Reducing voting wait times

The research that Caltech sophomore, Sean McKenna, conducted with me this past summer is profiled today on Caltech’s website, “Using Simulation and Optimization to Cut Wait Times for Voters.” We will be collecting more data for this project tomorrow, which we will be using to help validate this approach to helping election officials with their resource allocation decisions.

Last day of FL early voting is big

The last day of in-person early voter in Florida ended the period with a bang — total turnout on the last Sunday was about triple four years ago, and the Democratic share was even greater than four years ago.

For the entire period, the relative Democratic share of the in-person early vote has been greater than in 2010. As Michael McDonald notes, the Democratic share of the absentee/mail vote is also greater than 2010. What remains to be seen is whether this is just shifting around when partisans vote, or if it reflects a shift in partisan electoral fortunes from four years ago.  It’s obviously a mix of both; we’ll know soon enough what the mix is.

Here are the graphs.  Click on a graph to see the full picture.

Day-to-day in-person early voting turnout:

day_to_day_gross_20141103

 

 

Cumulative early voting turnout:day_to_day_cumulative_gross_20141103

 

 

Partisan composition of early voting turnout, compared to 2010:day_to_day_pct_gross_20131103

FL Early Voting through Saturday: Steady as She Goes

Here are the latest statistics for in-person early voting in Florida. The two patterns I have been following, total turnout and partisan composition, continue to hold.

First, turnout for in-person early voting continued to exceed 2010, with aggregate turnout about 20% above 2010.

Second, the partisan composition of the in-person early voting electorate has remained fairly stable.  As in 2010, there was a slight up-tick in Democratic turnout and a slight down-tick in Republican turnout yesterday.  However, in 2010, these up- and down-ticks were much more dramatic.  For those who have been trying to gauge what this means for possible outcomes, it bodes better for Scott and worse for Crist.

To mix things up, rather than show cumulative totals, I’ll show day-to-day total turnout, so that the persistence of the daily increase in in-person turnout compared to 2010 is clear. (Click on the figure for the full graph.)

 

day_to_day_comp_20141102

Here is the partisan composition day-to-day.  Presumably, with a souls-to-the-polls drive today, we should see a surge of Democrats in tomorrow’s graph.  It will be interesting to see how it compares to 2010.day_to_day_pct_gross_20141102

 

FL Early Voting through the Final Friday

More than a million people have now voted early in Florida. As I noted yesterday, the growth in non-party registrants is really the story here, as is the shift in favor of Democrats compared to Republicans.

Cumulative early voting through Friday: (click on the image to see the full graph)

day_to_day_cumulative_gross_20141101

 

Day-to-day Democratic/Republican share of early votes:

day_to_day_pct_gross_20141101

A first-cut detailed look at FL early voters

This must be brief, but I’ve been able to merge the registration and voter history files in Florida from 2010 with the early voting records from 2014.  Here are some first-cut comparisons at the individual level.  (Remember, another quarter million Floridians are still yet to vote early in this cycle.)

The thing that jumps out at me is that Hispanic and Black early voters in 2014 tend to be drawn more from non-voters in 2010 than whites.  In addition, there is evidence that among voters in 2010, Black and Hispanic Election Day voters are more likely to be voting early than white Election Day voters.

The other thing is that among those not  registered with a party, the early voters were disproportionately non-voters in 2010, compared to registered partisans.

Here are the notes I’ve made:

Among early voters thus far, how did they vote in 2010?

15.4% did not vote
5.9% voted absentee
45.0% voted early
33.5% voted Election Day

Among blacks, 19.3% did not vote, 4.0% absentee, 39.2% early, 37.2% election day
Among hispanics, 24.7% did not vote,6.0% absentee, 38.8% early, 30.4% election day
Among whites, 13.3% did not vote, 6.3% absentee, 47.1% early, 33.2% election day

Among Dems: 16.9% did not vote, 4.5% absentee, 42.3% early, 36.2% election day
Among Reps: 10.5% did not vote, 7.8% absentee, 50.4% early, 31.2% election day
Among NPAs: 24.7% did not vote, 4.7% absentee, 37.8% early, 32.6% election day
Among early voters in 2010, have they voted already in 2014?

