Wednesday, December 11, 2013

ASU STUDY - Dems "voter suppression" argument fails...

There is a pretty fair (for HCP) article in today's story by Jesse Woods  about a study done by ASU professor, George Ehrhardt. Professor Ehrhardt analyzed the data from the recent Boone municipal elections and concluded that the data showed an INCREASE in turnout over prior elections - and also an INCREASE in early voting. This, of course, is the complete opposite of what local Dems were arguing would happen when the Board of Elections instituted changes to two polling locations and consolidated early voting into one location. Dems had argued that requiring young people to actually have to travel a few blocks in order to vote early would somehow restrict their ability to vote and that turnout would suffer.

What do Dems say now? Well, if you guessed that they would just admit that they were wrong and that turnout didn't suffer - you would lose. Dems, being Dems, are apparently taking the position that they don't agree with the numbers Ehrhardt quoted from the Board of Elections and that they will respond further -
"“Unfortunately, this will take us a few days because neither our own data, nor the numbers provided to us by the local Board of Elections, nor the election data provided on the State Board of Elections website in any way match the ones Dr. Ehrhardt offers as compelling analysis to back up his assertions,” Presnell said. “Plus Dr. Ehrhardt apparently misread most of the sources he cited in his footnotes since they conclude in many cases the exact opposite of what Dr. Ehrhardt says they do. You don’t need a doctorate to know that voting in a nightclub [Legends] without adequate heating or parking is a bad idea.”

So, now their position is that it's a "bad idea", but just a "bad idea". ...and, oh yeah...the numbers are wrong.

It will be interesting to see how they spin this one.

(We also have to wonder if they will amend their complaints to the State Board of Elections to includee the "bad idea" argument? Or will they just let the complaint be dismissed in it's present form? Look for the state board to throw out their complaint when they meet in Raleigh Dec 20th. No matter, local Dems knew full well that their complaint was without merit - they just wanted to create an issue for the press.)






30 comments:

NewGuy said...

From the article:

Anne-Marie Yates, chair of the Watauga County Republican Party, who has said from the infancy of these changes that they were enacted for the convenience of all voters, yesterday reiterated the same notion and added that “the numbers speak for themselves.”

“Despite Democrat cries of voter suppression, early voting numbers were higher than ever for a municipal election and the movement of the Boone 2 precinct to Legends resulted in greater turnout than when the precinct was at the student union. We look forward to future elections when, it is hoped, early voting can be made convenient to residents in the rural areas of the county and not just to downtown Boone voters,” Yates said in a prepared statement.

Bill Aceto, secretary of the Watauga County Board of Elections and one of the two Republican members voting for the many changes, wrote in an email: “The 3rd party study from a Dr. of political science proves that the narrative of voter suppression is simply false.”

NewGuy said...

Democrat response

"Your numbers are wrong"

"Voters WERE suppressed, they just voted anyhow"

"It was a warm day so people went to vote at Legends. They wouldn't go if was cold because the heating is not adequate there".

"No fair, he's using FACTS"

"Students didn't know they were suppressed so they went ahead and voted. We'll try to inform them better next time."

"yada, yada, yada".




Biased!! said...

"So, now their position is that it's a "bad idea", but just a "bad idea". ...and, oh yeah...the numbers are wrong."

This is terribly funny. The above line has been repeated quite often by commenters on this blog (albeit in differing verbiage) when reasearch is presented that runs counter to the ultra-conservative position.

How's it feel being on the other end of the "LIBERAL BIAS!!!!" stick?....or should I say "CONSERVATIVE BIAS!!!!"

Sorry, I just can't stop laughing at this.

guy faulkes said...

Biased, please provide examples of "The above line has been repeated quite often by commenters on this blog (albeit in differing verbiage) when reasearch is presented that runs counter to the ultra-conservative position."

Anonymous said...

Jesse Presnell would probably be opposed to penicillin if he thought a Republican had anything to do with it. PhD. Specialist Dr. Ehrhardt or some 3rd vice-chair political hack... Thanks to Dr. Ehrhardt for his inquiry and comparing numbers. It's a shame 'journalist' around here don't apply some sense in writing the news. Not all opinions are equally valid.

Anonymous said...

No matter the outcome of any election, when an elections board official violates the open meetings law, abuses his/her authority and engages in fraud, the State Board of Elections should dismiss the charges? Really?

George Ehrhardt said...

Thanks for picking this up. In response to the initial Democratic claims of wrong numbers, I sent this to the HCP:

"No data are ever perfect. Using several different data sets put out by different people at different times makes discrepancies inevitable, and this report is no exception. This is especially true when they are at different levels of analysis (precinct versus individual). Finding trivial differences is, well, trivial.

The key questions are whether they are large enough to matter, and if so, which data should we use? For example, I found two different figures available for 2009 voter registration, but switching numbers only results in a 0.1% change in calculated turnout--not enough to matter. The same is true with vote totals in 2013, but again, too small to matter substantively. Other discrepancies come from my choices about which numbers to use. For example, my Table 1 includes numbers from Blowing Rock since they can early vote in Boone, and the SBoE numbers for Boone voters alone are different--again, the question is whether this matters. The SBoE numbers still show an increase in turnout, so that data supports my conclusion as well.

