Thursday, September 22, 2005

Race and Absentee Balloting

In a previous comment, Justin Levitt of the Brennan Center challenged my comments on race and absentee balloting.

This is an issue I've been interested in, but have been frustrated by the lack of good datasets. I've begun poking around in response to Justin's comments. Of course, what did I find but my own publicly available work does show continued racial disparities with respect to early voting.

See page 13 of my report, "Early Voting: Lessons for Progressives," delivered to the Progressive Targeting Conference at the Center for American Progress.

The data are still inconclusive, however. I have merged all types of "early" voting in this table, and the disagreement concerns absentee balloting only (in an in-person system, presumably ID would be checked no differently than on election day). Also, I did not control in those tables for geographical differences in the availability of early voting (and I don't place much credence in the tables for that reason--see my comments in the text).

I'm going to pursue this a bit further and will post any results here. If the Brennan Center has the resources to pursue this question, I'd start by going to a state that reports race in its registration and turnout datasets, and then compare the absentee percentages by race (for example, North Carolina).

The other thing to do is to analyze the NAES data (only 2000 is available at this time), predicting absentee ballot usage by race and a variety of other indicators. I'm sending off an RA to pursue this avenue.


Post a Comment

<< Home