Examining the increasing voter turnout in the North Penn community

In the last 8 years, voting for the North Penn School Board has increased by sizable increments every year, which is displayed in the graph above.

Milan Varia

In the last 8 years, voting for the North Penn School Board has increased by sizable increments every year, which is displayed in the graph above.

It’s a slightly chilly morning on the first Tuesday of November. It’s time to vote. Everyone has said voting is important; it’s a civic duty. It is a right. It is a choice. Yet one thing always associated with voting is not enough people voting. Different organizations and groups have attempted to get more eligible people to use their votes. In the past, these attempts in the North Penn School District area might have seemed unsuccessful, but this 2021 General Election proves that votes cast are going up— and by a monumental amount.

In 2013, the North Penn School Board had four open seats with a total vote count of 58,724. The candidate with the most votes had 7,913 total votes.

Today, 7,913 votes would have left a candidate last in the 2021 General Election. The margin between this year’s candidate with the least votes and the leader in 2013 is almost 4000 votes. Overall, candidates running in 2021 had a total of 107,971 votes spread among eight. candidates.

Voter participation for the North Penn School Board has greatly increased in the last eight years.

In 2013, the total count for the school board at North Penn was 58,724 votes. These numbers jumped to 88,227 votes in 2015. Though 2015 did have five open seats to 2013’s four seats, the average votes per candidate were 8,822 in 2015 and 7,350 in 2013. While a 1428 difference may not seem like a lot, it is more than enough to change the outcome for school boards. More and more citizens are now realizing the power behind democracy and their votes. This realization led to another increase.

A sizable jump followed in 2017, where rising participation was displayed once again. Five school board seats were open. This time the total vote count was 94,364 spread across those ten candidates. This build-up is partly due to the prior Presidential Election, where it seemed Americans started to become more passionate with their political ideologies. This specific trend permeated into the 2019 election.

Several different factors contributed to 2019’s increase, but one of the biggest reasons was the Trump presidency. Whether voters agreed with him or not, he caused citizens across America to become more engaged in their political communities, more involved in helping their respective party get votes, and forced them to think critically about the voting impact they have. True implications were realized in this election.

115,413 total votes were cast in 2019 for 5 vacant spots on the school board. Montgomery County implemented a new voting system, which tracked how many times a ballot got cast. For the school board election, 24,352 voters submit a ballot of the 68,126 eligible voters, which equals out to about a 35.75% participation rate. Then, in 2021, even more political narratives formed because of the Biden Presidency, COVID-19, and other issues related to school.

Even though the total vote count was less, it was because voters only chose from eight candidates. The number of ballots cast was greater with 28,054 out of 72,118 eligible voters voting. No single candidate running for election had less than 11,800 votes. This is about 38.9%, a 3.15% increase in voter turnout. The local trends indicate that the value of voting is more important than one might have realized eight years ago. With this in mind, the importance of local elections is gaining traction. On average, a candidate received 13,496 votes compared to the 2019 vote count of 11,541.

This alone is a sizeable increase. So, taking into account the increase over the last eight years, it is apparent that people in the North Penn community are considerably more concerned with what happens with school policy as each year passes by.

During the 2021 Election cycle, North Penn had a town hall and fielded questions from the community, groups have been canvassing and protesting alongside the increasingly politically engaged community, parents have protested at the high school, and are becoming more vocal in school board meetings. Expression of belief is rampant, and while this can lead to dangerous circumstances, it is also important to realize the benefit of this. The power behind the vote becomes more important and increased participation means more civic, organized engagement is possible.