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POLITICS THE COST OF VOTES

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You want allegations of vote-buying in the May city elections? We’ve got proof of vote-buying, and what’s more, it’s all perfectly legal. Our mathematics editor took the total votes of several candidates and divided that into their total campaign expenditures as of April 29. the last reporting period before the election. Thus was born D’s Cost Per Vote Index, which reveals just how much each pol ponied up per ballot.

The bargain candidate was Marvin Crenshaw, whose 2,658 votes in the mayor’s race cost him a dirt-cheap 20 cents each. Almost as thrifty was Peter Lesser, who garnered 17,002 votes for just $1.13 apiece. Another loser, Billy Jack Ludwig, paid a whopping $10.61 for each of his 3,510 votes. That’s just about enough for two people to go to a movie-which, judging from the turnout, is exactly what most people did.

Two wealthy winners actually paid less per vote than Lud-wig. Annette Strauss paid a tidy $4.32 for each of her 60,895 votes, while Jim Buerger, who won the Place 10 at-large spot, was a model of economy, dishing out only $3.33 a head for the votes of 40,275 citizens. Keep in mind, though, that Strauss has run city wide three times before, and Buerger poured more than a million dollars into a losing race for mayor in 1987. Those runs generated a lot of name I.D. that helped hold expenses down this time around.

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