ICYMI, check out my report for @ACLUFL, “Vote-By-Mail Ballots Cast in Florida”

Check out my report for the ACLU of Florida,  “Vote-By-Mail Ballots Cast in Florida.” Vote-by-mail ballots cast in the 2012 and 2016 general election had a higher rejection rate than votes cast at assigned precincts on Election Day and at early voting sites, and more importantly, younger voters and racial and ethnic minority voters were much more likely to cast mail ballots that were rejected and were less likely to have their ballots cured.

Full report is available here.

Perhaps the Biggest Q for Democrats in Florida in 2018 is whether Young Black and Hispanic Voters will Turn Out

Although the Anti-Trump vote looms large in Florida, with some independents and Republicans experiencing buyer’s remorse, mobilization of younger people of color remains the key for any prospects of a Blue Wave in Florida.

Here’s turnout, by age, of registered blacks in the 2014 General Election. Turnout among the nearly 1.8m registered blacks in the 2014 midterm was 41.5%.


And here’s turnout of registered Hispanics in the 2014 General Election. Turnout among the 1.9m registered Hispanics in 2014 was just 31.1%.

Contrast minority turnout in Florida in 2014 with white turnout, by age. of the nearly 8.5m registered white voters in Florida in 2014, 51.5% cast ballots in the November election.

If Democrats–from Bill Nelson and Andrew Gillum on down–are going to win in Florida, there needs to be massive GOTV to mobilize younger minority voters to the polls.

Is Black Turnout going to Increase in Florida’s 2018 General Election with Andrew Gillum as the Democratic Nominee?

In the 2016 General Election, younger African American registered voters in Florida didn’t turn out to vote. For Andrew Gillum to have a shot at winning in November, that has to change.

Here’s a plot of the count of registered black voters in Florida as of December 2016, by gender (excluding those with missing data).

Surprising no one, there were nearly 300,000 fewer black men registered voters in Florida than black females in late 2016. The biggest gap between black men and women registered in Florida is among those in their middle-age. For more on the missing black population (which then relates to registered voters and representation), you might want to read of an article by my coauthors and me.

But when it comes to turnout, in the November 2016 election younger (18-26 year olds) black registered voters–male and female alike–were much more likely to stay home than go to the polls than older African Americans in Florida.

As the plot below reveals, though, younger black males accounted for a disproportionate amount of the turnout gap in Florida’s 2016 General Election. For example, as shown above, although there were over 120,000 blacks aged 21-24 years-old who didn’t vote in 2016, nearly 70,000 of those who didn’t vote were registered black men (as the plot below reveals).

We’ll see if these distributions continue this coming November with Andrew Gillum on the ballot. The 2018 gubernatorial race in Florida is all about mobilization of the base.

Young people are marching after #Parkland, but are they registering at a higher clip in Florida?

Let’s take a deeper dive into new registered voters in Broward County, Florida. According to a story in the New York Times by & , young people are registering. It’s hard to tell from their graphic (below) whether the total new registered voters in Broward in the month of March is 3,416 (628 + 626 + 1575 + 587) or if the figures are for just 18-25 yr olds newly registering to vote in the county.

NYT Broward Young Registration

According to my count, which draws on the May 2018 statewide voter file, some 4,383 voters registered anew in Broward County in March 2018. Of those, 2,026 (46%) are 18-25 years old.

But what do these new registration figures mean?

Here are the comparable March 2014 new registrations in Broward County (that I’ve drawn from a June 2014 statewide voter file).  In March 2014 in Broward, there were 9,853 new registrations, more than twice as many my figures indicate were recorded in March 2018.  Of those in March 2014, 2,972 (30%) were 18-25 yrs old (as of June 6, 2014).

So, compared to four years earlier, a higher percentage of new registrants in Broward in March 2018 are aged 18-25, but that’s because half as many people registered in March 2018 compared to March 2014 in the county.  In March 2014, nearly 1,000 more 18-25 year olds than in March 2018.

Of course, there’s always some slippage when dealing with voter files. My snapshot for 2014 is from early June; it’s certainly possible that some individuals who registered in March 2104 and who were living in one of the state’s other 66 counties moved to Broward in April or May, upping Broward’s June count. It also appears that the March 2014 count of new registrations in the statewide voter file includes thousands of “pre-registrants,” that is, individuals who were 16 or 17 years old who registered to vote that March. Those individuals don’t appear in the March 2018 statewide voter file.

What about the partisan breakdown of younger registrants across the four year time span?

Surprising no one, in Broward County this past March 2018, of the more than 1,800 newly registered voters 18-21 years old, 48% registered as Democrats, 37% as NPAs, and 12% as Republicans.

Statewide in Florida, in March 2018 some 10k 18-21 year olds newly registered to vote. Roughly 38% are Ds, 19% are Rs, and 40% are NPAs.

For a comparison of new party registrations, statewide in March 2018 there were slightly less than 11k new voters aged 45-64. Of these older, new registrants, 26% Ds, 33% Rs, and 38% NPAs.

None of this is news. Younger voters register to vote. They are more likely to register as Democrats. Older people newly register, too. In substantial numbers. They are more likely to register as Republicans.

So, a couple more comparisons of new registrations in Florida in 2018 versus 2014.

Between January 1 and April 30, 2018, there were a total of roughly 155k new registrations statewide. Of those new registrants, 50.2k are 18-29 year-olds and 44.6k are 45-64 year-olds. Of the 18-29 group, 32% are Ds, 20% are Rs, and 45% are NPAs. Of the 45-64 group, 26% are Ds, 34% are Rs, and 37% NPAs.

Compare these figures with first four months of 2014. Between January 1 and April 30, 2014, there were 166.6k new registrations in the state. Of those, 50.2k were 18-29 years old.  Another 22.4k were 45-64 years old. Of the 18-29 group, 28% were Ds, 19% were Rs, and 48% NPAs. Of the 45-64 group, 29% were Ds, 33% were Rs, and 33% were NPA.

One last point about the supposed causal relationship between the uptick in voter registration among younger individuals and Florida and the #Parkland tragedy.  The Times reporters write:

In Florida, voters under 26 jumped from less than 20 percent of new registrants in January and February to nearly 30 percent by March, the month of the gun control rallies. That ticked down to about 25 percent in April, as the demonstrations subsided, but registration of young voters remained above the pace set before 17 students and faculty were killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.

It’s amazing that the exact same pattern existed four years earlier, over the first four months of 2014, when Florida did not have a school massacre and there weren’t mass demonstrations against gun violence and the #NRA.

The percent of total new registrants aged 18-24 statewide in Florida in January and February 2014 was 20.6% and 20.3%, respectively. In March, 2014, the percentage of all voters registering in the state aged 18-24 jumped to 34.5% — even higher than the percentage in 2018 following #Parkland and student mobilization.  Then in April, 2014, the 18-24 group’s percentage of new registrants dropped down to 24.6% of all new registrants, which was “above the pace set before…….”  You get the picture.

This is really a story of omitted variable bias. There are lots of other reasons why young people register in March — starting with ramped-up voter registration drives by the state’s 67 Supervisors of Elections in High Schools and at community events. Many of the students and other young people in Florida who were understandably and genuinely mobilized to register after the Parkland shootings would have registered anyway at one of these events, just as many of their older brothers and sisters did four years earlier.

In short, it’s still way too early to draw conclusions about the supposed registration effect of #Parkland.

Of course, turnout of younger voters in a midterm election is another issue altogether, but that story will have to wait for another day.