Voter ID: The Substantial “Shouldas”

In the previous looks at how the new Voter ID law was administered, we saw that 8.3% of Harris County voters ended up initialing the affidavit acknowledging that the names on their ID were not a 100% match to their name on the voter file. There remains, however, an open question of what the ratio should have been. According to media reports, County Clerk Stan Stanart noted that “[a]bout 40 percent of registered Harris County voters have mismatched addresses that could require additional verification.” Emphasis mine.

The law states that the purpose of the ID is to compare the name on it to that on the voter roll, not the address. So while it’s quite believable that Stanart’s 40% number could be believable, it’s not quite the same as saying that 40% of the names on the voter roll fail to match the names on DPS records. So what might that number look like?

Included in the information request I got from the County Clerk was the match file for the voter roll to that of the DPS records. Each record has four name fields for the voter roll (first, middle, last, suffix) and four from DPS. In comparing the file, I ended up with 20.9% of records not matching. My own mismatch name is there, as is Kuff’s, and a few others who mentioned that their names didn’t match. I’m under the impression that this was the very file that the County Clerk’s office used to prepare for the 2013 election (I have a request for verification in with the office, but no response yet). One bit of information I’m hoping to clear up is why the file I have contains 1,871,369 records while the total Registered Voter count on the canvass lists 1,967,881. There could be a number of perfectly logical explanations, but I’m assuming for the moment that the file I have goes a long way toward helping identify what the rate of Substantially Similar affidavits should have looked like.

Countywide, the roster of voters from In-Person Early Voting contained 18,276 voters who should have initialed an affidavit – 20.7% of those who cast their vote early in this manner. That matches surprisingly close to the overall comparison to the DPS records – a finding I hadn’t expected. And it’s worth contrasting that to the 8.3% who actually did initial an affidavit. On the whole, that would suggest a 40% efficiency rate of capturing the initials of those voters who should have initialed.

But the overall result obfuscates a great deal of detail that includes locations that simply did not administer the Voter ID law as they should have … as well as several who over-administered the law to capture names that should not have been required to initial an affidavit. In the previous posts, I identified 40% of Early Voting locations that captured less than 5% of their voters on Substantially Similar Affidavits. In looking at “what should have happened”, I’m finding that out of the 480 location/day combinations (40 locations x 12 days), 20% of these location-days ended up with over-administered affidavit signatures.

In Tuesday’s preview, I noted the location of Pasadena’s Harris County Court Annex. That location “shoulda” seen 174 voters needing to initial an affidavit (10.7% of their Early Voters). In reality, the location got 398 (24.5% of their Early Voters). This gives the location an “Efficiency Rate” of 229%. That qualifies – easily – as the most out-of-whack finding for an “over-administered” location. Obviously, those locations that seemingly failed to get the memo on what the Substantially Similar Name process was ended up with Efficiency Rates at or near zero. In all, seven location ended up as “over-administered” for the entire run of 2013 Early Voting:

126C – 112% (Champion Forest Baptist Church)
128P – 229% (Pasadena – Harris County Court Annex)
130T – 188% (Tomball Public Works Bldg)
135M – 107% (Metropolitan Mult-Service Center)
138B – 186% (Bear Creek Park Community Center)
141H – 102% (Octavia Fields Branch Library)
149G – 131% (Glen Cheek Education Bldg)

Even among locations that did not clock in at over 100% efficiency, there are sporadic daily patterns. For instance, my location – Bayland Park (137B):

10/21 – 24%
10/22 – 94%
10/23 – 109%
10/24 – 164%
10/25 – 105%
10/26 – 88%
10/27 – 100%
10/28 – 94%
10/29 – 122%
10/30 – 85%
10/31 – 70%
11/1 – 50%

Some possible reasons for why we might see efficiency rates over 100% are:

– Not everyone showed a driver’s license or state ID. The DPS matches wouldn’t reflect the fact that a passport or military ID might or might not match. I don’t necessarily buy the idea that this explains a large portion of the differences, though, since the overwhelming majority of voters presented a DPS-issued ID.

