By Noah Dawson
Despite a tumultuous first term in office, every incumbent on Amarillo’s city council has been reelected. Still, there is plenty to glean from the results, and despite the win for the incumbent council, not all of the news is good for the winners. This week, I’ll look at how the results this year compare 2017, and how our current election system failed to elect a council that reflects the will of the voters. I will continue my analysis with a part two next week.
The most striking thing about the results is how much less most of the council won by this year compared to 2017. On average, the incumbent council won with about 6.3 percent less of the vote this election, with Mayor Nelson being hit the hardest, earning about 15.5 percent less of the vote than in 2017. Mayor Nelson claimed to have a strong mandate when she took office for the first time, with nearly 80 percent of the vote (despite turnout being extremely low). This time, her mandate is much weaker. If the mayor wants to effectively lead, she must stop referring to critics as part of a “vocal minority” and instead look to ways that she can actually improve her leadership. However, if the past two years are any indication, I don’t think such a change will be likely.
The results also seem to show how broken our current election system is. On average, the incumbent council won only about 68% of the vote, or about 3.4 out of 5. Despite the fact that, on average, 1.6 out of 5 of voters voted against the incumbents, 0 out of 5 of the seats will go to challengers. To me, this proves the point that we need a new election system right, which was a point made by many of the challengers. Sadly, since none of the incumbents seemed to express concern about our current election system, the problem probably won’t be fixed any time soon.