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Subject: Democratic voter suppression rss

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Kelsey Rinella
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538 has an interesting point about the scheduling of local elections: http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/how-democrats-suppress-t...

To summarize, in local elections, government employees are so much more motivated to turn out than the general public that a very low turnout actually helps Democrats. There's evidence that Democrats have been much more likely to allow odd scheduling of local elections, and that such scheduling has been related to higher government employee pay.

Thoughts?

Anyway, don't forget to vote if you're in a place with an election today, and if you want to poke the Democratic Party in the eye for changing the rules to keep Larry Lessig out of the next debate (thus effectively ending his candidacy), I'm sympathetic.
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Wendell
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This certainly goes against the conventional wisdom that Republican turn-out is relatively higher than Democratic turn-out for off-elections (i.e., any one without a Presidential race). Conventional wisdom which the numbers tend to support.

Color me skeptical.

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Kelsey Rinella
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wifwendell wrote:
This certainly goes against the conventional wisdom that Republican turn-out is relatively higher than Democratic turn-out for off-elections (i.e., any one without a Presidential race). Conventional wisdom which the numbers tend to support.

Color me skeptical.

It does, but it's at least possible that the effect depends on the amount of voter turnout. At 50% turnout, more might favor the Democrats, even though at 20% turnout, it doesn't. It doesn't have to be the case that the partisan lean changes monotonically as you go down the voting likelihood scale.

So it's an interesting hypothesis that Democrats figured this out long ago, and correctly identified a way to take advantage of it. I regard it with skepticism, too, but it's still something I want to keep an eye on.
 
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Boaty McBoatface
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My take on this.

I do not know about the USA but in the UK there are many elections that no one takes part in becasue they do not give a shit, it has sod all to do with when the election is held.

I cannot help but wonder if this is the case with school boards.
 
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James Myers
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rinelk wrote:
538 has an interesting point about the scheduling of local elections: http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/how-democrats-suppress-t...

To summarize, in local elections, government employees are so much more motivated to turn out than the general public that a very low turnout actually helps Democrats. There's evidence that Democrats have been much more likely to allow odd scheduling of local elections, and that such scheduling has been related to higher government employee pay.

Thoughts?

Anyway, don't forget to vote if you're in a place with an election today, and if you want to poke the Democratic Party in the eye for changing the rules to keep Larry Lessig out of the next debate (thus effectively ending his candidacy), I'm sympathetic.
I solely take issue w/ calling it suppression -- is appealing is lethargy suppression?

Then again, if all getting a voter ID card takes is surpassing lethargy... yeah.

But yes, keeping Lessig out of the debates is fucking frustrating.

bj wrote:
Wisconsin just passed a law limiting how often tax increases could be brought in front of the electorate. What was happening here is that school property tax referendums were brought to the taxpayers, they'd reject them, and the board would keep bringing them back in special election after special election until they passed once which would allow the spending and tax increases to go forward. When there's nothing else on the ballot and the election isn't widely advertised, the teachers unions and school administration were highly motivated.
Yeah, this sounds like a clear abuse of the system, more towards the extreme end. Advocating for change is fine, simply shuttling it through w/ tenacity isn't.
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Boaty McBoatface
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Koldfoot wrote:
slatersteven wrote:
My take on this.

I do not know about the USA.....
Yet you are an expert on every other aspect of American politics.
NO, that is why I often ask about things. Unlike some I am not afraid to admit when my knowledge is lacking.
 
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Shawn Fox
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rinelk wrote:
[q="wifwendell"]This certainly goes against the conventional wisdom that Republican turn-out is relatively higher than Democratic turn-out for off-elections (i.e., any one without a Presidential race). Conventional wisdom which the numbers tend to support.

Color me skeptical.

Sounds to me like 538 discovered that Republicans don't read the site (fear of facts) so they decided to write an article to attract Republican readership.
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Shawn Fox
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rinelk wrote:
538 has an interesting point about the scheduling of local elections: http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/how-democrats-suppress-t...

To summarize, in local elections, government employees are so much more motivated to turn out than the general public that a very low turnout actually helps Democrats. There's evidence that Democrats have been much more likely to allow odd scheduling of local elections, and that such scheduling has been related to higher government employee pay.

Thoughts?

Anyway, don't forget to vote if you're in a place with an election today, and if you want to poke the Democratic Party in the eye for changing the rules to keep Larry Lessig out of the next debate (thus effectively ending his candidacy), I'm sympathetic.
Ok, so after actually reading the article I find your summary is crap. This is not a claim at all that government employees turn up and heavily influence local elections, this is a claim that government employees show up and vote at off cycle local elections (elections held at odd dates instead of the standard date on Tuesday of the first full week in November).

Off cycle elections are fairly uncommon so this isn't exactly a big problem even if the conclusions drawn are accurate.

[edit] Yes I see that you did mention "odd scheduling" but did not really define what was meant and thus your summary was confusing as well as greatly over inflating the importance of the interesting but not completely convincing statistics.
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Shawn Fox
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As another example, Texas, where I live, is a state that has these "off cycle" elections for the school boards, but Texas ranks in the bottom 1/3 on average teacher pay and the school boards are generally stacked with know nothing conservatives who constantly try to push religious nonsense into the curricula as well as doing their best to reduce funding for science education. If Democrats are gaining an advantage by having the off cycle elections in Texas I'd hate to see what our education system would look like otherwise.
 
