Archives for category: Absentee Vote

Working on fumes, so this will be quick.

One day (“Souls to the Poll”) of Early-in-Person voting still to tabulate, and thousands more Vote-by-Mail ballots still to make it to election offices by 7pm on Tuesday, but we’re headed for record turnout in Florida.

Over 6.1m votes already cast, rapidly approaching the 8.5m tallied in 2012.

So, with Election Day voting still to come, the Big Q is , which party has cannibalized voters who waited 4 years ago, until Tuesday, November 6, 2012 to vote, by getting them to vote early in 2016?

Let’s start with the parties first:

So far, of the 2.43m Democrats who’ve voted early, 76% voted in 2012.  This includes slightly more than 1/2 million Dems who in 2012 waited until Election Day to cast their ballots.

Of the 2.40m Republicans who’ve cast their lot through this am, 79% voted in 2012, including 558k who voted on Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012.

Of the 1.16m No Party Affiliates who’ve already voted in the Sunshine State, only 60% voted in 2016, but the plurality of the 2012 voters cast their ballots on Election Day.

So, Republicans are cannibalizing their 2012 likely voters at a slightly higher rate than Democrats, and both parties are drawing in their likely voters at a much higher clip than NPAs.

Flipped upside down, this means that NPAs who stayed home in 2012 are coming out a a much higher rate than the partisans.

None of this surprises me.

What is notable is that nearly 1/4 Republicans who have already cast their mail or in-person ballots in 2016 waited to vote on Election Day in 2012, whereas it’s only slightly more than 1/5 Dems and NPAs who voted on Election Day in 2012 who have already voted. That means there are more votes (raw and percentage) to be had by Clinton than Trump as the final GOTV push occurs on Tuesday.

I don’t feel like writing up the Race/Ethnicity & Age & Gender cannibalization rates right now, but suffice to say, they ain’t pretty for The Donald.

As a tease, I’ll leave you with this tidbit: So far, 36% of the 907k Hispanics who have voted in 2016 didn’t vote by any method in 2012. That’s a full 12 points higher than whites, and will likely be the key to who wins the presidency.

Here they are…read them and weep or cry tears of joy…nearly 2.4 million VBM returned thus far…

fl-vbm-through-nov-3-2016-2012-comparison-partyfl-vbm-through-nov-3-2016-2012-comparison-raceethnicityfl-vbm-through-nov-3-2016-age

Here are the latest numbers I’ve crunched from this morning’s update from the Florida Division of Elections.

Old Florida hands know that aggregate breakdown of EIP and VBM votes cast by party are generously provided by the Florida Division of Elections. The state does not provide other breakdowns. That’s what I’ve been cranking out this election cycle. And I match the daily totals with those cast in the 2012 GE.

So, enough with the primer. Here are the Early In-Person votes cast by party and race/ethnicity as of 5am this morning, as well as a 2016 graph of age by day.fl-ev-through-nov-3-2016-2012-comparison-partyfl-ev-through-nov-3-2016-2012-comparison-raceethnicityfl-ev-through-nov-3-2016-2012-comparison-age

Nearly 2.3 million vote-by-mail ballots have been received by the state’s 67 Supervisors of Elections through yesterday, November 2, 2016. Domestic absentee ballots can continue to roll in through Election Day.

Here are the daily 2012/2016 comparisons of VBMs received for party and race/ethnicity, through 6 days prior to Election Day.

 

fl-vbm-through-nov-2-2016-2012-comparison-partyfl-vbm-through-nov-2-2016-2012-comparison-raceethnicity

The presidential election (and the US Senate, too) in Florida will be decided by Hispanic turnout.

Hispanics now comprise 15.6% of the state’s 12.7m active registered voters; in 2012, Hispanics comprised 13.6% of the Sunshine State’s voter rolls.

So far, as of yesterday, October 29, 2016, Hispanic voters are comprising a considerably higher percentage of voters than they did at this point in time in 2012, far exceeding their 2% point share of registered voters.

