Charlottesville held a historic election today: Its first for a school board, at last jettisoning one of the remnants of Jim Crow; and its last to take place in May, since local elections will move to November in 2007.
It was a long day and a busy one, but I had a chance to take a few photos along the way.
Turnout for this election was slightly more than 25 percent of registered voters. The day ran smoothly and was virtually incident-free. Chief election officials returned their documents and equipment to the Voter Registration Office along with raves about how good the day was in comparison to past elections. They were especially full of praise for the first-time election officials (including 27 University of Virginia students recruited through a special program organized by Deputy Registrar -- and UVa alumnus -- Evan Smith) who demonstrated dedication, competence, and interest in their (largely) volunteer positions.
At the end of the day, Julian Taliaferro and Dave Norris were victorious, with incumbent Councilor Rob Schilling coming in third. Despite strongly-worded endorsements for Schilling by the Daily Progress and the Charlottesville-Albemarle Tribune (an African-American weekly), the Democrats once again took monopoly control of City Council, using their well-practiced get-out-the-vote machinery and sheer numbers to their advantage. (Unofficial election results can be found on the Charlottesville City web site.)
Winners of the School Board race were incumbent Ned Michie and the team of Leah Puryear and Juandiego Wade. Bob Gibson has that story here.
As usual, there were a handful of write-in votes cast by those who were dissatisfied with the options on the ballot. No votes for Mickey Mouse of Daffy Duck, but a lot of scattered votes for people whose names don't make the front pages. (Apparently a number of people wrote in their own names or those of close friends.) Still, a few Charlottesville "names in the news" show up in the write-in category: Blair Hawkins, Jon Bright, Coran Capshaw, Peter Kleeman, Tom McCrystal, Shirley Presley, and Waldo Jaquith all got votes for City Council. Write-ins for School Board included Andy Warhol, Bill Igbani, Dede Smith, Ho Chi Mama, and Karen Waters.
A quick glance at the numbers shows that the Schilling campaign's decision to encourage "single-shot" voting ("Vote for Rob and Rob alone") had an impact, but was not sufficient to overcome the Democratas traditional advantages. It looks like more than 1,700 Charlottesville voters chose to vote only for Schilling, with about 600 voting for Schilling and one of the other two candidates. (It will take a thorough examination of the Cast Vote Records -- snapshots of how each individual voter combined his or her voting choices -- to determine the precise numbers of single-shots.)
Speaking of single shots, in a letter to the editor published in Tuesday's edition of C-VILLE, Gene Fifer simultaneously insults elementary school teachers, musicians, property managers, entrepreneurs, web designers, and real estate salesmen. He does so in an efficiently-delivered, multipronged calumny directed at Councilor Schilling, who (Fifer asserts) "has never had to work a day in his life." Since Schilling has held all of those named jobs over the years, one can logically infer from Fifer's rhetoric that he believes nobody who does those jobs works hard for a living.
Tomorrow is the canvass, when the official election results will be certified. Now it is time for bed.