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:
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)).
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.
There is a marvelous story in today’s Minnesota Post about the impact of a proposed voter ID amendment to legislation working its way through the Minnesota legislature.
Without weighing in on the side of the proponents or opponents to the amendment, I think that anyone interested in election law should pay close attention to the debate because it illustrates the complex and embedded nature of election legislation.
In essence, the arguments turn on the intepretation of the phrase substantially equivalent identity and eligibility verification and what the implication of this phrase will be on election day registration and absentee balloting.
Takeaway lines, including a quote from my friend and colleague Doug Chapin:
Ritchie and amendment opponents argue that the short phrase is the reason that many of the elections systems that Minnesotans rely on today would have to end.
Kiffmeyer and other supporters, however, say the language is actually the key to keeping Election Day registration and not- in-person voting intact.
Doug Chapin, an elections expert at the University of Minnesota, takes a more cautious view than either the advocates or opponents of the amendment.
He said there’s no way to be sure how absentee, mail-in or military voting would be affected by the “substantially equivalent” language, or what will happen to Election Day registration.
“The first question that has to be answered is what does ‘substantially equivalent’ mean?” he said, noting that the interpretation of a seemingly common-sense string of words in legislation “can be big.”
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)
The lede from today’s Youngstown News:
Republican Secretary of State Jon Husted continued to block county boards from setting hours for early in-person voting in the final days before the November general election, days after a federal judge ordered him to instruct elections officials to do so.
In 2008, President Obama took a big swing through Florida, starting 18 days before Election Day. I describe this in a forthcoming book chapter as the first get out the early vote rally in 2008.
It looks like the campaign is starting even early this year. At a recent appearance in Iowa, Obama urged his supporters to start casting their ballots on Sept. 27, the first day you can vote “absentee in person” in the Hawkeye State.
I applaud Secy of State John Husted’s decision in Ohio to set uniform times for early voting throughout the state of Ohio.
I disagree with the legislature’s decision to eliminate weekend early voting, which is utilized by many citizens who have less flexibility during the week. Also, as shown by the National Conference of State Legislature’s absentee and early voting page and reflected in our early voting calendar, 11 early voting states are able to end early voting the Monday before election day, and 5 more end on the Saturday before. 12 states require at least one Saturday or Sunday opening and in other states, counties are given the flexibility to open on the weekends (we have no data on how many actually choose to do so).
Data that we have reported previously at EVIC shows that the number of early voters climbs day by day as election day approaches, most often peaking on the last day or two (typically the weekend before). I recognize the challenges of preparing for election day when early voting has ended only a day or two before, as well as the budgetary constraints faced by many jurisdictions. (This latter, however, should be offset by election day savings when 20-40% of votes have already been cast.)
Nonetheless, Secretary Husted, by all reports, took into due consideration the opinions of local election officials, the legislature, and competing political forces. He threaded the needle superbly, and has rendered a fair and non-partisan decision.
He should be applauded for doing so, and setting a standard for expert, non-partisan election administration.