Here’s the Hispanic share of total votes cast (VBM & EIP) by all voters, 9 days out from election day, in 2016 vs. 2012.

Percentage of all Vote-by-Mail (VBM) ballots cast by Hispanics:

2016 =  12.9%
2012 = 9.5%

Percentage of all Early In-Person (EIP) ballots cast by Hispanics:

2016 = 14.2%
2012 = 9.9%

fl-2012-absentee-ballots-received-by-race-by-day

As of this morning, 59.3k Miami-Dade Republicans have had their absentee ballots counted by the SOE. That’s out of 87.9k GOP absentee ballots sent out to registered voters beginning in earnest in late January.  So, 67.5% of all absentee ballots are already in the hopper, ready to be counted on Election Day.

More than 450 absentee envelope mailed in by Miami-Dade Republicans don’t have the voter’s signature; another 500+ have some form of voter error, and the canvasing board will take a look at them to determine if they’re valid or should be rejected.

The most important number, and the one that Donald Trump is likely referencing, is the 25.6k absentee ballots of registered Republicans that have yet to be sent in as of this morning’s figures. Certainly, there’s a history of absentee ballot fraud in Miami-Dade, as @MarcACaputo @PatriciaMazzei know well.

Here’s one more EXCLUSIVE…

To date, there are nearly 685.8k absentee ballots that have been delivered by SOEs that have yet to be returned.  Voters may no longer request an absentee ballot to be mailed to them by their SOE.  Campaigns are likely tracking these down and reminding voters to mail them back in. At least, let’s hope what they’re doing, and not engaging in illegal activities (like this). There are several strict regulations now in place regarding on who may handle absentee ballots when they are being delivered, and the Miami-Dade SOE has a nice pdf with those rules.

Of the 685.6k absentees awaiting to be returned, 16k have been sent to military voters, with nearly 2k mailed to overseas military personnel. More than 2x as many of these military overseas ballots were mailed to registered Republicans than Democrats.

Of the 950.6k votes cast thus far in Florida (early-in person & absentee mail), nearly 507k have been cast by Republicans and nearly 417.0 have been cast by Democrats.

Of those who have cast ballots in the Democratic presidential primary, 18% are black, 10% are Hispanic, and 68% are white.

Of those who have cast ballots in the Republican presidential primary, nearly 12% are Hispanic and 85% are white.

 

Here’s my op-ed with Michael Herron in today’s Tampa Bay Times

With more than a million absentee ballots already cast in advance of the Nov. 6 general election, a question that should be on the minds of many Floridians is: Will my vote actually be counted? A healthy skepticism about the state’s electoral process is not necessarily evidence of paranoia. Indeed, a little known secret in the Sunshine State is that canvassing boards in each county are currently meeting, almost certainly marking countless absentee ballots “rejected as illegal.”

Not only are three-member canvassing boards, one per county, responsible for determining which absentee ballots are counted, they also are tasked with assessing the validity of provisional ballots cast by voters who are prevented at the polls from voting a regular ballot. An unsuspecting registered voter will be required by poll workers to cast a provisional ballot if he or she fails to provide proper ID, is accused by an observer of being ineligible to vote, or is simply making an intercounty address change.

As to the latter point, the state Legislature in 2011 decided to no longer permit registered voters in Florida who have moved from one county to another within the state to update their addresses and cast regular ballots at the polls. We expect to see plenty of provisional ballots due to this provision, and just like with absentee ballots, local canvassing boards will determine if provisional ballots — which are sealed at the polls in privacy sleeves — should be tabulated.

The important role of county canvassing boards is not new. Indeed, one of the most enduring images from Florida’s election meltdown in 2000 is that of a Palm Beach County canvassing board member, glasses perched upon forehead, holding a punch-card ballot up to the light and trying in vain to divine whether an inscrutable chad was hanging or merely dimpled. While Florida’s antiquated punch-card ballots have been retired, canvassing boards have retained their important functions in Florida election administration.

