Wednesday, October 15, 2008

200K bad registrations in Ohio?

Flaming skull at Ace over this story:
Since Jan. 1, Ohio has 666,000 newly registered or updated voters -- all of whom fall under scrutiny by this latest court ruling. [Democratic Secretary of State Jennifer] Brunner said an initial review found that at least 200,000 of them might have mismatched information. Once the office identifies all of the mismatched voters, Brunner will send the list to the county boards of election where the individuals have registered.
According to the Census Bureau, Ohio's population grew by 125,000 from 2000 to 2006. The state's adult (18+) population in 2004 was about 8.7 million, and the statewide total vote for president in 2004 was about 5.6 million.

Ohio's new registrations are thus equal to 12% of the 2004 total vote in the state, whereas the state's population has been growing about 0.2% annually. The sheer size of the increase in registration -- dwarfing the population increase -- is suspicious.

It is quite likely that very aggressive methods (conducting registration drives in public places like malls, etc.) meant duplicate registrations for people who were already registered (e.g., via motor-voter) but hadn't voted recently and so weren't sure whether they were registered or not.

Studies consistently show a high correlation between voting and socio-economic status. The higher the income and education level, the more likely you'll vote regularly. Therefore, people who seldom or never vote -- which will be most of those genuine new registrations gathered by aggressive methods -- will prove to be people with very low income and education, including 18-to-24-year-olds. The farther you go down the socioeconomic scale the more you find people with unstable habits (including drug addicts and criminals) who change residences frequently, making them difficult to target through canvassing and GOTV efforts.

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