– The timing of the voter file comparison remains unconfirmed. Having heard the 40% number repeated and occasionally mis-characterized, my first instinct was to check for a few records that might have been fixed in the Early Voting process under the assumption that I might be looking at a post-election comparison file – perhaps one used for the current primaries. The request for the file specified that I wanted the one used for the 2013 elections, so I’m operating under the assumption that the Clerk’s office got that right. I don’t have reason to believe otherwise after some spot-checking of folks I know who did make a correction to their voter registration.

– The voter file used for comparison is nearly 100,000 voters short of an exact match reported on the canvass. While I’m still waiting for an official response from the County Clerk, it could be that much of that difference could be due to the fact that there was no DPS match -and hence, those 100,000 voters would have a mismatch. This would raise the overall “shoulda” comparison to 25% of voters required to initial an affidavit. Since the calculated rates of what “shoulda” happened and what actually happened were surprisingly close, it isn’t inconceivable that a “revised-shoulda” of 25% mismatches would bring the efficiency rate calculations more inline with expectations. For instance, the 112% efficiency rate for Champions Forest would end up under 100% and more reflective of what we’d expect to see. It still wouldn’t explain Pasadena (or Tomball, or Bear Creek, or Glen Cheek), but it would go a long way towards making everything else make sense.

If you’re inclined to look at any of the detail, here are two reports to go nuts with:

1. This shows the calculated “shoulda” rate for Substantially Similar names based on a calculation of DPS matches from the voter file.

2. This report shows the daily comparison of the “shoulda” vs actual affidavit collection for each location by day.

I may do some more work to look at the name matches by precinct with the data in hand. I definitely hope to break down some results by Male/Female to show the different impact this has on those categories of voters. And I may do a limited request to look at what happened on Election Day 2013 with regard to the affidavits. But I think the next, most interesting view of this implementation is going to be from the primaries now underway.

Most locations, in 2013, got better as the Early Vote calendar went forward. I suspect that there remains an issue about how well the law can be administered under the busiest days, but that remains a hypothesis and may not have anything more conclusive until November of this year. I would hope to see some improvement in the process for the 2014 primaries. But there’s sure to be some fuel available for any fires once we see whether Dem or GOP voters tend to fall into the Substantially Similar umbrella.

Early Voting – 2014 Primary Edition

It begins again. Now is the time for Early Voting for the March primaries. I got my ritual out of the way first thing this morning. Locations are below. Hours are below that.

February 18 – February 21: 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
February 22: 7:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
February 23: 1:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
February 24 – February 28: 7:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m

As a followup of sorts to the Substantially Similar name affidavit posts, I recently got my hands on the last portion of my request from the County Clerk’s office: the match file to show how the voter file compared to the DPS database. Media reports prior to the 2013 election had Stan Stanart saying that 40% of the names on the voter file did not match. I databased the file I received and did some crunching to see what turned up and I got 20.9% of the records that were not a perfect match. Of course, I also had a voter file of 1,871,369 voters compared to the reported 1,967,881 reported on the county’s canvass of the election. I’ve put in my questions to the folks at the Clerk’s office to see what might explain the differences and haven’t heard back yet. It may very well be that I have a file that was run after the election, or there could be other things to account for the 100,000 or so names that didn’t match. If I were to assume that the 100k missing records would ultimately be mismatches, then the countywide share of mismatches would be about 25%. For all I know, I may be comparing apples-to-oranges. But since it’s the only information I’ve got from the County Clerk, I’m going with it for now.

Now, following my earlier logic, I would assume that an odd-year election with high-propensity voter turnout would lead to less than whatever the DPS match is. As a hypothesis, I might expect the share of voters who should have been required to initial a similar name affidavit to be somewhere in the 10-15% range for 2013. I’m still in mid-crunch for the overall numbers. But early indications are that the actual share who should have initialed an affidavit are right around 20% – essentially the same as my database comparison.

