Are There Gendered Voting Blocks on the Northfield City Council?
There is a perception in certain quarters that the four women on the Northfield City Council (Councilors Nakasian, Peterson White, Pownell, and Zweifel) represent a distinct "voting block" that is consistently opposed to the three men on the Council. To determine whether this was true, I analyzed Council votes between January 8 and September 4, 2013, as recorded in the official City Council minutes posted on the City of Northfield website. I counted only the votes on Motions, Resolutions, and Ordinances. The total number of votes counted was 108. A complete tabulation of the votes can be found here (.pdf).
Here is some of what the data revealed:
- 49% of all votes were unanimous (52 out of 108).
- Only 9% of votes (10 out of 108) were divided along gender lines.
- Councilors DeLong and Ludescher voted together in 5-2 votes (or 4-2 on June 18, when Mayor Graham was not present) 18% of the time (20 out of 108). In other words, DeLong and Ludescher voted as a "block" twice as often as the four women did.
- Councilor Ludescher holds the record for "No" votes. He voted "No" 34% of the time, and 9% of the time was the only "No" vote.
In short, there is no evidence from the data of consistent voting blocks on the City Council, nor are votes on the Council consistently split along gender lines.