Featured letter Better way to understand candidates' vote totals

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As shown below, on April 2, 2019, candidates for the Beloit School Board received votes which were publicized in various media along with a percentage figure that is a candidate's total divided by the total votes cast for all candidates. These percentages are misleading and counter-productive.

John Wong, 2343 (21.18%); Megan Miller, 1791 (16.19%); John Winkelmann, 1749 (15.81%); Pam Charles, 1736 (15.69%); Phillip VanLandingham, 1276 (11.53%); Ami Christophersen, 1199 (10.83%); Torie Champeny, 900 (8.135%); write-in, 68 (06.41%).

Total votes cast: 11,062

Since each voter was allowed to vote for four (4) candidates (even though some presumably chose only three or fewer), the number of voters selecting candidates turns out to be far fewer than the 11,062 number (like perhaps approximately one fourth of 11,062 or about 2765). This lower divisor into the voting total of each candidate yields a more informative documentation of support. It produces a descriptive vote percentage for them in this instance that is four times the published figures. When voters can choose multiple candidates, the number of people voting divided into the total votes cast for a candidate is the important computation if we want to get a meaningful percentage.

So, the winning candidates wind up with percentages as follows: Wong (84.72 %), Miller (64.76%), Winkelmann (63.24%) and Charles (62.76%).

These figures document support for the candidates that is more informative than the earlier low percentages. This is important, because it shares a clearer, accurate description of what happened in the election, and it is important because it documents community support for our newly elected leaders. The earlier low percentage numbers did not do this. They were misleading. In fact, our winning candidates have backing from more than half of the voters.

Tom Warren

Beloit

The former Beloit City Council president and retired Beloit College professor's analysis is well taken, and we thank him for it. We will report accordingly in future elections. - WRB

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