Official results are in for Orlando mayoral and city council elections held this week and my prediction has materialized: a dismal turnout. In fact, it was down from 2012. Yes, down, as if it could get worse.
About 14,000 votes got Buddy Dyer elected to a fourth term as Orlando mayor. For an elected official with three prior terms, which suggests he is popular, Dyer generated 1,827 more votes than during his 2012 run – 13,948 votes this year vs.12,121 votes in 2012. It’s definitive! It takes only 14,000 votes to be elected mayor of a city of 260,000-odd people.
It’s also disgraceful. And that’s not all.
District 4 Commissioner Patty Sheehan got an additional six (6) votes in 2015 over 2012 – that is, 3,915 votes vs. 3,909 votes, according to the Orange County Supervisor of Elections office. The biggest loser-winner was District 6 Commissioner Samuel Ings, who obtained 351 fewer votes than in 2012 – that’s right, fewer votes – to cruise to a 52 percent victory.
As I wrote earlier in the Orlando Sentinel, voters are partly to blame for such dismal numbers. They just didn’t come out to vote. Turnout this year was down to 14.6 percent or 22,354 voters, compared with 15.9 percent or 20,880 voters in 2012.
But voters aren’t entirely to blame. The Orlando City Council also moved up elections from the original date of April 2016, a presidential election year in which more voters are likelier to participate.
Just say it: The 2015 election was a case of many chumps, no champs.