Election Map 2012: Orange County Transit Tax Referendum

It's time to implement the transit plan.

As Gerry Cohen noted in a recent post, on Tuesday of this week, the county commissioners will take up three resolutions to begin implementing the Orange County transit plan. The transit plan describes how investments will be made in public transit in Orange County and the funding sources for those investments—including a new half-cent sales tax levied by Triangle Transit, a new $7 vehicle registration fee levied by the county, and an additional $3 vehicle registration fee levied by Triangle Transit.

The three resolutions under consideration this week will authorize the collection of the sales tax and vehicle registration fees. The stage has been set for this implementation step over many months. First, the county commissioners adopted the Orange County transit plan on June 5. On October 24, they approved an interlocal implementation agreement with Triangle Transit and the Durham-Chapel Hill-Carrboro Metropolitan Planning Organization. Finally, in November, Orange County voters approved the half-cent sales tax for transit in the general election by a vote of 59% to 41%.

The map below shows the precinct-level vote for the transit referendum. This map differs from previous election maps on OrangePolitics, in that it both shows the direction of the vote in each precinct and accounts for population density. (The inspiration was a map of the US presidential election results by Chris Howard).

Precincts leaning for the referendum are shown in shades of blue; precincts leaning against the referendum are shown in shades of red. Moreover, precincts with higher voter density are shown with greater opacity, whereas precincts with lower voter density are shown with less opacity. Voter density was calculated for each precinct as the number of ballots cast in the referendum per square kilometer. (Raw data are available in this Google spreadsheet.)

The map shows the usual differences in election results between the more rural precincts and the more urban precincts. It also shows that the precincts with the highest density of votes were more strongly in favor of the referendum.


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Damon that's a great set of tools you used in creating the density enhanced map.  Is it possible for you also to do a simpler map that JUST shows % vote -- maybe a band for under 40%, one for 40-50, 50-60, 60-70 and 70+% with the dark blue being the highest % yes

I love this Damon.   People like to find themselves on a map.  :)   And that adds to the usefulness of the map. Toward that end, the only improvement I could suggest would be to make the roadmap layer a transparent overlay on the density/color map so that road names would be visible in the high population density areas.

If you click "View larger map" it's fairly easy to see road names if you zoom in.

Thanks to my friend Brad (who I believe may be a wizard), we now have a cartogram of the transit referendum results. You may be familiar with the cartograms created by Mark Newman for the past few presidential elections.

In the cartogram below, Orange County's precincts have been resized to reflect the number of ballots cast in the transit referendum. In other words, precincts with more ballots cast in the referendum are shown larger than precincts with fewer ballots cast. The direction of the vote is shown with the same red-blue color scale used above. The bluer the precinct, the greater the support for the referendum. Click the image for a larger version.

Cartogram of 2012 transit referendum



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