24 April 2006
The final Political Psychology and Behavior Workshop paper of the academic year comes this Friday in the form of Traci Burch's "Estimating Voter Registration, Turnout, and Party ID among Current and Former Felons in North Carolina." Felon disenfranchisment is obviously a timely issue. It has been the source of inaccuracy in voter turnout statistics and a possible contributor to the 2000 election outcome in Florida. To give away the punchline, here is Burch's conclusion:
This analysis attempts to estimate the political participation of felons and ex-felons in one state, North Carolina, in an effort to see the extent and causes of felon participation. The findings indicate that even former felons in North Carolina have low rates of current voter registration (13.8 percent); the lack of registration in large part reflects the impact of socioeconomic disadvantage and legal disenfranchisement policies. Among comparable groups such as misdemeanants and felons prior to the start of their last sentence, registration levels are about 30 percent, suggesting that in the absence of felon disenfranchisement policies, felon political participation would have been much higher. Moreover, older felons and felons with a high school education are much more likely to be registered to vote.
Posted by Barry Burden at April 24, 2006 10:09 AM