Does Texas Voter ID Law Suppress Voting?

November 13, 2013

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This was the first election where the new voter ID requirement was in place in the state of Texas.  Democrats have claimed that it would suppress voter turnout while Republicans have claimed that it would not.  After election day, CNN featured an article by conservative blogger Bryan Preston claiming that voter turnout was not suppressed.

Preston’s methodology was comparing 2013 voter turnout to the most recent comparable election.  2013 was a off-year featuring proposed consitutional amendments, so Preston used 2011 as the basis for the comparison.  The most voted-upon amendment in 2011 has 690,052 votes, with an average of 672,874 voters for each of the ten amendments.  In 2013, the most popular one garnered 1,144,844 voters, with an average of 1,099,679 across nine proposed amendments.  Preston shows this increase as proof that voter turnout was not suppressed and then gets into demographical breakdowns in an attempt to prove the point more convincingly.  Not only was voter turnout not suppressed, but there was a huge surge!  Case closed, right?

Unfortunately, the entire argument is built upon the foundation of 2011 and 2013 being “comparable” elections.  In a nutshell, that we should expect roughly the same number of voters in those elections.  Let’s look back over a few cycles of these “comparable” constitutional amendment elections.  Let’s look at the amendment that garnered the most voters in each year, since that is the floor for the number of distinct voters.  Let’s trot over to the Texas secretary of state’s site.

  • 2013 – 1,144,844
  • 2011 – 690,052
  • 2009 – 1,055,330
  • 2007 – 1,096,410
  • 2005 – 2,260,695
  • 2003 – 1,470,443

Obviously, Preston is focusing on the wrong problem.  Instead of wondering if voter turnout was suppressed in 2013, he should be focusing on the voter suppression that occurred in 2007, when there was a more than 50% decline from the previous “comparable” election.

Or perhaps these off-year elections, which get very little turnout (the 2013 numbers touted by Preston was an 8% turnout) are driven by other issues, making it impossible to predict one election’s turnout from the previous election.

This is pretty obvious cherry picking from Preston, comparing 2013 results to an extreme statistical outlier.  The demographic breakdown he does is unfortunately worthless, because he’s working with bad data from square one.  You can’t make a silk purse from a sow’s ear.

How volatile are these elections, compared to presidential elections?  Let’s look at the past six presidential election totals.

  • 2012 – 7,993,851
  • 2008 – 8,077,795
  • 2004 – 7,410,765
  • 2000 – 6,407,637
  • 1996 – 5,611,644
  • 1992 – 6,154,018

There’s even quite a bit of volatility here (albeit over a timeframe that is twice as long), but the the high water year has just 1.44 times the number of voters of the lowest, compared to the high/low ratio of 3.28 for the constitutional amendment elections.

The key point is that voter suppression is not measured by whether vote total went up or down from a previous election, but by whether vote totals are lower than they would have been if the action that is alleged to suppress had not been in place.  That’s not easy – or perhaps even possible – to measure.  However, that’s no excuse to take a lazy shortcut and pass off the results as being the answer to the more difficult question.

Does the Texas voter ID law suppress voter turnout?  I honestly have no idea.



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Time To Disband The Big XII?

July 27, 2011

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I never thought I would say this, but…

The Big XII media days are a bit entertaining this year.

Most of the head coaches questioned on the topic of the recently formed “Longhorn Network” an exclusive deal between ESPN and the University of Texas, were hush hush on the topic. But not Missouri Head Coach Gary Pinkel.

“It’s a lack of common sense there to think that the network, the university network, can have high school games,” Pinkel said.

A major up-roar has caused some dissention in the ranks of the “New” Big XII Conference. The Longhorn Network has announced plans to cover high school games. Most everyone still left in the Big XII Conference, outside of the University of Texas thinks this is a complete and utter unfair recruiting advantage for the University in comparison to the remaining members of the conference.

Pinkel echoed sentiments expressed last week by Texas A&M Athletic Director, Bill Byrne (who coincidentally prior to this job was the Athletic Director at the University of Nebraska)

Last week Byrne released a statement expressing concern about the network carrying high school content as well as broadcasting a Texas game against a conference opponent, said Big 12 athletic directors will hold a meeting to discuss the issues within the next two weeks. Yesterday Byrne, who just returned from a fishing trip to Alaska, declined to expound upon his Longhorn Network thoughts with the following statement.

