Last Tuesday, 6th Ward aldermanic candidate Mark Sloane got more votes than Judy Fiske, Lionel Jean-Baptiste, Don Wilson, Delores Holmes, and Ann Rainey. Yet when the new Council is sworn in a couple weeks from now, they will have seats on the Council, and Sloane won't.
The reason is that the 6th Ward continues to have much higher turnout than other wards in municipal races. In 2005, the 6th ward had over 2,400 ballots cast; no other ward approached 2,000. This year, it looks like there were 2,113 ballots cast in the 6th Ward aldermanic race; only the 7th, with 1,549 ballots cast for alderman, was remotely close. So what would be a winning total in some other wards might only get someone 2nd place, or worse, in the 6th.
Before 6th Warders begin bragging that they simply take their civic responsibility more seriously than some other turf, let's keep in mind that demographics are highly correlated with who votes. Still, it would be nice if all of Evanston voted at the same rate as the 6th Ward; it would be even better if all wards, including the 6th, had at least 50% turnout.
The 9th, 4th, and 1st wards, where there were contests for alderman, had more total aldermanic votes than the 3rd Ward, which typically has higher turnout. What this shows is that choices are healthy for voter participation.
Mark Sloane can't draw much solace from the irony of winning more votes than 5 sitting aldermen, but he can take comfort that his participation helped involve hundreds of voters in a discussion of municipal issues. Win or lose, that's healthy for the city.