The changing vote by mail electorate in California

The changing vote by mail electorate in California

Courtesy of California Civic Education Project (

Courtesy of California Civic Education Project (

Courtesy of Los Angeles County Clerk/Recorder Dean Logan’s twitter feed, researchers at the University of California, Davis’s California Civic Engagement Project has released a fascinating analysis of vote by mail usage in the Golden State.

Some of the patterns are not surprising to anyone who has followed vote by mail for a while: by-mail voters tend to be older and white and Asian.  The report pays particularly close attention to lower Hispanic usage rates of VBM, but I’m a bit disappointed that there is no report of African American usage, which Charles Stewart and I have shown has grown enormously in Florida and other southeastern states.

Party differences are, as always, complex.  A greater proportion of Republican affiliators use vote by mail, but because Democrats hold such an enormous registration advantage in the state, a larger proportion of the vote by mail electorate overall is Democratic (43%) vs. Republican (33%) and No Party preference (18%).

Nate Persily is in the cage

Nice posting by Nate Persily on Monkey Cage:

EVIC research in Presidential Commission on Election Administration

The Presidential Commission on Election Administration, also known as the Bauer-Ginsberg Commission, has issued its final report.  Rick Hasen, waking and working before all of us, has already provided a great summary of findings and recommendations.  I’m particularly excited to see the Election Toolkit produced by the Voting Information Project.

I testified before the Commission in Denver, accompanied by Jacob Canter (exp. ’14).  Our work last summer was partially supported by the Alta S. Corbett Summer Research Program of Reed College.

Congratulations to Nate, Charles, Tammy, Ann, Chris, Ben, Bob, Trey, and all the commission members and staff!

More updates from California

More updates from California

Links are courtesy of the Public Policy Institute of California, an active policy research shop in Sacramento.  PPIC has a broad portfolio that includes high quality work on elections, election administration, and voter turnout.

  • January 23: California’s Future: Voter Turnout. 
    DATE: January 23, 2014
    TIME: 12:00 to 1:30 p.m. (registration 11:45 a.m.)
    LOCATION: CSAC Conference Center
    1020 11th Street, second floor
    Sacramento, CA


  • Brief video summarizing PPIC research findings on California voter turnout at You Tube.

New elections research newsletter from US Votes / OVF

This looks like a nice effort by Susan, Claire, and others at US Votes and the Overseas Vote Foundation:

New research on voting restrictions and African American turnout

New research on voting restrictions and African American turnout

Figure 3 from Bentele and O'Brien

Figure 3 from Bentele and O’Brien

An interesting new article by Keith Bentele and Erin O’Brien at the University of Massachusetts, Boston came out in the December 2013 Perspectives on Politics.  Titled “Jim Crow 2.0? Why States Consider and Adopt Restrictive Voter Access Policies.” It should be of interest to everyone in the political science, law, and policy side of election administration.  (Hat tip to the Monkey Cage, which features a guest post by the authors.)


From the abstract:

Recent years have seen a dramatic increase in state legislation likely to reduce access for some voters, including photo identification and proof of citizenship requirements, registration restrictions, absentee ballot voting restrictions, and reductions in early voting. Political operatives often ascribe malicious motives when their opponents either endorse or oppose such legislation. In an effort to bring empirical clarity and epistemological standards to what has been a deeply-charged, partisan, and frequently anecdotal debate, we use multiple specialized regression approaches to examine factors associated with both the proposal and adoption of restrictive voter access legislation from 2006–2011. Our results indicate that proposal and passage are highly partisan, strategic, and racialized affairs. These findings are consistent with a scenario in which the targeted demobilization of minority voters and African Americans is a central driver of recent legislative developments.We discuss the implications of these results for current partisan and legal debates regarding voter restrictions and our understanding of the conditions incentivizing modern suppression efforts. Further, we situate these policies within developments in social welfare and criminal justice policy that collectively reduce electoral access among the socially marginalized.

TurboVote is growing (and hiring!)

Some exciting news out of TurboVote–they are partnering with the Pew Center on the States’s Elections Initiatives.

And more exciting for some–TurbeVote is hiring!  Read all the news here:

New International Election Standards Portal from Carter Center

The Carter Center has announced a new elections standards portal:

According to their announcement:

“The site provides an overview of our work and role in building consensus on an obligations-based approach to election observation and support that is rooted in international human rights law. It also gives direct access to our expanding set of tools, statements and reports.”

Pew’s Election Snapshot for California

Image courtesy of the Pew Elections Initiative

Pew’s Election Snapshot of California (see also here for a PDF) links to a nice graphic showing the dramatic rise in absentee voting in California.

APSA Panel on Shelby County case

A very interesting panel coming up at the APSA meetings in Chicago is shown below.  My only worry is that Rick Hasen has already posted his paper on SSRN. Doesn’t Rick realize that APSA papers are not supposed to be written prior to a week before the conference?

Looks like a great panel, and I’ll definitely be there.

Law and Political Process Study Group
Panel 1   The Future of the Voting Rights Act After the Shelby County Case
Date: Thursday, Aug 29, 2013, 2:00 PM-3:45 PM
Location: Room assignments are pending. Check back soon for room assignments. Only those registered for the meeting can view room assignments. Subject to change. Check the Final Program at the conference.
Chair(s): Bruce E. Cain
Stanford University,
Regional Differences in Racial Polarization in the 2012 Presidential Election: Implications for the Constitutionality of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act
Charles Stewart
Massachusetts Institute of Technology,
  Stephen D. Ansolabehere
  Harvard University,
Racially Polarized Voting, Dilution, and Preclearance: Post-Shelby County
Richard L. Engstrom
Duke University,
Shelby County and the Illusion of Minimalism
Richard L. Hasen
University of California-Irvine,
The Constitutional Structure of Voting Rights Enforcement
Franita Tolson
Florida State University,
Discussant(s): Luis Ricardo Fraga
University of Washington,
Guy-Uriel Charles
Duke University School of Law,


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