“I caught about 36 salmon, and I learned that if they keep their mouths shut, they won’t get hooked,” Byrne said.

Texas coach Mack Brown disputed the notion high school content on the network will give the Longhorns a recruiting edge.

“It would have nothing to do with the University of Texas,” Brown said. “Those games would be games that might be on ESPN anyway. … We’re going to sign 20 to 25 players a year, and those players will probably be committed to us before June in their junior year. So I don’t think that part will have any effect on recruiting at all.”

Yeah….whatever Mack…..

But before you start throwing stones at glass houses….

Texas A&M and Oklahoma are both more than happy with the new agreements in the Big XII Conference. Last summer when A&M almost bolted to the SEC, and as part of the deal to stay home, A&M, Texas and Oklahoma each get $20 million a year from TV revenue while the remaining sisters of the poor in the conference would get more in the 14-15 million realm.

Also these three schools got the majority of the “blood money” that was paid out by Colorado and Nebraska in order to be allowed to leave the league. Matter of fact some of the smaller schools even gave their share to these three as a means of appeasement.

HA HA …Nebraska and Colorado….Allowed to leave the league. It is looking like a better decision all of the time.

It appears that the rich (mainly Texas) is trying to get even richer. One of these days the rest of the teams will realize what Nebraska realized after they finally woke up and smelled the coffee.

Texas only cares about Texas. At the end of the day it is football, not academics, which rules the conversation of conference alignments…because after all it is all about the money.

It is time for this sham of a conference ran by an inept administration to simply disband. I am hoping that some of the other football powers in the remaining Texas…errrr….Big XII conference decide to take their ball and go home the way that Nebraska and Colorado did.

Until next time…stay classy in the Republic!

Dan Hawkins Fired, Cam Newton Ineligible?

November 10, 2010

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No picks this week as I want to go around the world of college football.

Coaching changes – Adios Dan Hawkins in Colorado. I guess we all figured out now who the real brains behind the Boise State empire was when you were still coaching there.  Too bad the Buffs athletic department did not figure that out sooner.  The last straw was the 35 point meltdown to the Kansas Jayhawks who rallied from that huge deficit for the 2nd largest comeback win in NCAA history.

Cam Newton – This gets better every day.  First the $200,000 allegation.  Then the cheating allegation.  Now this morning the money allegation again.  Why does this type of thing always seem to pop up in the SEC?  Are their fans just so rabid that they have spies everywhere on everyone else’s campuses to get an edge when their team is down and some other team is up?  I call it the SEConspiracy theory.  What I still don’t get is how he goes from Florida to a Juco, before coming back.  I mean would sitting out a year somewhere have really been any worse … or … did he really need some academic help meaning the allegations of cheating at Florida could be true? Hmmmmmmmm.  Can’t wait to see what unfolds as this week progresses as news seems to come out daily on the current Heisman Trophy Front Runner.

Heisman – First it was all Denard Robinson’s to lose.  Now it might be Cam Newton beating various raps to keep the hardware.  Of course an Iron Bowl spoiler courtesy of the Tide could change a lot of voters minds in November.  Kind of reminds me of the year Deshaun Foster was running away with it and then got in trouble and suspended … along with his Heisman hopes.  This could be the year of the last man standing wins.

Big XII – The might South Division is struggling.  Bad losses last week by Oklahoma and Texas, well, I have thrown them under the bus for weeks now, more on that later.  Oklahoma State looks to be in control in the South, who the heck would have predicted that to start the year.  Also thanks to the Missouri Tigers who once again show they have no coaching, abandon the running game and get throttled in the last three quarters for a horrible loss at Texas Tech. Merry Christmas Nebraska, you just won the North.

Texas – I have been piling on for weeks, it will get worse.  Does anyone think they are going to stop Oklahoma State this week?  Texas is in SERIOUS jeopardy of not being bowl eligible.  From BCS title game to not even making the Motor City Bowl.  Wow it must really be bad to be a Longhorn fan this year.

