Monday, February 18, 2008

Woodlands Association 2008 Election Results

There were 1,482 votes cast in this year's association election, of which, only about 38% were cast on the Saturday election day, with the bulk of the voters showing up during the two week "convenience voting". Saturday was an extremely light turnout, attributed partially to the weather, partly to the dominant attitude here about the association elections and to an additional added blocking agent this year - no signage on the streets. There has been an effort by some to remove the signage policy from The Woodlands after years of success with controlling it. This was primarily a result of the law passed late last year in Montgomery County outlawing the signs on county maintained roads. Signs help the residents to remember to vote on election days. However, this year the traffic was light on the roads due to the weather, so it is doubtful the signs had much impact, but theoretically they could have made a substantial impact on results due to the very busy lives of our population.

During convenience voting, I went to the association's office several times. Each time I heard something from voters about the support of the propositions. It was obvious what the results were probably going to be. Those candidates who challenged incumbents who did not support the propositions were all ousted. Those candidates who challenged incumbents supporting the propositions did not oust their opponents. One person commented to a polling solicitor outside the building, who was seeking votes for their candidate, "Did your candidate support the propositions?" The reply was "no". "Then I will not listen to you. We do not need people in office who did not support the propositions." I thought that was a bit strong, but it was that person's perspective. Another commented entering the building, "I do not see how anyone can vote for candidates who did not want the government that we voted for in November." But some did in fact vote for them. Incumbents Cheryl Crandall Tangen(39.4% of the vote) and Karen Booren (37.9%) both made fairly strong showings, but not even close to call it a contest. Although there was a moderate attempt to get the voters out and an equally strong campaign for candidates who supported the propositions, it appears that the dominant view might have been that those seeking to support the coming changes would be elected, and there was really no need to get out and vote. Where there were significant challenges for positions having the most influence, the turnout was higher. Panther Creek and Cochran's Crossing were examples. Indian Springs only had 90 voters and three were from my own family! By far, Panther Creek generated the most voting interest with 539 residents casting their votes. Also to note that the voters did vote for the non-contested positions, showing their support for those candidates as well. For example, Lloyd Matthews received 86% of the votes that were placed in the ballot box for Indian Springs West, and Claude Hunter received 89% of the votes cast in Alden Bridge. College Park has a surprisingly low turnout, the lowest number of votes cast of all the villages. See Woodlands Association website)

So now we have the players from the association who will be charged with execution of the agreement between the association and the Township.

Next on the agenda is the Township election in May. That should be a heavily contested election and is shaping up to be a similar contest between those who supported the propositions and those who did not. There will likely be some significant politics involved in a struggle for a successful transition to the new government and to establish a consensus of voters’ values, much more so than the association election.

Wishing my best to those elected. Now put it to the grind. Let's get on with business!

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