Overall, 33.6% have already voted early
Among whites, 34.1% have already voted early
Among blacks, 35.0% have already voted early
Among hispanics, 27.8% have already voted early

Among Dems: 34.1% have already voted early
Among Reps: 34.3% have already voted early
Among NPAs: 29.8% have already voted early

 

FL Early Voting Turnout by County

I have been asked about the geographic distribution of the in-person early voting shifts in Florida from 2010 to 2014.  Here are some quick graphs, using data through yesterday.

1.  The graph of the percentage change in in-person early voting turnout, from 2010 to 2014.  On the whole, fairly uniform increases throughout, with notable exceptions. (Click on the graph to get the full picture)

county_comparison_by_size_201410312.  A simple scatterplot showing total early voting turnout in 2014 vs. 2010.  Again, the plot reinforces the previous one:  fairly uniform increase statewide thus far.  (The labeled counties are 50% ahead of 2010.)

county_comparison_201410313.  Finally, in quick succession, the same scatterplot, broken down by party.  The new interesting thing is the large uniform increase in early voting among those who are not registered with any party.  I don’t know enough about Florida politics to know what this bodes for election outcomes.  What I do know is that the big increase in in-person early voting seems to be significantly driven by this group, and not registered partisans.

county_comparison_dem_20141031

county_comparison_rep_20141031

county_comparison_npa_20141031

 

 

FL Early Voting through Thursday

FL continues to outpace 2010 early voting totals by about 10%. Unlike 2010, the partisan pattern has remained fairly constant for the entire two-week period. The only question remaining is whether there will be a sharp up-tick in Democratic composition these last days, or whether the shift in composition will continue to be more gradual.

Click on the graphs to see the full pictures.

Day-to-day cumulative totals:

day_to_day_cumulative_gross_20141031

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Daily partisan composition:
day_to_day_pct_gross_20141031

Small change in FL early voting trends

First, the consistency in this year’s early voting trends: the volume exceeds 2010.

Second, the deviation: the stark partisan contrast with 2010 did not appear yesterday. At this point in 2010, the Democratic share of the in-person early voting population began to shoot up, as the election approached. Yesterday, there was a small increase in the Democratic share, but the overall mix is now much closer to 2010. The natural thing to wonder is whether late-period early voters in 2010 became early-period early voters in 2014. We’ll see.

(As always, click on the graphs to get the full figures)

Cumulative in-person early vote totals:
day_to_day_cumulative_gross

 

Day-to-day partisan composition:

day_to_day_pct_gross_2014_10_30

FL Early Voting Statistics through Monday

Florida’s in-person early voting period is now in full swing. The following two graphs, which update previous posts, show two things:

Graph 1: About 70,000 more people have voted early, compared to the same time in 2010.
Graph 2: For each day of early voting, the composition of in-person early voters has been (on the whole) more Democratic than in 2010.

(Please click on the graphs to see the full picture.)

day_to_day_cumulative_gross

 

day_to_day_pct_gross_through_10_27

I want your ballots!

As readers of this blog know, I am interested in better understanding why long lines form at (some) polling places. One common claim, or hypothesis, is that a big culprit is ballot length. Unfortunately, it is very hard to test this claim empirically, because of the difficulty in getting a good sample of ballots from around the country.

Here’s a strategy to overcome this empirical barrier, and how you can help. If you have access to your sample ballot, please send it to me. Also, tell me what your ZIP Code is, so that I can link the ballot style and length to measures of waiting times and line lengths I will also be gathering.

Send those ballots to: ballots@mit.edu

Don’t forget the ZIP Code!