Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Town of Chevy Chase Election Results 2009

Linna Barnes was reelected to the Town Council and will be joined by Pat Burda, who currently serves as chair of the Town's Long-Range Planning Committee. They defeated David Eason and Deborah Vollmer. Vote totals and analysis below the fold.

Each voter could vote for two candidates. A total of 615 votes were cast in the Town, down from last year's record turnout.

Pat Burda, 363 (59%)
Linna Barnes, 357 (58%)
David Eason, 267 (43%)
Deborah Vollmer, 44 (7%)

The vote totals add up to less than the possible 1230 votes because many voters probably bullet voted. Some of David Eason's supporters urged a bullet vote in order to maximize his chances of election. However, it is clear that at least one-quarter of his voters must have also cast ballots for one of the other candidates even assuming the unlikely scenario that all bullet votes were cast for him. Of course, some voters may have also cast blank ballots, spoiled their ballots, or bullet voted for one of the other candidates.

As explained in a previous post, one can roughly divide the candidates into three very rough groups from divisions stemming from past debates over land-use controls as well as partisanship. Of course, a number of other issues came up in the election and individual voting decisions are often far more complex.

Pat Burda and Linna Barnes had many of the same supporters as myself and Kathy Strom--two of last year's winners. However, Pat and Linna received a substantially greater share of the vote. Indeed, their margin of victory was greater even in absolute terms despite a noticeable drop in turnout. This occurred despite the perceived potential for Deborah Vollmer to play a Ralph Nader-like spoiler role this year.

David Eason had many of the same supporters as Al Lang did in 2008. However, Dave managed a only slight improvement over Al who came in third and won the final seat in last year's more crowded and complicated race featuring three incumbents as well as three newcomers.