Self promotion alert.

Here is a story profiling my distinguished chaired visiting professorship at Appalachian State University.

A set of companion bills (HB111, SB84) have been introduced in the Texas legislature that would allow for same-day registration during the period of early voting (SB84 looks like it is an attempt to institute same day registration for early and election day voting).

This has always struck me as an easy lift.  At a recent conference, Charles Stewart referred to the “two percent rule,” indicating that most election reforms would result in, at best, a 2% change in turnout.  I agree with Charles except for same day registration; we have lots of evidence that this reform results in a larger and consistently positive boost in turnout.

And since the same day registration occurs during early voting, there is no issue with jurisdictions not having enough time, staff, or resources on election day to make sure the registration is valid.

These may have no chance in the legislature, but it’s nice to see the debates occurring.

A number of changes in California law should result in more ballots being counted because voters have a few more days to return the ballots, and election officials have a few more days to resolve any outstanding issues with signatures.

But this will surely slow the count in California as officials process vote by mail ballots.

A new article by William D. HicksSeth C. McKee, Mitchell D. Sellers and Daniel A. Smith is available on FirstLook for the Political Research Quarterly.  From the abstract:

We undertake a comprehensive examination of restrictive voter ID legislation in the American states from 2001 through 2012. With a dataset containing approximately one thousand introduced and nearly one hundred adopted voter ID laws, we evaluate the likelihood that a state legislature introduces a restrictive voter ID bill, as well as the likelihood that a state government adopts such a law. Voter ID laws have evolved from a valence issue into a partisan battle, where Republicans defend them as a safeguard against fraud while Democrats indict them as a mechanism of voter suppression. However, voter ID legislation is not uniform across the states; not all Republican-controlled legislatures have pushed for more restrictive voter ID laws. Instead, our findings show it is a combination of partisan control and the electoral context that drives enactment of such measures. While the prevalence of Republican lawmakers strongly and positively influences the adoption of voter ID laws in electorally competitive states, its effect is significantly weaker in electorally uncompetitive states. Republicans preside over an electoral coalition that is declining in size; where elections are competitive, the furtherance of restrictive voter ID laws is a means of maintaining Republican support while curtailing Democratic electoral gains.

The Voting Wars: College Edition in one map
Hagan / Tillis votes in Watauga County, NC

Hagan / Tillis votes in Watauga County, NC

 

 

 

Jacob Canter and I are working on a longer post summarizing the various and sundry details of the college voting controversy that roiled the Appalachian State University campus, Boone, and Watauga County NC.

A quick map, courtesy of the NY Times, captures the partisan nature of the controversy pretty well.  Three precincts in Boone city proper contain most of the ASU college students.  And these precincts are pockets of blue in a red county.

Oregon Turnout as of 11/2

Since at least last Monday, the Oregon Secretary of State’s website has published turnout numbers for the upcoming midterm. For whatever reason, however, they did not publish any data over the weekend, leaving me (and potentially many campaign managers) frustrated by the lack of information. Turnout is, probably, the most important issue in midterm elections, and leaving so many in the dark during such a crucial moment in the election is really unfortunate.

Thankfully, however, the office once again published their data earlier today. As in an earlier post, I’ve rank ordered the counties by overall turnout, democratic turnout, and republican turnout:

11.2turnoutOR

Continue reading

Screen Shot 2014-11-03 at 1.13.31 PM

Image courtesy of ballot.hackoregon.org

A great new site with an unfortunate name, “HackOregon” (message to 20 somethings, not all end users view “hacking” as a positive), provides assorted visualizations of campaign spending in Oregon, using information available from Orestar.

The most revealing thing to me is the fact that ALL the initiative and referendum campaigns rely on substantial donations from out of state donors and from very wealthy individuals.  Nearly every campaign ad I’ve seen this year charges that “outsiders” and “billionaires” are influencing Oregon elections.  Welcome to the post Citizens United / McCutcheon world of campaign finance!

The site could use some improvement in the search mechanism; right now you have to know what (phony) name is being used by many committees in order to search for their spending.  For example, search on “Measure 89″ or “Measure 90″ and you only get one or another of the campaigns.

Very nice visualizations!

