Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Active Readers, Inactive Voters

The smart people at PEW have released a study about the number of voters in registration databases who may not live where they are registered.

This has reminded others of that rocket scientist (really) at who did the same a couple of years ago.   (By the way, for you out-of-Kansans, he's a must-follow).

But, ahem!  This is news?

Not to regular readers of!  

Okay, if you are a reader, I've only been around six weeks and I'm touched you've checked the blog out and all, but it's a little egotistical on my part to think of you as a regular reader.

I haven't earned that yet.  I get that.

But, I did speak to this very thing here:

and here:

PEW mentions that 1 in 8 voters don't live where they are registered.  These would be inactive voters, which I discussed.  The PEW graphic mentions "active" voters; I think it's a blending of terms, so hone in the 1 out of 8, not the categorization of voters.

And, because I often figure baseball batting averages after the second game of the season, I've memorized what 1 for 8 is:  .125, or 12.5 percent.

My blog posts mentioned 10 percent as the typical number of inactive voters in Johnson County.  I was rounding.

I'll give you 12.5 percent, maybe.  (I don't think we're dramatically better than the average, but certainly we're not worse).

But isn't this a legal thing, a savvy reader might ask?  How can you really be better or worse?

Well, in larger communities bordering a state line, like Johnson County, there's a lot of voters coming and going, making list management even more important.  The fact that we send a couple of postcards a year helps.

Small communities, especially, don't have the resources to actively manage the registration lists.

Speaking of resources, the hot topic in Kansas is the consideration of moving spring elections to the fall.  As an election administrator, this...well...I have to say, it freaks me out.

Pulling back 50,000 feet (30,000 just isn't high enough here), there's really no reason our city elections are in the spring, as far as I know.  They just are in the spring.  Surely there is a way to make this idea work and keep the heart rate low.

I'll elaborate on that tomorrow.