Turnout in Florida by Race/Ethnicity

White voter turnout in Florida from 2012 to 2016 jumped by nearly 4 percentage points, from 73.1% of active voters casting ballots in 2012, to 77.1% of active voters casting ballots in 2016.

Black turnout, which was a major concern for Democrats with President Obama no longer on the ballot, was down by 3.3 percentage points, from 72.3% to 69.0% of active voters.

Hispanic turnout, which saw a dramatic increase from 2012 to 2016 during the early voting period in Florida, was up overall, from 63.1% of active voters casting ballots in 2012, to 68.9% in 2016.

Overall in 2016, Florida’s electorate was less white in 2016 than four years ago.  Whites comprised 68.4% of the electorate in 2012; in 2016, they comprised 66.8% of voters. The difference, not surprisingly, is due to Hispanics making up a greater share of the electorate, from just 12.5% in 2012 to 14.8% in 2016.

It is erroneous to conclude that higher Hispanic turnout in Florida led to greater support for Trump. This is a classic example of an ecological inference fallacy, as others have shown at the precinct level in Miami-Dade County, and as my colleagues and I will be investigating more thoroughly statewide (and by method of vote cast) in the coming days.

Heading into Election Day, over 6.4m Early Votes have been Cast in Florida. Here’s the Race/Ethnicity and Party Breakdown by Gender

Ahead of Election Day, 2.56m Democrats have cast ballots, 2.47m Republicans have cast ballots, 1.24m No Party Affiliates have cast ballots, and 154k voters registered with 3rd Parties have cast ballots.

3.52m women and 2.76m men have voted, with another 139k votes cast by voters whose gender is not reported.

And by race/ethnicity, 4.23m whites, 980k Hispanics, 841k blacks, and 375k voters of mixed, other or unknown race have cast ballots.

By gender, what follows are tables with the share of votes cast across party registration for each racial/ethnic group.

Percent of Early Votes Cast by Women
Other Black Hispanic White Total
Dem 43.9 88.2 43.2 34.2 44.1
Rep 23.4 2.2 27.4 47.2 36.2
NPA 30.9 9.0 28.2 16.1 17.7
3rd 1.8 0.7 1.3 2.6 2.0
Total 100 100 100 100 100
Percent of Early Votes Cast by Men
Other Black Hispanic White Total
Dem 37.0 81.4 38.1 26.3 34.6
Rep 25.8 4.0 31.0 51.8 42.2
NPA 34.8 13.1 29.2 18.5 20.3
3rd 2.4 1.5 1.7 3.4 2.9

Who’s voting Early In-Person in Florida? Racial & Ethnic Totals

Here’s the racial/ethnic breakdown by party for the first day of early in-person voting in Florida.

Of the 8,377 Democrats who have cast EIP, 52% are white, 31% are black, and 13% are Hispanic.  Some 1,666 Democrats in Hillsborough County have cast EIP ballots, 57% of them white, 29% of them black, and 10% Hispanic. In Miami-Dade, whites have cast 37% of the EIP Democratic ballots, blacks 34%, and Hispanics 26%. In Duval County, with 1,439 EIP Democratic ballots cast, blacks have cast 49% and whites 45%. And finally, in Orange County, 47% of the EIP Democratic ballots cast thus far are white voters, 28% are black, and 18% are Hispanic.

Among Republicans, of the 9,354 Republicans who have cast EIP, 81% are white, 1% are black, and 15% are Hispanic. In Miami-Dade, where Republicans have cast 1,543 EIP ballots, 68% have been cast by Hispanics, and only 28% by whites. In Hillsborough County, where the most EIP ballots have been cast by Republicans (1,757), 89% of the ballots cast thus far are by whites. White Republicans casting EIP votes in Duval make up an even greater share of the 1,511 votes cast, some 94% of the total. In Orange County, 10% of the EIP votes by Republicans were by Hispanic voters, with white voters comprising 85% of the total (1,385) EIP votes cast on the first day of early voting.

Fewer NPAs & more Hispanics Register in final days before FL Presidential Primary Book closing

There was a slight uptick in the number of active registered voters in Florida immediately prior to the registration deadline to be eligible for the March 15 primary. From January 31 through February 16, 2016, the voter rolls grew by 62,318 voters. Certainly the number of newly registered voters was higher than 62k, given that the voter rolls are dynamic; Supervisors of Elections regularly remove voters from the rolls, including those who are deceased, move out of state, or are convicted of felonies. Under federal law (NVRA), SOEs should not be removing inactive voters during this period of time, given the immediacy of the March 15 presidential primary.

