% of the Whites vote for for a non-black candidate and suddenly we become racists. My answer is: so what . Isn’t the sauce for the goose still sauce for the geese?
    The NAACP should by right be classified as a hate group right up there with the KKK — but that will never happen.

    I agree with Attorney General Holder when he said that Americans are cowards when it comes to race.
    — in that we don’t confront it and talk about it. We lay back and tend to let things happen without a whimper. The democrtats and their media will use the race card everytime. We have embraced political correctness ro the point where we’re choking on it.

  14. upset says:

    GLENN BECK SAID: “WE ARE ONE RACE HUMAN” WHAT DO YOU ALL THINK OF THAT?

    Raphel Gomez, how dare you say that about Glenn Beck. He is far from being a racist. Perhaps you should look at Glenn Beck and try to understand where he is coming from.
    Tonight he has Martin Luther King’s neice (Priest for Life. org) on his program of whom is with Glenn Beck’s thinking. Oh, by the way she is going to be with him on Saturday, October 28th at the Lincoln Memorial with all the TEA PARTY PEOPLE. And they are not racist they are for the CONSTITUTION AND HONEST GOVERNMENT.

    PIERRE TRISTAN: WOULD YOU SAY YOU ARE A RACIST? WITH THE ARTICLE THAT WAS WRITTEN ABOVE CERTAINLY WAS RACIST. WHAT ARE YOU TRYING TO DO TO OUR COUNTY OF FLAGLER, INCITE RIOTS. GET OFF IT AND START LOOKING TO GOD IF THAT IS WHAT YOU BELIEVE IN OR IS IT MUSLIN? YOU AND YOUR BLOGGERS HAVE TO START SEEKING AND WRITING THE TRUTH, THIS WEBB SITE IS VERY MUCH SLANTED. WHAT BUSINESS IS IT OF YOURS WHO THE BLACK PEOPLE VOTE FOR? MAYBE THEY ARE FOR THE CONSTITUTION WHICH I WONDER IF YOU KNOW WHAT IT IS ALL ABOUT.

  15. Bob K says:

    I did not and never would vote for a black man……..IF his name is Barack Obama. I saw that incompetent coming from a mile a way; the lofty speeches and styrofoam columns didn’t fool me either. I was hoping Condoleza Rice would have run, because I would have voted for her in a heartbeat. Rafael, can you cite something Beck said or has done to PROVE he is a racist? You must have missed the two back to back episodes he did on black Americans who made significant contributions to our country, but never made the history books, because they were black.

  16. Bob K says:

    I’m a little confused with the title of the first chart, “Flagler’s Lazy Voters,” and the following from an article from just a few days ago:

    “But voting is neither a virtue nor a responsibility. It is a neutral civil right, like the right to marry, have children, earn a graduate degree. Not voting — like not marrying or not procreating future taxpayers — is a right of equal weight, a choice as defensible as the choice to vote. Both are exercises in freedom.

    How can you make the assumption that Flagler’s voters are “lazy,” when the possibility exists that they chose not to vote?

  17. Liana G says:

    Sigh.. .This is exactly why America’s rich – the people that control our political system – gave us Obama instead of Hillary. Because if there was a white person in power there would be no race issues to divert our attention from the real issue – the exploiting of America by America. So they gave us a black man and got to work stirring up the hate and using their corporate media to keep it full center; going back and forth, back and forth – pretending to be outraged at one another for creating conflict while all along they are in it together, playing their parts in a script they wrote. And while the acting is outstanding, the plot is lame. What could have been said about Hillary if she was elected. She’s a woman? Don’t forget she was actually nicknamed Mr President when her husband was president. And a fine job she did too! Wake up America! Presidents are puppets controlled by their rich puppet masters! And these puppet masters decides what’s best for THEM not us! And what’s best for them right now is to create racial strife in order to divert attention from what they have done to us ordinary folks. Why do you suppose the electoral votes and not the popular votes determine the presidency – so that the ordinary citizens don’t get to decide.

