Jeff Branscome writes about Spotsylvania County.
A look at Vote Splitting
Vote splitting has real implications on an election. As an example, I will look at the 2003 election in which Supervisor Emmitt Marshall faced two opponents.
Typically, when you split votes, if you take the number of votes for candidates B and C, they total more than the incumbent candidate A. It shows voters want change; they don’t agree on whom should be their leader. The argument is these voters would agree if they had just one other person on the ballot instead of two challengers.
Marshall, a seven-term incumbent, will have two opponents again this year. Gary Bullis, who has the local GOP support, is running again. And today, I met the third candidate, Layton Fairchild Jr. The district seat is only for two years this election cycle because supervisors decided to have staggered terms.
Here’s a glance of the votes in the 2003 election for the Berkeley District. In 2003, Marshall defeated Mark Kuechler and Bullis.
The results show that Marshall is unbeatable in the Blaydes Corner precinct, where he received 414 votes, compared to 89 for Bullis and 101 for Kuechler. But the rest, although Marshall wins every precinct, show how the split really hurt the other two guys.
Partlow: Bullis, 172; Kuechler, 112; Marshall 272. Vote split is 284 to 272.
Travelers Rest: Bullis, 127; Kuechler, 232; Marshall, 291. Vote split is 359 to 291.
Massaponax: Bullis, 125; Kuechler, 158; Marshall, 172. Vote split is 283 to 172.
In total, Marshall won 1,149 votes and his two challengers won 1,348. Classic vote-splitting example.
Supervisor Gary Jackson in 1999 ran a three-way race and won. Jackson was a planning commissioner at the time, and he split the votes with the two other candidates. Jackson defeated independent David Jones and Republican Richard Wright. Jackson received 38 percent of the vote; Jones got 33 percent and Wright got 29 percent.
So far, Jackson is running for re-election unopposed. The deadline to file is tomorrow.