Archives for category: 2016 Presidential Primary

Update:

I’ve had a very productive conversation with the Florida Division of Elections regarding my earlier post, below.

Statutorily (Section 98.0981, F.S.), Florida counties are not required to compile and upload their complete voter history for the March 31, 2016 PPP until April 28, 2016. As such, the complete PPP individual-level voter histories that the counties provide to the FVRS will not be reflected until the April 30, 2016 statewide voter extract. Of course, most of the counties did voluntarily report their PPP data to the FVRS in time to be captured in the March 31, 2016 voter history file.  A handful of counties, though,  voluntarily uploaded only partial voter histories for the PPP, which I document below.

The month-long delay by some counties (even though permitted statutorily) in uploading their voter histories seems to be somewhat problematic.  It can lead to an asynchronized archiving of official voting state data.

For example, in counties where SOEs immediately report individuals’ vote histories in their counties, a contemporaneous snapshot of turnout is possible.  On the other hand, in counties where SOEs legally delay their reporting, it is possible that the vote histories of registered voters who turned out might be mis-assigned. If a registered voter who cast a ballot in one county in the PPP moves to another county and re-registers in that county, the PPP vote history that is uploaded to the FVRS by the voter’s previous county will appear to have been cast in the voter’s new county, not the actual county in which the PPP was cast.

I’ll have more to say on the issue later.

But I want to reemphasize that my post last night was intended to be a cautionary tale to those who utilize these data, not an indictment of the FDOS of the SOEs or Secretary Detzner.

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There are some problems with the March 31, 2016 statewide Voter History File not syncing with the official vote totals. Nothing serious, I hope. But nothing new, either…

I was going to start cranking out a simple analysis of who turned out to vote in the March 15, 2016 Presidential Preference Primary, but it looks like some county Supervisors of Elections did not successfully upload their official results, which were due to the Division no later than noon on Sunday, March 27, 2016.

According to an announcement issued by the Florida Division of Elections, voter turnout in the 2016 Presidential Preference Primary (as of 3/27/2016) was 46.23%.  The Division reports that 4,089,516 votes were cast (out of the total number of active registered Republicans and Democrats (8,845,892) as of the registration deadline).

This official vote is slightly different from the FDOE’s “2016 Presidential Preference Primary March 15, 2016, Official Election Results” website, which reports that the total votes cast was 4,164,001.  There’s no explanation from FDOE why the totals are not the same, but I can certainly understand why they may differ. Really, why quibble over a couple (OK, several) thousand votes cast in Florida?

What is more disconcerting, however, is that these two totals are far greater than what is recorded in the March 31, 2016 Voter History File.  The Voter History File reports the method of voting of all those who who cast ballots in the election.  A quick sum finds only 3,408,945 ballots appear to have been cast by individual voters.

What accounts for the 755,056 missing from in Voter History File (if we compare it to the “Official Election Results” website)?

A quick analysis reveals that several counties have not properly uploaded their individual vote histories to the statewide Florida Voter History File, maintained by the Bureau of Voter Registration Services (BVRS).

Here’s a quick and dirty scatter-plot of the total votes cast in the PPP 2016, with the Voter History File on Y-Axis and the “Official Election Results” on the X-Axis.

2016PPP

As is pretty clear, 7 counties have failed to synchronize their own individual-level records with the BVRS’s statewide Voter History File: Collier, Sarasota, Polk, Brevard, Hillsborough, Palm Beach, and Broward.The discrepancies are not small.  Brevard, Broward, Hillsborough,  and Polk counties report precisely zero (0) votes were cast on Election Day. Other counties, too, failed to sync their own records with the BVRS’s Vote History File, but they’re too small to see on the scatter-plot. These additional counties with zero (0) votes cast include Desoto, Franklin, Glades, Hardee, Hernando, Highlands, Layfayette, and Taylor. Other counties, too, have obvious problems: Collier reports one (1) Election Day vote was cast; Palm Beach reports 126 votes were cast on Election Day; Sarasota, 48 cast on Election Day.