A few things are turning up interesting from this work: for starters, I can gauge which locations did a reasonably decent job of efficiently capturing initialed affidavits. If the “should have” calculation is, say, 100 voters for a given day … and the “actual” count of affidavits is 90, it’s reasonable to assume a 90% efficiency for that location.

Complicating things are locations like 128P – Pasadena’s Harris County Court Annex. This location should have had 10.7% of their voters initial affidavits. In actuality, they led the entire county with a league-leading 24.5%. In other words, they were asking voters to initial affidavits for no justifiable reason. It may be completely understandable that each location would have a few voters be asked to initial an affidavit mistakenly. But I would also expect those to be more than offset by voters who should have initialed, but did not do so. Under no circumstances that I can comprehend, would you have a situation where almost three times the number of voters who needed to sign, did so. As a matter of full disclosure, the location I worked at had 4 days where our “actual” exceeded the “shoulda” count and we had one day that tied perfectly. On the whole, Bayland Park clocked in at 81% efficiency for all of Early Voting while Pasadena clocked in at 229%.

I will note that my earlier posts were passed around by the Clerk’s office to Election Judges. And when I voted today, my “substantially similar” name comparison was properly identified and I initialed the affidavit. When we’re done with the primaries, we’ll have a few new things to look for: was there progress in the administration of the law … and what do the name matches look like when broken down by party.

In the meantime, I should have all of my number-crunching done for the “shoulda” vs “actual” affidavits completed this week. Fun stuff.

In the Interim

Among the lesser-known activities by the so-called part-time legislature is the study of interim charges between the end of the last session and the beginning of the next one. Basically, these tend to boil down to one or two days of hearing, often with each of a committee’s topics being given an obligatory couple of hours and multiple topics being covered in a day. It doesn’t seem like much, but it tends to be a good indicator of bills deemed “important” in January 2015.

Normally, both the House and Senate would have most of their interim charges announced. To date, the House has done jack. The Senate, meanwhile, has been rolling theirs out prior to Christmas. You can get them all in one reading here if you’re so inclined.

There’s nothing education-related yet, so I’m still waiting for the meatier parts of my viewing and reviewing to be announced. But one somewhat interesting charge will be picked up by the State Affairs committee:

Study the online legislative resources available to the public from Texas Senate Committee websites and compare resources to those provided by other state legislative committees in Texas and other states. Determine how Texas Senate websites can be improved to provide a more interactive and transparent government.

This pretty much warms my heart. For starters, the Senate website is a throwback to the 90s. It’s well past due for a facelift. Beyond the aesthetics, here’s my short list of things that bug me most about it …

» I’ve been reviewing the House Appropriations hearings from last session. Mostly, because that part of session was a blur for me. I’m finding it extremely helpful that the House committee has links to handouts that the committee was working from. That makes it a great deal easier to follow any number of fascinating Legislative Budget Board presentations on the budget, as well as see what different agencies are showing the committee as they testify. No such luck on the senate side – you’re pretty much left to just watch the video and follow along. In fairness, this appears to be a new feature for the House since I’m not finding links to the handouts in previous sessions.

» This goes beyond the Senate website, but I hope someone in the hearing brings up the state’s reliance on Real Media and Real Player. It’s not difficult to understand that uprooting Real from Austin might post a challenge. All State agencies that broadcast and archive video seem to have a similar setup. I would assume there to be a cost associated with making any change so that we operate on a flash-based setup similar to YouTube or Vimeo. Further complicating things is that many states don’t do any kind of live or archive video of proceedings. As scary as it is to think that a Real Media-based solution is state-of-the-art … it kinda is. Still, I think it bears emphasizing that flash-based video is going to be far more user-friendly than what is presently in place. And on a side note, I find it particularly insightful that while the capital uses Real Media for their website, they do not outfit state computers with Real Player. Instead, we’re provided with a freeware program – Media Player Classic. That has to be a statement of some kind – and not a good one – when the government loves Real Media so much that they refuse to support the program designed to play it.

