Thursday, October 1, 2015

Voter Suspension List: What Community Factors

My post from earlier in the week on Voter Suspension Demographics has received quite a bit of traffic recently, probably because of the lawsuit file by former gubernatorial Candidate Paul Davis against Secretary of State Kris Kobach.  In that post I demonstrated that suspended voters are generally younger and less Republican than the general voting population.  I also promised a  deep dive into racial and other demographics of suspended voters.

The suspension list doesn't identify the race or economic status of each person, so we can't measure these types of demographics directly.  What we can do, identify members by their communities (here represented by zip codes) and which community demographic attributes are most predictive of a high suspended voter rate.

I looked at census data by zip code in Johnson County, and also confirmed that the results are similar in Sedgwick County (two largest counties in state).  I plan on moving fairly quickly through a few data analyses, so I'll just state my findings here (if you have any questions please comment):

  • Home Ownership (affluence) and African American % Matter.  My home ownership proxy (owner occupied housing) is negatively related to voter suspension rate, meaning that affluence measured through home ownership, leads to less voter suspension.  The % of African Americans living in a community was also highly  related to suspension rate, meaning the more African Americans, the more people on the suspension list.
  • Median Age and % Latino Matter Less.  Given my earlier analysis, we expected median age of a community to lead directly to more suspended voters.  This is true, but the relationship is relatively weak.  Because the reason given for citizenship voter requirements often center around illegal Mexican immigration, we expected that relationship to be positive and highly significant. It was positive, but not as important as the other factors.
First, a map of voter suspension rates in Johnson County:


AGE 

Based on our earlier analysis, we expected the age of a community to be highly related to the percent of suspended voters.  There was a relationship and in the right direction, but it wasn't as strong as we expected.  Generally this means, that while younger voters are suspended at a higher rate, this isn't an underlying driver at a community level.  We also may need to measure this differently, as it may be more related to "young adults" rather than an overall age metric (median).

Not too relevant, but I mapped this for fun.  Fun stat: Gardner is youngest community in the Joco, Leawood the oldest.  


PERCENT LATINO

A lot of the rhetoric I hear about citizen registration laws is regarding illegal Mexican immigrants taking over the American political system by voting in our elections.  From an a priori point of view, I assumed if this was true (either the fear of Mexican immigrants, or that this policy is effective against that) that we would see a strong positive relationship here, we did not.  Here's the chart.  


And I had my mapping software here, so here's a map of Latino % across Joco.



PERCENT AFRICAN AMERICAN

Having the census data handy, I had a few more correlations I could try.  I tried everything I could and found two high correlations (absolute R value of > .5).  The first one is African American Percent in the community.  That doesn't necessarily mean that African Americans are more likely to be suspended voters (though it does strongly point that way), it does mean that in highly African American communities, move voters are suspended.


 And a map of African Americans living in Johnson County.  The highest percentages being inside the 435 Loop.



HOME OWNERSHIP PERCENT

The final major correlation I found with suspension percent as a negative correlation, but the strongest significant correlation we found.  The higher the Home Ownership rate the lower the voter suspension rate in that community.  Home Ownership is generally used as a proxy for community affluence.  We know that younger people are more likely to not own their homes, so it is somewhat likely it's a combination of age and affluence at play.  Here's our graph.  


And a map of home ownership rates.  The reds are the highest, with greens being the lowest.







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