LETTER TO THE EDITOR: ‘Are There Two Buriens?’
Are there two Buriens?
The simple answer is Yes and No. It really depends on the context of how you ask the question. There is certainly a perception of “East” versus “West” of Ambaum Boulevard in Burien, but I won’t be looking at that directly. I wanted to look at this question in regards to the most recent election (November 8th, 2011).
First some asterisks of note. I didn’t split the 34th precincts between east and west of Ambaum. So, in relation to East versus West in the 34th pre-annexation scenario, that hasn’t been analyzed. I also did not include any under-votes (blank), over-votes, or write-in candidates. The vote count per race was not uniform so I totaled the three races and averaged out the vote count.
In the following scenarios, there were no changes in who won the overall election. In this regard, there is only one Burien.
The scenarios are: Voting in the 11th. Voting in the 33rd. Voting in the 34th. North Burien voting. 34th pre-annexation voting. Burien voting removing Pre-annexation 34th. Burien voting removing North Burien.
- There are 22,405 registered voters in Burien. Of those, 11,283 or 50.36% voted.
- There are 7,545 registered voters in the 11th. Of those, 2,703 or 38.82% votes were counted.
- There are 3,285 registered voters in the 33rd. Of those, 1,243 or 37.83% votes were counted.
- There are 11,575 registered voters in the 34th. Of those, 5,589 or 48.28% votes were counted.
- There are about 7,108 North Burien registered voters. Of those, about 2,578 or 36.26% votes were counted.
- There are about 9,353 34th pre-annexation voters. Of those, 4,610 or 49.28% votes were counted.
- There are about 13,052 Burien voters, removing pre-annexation 34th. Of those, about 4,925 or 37.73% votes were counted.
- There are about 15,297 Burien voters, removing North Burien. Of those, about 6,957 or 45.47% votes were counted.
Where one might argue that there is a divided Burien is in how many, in each scenario, vote. First, the 34th district represents a little more than half of Burien’s registered voters. Adding to the argument is that about half of these registered voters voted. Combining the 11th and 33rd legislative districts yields just under half of Burien’s registered voters. Yet, only about one third voted. The theoretical voting power, in a West Versus East of an Ambaum Boulevard scenario, is about equal in Burien. In practice there is a self-imposed difference.
Another view where you might see a divided Burien would be in the race for Position 6 in relation to the 34th pre-annexation vote. All of the other scenarios closely matched the general election numbers. In this scenario, however, Robison defeated Wagner by just 23 votes (2,294 to 2,271 out of 9,353 voters). The rest of Burien elected Robison over Wagner at much higher rates (2819 to 2089 out of 13,052 voters).
Also, the “rest” of Burien (about 60% of registered voters) out-voted the pre-annexation 34th by just 343 total votes.
Some perceive the “West of Ambaum” crowd as noisy, but they also vote. They are about 40% of the city and it is their voice that is heard since they take the time to vote.
Where any politician can get in trouble is representing the interests of the voter, over the interests of the citizens. This slippery slope runs both ways when a politician represents the interests of the citizen over the interests of the voter.
I did this analysis to try and unite our community, and to call attention to our self-imposed inequities in how we vote. I would love it if every citizen voted. It’d be nice to have 100% or near 100% voter turnout. Our representative government works best when everyone participates.
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