The black vote in NC: Should Democrats Worry?

On Wednesday, the NYTimes wrote about the democratic party’s most recent attempt to get out the black vote this midterm. In North Carolina, the party has pushed an aggressive and racially charged ad campaign to remind their constituents why voting this election matters so much. While some may view this as a risky move, the NC democrats may need it. The article notes that, for democrats to have any chance this election, the black share of the electorate must increase from 19% (the share in 2010) to 21%.

Is their plan working? The below figure shows the percent early in-person black and nonblack turnout relative to all NC registrants in 2010, 2012, and 2014.

Figure 1

Figure 1

Continue reading

This story was apparently prompted by an earlier post I made at earlyvoting.net and a FB discussion on the political science interest group, but also news about the Alaska flyer listing voting histories.

The question she asks is whether “shaming” will increase turnout (political scientists know the answer) but even if it does, is this something we want to encourage?  My own unscientific poll of Facebook friends: hell no!

Byline is by Fredreka Schouten, Paul Gronke is quoted about halfway down.

There has been a lot of ink spilled over a recent article in the Monkey Cage that suggested that “Non Citizens Could Decide the The November Election.”  At last count, the post had generated 3305 comments, the most by far in the history of the Monkey Cage.

The blog posting was based on a forthcoming article in Electoral Studies, which had a less provocative title (“Do Non Citizens Vote in US Elections“) but does contain this highly charged claim:

These results allow us to estimate the impact of non-citizen voting on election outcomes. We find that there is reason to believe non-citizen voting changed one state’s Electoral College votes in 2008, delivering North Carolina to Obama, and that non-citizen votes have also led to Democratic victories in congressional races including a critical 2008 Senate race that delivered for Democrats a 60-vote filibuster-proof majority in the Senate.

The conservative websites, such as the National Review and the Drudge Report, that publicized the findings, seem to have missed the final statement in the article:

For those who wish to further restrict participation by non-citizens, however, our results also provide important cautions. Simple resort to voter photo-identification rules is unlikely to be particularly effective.

My interest here is less in the possible problems with the study; John Ahlquist and Scott Gelbach and Michael Tesler, in separate Monkey Cage postings, have done a nice job summarizing these.

And to the credit of Jesse Richman, the lead author of the study, he has not shrank from the public gaze and has engaged with his critics at Rick Hasen’s Election Law blog in particular.

But I have to add that this quote, in a recent “Fact Checker” article in the Reno Gazette-Journal, is just brutal.

UPDATE: After this story posted, Richman replied via email:

“We agree with your rating of a ’4′ because:

“A. Noncitizen voting might tip one or two extremely close races but is unlikely to tip the balance in the Senate, and certainly not in the House.

“B. Science is a process of finding, validation, replication and rebuttal. We are at the very beginning of the process. Colleagues have raised reasonable questions about the data we used–problems that we acknowledge in both the study and the Monkey Cage. It will take some time and additional research to increase confidence in our findings.”

Horse.  Stable Door.  Too Late.

The damage form this study may have already been done.  Doug Chapin, someone who bridges political science and policy, has already written (“Is Political Science Blowing It’s Close Up?”) about the impact of this study (and the Montana experiment) on when and how election administrators may engage with scholars.  I am attending a conference of election officials in just a few weeks, and I am certain I will have to defend our discipline from those who are already skeptical about working with scholars.

Any political scientist, and particularly those who work in the elections administration and election policy fields, need to be worried to see a quote like this from one of our supporters and friends:

But if political scientists aren’t careful – either in monitoring their own or their colleagues’ research and publishing decisions – the interest in political science-driven stories will wane. Or worse, it could become yet another (albeit more numerate) weapon in the ongoing rhetorical wars between the parties.

It will also make it harder for researchers and election officials to “play nice” with one another on projects of mutual interest – which for me would be the unkindest cut of all.

My professional association is working hard to convince politicians and policy makers that our scholarship can be relevant.  But we as members need to be very circumspect about how we publicize our work, particularly in the context of a dynamic and competitive election campaign.  This is not about a few citations or a few appearances on local news shows.  This is about political power, and those in power can be quite unforgiving.

 

Featuring WPMU Bloglist Widget by YD WordPress Developer