Is the increase in total registrations distributed evenly across racial and ethnic groups? No.

Hispanics now comprise 14.88% of the electorate, up .04% from the percentage of Hispanics in the January 31, 2016 active voter file. On the other hand, blacks now comprise 13.31% of the active voters, down from 13.34% of the January 31 active electorate. The percentage of the Florida electorate that is whites is also down, from 65.74% to 65.71% of the electorate.

These are pretty steep changes for just a 15 day window of new voter registrations, and likely reflects broader demographic changes in the state (more younger Hispanics eligible to register to vote) and general attrition rates from the voter file of white and black registered voters who have been removed from the statewide voter file.

What about these last-minute changes across the parties? Some interesting patterns emerge.

Registrants (with the possible exception of Jeb Bush) are generally not likely to change their racial or ethnic categorization on a voter registration form. But current registrants might very well might change their party registration ahead of a closed primary contest if they plan on voting.  This is especially true of No Party Affiliates (NPAs), who are excluded from voting in party primaries in Florida.

This very well might explain the drop in total NPA registrations in Florida over the two week period prior to the February 16 registration cutoff, from 2.892m to 2.878m active NPA voters. The decline of 13.6k registered voters is not Huuuuge in the grand scheme of things, but it is significant, given the general trend in the Sunshine State of more voters registering as NPAs over the past two decades.

It bears noting that nearly all of the decline in NPA registered voters appears to be due to the decline in white NPAs; the total number of registered Hispanic NPAs, and even black NPAs, increased over the two-week period.

Although there is certainly the possibility of an ecological fallacy at play when interpreting these aggregate numbers as a sign of NPAs engaged in last-minute party-switching, there was an uptick in the number of Republican active registered voters, nearly 50k from January 31 through February 16, to 4.276m. Democrats also increased their rolls, but less by than 30k, to 4.570m for the Presidential Preference Primary book closing.

The Importance of Weighting when Discussing the Representativeness of State Legislatures

In light of several news articles that have reported the findings of a recent joint NCSL & PEW Report, “Who We Elect: The Demographics of State Legislatures,” I thought it might be useful to convey some points made by Dr. Carl Klarner regarding the inherent problem when comparing “average” state legislative racial and ethnic (and other socio-demographic data) with national averages.  As Klarner writes in his recent Report (p6),

“state level figures [should] always [be] weighted by state population when being averaged to the nation level. This is done to approximate the importance of a particular state legislative chamber….
The issue of weighting by population is especially relevant to assessing minority representation, as it makes a big difference. Reports of minority state legislators frequently state them as a percentage of all legislators in the country.17  It is also sometimes asserted that descriptive representation is lower in state legislatures than in the U.S. House. But it is important to take the varying size of state legislative districts into account. For example, there are currently 498 African-American state house members, or 9.2% of the 5,411 state house members in the United States. But African-American state house members actually represent 11.9% of the United States, if you factor in the size of the districts they represent. This is substantially closer to the 13.7% of the United States that is African-American.18  The simple reason for this is that Northeastern states, with unusually large state houses, have few African-Americans living in them. Looking at minority descriptive representation in this way gives us more insight into what types of electoral arrangements are conducive to the fair representation of racial minorities.”

I agree with Dr. Klarner. Weighting state legislators by population is essential when comparing national averages with minority representation across the 99 state legislative chambers.

According to the 2010-2014 5-year averages of the American Community Survey (ACS), conducted by the U.S. Census, African-Americans make up approximately 13.7% of the national population, Hispanics 16.9%, and Asians 5.9%.

According to Dr. Klarner, here are the percentages of current state legislators who are racial/ethnic minorities, unweighted v. weighted:

State House Members                   Unweighted                Weighted

  • African-American:                       9.2%                             11.9%
  • Latino                                           4.0%                               8.5%
  • Asians                                          1.5%                              2.3%

 

State Senators                                Unweighted                Weighted

  • African-American:                         8.3%                             10.1%
  • Latino                                           3.6%                               6.9%
  • Asians                                          1.7%                              1.9%

 

More later…