Measurable progress in municipal voter turnout
Voter registration and turnout figures for the May 2017 municipal election tell an exciting story of real progress in San Antonio’s efforts to increase voter participation. Comparing the May joint elections rather than June runoffs to get an apples-to-apples comparison, the number of registered voters increased by a quarter in two years – from 821,615 in 2015 to 1,026,817 in 2017. These huge gains in voter registration had the effect of making overall turnout – the total number of voters who cast a ballot as a percentage of total registered voters – appear to drop slightly, from 11.89 in 2015 to 11.32 in 2017.
The total number of ballots cast in 2017 was 116,222, though – a whopping gain of 19% over 2015’s total of 97,697. If we look at it by voting precinct instead of county-wide, turnout as a percent of registered voters rose in two-thirds of voting precincts, and more than one in ten precincts showed a 10% or greater increase in turnout. Maybe most exciting is the distribution of the increase – both registration and turnout increasing across the county, including central-city and lower-income neighborhoods.