Sunday, July 4, 2010

219th GA: An Analysis of the Vote for Moderator

Because of glitches with the electronic voting system in the election of the Moderator, I am inclined to almost discount the first two ballots. There were only 497 votes recorded on the first ballot in spite of there being nearly 720 registered commissioners. The second ballot recorded 556 votes, better than the first ballot but still not nearly enough. Obviously some votes were not being counted.

The third ballot recorded 638 votes. Floor assistants counted approximately 80 empty seats. The glitches seemed to have been fixed but still none of the six candidates had the clear majority to be elected.

Between the first and third ballot it was apparent that commissioners were shifting from Kim, Lauterer and Nielson to Bolbach and Leeth. I think it can also be argued that they were shifting from Belle to either Bolbach and Leeth, most likely to Leeth, but because of the voting glitch that shift is not as apparent.

Bolbach was elected on the forth ballot, capturing 325 of the 635 votes cast. Leeth received 148 votes on the final ballot, just fourteen less than the other four candidates combined. Thus the two female candidates drew far more support than the four male candidates.  My intuition tells me that after the first ballot, those who first voted for Lauterer and Nielson started switching to Bolbach.  Likewise, those who first voted for Belle and Kim started voting for Leeth. 

I have heard some observers opine that while Bolbach was not the most charismatic candidate she demonstrated competence with a hint of whimsical humor, and that commissioners were looking for calm competence rather than a charismatic but less experienced moderator. I have also heard people say that Leeth was the most genuine and transparent of the three more conservative candidates. Some people are also suggesting that none of the candidates truly stood out and that all the nominating speeches were somewhat lackluster. Nevertheless, Bolbach pulled 149 votes on the first ballot, nearly twice as many as the second highest vote getter on the first ballot, Lauterer, who received 76 votes. Had all the votes been counted on that first ballot, Bolbach might have received more than double the votes of the second highest, whoever that might have been, as only five votes separated the other four candidates.

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