New London Newspaper Story on How Green Party Wins in Waterford Surprised Even the Green Party Itself

The Day, daily newspaper for New London, has this story about the election of several Green Party nominees in the November 7, 2017 city election in Waterford.


New London Newspaper Story on How Green Party Wins in Waterford Surprised Even the Green Party Itself — 1 Comment

  1. Waterford is a town of 19,000 near New London, not to be confused with the city of Waterbury with a population of 106,000 in the southeastern part of the state.

    Waterford does not permit a party to nominate candidates for all positions on the representative town meeting (RTM). It is divided into four districts, which elect either five or six members to the RTM. A party may nominate up to 2/3 (rounded up) members. 2/3 of 6 is four. 2/3 of 5 is 3+1/3 which rounds to four.

    On the ballot, there would ordinarily be one row with the four Democrats, and one row with four Republicans, with instructions to vote for no more than five (or six) depending on the district. In Waterford, there was one Green candidate in each district, and in three of the four districts, he was also nominated by the Democratic party, so was listed twice on the ballot, which would look like this.

    Dem: AA BB CC DD
    Rep: EE FF GG HH
    Gre: BB

    The Democratic candidates, Andy Andrews, Betty Brown, Carla Carmino, Dave Douglas were on the first row; the Republican candidates, Edith Edwards, Frank Flood, Gloria Gold, and Hank Henry were on the second row. Betty Brown was also the nominee of the Green Party (in Waterford, it appears that the Democrats cross-endorsed the Green candidates, rather than other way around.

    The Republicans appear to have a slight overall advantage in Waterford, but with an electorate of around 600 to 800 in each district, there would be expected to be some personal votes. If Frank Flood was your neighbor or barber or school crossing guard, you might vote for him regardless of his party affiliation.

    If you were a partisan voter, you might vote for the four nominees of your party, and then pick out one or two of the other party (depending if your district elected 5 or 6 members). But once you had started looking at individual candidates, you might vote a more balanced ticket, and independent-minded voters might deliberately choose candidates from each party. Since the two major parties were fairly evenly matched, there was considerable overlap between the vote totals, so that all four nominees of one party were elected in only one district (and that district still elected two members of the opposite party).

    It appears that more partisan voters may have voted for the Green candidate. Republicans could vote for four Republicans, and then vote for a non-Democrat. Democrats could vote for four Democrats, and then vote for a non-Republican. Many of these Democratic voters might have double voted for the cross-nominated candidate candidate. This is not illegal, it just wastes one of the five (or six) choices.

    As the article notes, such a double vote would be allocated on the basis of the votes on the two lines. Republicans and independents would be more likely to vote on the Green line, while the double voters would be more likely to be Democrats who didn’t notice they voted for the same person twice, and any allocation of the Democrat double votes, would be more favorable to the Green line.

    In any case, these double votes were not why the Green nominees were elected. They had to received considerable cross-party and independent support, since even the one Green who was not cross-nominated finished second in his district.

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