I do make mistakes and I welcome corrections in a spirit of finding the best way to administer elections in Watauga County. But those corrections need to clearly show two things: a) how they change the substantive conclusions, not just numbers in a table, and b) why the alternative data is superior to the one I used in the original report"

I also put all the cited articles up on my website so you can read them yourselves.
http://www.appstate.edu/~ehrhardtgc/

Thanks.

Anonymous said...

The Dems have responded in full:

https://docs.google.com/file/d/0Bw9ra0V6AmH5TnNRaDlNaExsSEE/edit

Sounds pretty significant.

NewGuy said...

Sounds idiotic to me. Your attempt at falsely characterizing Dr Earhardts conclusions and misrepresenting his positions only helps to support the validity of what Dr Earhardt ACTUALLY said.

If you had any valid points which contradicted his study, you would not have had to resort to stupidly claiming things like Dr Earhardt has concluded "that early voting is a bad thing." or that "cutting down on the polling places and hours is a good thing'.

Of course Dr Earhardts study concluded nothing of the sort and your false claims to the contrary are sufficient to discredit your entire response so, at least, you saved me the trouble of reading past the first paragraph.

Of course,your response is probably good enough to feed the Democrat sheep who won't bother to read the actual study -



Anonymous said...

In the interest of honest debate, Dr. Ehrhardt, is it true or untrue that your 2009 numbers do not include voters who have moved since the 2009 election? I am trying to read both the study and the response with an open mind, but I do think this is significant. Also does your data include provisional ballots?

Anonymous said...

Let me make sure I understand this.

1. Democrats said that changes by Wwtauga BOE would result in LOWER voter turnout.

2. Election numbers indicate SUBSTANTIALLY higher voter turnout than in previous similar elections.

3. An ASU professor suggests that move people voting means that Democrat predictions of lower turnout were wrong.

4. Dems go nuts, criticize the study, claim the numbers are wrong, misstate professor's position, and insist that heavier turnout somehow means that votes were suppressed.

Is that about it?

George Ehrhardt said...

Anonymous 4:43

It includes some but not others. The problem is that we don't always know who is still here. That means the numbers will never be perfect.

I'm willing to use the 1508 vote figure that the Dems cite instead of my earlier 1218 figure--I agree theirs is probably closer to accurate. I think those numbers include provisional votes that turned out okay, but I'm not 100% sure. My point is that even with their numbers, turnout still went up. That's what matters.

See my response to the Dem response going up on HCP tomorrow, and thanks for your open-mindedness.

Jenny Church said...

Reading the argument from the Democrats against Dr. Ehrhardt's study sincerely angered me. I am all about wanting to produce/share accurate information, but attacking the integrity of a man because of his party affiliation is a GROSS misinterpretation of his character. Democrats are really beating a dead horse on the whole suppression thing.

Anonymous said...

Jenny, when I went to early vote you were wearing the Democraps buttons about voter suppression. It is one of the reasons I didn't vote for you. Are you telling me you don't agree with their stance?

Jenny Church said...

I disagree with the unethical antics demonstrated by Eggers and Aceto. In fact, I think it's shameful. I do believe the election changes were decided long before any meeting ever occurred which in in violation of SBOE and local BOE regulations. Outside of the unethical decision-making, I don't care too much either way about the changes. I wore the pin, proudly, to support state-wide voter suppression. I do believe the new state Voter ID law (VIVA) is oppressive and ambiguous at best.

I use my own criteria to determine what I believe is right and wrong. I am thankful I live in a country where debate is possible.

guy faulkes said...

I am not speaking for Ms.Church, but am asking a question. Is it possible that the issue of the nubmer of votes being cast had not been decided when Anonymous saw z. Church? I could see how her mind could have been changed by the outcome data for the election.

guy faulkes said...

Ms. Church, I just read your comment in the HCP. I beleive you are mistaken about Ms. Hodges never having faced a situation like this in 30 years. Many years ago, there was a movement to try to fire her that was lead by Democrats if I am not mistaken.

Anonymous said...

I think you're right guy. And if I recall correctly the Democrats that tried to take out Mrs. Hodges got booted from the party.

Anonymous said...

Dems were very actively trying to get Hodges to resign before the new board of elections could be named. Apparently they thought she wouldn't be there long enough to outlast the term of office of a new Republican governor. They wanted to get someone younger in place before the GOP took over and named a GOP election board.
This is common knowledge around the courthouse.

guy faulkes said...

They may have, Anonymous. I do not recall as back then I was more concerned with being a Republican than a conservative.

Depending on your view point, I am either much wiser or much more stupid now.

I do not know the circumstances with Ms. Hodges, but in my opinion, the BOE's conservative members have done a lot to make voting equitable for all county residents. Those that had an unfair advantage are understandably upset to no loner have special privilege.

Jenny Church said...