Of course, there’s good reason why canvassing boards reject some absentee and provisional ballots. Many voters fail to sign the backs of the privacy envelopes containing their absentee ballots and others are received by Supervisors of Elections offices after the polls close. But many other absentee ballots and provisional ballots are rejected because a voter’s signature appears not to match a signature on file with a county elections office. In these cases, it is left to canvassing boards to adjudicate whether a ballot should be processed and counted, or rejected outright.

The discretion of canvassing boards means that absentee ballots and ballots cast provisionally can be risky propositions for voters. Nonetheless, both the Barack Obama and Mitt Romney campaigns have pushed their followers to vote by mail (that is, absentee) in an effort to bank votes prior to Nov. 6.

In the Aug. 14 primary election, more than 786,000 voters cast absentee ballots. Over 14,500 of them—nearly 2 percent—were deemed invalid by local canvassing boards. Nearly 3,000 more Floridians were required to cast provisional ballots in the August primary, and canvassing boards found reason to reject nearly 1 out of 4 of them. Keep in mind, this was for a primary election in which “super voters” — the state’s most highly engaged voters — made up the vast majority of the voter pool.

One might think that the rejection rates of absentee and provisional ballots are fairly constant across the state’s 67 counties. But by sifting through the voter history files maintained by the state Division of Elections, we found that the rate of rejected absentee and provisional ballots was not equally distributed along racial/ethnic, age, or party registration groupings in the August primary.

As the accompanying graphic reveals, Hispanics, African-Americans and Asian Americans were considerably more likely to cast absentee ballots rejected by canvassing boards than the statewide average. Hispanics, and to a lesser degree African-Americans, were also disproportionately more likely to have canvassing boards reject their provisional ballots.

In terms of partisanship, Florida voters not identifying with a political party were more likely to have their absentee and provisional ballots rejected by county canvassing boards than the statewide average. Republicans had a considerably lower percentage of their absentee and provisional ballots rejected, and Democrats fell near the statewide means.

But younger voters — those 21 and under — were the group most likely to have their absentee ballots rejected and also were more likely than the statewide average to cast invalid provisional ballots. These voters — many casting ballots for the first time — were more than three times as likely to have their absentee ballots rejected by canvassing boards in the August primary than voters 65 and older.

In the presidential election, it is quite possible that an even higher percentage of provisional ballots will be rejected by local canvassing boards as an influx of first-time and less frequent voters will be lining up at the polls. In light of the disparate absentee ballot rejection rates that we have described here, the latest tactic of the Obama campaign to mirror successful GOP efforts — namely, encouraging its supporters to cast absentee ballots — may in retrospect not look very wise.

Looking beyond the 2012 presidential campaign, we believe that efforts to address differences in varying ballot rejection rates are necessary. These efforts might involve more coordination across Florida’s 67 counties, so that all Florida voters face identical standards when their ballots are evaluated, and they could also involve more extensive voter education efforts that remind voters of the importance of signing their absentee ballot certificates. The right to vote is a fundamental one in the United States, and the high absentee and provisional ballot rejection rates we document in the recent August primary should be a concern for all Floridians.

August 14 2012, Primary Election
             

Absentee Rejection Rate

 

Provisional Rejection Rate

Overall 0.018 0.220
     
Race/Ethnicity    
American Indian 0.019 0.158
Asian 0.035 0.212
Black 0.028 0.243
Hispanic 0.028 0.327
White 0.016 0.180
     
     
Party    
DEM 0.019 0.225
NPA 0.025 0.341
REP 0.017 0.152
     
Age    
young (21 & younger)   0.046 0.286
middle (22-64) 0.025 0.212
old (65 & older)   0.013 0.180

 

Michael C. Herron is professor of government at Dartmouth College, and Daniel A. Smith is professor of political Science at the University of Florida.

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