Cannibals, All! Which Party in Florida has been Cannibalizing more of its 2014 midterm election voters?

To date, roughly 72% of all ballots cast early in-person and by mail in Florida as of Sunday have been by voters who cast ballots four years ago in the 2014 midterm elections.

In one of the better signs for Democrats, Republicans have cannibalized more of their Super-voters thus far: 76.6% of votes cast by Republicans have been by those who voted in 2014.  Slightly fewer, 71.5%, of votes cast by Democrats have been by those who voted in 2014 (so, by definition, no newly registered 18 & 19 year olds).  The most interesting development thus far is that only 60.7% of votes cast by No Party Affiliates have been by those who skipped (or were not yet registered) in the 2014 midterms.  Of course, NPAs have cast fewer than half of votes cast by either Republicans or Democrats.

The daily patterns are remarkably similar across the three groups, as the figures below reveal.  Regular voters were much more likely to vote by mail, earlier in the cycle; more infrequent voters started to tick up during the first week of early in-person voting.CannabalizeDemOct28CannabalizeRepOct28CannabalizeNPAOct28

I plan to provide similar figures in the coming days, focusing on age and race, broken down by 2014 voters and nonvoters.

Why the Republican-controlled Florida Legislature Limited Voter Registration

I’ve written a considerable amount about the negative impact HB1355 likely will have on early voting in Florida. But the regressive law also affects the ability of Florida citizens to register to vote.

The Republican-controlled legislature’s rationale for the law–steeped in the anti-democratic rhetoric of making voting a privilege, not a right–continues to conjur up vestiges of Jim Crowism. “We’re going to have a very tight election here next year, and we need to protect the integrity of the election,” said Rep. Dennis Baxley, a Republican from Ocala. “When we looked around, we saw a need for some tightening.”

With respect to the severe restrictions placed on “third parties” (including individual citizens) interested in helping fellow citizens to register to vote, Republican lawmakers are surely cognizant of the surge of African Americans who registered to vote in Florida prior to the 2008 general election.

As I write with my co-author, Stephanie Slade (who works for The Winston Group, a Republican pollster based in DC) in a recent article on the 2008 election in Florida, “Obama to Blame? African American Surge Voters and the Ban on Same-Sex Marriage in Florida,”

Between December of 2007 and October of 2008, an additional 233,130 black Floridians registered to vote, a group of citizens we have referred to as the Obama-inspired African American surge. If these voters turned out at the same rate as the Florida electorate as a whole in the 2008 presidential election (74.6 percent), black surge voters would have constituted 173,915 of 8.39 million total votes cast for all the presidential candidates.

The numbers speak for themselves.

This spring, Republican lawmakers changed the rules to try to ensure that there will be no African American “surge voters” in 2012.

It will be up to the US Justice Department, as well as several interveners (including the ACLU, NAACP, and the League of Women Voters)–but ultimately the federal courts–to determine whether they ultimately succeed in their effort to suppress the vote in Florida.

Does Pinellas County Regret its 1912 Decision to Secede from Hillsborough?

Voting Rights in Hillsborough County, as I’ve blogged before, are still covered by Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act.

As such, voters in Hillsborough are granted federal protections that neighboring voters in Pinellas County are not afforded. These distinctions have recently come into question with the Florida legislature’s passage of the Republican-sponsored voter suppression bill, HB 1355, and the US Justice Department’s refusal thus far to “pre-clear” all of the legislation.

Since Pinellas County residents are covered by Section 5 of the Voting Right Act, under HB 1355, they might have a harder time registering to vote, casting an early ballot, and moving within the county prior to election day than a neighbor living in Hillsborough County. For example, if a registered Tampa Republican who moves within Hillsborough County prior to Jan 31 presidential primary may still cast a valid ballot, but a similar St. Pete resident who moves within Pinellas County must file a provisional ballot. As we know, a fraction of all provisional ballots that are cast are actually counted.

Is this fair? Will some Republicans in Florida become disenfranschised or have a more difficult time casting a ballot because of HB 1355? The National Journal has more, here.