Non-Voted Ballots and Discrimination in Florida
John R. Lott Jr.
Crime Prevention Research Center
July 15, 2001
Yale Law & Economics Research Paper No. 256
The Majority Report by the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights on the Presidential vote in Florida during the 2000 general election presents two types of empirical evidence that African-Americans were denied the right to vote. The report concluded that, "The Voting Rights Act prohibits both intentional discrimination and "results" discrimination. It is within the jurisdictional province of the Justice Department to pursue and a court of competent jurisdiction to decide whether the facts prove or disprove illegal discrimination under either standard." To reach their conclusion that discrimination had occurred, the majority examined the impact of race on spoiled (or non-voted) ballot rates as well as the impact of race on the exclusion from voter eligibility lists because of past felony criminal records. They relied on empirical work regarding non-voted ballots, relying solely from cross county regressions or correlations using data from 2000 alone. The evidence that African-Americans are erroneously placed on the ineligible list at higher rates than other racial groups is based upon a simple comparison of means. This paper evaluates the Majority Report and finds little evidence of any type of discrimination against African-Americans in voting.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 24
JEL Classification: H0, J70, J78
Date posted: July 9, 2001