Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Study: Rick Scott’s Long Voting Lines Cost Obama A Net 11,000 Votes In Central Florida

Thanks in large part to a law signed by Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R), which cut early voting opportunities in that state, many Florida voters endured six hour lines simply to cast a ballot. These lines did not wind up costing Obama Florida’s electoral votes, but, according to an Ohio State University study, they reduced the president’s margin of victory by thousands of votes in central Florida alone:

[A]s many as 49,000 people across Central Florida were discouraged from voting because of long lines on Election Day, according to a researcher at Ohio State University who analyzed election data compiled by the Orlando Sentinel.

About 30,000 of those discouraged voters — most of them in Orange and Osceola counties — likely would have backed Democratic President Barack Obama, according to Theodore Allen, an associate professor of industrial engineering at OSU.

About 19,000 voters would have likely backed Republican Mitt Romney, Allen said.

This suggests that Obama’s margin over Romney in Florida could have been roughly 11,000 votes higher than it was, based just on Central Florida results. Obama carried the state by 74,309 votes out of more than 8.4 million cast.

In the wake of the long lines triggered in the wake of Scott’s law, several top Republicans admitted the entire purpose of this legislation was to keep Democrats from the polls. Indeed, one GOP consultant explained that “cutting out of the Sunday before Election Day [from early voting] was one of their targets only because that’s a big day when the black churches organize themselves.” African-American voters overwhelmingly favored Obama last November.

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