The numbers game

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The numbers game

The following is data from the 2010 U. S. Census for the town of Brunswick

15,175 people lived in the town of Brunswick
There were 9,599 housing units
There were 8,469 households

How are these numbers arrived at? By questionnaires sent and returned by residents who have an address at which they can be reached. Where does the government obtain these addresses? The only accurate source is the town’s list of registered voters. But is it accurate?

In order to be registered to vote one must go to the town clerk, give their name and local address. A post office box number will not suffice but if you have a box with UPS they will give you a street address at which you can have your mail sent. How many boxes does UPS have in Brunswick? The response from the UPS store yielded it has 240 boxes for rent which is only 1.47 % of the 16,312 on the town’s list of registered voters.

The foregoing paragraph identified how you get on the list of registered voters but did not explain how you get off the list. If you die, a certificate to that effect is issued. The distribution of that certificate is determined by law which is different in each state. It is how certain jurisdictions, Chicago being one of them were able to count the votes of deceased registered voters by having ballots completed by political functionaries for themselves and decedent voters. If you move and someone uses the same address when registering to vote the registrar can purge the rolls to eliminate the prior registrant unless the prior registrant still lives at that address and is a relative of the registrant and living in the same household, such as son or daughter that becomes eligible to vote having attained the age of 18. It is also the registrar or town clerk that collects the absentee ballots.

On Tuesday June 13 the people, or I should say a minority of the town’s registered voters voted 2,040 to 1,779 to approve borrowing to build a new elementary school and 2,183 to 1,604 to approve the school budget that was already approved by the Town Council. This disparity in the total can be explained by those choosing to not mark yes or no, leaving the ballot blank. The result was that 3,819 out of a supposed 16,312 or 20% of the registered voters voted to increase the taxes of the remaining 80%. That’s democracy for you.

One cannot assume that if the remaining 80 % would have voted either yes or no because no other choices, such as none of the above were on the ballot. The rules are a majority of those actually voting. The methodology of the minority it to restrict the options and to hold the vote at a time when only those favoring adoption actually need show up to vote in sufficient numbers so as to offset those who will take the time to vote no.

Would the vote been on the question or whether or not to increase the property tax would the results been any different? Probably not, because there still would have been a decision requiring a positive vote, my point being there would not have been an issue if the budget was the same as in the year past or making due with the schools we have. The government could not have that because the school department is required by contract to give the school department employees with contracts increasing in salary and a new school has been determined by the school department as necessary because they have failed to maintain the old ones.

The long and short of if the vote was negative the item would be re-voted until the result was ultimately yes.