“Jaw dropping” turnout increase attributed to voting by mail in Helena, MT

Last week’s municipal election in Helena MT was conducted entirely by mail, over the objections of some city councilors. No one is complaining now, however–turnout was estimated at 61%–more than double the most recent municipal election held in 2005, and the highest level in three decades.

There were a few issues on the ballot that might account for higher turnout, particularly a resolution calling for the withdrawal of troops from Iraq. And elections officials report their impressions that a large number of young voters registered to vote in the election.

Still, for someone like myself who has expressed skepticism about the turnout effects of VBM, this one has to be noticed.