Oregon – These guys are Playstation 3 football.  Can anyone hold them under 50 points?  Does anyone want to play them at all?  The weird thing is when you watch them play they really don’t look that good, they just score fast, play fast and wear other teams out.  Wonder when someone figures out how to stop that from happening.

TCU to the Big East – Horned Frog Officials are indicating they want the all or nothing package.  They are not just going to jump ship for football, where they would roll, but they want the mighty basketball program to travel thousands of miles each week to get their butts kicked in the biggest thug ball conference in America.  Good for you for standing up to your beliefs.

This is one of the worst weekends for college football this year.  Due to many traditionally good teams struggling there are not a lot of meaningful games this week.  I will be back next week with picks, but if you want a short list…..Take Oregon, Nebraska, Oklahoma State, Iowa State and until next week, good luck!

Suh for Heisman

December 8, 2009

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A lot of water cooler talk around the offices this week after the games this past weekend.  Today, Johnny Goodman looks to find the truth about many of the issues in College football.

Fact- Alabama and Texas will play in the BCS Championship game

Truth- yep I can’t come up with another argument here.  These are the two most deserving teams and I have no beef with that

Fact:  Alabama beat Florida soundly

Truth:  Florida really isn’t that good.  Who have they beaten or dominated all year.  Heck I think the SEC is terribly overrated this year.  A lot of good teams yes, a lot of GREAT teams?  C’mon…no way…This conference gets more verbal blow than anything and it is totally unfounded this year.  Play a bowl game or better yet a nonconference road game outside of the southeast sometime.  What is your conference record the last 51 times you have left the southeast?  25-26.  Overrated!!!!

Fact:  Mack Brown was named Big XII 2009 AP Coach of the year

Truth:  Did you watch the Texas vs. Nebraska game?  Then tell me which team imposed their will and their style of play and was :01 away from pulling off the upset as a 15 point underdog.  Coach of the year?  This guy can’t coach at all.  If Tom Osborne would have had the talent Texas gets every year in their program the Huskers would have had about five more national titles during his tenure.  Mack Brown is a average coach in arguably the easiest place to land fantastic recruits.  Saturday night was just another example of that.  His total and complete mis-management of the game clock at the end of the game almost prevented his kicker from having a shot at the game winning kick and the Horns from a shot in the BCS title game.  This guy is the luckiest coach ever…but he isn’t even in the top three coaches in his own conference.  Frankly I am surprised that Texas fans are not piling on about this right now.  After they get wood-shedded by Alabama, maybe they will be.

Fact: Cincinnati deserves to be playing in the BCS game against Alabama

Truth – you gave up a forty spot to Pittsburgh?  The argument stops there.  The Panthers are not exactly an offensive juggernaut.  Brian Kelly likely is gone to Notre Dame, and bad coaching by Wannestadt might make it a certainty now.  The Bearcats are good, but top 3 in the county???….nope.

Fact:  The refs put back one second on the clock in the Big XII title game

Truth:  They did get this one right although I hate to admit it being a Husker fan.  If time expired it would have made LSU coaching buffoon moves at the end of the game a few weeks ago look like no big deal.  The Truth also is that the #3 team was lucky to escape and was dominated by a team with a far superior defense who unfortunately for them has an offense that would barely be effective in your kids Pop Warner league.

Fact:  This year is a toss-up for the Heisman Trophy

Truth – Nebraska’s Ndamukong Suh should win the award but won’t.  Lets run down the top candidates here.  Tim Tebow – nope –  lost last game and cried on the sideline.  There is no crying in Football Timmy! – and had average statistical year, Colt McCoy, laid an egg in final game and last second (literally) gaffe almost cost team a shot at the title game.  Jimmy Clausen – hardly.  Mark Ingram – you can’t get pulled in the next to last game for being ineffective and win THIS award.  Toby Gerhart – I could see this as I think he has been most consistent – Suh –has been dominating in every big game for the Huskers defense which is very good.  He had 4.5 sacks and 12 tackles – 8 for losses – an numerous hurries in the Big XII title game.  Can you honestly say there is a better or more dominating player in the country this year?