Yes, Ms. Hodges has faced adversity from the Board before. However, Luke Eggers is the only person to ever write a formal reprimand that is now in her personnel file. He also requested that she log all of her personal phone calls from her cell phone, that she pays for. Micromanaging and badgering is what it is.

There is no defense for being a bully. I have no issue with the changes that were made. The election went fairly smoothly. My issue is the unethical conduct displayed by both Eggers and Aceto in the meeting introducing the changes. I know all about Andy Ball asking Ms. Hodges to resign this past February and I know all about Four asking her the same thing. Both parties want control. Neither of them are willing to acheive it in an ethical manner.

As a Christian, I make sure my decisions and actions will honor the Lord Jesus Christ; and back door dealings, lying, and mistreating others does not glorify the Lord. He wants us all to treat each other well. Disagreement is totally acceptable, debate is healthy, and both of our local parties must learn to work together.

Jenny Church said...

Yes, Ms. Hodges has faced adversity from the Board before. However, Luke Eggers is the only person to ever write a formal reprimand that is now in her personnel file. He also requested that she log all of her personal phone calls from her cell phone, that she pays for. Micromanaging and badgering is what it is.

There is no defense for being a bully. I have no issue with the changes that were made. The election went fairly smoothly. My issue is the unethical conduct displayed by both Eggers and Aceto in the meeting introducing the changes. I know all about Andy Ball asking Ms. Hodges to resign this past February and I know all about Four asking her the same thing. Both parties want control. Neither of them are willing to acheive it in an ethical manner.

As a Christian, I make sure my decisions and actions will honor the Lord Jesus Christ; and back door dealings, lying, and mistreating others does not glorify the Lord. He wants us all to treat each other well. Disagreement is totally acceptable, debate is healthy, and both of our local parties must learn to work together.

guy faulkes said...

Ms. Church, I was not talking about Ball's asking her to resign. I was talking about a Democrat controlled county commission discussing firing her. It was probably over twenty years ago, if I remember correctly.

I might be wrong, but I do not think so.

Was the request for all of her cell phone calls to be logged or for just those having to do with the BOE? Calls made concerning the BOE may be subject to public records regulations. Personal calls are a different matter.

Jenny Church said...

Both are unreasonable requests. It is in my conservative nature to favor personal liberty. She pays for her personal cell phone. She has a right to privacy on a personal line. There is no way to determine which of her personal calls are about BOE business or otherwise.

Anonymous said...

You can't circumvent the NC Open records laws by moving your official conversations to your private number.

Official calls are subject to the law no matter which telephone you use.

guy faulkes said...

Ms. Church, the content of the call is the determining factor as to whether the call comes under public regulations that would force the call to be public record. Who owns the phone is not relevant. Ms. Hodges does not have the expectation of privacy when conducting BOE business on a private line nor would anyone else, no matter which party they are affiliated with.

If you had won the mayor's race, you would have been subject to the same guidelines.

Jenny Church said...

My question is, what is the criteria for determining whether a call to Ms. Hodges private line is for personal or official matters? What reason does one have to suspect she makes work calls from her personal line?

I'm sorry, but the whole argument sounds like the rants from paranoid, conspiracy theorizing Democrats. If you believe it is fair for Ms. Hodges to disclose all types of personal communications then the same should be done for the BOE board members. I'd be interested to know how Eggers and Aceto arranged to make the voting changes without any communication prior to a meeting. I do believe that is open to public record laws as well.

I am surprised the readers of this sight fail to see the corruption in how the changes came about, not the changes themselves, but how the entire thing was handled. Honestly, it's disappointing that more people are concerned with party politics than what is right.

guy faulkes said...

Ms. Church, do you know what instigated the charges? Do you know the regulations protecting employees from having these matters being made public?

If you had grounds to beleive that some of Ms. Hodges cell phone calls were covered under the regulations making them public record how would you discover if this was true? I would suppose you could ask for them or get a subpena.

What would it take to get a subpena? Which choice would you make?

Your suspicions might be well founded or they might be groundless. Saying that there is corruption in how the charges came about with no proof is questionable. It is actually about the same type of action that you accuse the Republican members of the BOE of making.

I am not saying you are wrong, but I would like to see your proof. You have made allegations, but have presented no proof to back them up, only opinions.

I might add that I always thought Ms. Hodges did a pretty good job. However, I am not privy to any information about employee performance that is not public record due to statutory limitations. Neither are you.

I am concerned about what is legal as well as what is right. As you may or may not know, I do not care about party politics. I left the Republican party some time ago because they abandoned their base and became liberal lite.

Let me add that if I were a resident of the Town of Boone, I would have voted for you for Mayor and still would. You have the courage to sick to your convictions. If you continue to have political aspirations, as I hope you do, please keep coming back to this blog. Doing so will help you gain experience in debating and defending your positions. A lot of politicians cans do the former, but not many are effective at the latter.

guy faulkes said...

Stick, not sick on the 8:11 post

Nobody said...

Kudos to Ms. Church for posting here under her own name! That's something most of us (me included) do not do.