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Boaty McBoatface
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sfox wrote:
As another example, Texas, where I live, is a state that has these "off cycle" elections for the school boards, but Texas ranks in the bottom 1/3 on average teacher pay and the school boards are generally stacked with know nothing conservatives who constantly try to push religious nonsense into the curricula as well as doing their best to reduce funding for science education. If Democrats are gaining an advantage by having the off cycle elections in Texas I'd hate to see what our education system would look like otherwise.
You mean this was not one of the 1/10 of states examined? That well know democrat state Texas?
 
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Shawn Fox
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slatersteven wrote:
sfox wrote:
As another example, Texas, where I live, is a state that has these "off cycle" elections for the school boards, but Texas ranks in the bottom 1/3 on average teacher pay and the school boards are generally stacked with know nothing conservatives who constantly try to push religious nonsense into the curricula as well as doing their best to reduce funding for science education. If Democrats are gaining an advantage by having the off cycle elections in Texas I'd hate to see what our education system would look like otherwise.
You mean this was not one of the 1/10 of states examined? That well know democrat state Texas?
Texas was taken into account I believe, at least it was listed in the statistics in the article. One thing the article doesn't address is how stupid it would be to hold school board elections in the middle of a school year (in November when the general election takes place). This is why school boards are generally elected at the end of the school year (May) so that they can then actually start working before the start of the next school year.
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Kelsey Rinella
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sfox wrote:
rinelk wrote:
538 has an interesting point about the scheduling of local elections: http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/how-democrats-suppress-t...

To summarize, in local elections, government employees are so much more motivated to turn out than the general public that a very low turnout actually helps Democrats. There's evidence that Democrats have been much more likely to allow odd scheduling of local elections, and that such scheduling has been related to higher government employee pay.

Thoughts?

Anyway, don't forget to vote if you're in a place with an election today, and if you want to poke the Democratic Party in the eye for changing the rules to keep Larry Lessig out of the next debate (thus effectively ending his candidacy), I'm sympathetic.
Ok, so after actually reading the article I find your summary is crap. This is not a claim at all that government employees turn up and heavily influence local elections, this is a claim that government employees show up and vote at off cycle local elections (elections held at odd dates instead of the standard date on Tuesday of the first full week in November).

Off cycle elections are fairly uncommon so this isn't exactly a big problem even if the conclusions drawn are accurate.

[edit] Yes I see that you did mention "odd scheduling" but did not really define what was meant and thus your summary was confusing as well as greatly over inflating the importance of the interesting but not completely convincing statistics.
You seem more interested in the extent to which this is a widespread problem than I am. I agree that my summary didn't emphasize that. What interested me was the idea that not only is lower voter turnout sometimes better for Democrats, there's at least weak evidence that they've recognized this and taken advantage of it more than once at the local level. Strong evidence of limits to the conventional wisdom about turnout was what I wanted to play up.
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rinelk wrote:
You seem more interested in the extent to which this is a widespread problem than I am. I agree that my summary didn't emphasize that. What interested me was the idea that not only is lower voter turnout sometimes better for Democrats, there's at least weak evidence that they've recognized this and taken advantage of it more than once at the local level. Strong evidence of limits to the conventional wisdom about turnout was what I wanted to play up.
Well of course Democrats do things to help them get elected, what else is new?

There could also be plenty of other reasons, however, that the Dems and/or employees of the state would be in favor of the off cycle elections that have nothing to do with anyone even knowing about the alleged higher voter turnout of state employees in the off cycle elections. I just didn't see enough evidence in the article to make me believe that there is a nationwide conspiracy by the Democrats to schedule elections for their advantage.

On the school board thing, for instance, it could just be that Republicans are in favor of simplification and saving money by doing all the elections at once and the Democrats are heavily influenced by the teacher's unions who believe that changing school boards in the middle of the school year is stupid. Any voter turnout issues associated with the different election timing is most likely coincidental, at least on the national scale.
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Kelsey Rinella
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sfox wrote:
rinelk wrote:
You seem more interested in the extent to which this is a widespread problem than I am. I agree that my summary didn't emphasize that. What interested me was the idea that not only is lower voter turnout sometimes better for Democrats, there's at least weak evidence that they've recognized this and taken advantage of it more than once at the local level. Strong evidence of limits to the conventional wisdom about turnout was what I wanted to play up.
Well of course Democrats do things to help them get elected, what else is new?

Any voter turnout issues associated with the different election timing is most likely coincidental, at least on the national scale.
You seem to have gone from "of course they do this" to "most likely they don't do this" in the space of three paragraphs. Not sure how you got there.

I'll restate: I was surprised to learn that the effect of turnout increases is non-monotonic, as this goes against the conventional wisdom. The explanation that Democrats on the local level are clued into the voting patterns of government employees enough to know this and take advantage of it seemed to add plausibility to the statistics suggesting that the turnout effects are what is claimed, but it's those turnout effects which interest me. I agree that other explanations are possible, and I'm not in this to push a partisan agenda of making Democrats look bad. I'm a Democrat, and, though I do sometimes vote for Republicans for state or local office, my town has a Democratic team so fantastic that the Republicans didn't even bother fielding a candidate for any town office.
 
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In Time
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Thank you for the article. It's nice when everyone can realize that BOTH parties have dirty hands! I'm not making any BUT THEYRE WORSE statement, it's not black and white evil and good.

I think it's good to see that the republican and democratic parties are both dirty political psystems that seek control, acknowledging this de-polarizes us and I for one am in favor of de-polarizing our current political system (even if the news stations want us to hate/fear each other).
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