After a soggy but exciting election day, Molly Duffy leads in the special election for the remaining term of a Tredyffrin at-large supervisor seat. Startled Republicans are asking for more proof. The result spiced up the primary election season, which otherwise saw all the party-endorsed candidates moving smoothly to their November showdown.
Some election facts:
- With all 17 Tredyffrin precincts reporting, Molly Duffy is holding a 40-vote margin over Republican Mike Heaberg. Molly 2,266 votes, Heaberg 2,226.
- Mr. Heaberg and Republican leaders have characterized difference as 8 votes, but you can verify the actual tabulation by scrolling to near bottom of Chester County’s cumulative results here.
- Some have called the turnout low. In fact, the turnout–22%–was very respectable and likely inspired by the supervisor race.
- Independents could vote in the special election, and therefore increases the number of “registered” voters in the county reporting—rather than in a regular closed primary where only D’s and R’s vote. Only 7% of Independents voted and weakens the overall percentage. Do the math, and the result strengthens the case that 22% turnout this May is actually very good.
- Plus, you can compare with the turnout in the last local election primary–2009, which was 15%, when only Dems and Republicans could vote.
- Party differences in participation: D’s and R’s finished in a dead heat, each turning out 24% of their faithful.
- In short, it was gray day, slower at the polls in the morning, but finishing strongly, and a very respectable showing for democracy. We are thankful for and proud of those who voted!
How Close Is Close In The Special Supervisor Race?
Forty votes difference in 17 precincts. Sure, we get preachy, saying your votes counts, but the Tuesday result proves again how the absentee ballot, the college student voting, or that last-minute rush from the train station to the polls can really make a difference.
If you were one of the people responding to late-afternoon calls to come and vote before the 8 P.M., see what you did!
Verifiable Paper Trail
There were scattered difficulties county-wide with the ballot-scanning machines, including in some Tredyffrin precincts. Mr. Heaberg and Republican leaders are apparently calling for a recount, based on those instances. Recounting is their right, and we have no objection, as long as it does not drag along inappropriately.
Whatever the outcome in the supervisor race, we hope Republicans will join us in acknowledging a debt to Easttown’s Marian Schneider, Tredyffrin’s Margaret VanNaerssen and other members of the Chester County Coalition for Voting Integrity. Starting their grassroots effort in 2005, these activists resisted the move toward direct-recording electronic systems without paper trails and assured that Chester County ended up with verifiable paper ballots. Hence, we are confident county election officials can assuredly determine a certifiable outcome.
We are obviously excited about Molly Duffy’s result and expect it to hold up. More Republicans than Democrats did vote Tuesday, giving them a potential edge of over 300 votes. Even factoring in 240 voting Independents–and we do not know how that vote split–Molly’s record of non-partisan community service clearly had traction with Republican voters. Plus, Molly introduced substantive issues to the campaign–business revitalization and Paoli transit-center-based redevelopment. The turnout by Democratic voters was strong, but in order for Molly to achieve a 40-vote margin she had to attract support across the political spectrum.
“Professionally I pay attention to energy and energy conservation, and I’m amazed at the human energy that goes into a campaign. Thank you so much for making this an extraordinary May election! I’m of course grateful for the people who voted for me. But even those who didn’t vote for me were out on a rainy day participating in the democratic process, which is good for all of us. I’m confident the vote count will be affirmed quickly, and I’m looking forward to turning my personal energy toward serving everyone as supervisor.”
Meanwhile, Molly Duffy is just the leading edge of a great group of Democratic school board and supervisor candidates. Clearly, Molly was not the only candidate generating voter enthusiasm. School board president Karen Cruickshank again garnered a healthy margin of support from both the Democratic and Republican balloting. With their very positive primary results, Scott Dorsey, Jerry Henige and Jenny Wessels are poised to join Karen in competitive fall races. In the fall, Molly will join Ernie Falcone as our at-large supervisor standard bearers, with Tory Snyder anxious to represent the east district on the Board of Supervisors.
All the candidates join in expressing appreciation for your support. It’s great to have 2-party democracy on the upswing again in Tredyffrin. Thank you for your help.
Note: If you would like to dive into the details of your polling place totals and see how you contributed, you can just click on Chester County’s interactive map for your precinct results.