Clearly, there’s a syncing issue with these counties.

Data uploaded by the counties and synced with the BVRS database by many other counties looks pretty clean. In Miami-Dade County, for example, the totals only differ by 5,674 votes (compared to the 134,045 missing individual-level votes in neighboring Broward). Orange county’s total is only off by 2,338 votes cast. Hamilton County’s total votes cast are spot-on: 2,451 and 2,451. Pasco County, whose SOE Brian Corley heads the Florida Association of Supervisors of Elections (FSASE), recorded 103,987 votes cast in the Voter History File, and 103,722 on the Official Election Results webpage, a difference of only 265 votes cast.

To be sure, this is not the first time I’ve discovered these kinds of discrepancies with the official vote tally and what is reported in the BVRS’s voter files.  For an article (see footnote 8) on early voting patterns in Florida that I wrote with Michael Herron (as well as several other articles), we found major discrepancies in the December 31, 2012 Vote History File. After discussing the issue with the counties that had syncing problems, it was finally corrected in the March 31, 2013 file.

I’m sure FDOE and the county SOEs will get to the bottom of this in due time. But until then, data-hounds should be very weary about using the statewide Vote History File for any analyses.

Which is good, as this data-hound has some papers to revise and final papers to grade!

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Again, the math doesn’t add up.  CNN’s exit poll of Florida voters reports that 16% self-reported Republicans who voted in the Florida PPP as being “latino” [sic].

We know that prior to Election Day, of the more than 1.2m registered Republicans who had already voted, more than 86% self-identified as “white” when they registered to vote.  Only 10.3% marked on their voter registration cards that they were “Hispanic.”

It’s stretches the imagination, then, that one in five of the 1.16m Republicans who voted on Election Day (some 254k) were Hispanic voters.  Sure, some 192k Republican Hispanics didn’t vote early in Miami-Dade, but chances are, a few of them also stayed home on Election Day.  Indeed, there were less than 400k Republican Hispanics statewide who had yet to vote on Election Day.  Nearly every one of them would have had to have voted on Election Day in order for the CNN exit poll figure for Hispanic turnout to map out.

With such dubious baseline figures, I’d throw caution to the wind for anyone digging any deeper into the CNN exit poll crosstabs in Florida.  One wonders how far off the exit polls are in the other states that have had primaries?

I will be digging into this some more as time permits. Although I can’t find a link to the exit poll methodology or how weighting was done, I’m assuming CNN drew its sample of 1907 Republicans not only from Election Day voters, but sampled early in-person and called absentee voters who cast ballots ahead of the March 15, 2016 PPP in Florida.

But some quick observations of the marginals…

First, and most glaringly, I am hard-pressed to believe that only 39% of Republican respondents were 60+.  Sure, Election Day voters tend to be younger than convenience voters (early in-person and absentee mail), but my analysis of the statewide voter file and absentee and early in-person voting indicates that of the nearly 1.2m Republicans who voted prior to Election Day, 63.4% were 60+.

So, some simple arithmetic: A total of nearly 2.36m votes were cast by Republicans in the PPP; less than half of the total (roughly 1.16m) were cast on Election Day.  If CNN’s exit poll is accurate, that 39% of Republican voters were 60+, it would mean that 919.9k of the 2.36m Republican voters were in this group of older voters. But roughly 756.9k Republicans 60+ had already voted early (in-person and absentee), which leaves only 163k Republicans over 60 to show up on Election Day.  That would mean that only 1 in 8 of the 1.64m Republican voters who showed up on Election Day were 60+.

That’s just not credible.

This is not the first time I’ve found problems with CNN’s exit polls; its 2014 General Election exit polling breakdown for the age of voters was also way off.

But we’ll know for sure about the accuracy of CNN’s 2016 PPP exit polls in Florida next month.

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