Early in-person voting starts this week in Idaho and South Dakota!

Michael McDonald has already been tracking no-excuse absentee ballots in a number of states.

And now for a self-promotional moment ... Doug is right, data ARE good

Crossposted from the comments section at the Election Academy of the University of Minnesota:

Data definitely ARE beautiful, as is correct grammatical usage.

If officials are skeptical of the merit of the residual vote rate, one source that illustrates its merits is the “Residual Voting in Florida” report coauthored by me and Charles Stewart. Look in particular at pg. 55-56, which I humbly suggest is a perfect illustration of Doug’s point.

Using data from Florida, we identify the two highest residual vote rate precincts in the state–two precincts that are wholly contained within elder care facilities. We further show that the rate in the two precincts is completely driven by high error rates on absentee ballots.

We can’t diagnose the disease in full. It may be that elderly citizens are making more errors because they can’t ask for help from poll workers when completing the ballot. It may be that the text is printed too small, causing difficulties for citizens with vision impairment. Or perhaps the ballot itself is confusing in unexpected ways.

But at least now we know where to look.

The takeaway chart is here:

According to today’s news, 2625 citizens were incorrectly purged from Florida’s statewide voter registration system and were restored only after the state was sued by the Advancement Project.

Florida’s Secretary of State Rick Detzner describes the process as:

A successful process to identify illegally registered voters on Florida’s voter rolls. We want every Florida voter to be confident that their vote is protected and not hurt in any way by the illegal activity of others.

If this is success, I’d hate to see failure.  The number of non-citizens who have been found on the rolls thus far: 207.  That’s a sign to noise ratio of 7.3%  (207/(207+2625)).

“That’s really small!”
(Image courtesy of Macrumors.com)

Those 207 voters constitute .000018 or 2/1000’ths of a percent of the registered voters in the state.

To be fair, it’s unclear at this point what the state did to the 2625 citizens who were incorrectly flagged.  Reports indicate that they were sent a letter and only purged if they failed to show up or present evidence within a certain amount of time, although I suspect many citizens would resent having to go jump these hurdles given such an error-prone process.  What other draconian and costly procedures will be employed next?

No reports yet on whether any of those 207 registered voters has ever cast a ballot.

The merger of Roll Call and CQ Daily is not going to register in a lot of circles, but I remember both as required reading for any aspiring scholar of American politics.  Both publications are apparently making money, but readership patterns are shifting to online publications, and the publisher thinks they can deliver the same content at one online and print publication.

What’s interesting is how the change happened–once they allowed tablets onto the House floor, their print sales took a nosedive.

(Crossposted at Politika)

I have been reading the decision in State of Texas vs. Holder. I am no election lawyer, but Texas’s position at one point sounds a lot like it is trying to get the Supreme Court to rule Section 5 unconstitional. Continue reading

I haven’t read this paper yet, and I’m not going to be in NOLA due to Isaac, so I’ll let Dan Smith write for himself: Continue reading