Sunday, April 5, 2009

More Letters

Dear SP-EYE,

I've heard people talking about voting strategies. Some of the terms used are "bullet vote" and "under vote".

I firmly believe we need change on our school board. They just do not seem to be, nor want to be, in touch with the community that elected them.

I'm intrigued by the prospects of the write-in candidate, John Welke; but isn't it really hard to win an election if your name isn't on the ballot? Is there a voting strategy to ensure we get change on our school board? If so, what is it, and is it legal?

Thanks for your help!

--Wondering in Sun Prairie

Dear "Wondering". Thanks for asking! And yes, there certainly are strategies to improve a write-in candidate's chances of getting elected.

An undervote occurs whenever, for a given office, a ballot is submitted which contains less than the maximum number of choices which can be made. In this year's school board election, 3 seats are available, two 3-years terms and a 1-year term. The candidate receiving the 3rd highest vote total will get the 1-year term (the remainder of Jim Carrel's original term).

So any ballot for this year's school board election on which an elector chooses only 1 or 2 candidates, will represent an "under"vote.

A bullet vote is an undervote in which only a single candidate for a given option is selected, even though the option to select two or more candidates exists.

There most definitely can be strategy involved in undervoting. The bottom line is that if you want Candidate "X" to be elected, any vote for the other candidates merely dilutes, or cancels out your vote for Mr. X. Political junkies and strategists will often discuss for whom and when an undervote or bullet vote represents a good strategic move to improve the chances of election for a given candidate. And, yes, undervoting and bullet voting is perfectly legal.

If you want change on our school board and you believe John Welke is THE guy to help effect that change, then we would suggest you consider a bullet vote for Welke. Simply write in "John Welke" next to the first blank line for School Board which sometimes contains "(write-in)" in small text. Then connect the arrow. That's all you need to do. That will ensure that ONLY Mr. Welke receives a vote. Remember, by virtue of being listed on the ballot, the 3 incumbents already have a better chance of being (re)elected.

Also bear in mind that undervoting can effect change in another way this year. The candidate that comes in 3rd receives only a 1-year term and must run for re-election next year. If you really want to effect change on the board, Welke needs to either receive the highest or 2nd highest vote total. That way, one incumbent will be "voted out" and another will be on a very short leash with the prospect of having to run for office all over again next year.