Voter registration and turnout figures for the May 2017 municipal election tell an exciting story of real progress in San Antonio’s efforts to increase voter participation. Comparing the May joint elections rather than June runoffs to get an apples-to-apples comparison, the number of registered voters increased by a quarter in two years – from 821,615 in 2015 to 1,026,817 in 2017. These huge gains in voter registration had the effect of making overall turnout – the total number of voters who cast a ballot as a percentage of total registered voters – appear to drop slightly, from 11.89 in 2015 to 11.32 in 2017.
The total number of ballots cast in 2017 was 116,222, though – a whopping gain of 19% over 2015’s total of 97,697. If we look at it by voting precinct instead of county-wide, turnout as a percent of registered voters rose in two-thirds of voting precincts, and more than one in ten precincts showed a 10% or greater increase in turnout. Maybe most exciting is the distribution of the increase – both registration and turnout increasing across the county, including central-city and lower-income neighborhoods.
CI:Now’s Laura McKieran and Bob Gradeck of the University Center for Social and Urban Research (UCSUR) in Pittsburgh co-presented via webinar to a group of grantees of the Citi Community Progress Makers Fund on ways to support open data and how San Antonio is organizing and collaborating to build local data capacity. CI:Now and UCSUR are both local partners in the National Neighborhood Indicators Partnership.
The United Way of San Antonio and Bexar County has awarded CI:Now $75,000 for 2017-2018. A portion of that award will go toward data support for United Way’s own community data needs, with the balance intended to fund tools and services that help our community access and use data for better decisions and more effective action. The United Way has long understood the value of making better data available to everyone and has invested in our community data capacity for 20 years and counting, and we are so grateful for their steadfast support.
As CI:Now rounds out our second decade of democratizing data, we’re excited to announce that we have transitioned to a 501(c)3 nonprofit structure. Nonprofit status simplifies the grant and contract arrangements that support our growing operations, while preserving community ownership and leadership via our volunteer Board of Directors, formerly called the Policy Group.
United Way of San Antonio and Bexar County, one of CI:Now’s late 1990s founders and its fiscal agent and funder in every year since, remains a strong working partner in our efforts to turn data into information Texas communities can use to make our world better. CI:Now’s core staffing will remain with the UTHealth School of Public Health in San Antonio, a great academic partner to our community focus. CI:Now will continue to serve as a local partner in the National Neighborhood Indicators Project and a member of the Community Indicators Consortium and the San Antonio Nonprofit Council.