Sunday, December 12, 2004

Republican Precincts in Columbus were the Busiest

The Columbus Dispatch has another article today entitled GOP strongholds saw increase in voting machines.

The general gist of the article was that based on past voter turnout patterns and suburban growth rates, Franklin county election officials added 8 machines across 43 Replican leaning precincts and removed 17 machines across 110 Democratic leaning precincts to best support what turned out to be over 100,000 additional voters in 2004.

They must have done something right because despite the all sorts of calculations of registered voters per machine, when all was said and done, the number of actual votes per machine was relatively close.
Despite the reduced number of machines and larger number of active voters per machine in the Democratic precincts, the busiest precincts — as measured by ballots cast per machine — overwhelmingly were in the suburbs (as The Dispatch reported last month). There were 161 ballots cast per machine in the Democratic areas versus 165 in the GOP areas.
The primary reason for this is that turnout in the Democratic precincts has traditionally been around 50%, while turnout in the Republican precincts has been around 65%. This chart provides the 2000 numbers which demonstrate this. With a 15% difference in voter turnout across the precincts, of course you are going to want a different voter-to-machine ratio.

That's the problem with any voter suppression argument based on registered-voter-to-machine ratios, it assumes a consistent turnout ratio across all precincts, and that historically has not been the case.

Based on the actual ballots cast, it looks like Democrat William A. Anthony Jr. did a pretty good job of anticipating voter turnout and distributing machines appropriately. Maybe he shorted the Republican leaning precincts a little, but I think they'll give him the benefit of the doubt instead of screaming suppression. His fellow Democrats seem to be doing that just fine on their own.