Did Disfranchisement Laws Help Elect President Bush? New Evidence on the Turnout Rates and Candidate Preferences of Florida’s Ex-Felons
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This paper re-examines the impact of Florida’s disfranchisement law on the 2000 Presidential election. The analysis simulates outcomes in Florida under scenarios consistent with the turnout rates of Georgia and North Carolina ex-felons in 2000 and Florida ex-felons in 2008. Survey evidence on candidate preferences as well as data on ex-felon party registration in Florida and North Carolina are used to produce estimates of support for Bush and Gore among ex-felons. Based on the simulations, the ex-felon population in Florida would have favored Bush in 2000. Assuming that ex-felons supported Gore at rates similar to GSS respondents with at most a high school diploma, Bush would have defeated Gore by 4,925 and 7,048 votes, assuming turnout of 10 and 15%, respectively.
KeywordsFelony disfranchisement Criminal justice Voting behavior 2000 General election
The author would like to thank Jennifer Hochschild, Sidney Verba, Kay Schlozman, Gary King, Dan Galvin, and Alec Ewald for their comments on earlier drafts of this paper.
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