  18. upset says:

    PIERRE TRISTAN: WOULD YOU SAY YOU ARE A RACIST? WITH THE ARTICLE THAT WAS WRITTEN ABOVE CERTAINLY WAS RACIST. WHAT ARE YOU TRYING TO DO TO OUR COUNTY OF FLAGLER, INCITE RIOTS. GET OFF IT AND START LOOKING TO GOD IF THAT IS WHAT YOU BELIEVE IN OR IS IT MUSLIN? YOU AND YOUR BLOGGERS HAVE TO START SEEKING AND WRITING THE TRUTH, THIS WEBB SITE IS VERY MUCH SLANTED. WHAT BUSINESS IS IT OF YOURS WHO THE BLACK PEOPLE VOTE FOR? MAYBE THEY ARE FOR THE CONSTITUTION WHICH I WONDER IF YOU KNOW WHAT IT IS ALL ABOUT.

  19. upset says:

    Bob K, I think we should get together and educate some of these bloggers and Pierre Tristan. What you say?

  20. upset says:

    Joe, I disagree with you in regards to Attorney General Eric Holder. He is one of Obama’s Czars and has alot of nerve calling Americans cowards, he is the first one outside of Obama to pull the race card. Let him speak for himself. Just like Obama called the Americans stupid. And believe me SOME Americans were stupid. They wanted CHANGE. Look what they got. Wake up you Americans that voted for CHANGE, Obams and his CZARS are going to take good care of you and the Americans that did not vote for him. WAKE UP AMERICANS that wanted CHANGE and VOTE out these parties that are going to turn our country into SOCIALISM..

  21. upset says:

    CORRECTION, ERIC HOLDER IS NOT ONE OF OBAMAS CZARS.

  22. upset says:

    STARFYRE, YES, YOU MADE A MISTAKE, LIKE ALL OF US, BUT JUST BECAUSE YOU VOTED FOR THIS BLACK/WHITE MAN DOES NOT MAKE THE REST BAD. THERE IS GOOD AND BAD IN ALL. LOOK AT WHAT THE PERSON IS ALL ABOUT, UNFORTUNATELY THIS PRESIDENT IS A PUPPET FOR GEORGE SOROS. DO YOU KNOW WHO HE IS. I BET PIERRE TRISTAM DOES.

  23. Jim says:

    I totally agree with Liana that Bam is a puppet, whose pulling those strings, I’m not sure. I try to speak to people that voted for Bam and I really want to understand why they voted for him. Do you know the answers I get: “I wanted Change”…”what kind of change?” “Change”. or “I don’t talk Politics”. or “I don’t like Bush”. These people are totally ignorant and know nothing except who they want the next American Idol to be. It angers me to no end that these people voted this Radical into office and now we and our children have to pay for this. Bam is in way over his head and stands for nothing except….”is everybody Happeeee”!

  24. Bob K says:

    Liana, I think your part about the racism is correct, but I believe the MAIN reason the Dems picked Obama is because they believed he could win. Hillary had a lot of baggage that could have been used against her. Noone knew who Obama was, other than he was new, “clean” (according to the dunce Biden,) articulate, and, of course, black. They believed that would protect him from criticism, and if he did get any they could immediately scream “racist.”

  25. Will says:

    It’s time, “upset” for you to get back on your meds…..

    “,,, WHAT ARE YOU TRYING TO DO TO OUR COUNTY OF FLAGLER, INCITE RIOTS. GET OFF IT AND START LOOKING TO GOD IF THAT IS WHAT YOU BELIEVE IN OR IS IT MUSLIN? YOU AND YOUR BLOGGERS HAVE TO START SEEKING AND WRITING THE TRUTH, THIS WEBB SITE IS VERY MUCH SLANTED…”

    “Seeking and writing the truth”. An admirable goal. From whose perspective? Certainly not yours.

    Slanted “webb” site? As in Jack Webb? All he wanted were “the facts, ma’am, just the facts”….

    “START LOOKING TO GOD IF THAT IS WHAT YOU BELIEVE IN OR IS IT MUSLIN?” Now I’m confused. That makes no sense. Are you suggesting that a plain woven sheer to coarse cotton fabric is somehow to blame in all this?

    I think I know now. You’re exercising your First Amendment rights to say what you want, no matter how nonsensical it is.

    Salaam.

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