Ski Townies Voted More Than The Rest of Us
High turnout combats unfortunate stereotype of lazy ski bums
Politicians might want to add ski bums to their lists of key demographics, according to data from the November 2012 election.
State and county election results show that ski-town voters turned out at much higher rates than the national average of 58 percent. More than 90 percent of active voters in several ski-centered counties in Colorado participated, while 83 percent of voters cast their ballots in Mount Hood’s Clackamas County in Oregon. In Deschutes County, home to Mount Bachelor, Hoodoo and other ski areas, 80 percent of eligible voters turned out.
Mono County, CA and Summit County, MO also had strong showings.
Two of the most active voting area were Pitkin County, CO and Teton County, WY. In Pitkin, an area dominated by four Aspen Skiing Company mountains, only 268 out of 10,413 active voters did not participate—a turnout of 97.42 percent. In Teton County, near the Jackson Hole and Grand Targhee ski areas, 96.26 percent of active voters cast a ballot on Election Day. The county ran out of ballots in six precincts.
“We’re just politically motivated here and it’s always been that way,” County Clerk Sherry Daigle told Powder Magazine. “People want to be here because of the beauty and recreational activities, so we’re passionate about our surroundings and vocal about protecting what we have. People don’t have ‘voter apathy’ in their vocabulary here.”
Pitkin County has a history of political engagement, and county election manager Dwight Shellman also attributed the turnout to strong get-out-the-vote efforts in the key battleground state.
Lynda Roberts, a Mono County clerk, attributes the strong turnout to the different between rural and urban mindsets. Rural people, she believes, tend to feel more connected to local candidates and issues. In the case of a tight presidential race, therefore, more people are willing to cast a vote.
“In a rural county a few votes can make a difference, so people want their vote to count,” Roberts told Powder Magazine. Less than 100 people of the 6,000 active voters in Mono County did not vote.
Nancy Blankenship, a clerk of Deschutes County in Oregon, added that the larger the county is, the smaller the turnout will be.
But as strong as the showing was out West, no city could beat Dixville Notch, New Hampshire, where all 10 of the hamlet’s 10 registered voters participated. The act continued the 50-plus year tradition of 100 percent voter turnout.