» And on a far more technical note, let’s talk about the archival of video. If you go to either the House or Senate video archive, after a variety of clicks, you get to click a file that seemingly plays the video you want to watch. What really happens is that you download a RAM file that is all of 65 bytes in filesize. If you open that file up in a text editor, you can see that all this file contains is one line that points to the RM file, which is the full video that streams through your player. It’s a technical point, to be sure. But the problem is that the freeware program provided to staff typically gags on buffering video when you try to fast forward through a 12 hour hearing. It especially gags if you fast forward more than once.

Now, there’s an easy enough workaround if you’re like me and ignore the pre-loaded software given to you. In my case, I downloaded Real Player (it goes against most of what I believe in, but I wasn’t the one who decided we were going to play with Real Media in the first place). That alleviated the buffer gag problem. But when you want to download or clip a portion of the video … no dice. The reason is because you’re still operating off of a stream of the file rather than working with the full RM file itself.

After the session, I contacted the House AV folks to see what options I had for solving this problem. I asked if it was possible for them to provide me with CDs that included the full RAM files for floor proceedings. That’s problematic since the request would essentially be a form of an open records request that would need to be approved by all 150 members of the House. Or, I can download software that rips a streaming RM file … which is exactly what I did. All in all, just another case where House and Senate rules don’t quite match up to the times we live in.

» Another bug with the video is that the archive compression quality is pure crap. We did have an instance or two where I requested a DVD of my boss on the floor and received perfectly fine video where you could make out that my boss was indeed my boss. But if you view the archive video online, you will get a highly compressed product where you’re left to match voices due to everyone being unrecognizable.

» I’ve only checked on less than a handful or two of other state legislature websites. Many don’t keep an archive. Some don’t even show live feeds. A few keep an audio archive. A few also use Real Media. I don’t know that I’ve seen a penultimate example yet. The best fit I can think of when it comes to how they manage video is C-SPAN’s video library. Ideally, this could allow for different download options. I’d go so far as to recommend how one of my favorite churches offers downloads in different formats. Either way would be a huge step forward in getting the website matched better to the times we live in and the technology we actually use.

As for the basic layout, organization, and structure, I see those are far easier fixes. Here’s hoping they don’t pick some sweetheart vendor deal to make less-than-optimal upgrades, though.

Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate

A passage that I couldn’t resist sharing after stumbling upon it …

The standards shall ensure that the summary is presented in a culturally and linguistically appropriate manner and utilizes terminology understandable by the average plan enrollee.

This is a quote from Title 1 of the Affordable Care Act – the part that outlines the “DEVELOPMENT AND UTILIZATION OF UNIFORM EXPLANATION OF COVERAGE DOCUMENTS AND STANDARDIZED DEFINITIONS.”

I would strongly suggest that something similar could be found in a variety of bills. The requirement is essentially a “common language” or “no legalese” clause. It just smacks of some obvious irony that a federal version of this mandate would include so many multi-syllable words – ultimately disqualifying itself for inclusion in the very document being developed.

It’s moments like this that I wish I had a hotline to Washington Monthly’s Charles Peters.

Houston Election: Runoff 2013

For all the incumbents offed over the weekend, none were terribly surprising. On the city level, each was a definite embarrassment in their own unique way. And the HCC incumbents who lost had some legitimate concerns about the value they were adding to that board. So the uneventful. My notes on the results are as follows:

– For all the backward steps that City Council has taken over the years in terms of quality of representation, David Robinson has some potential to offset that. Not just because he replaces someone who wasn’t up to the job – but because he fills the gap left by Melissa Noriega, who is replaced by …

– The One True Felix! We’ll see soon enough what he amounts to as a member of council. Will he be Mayor Parker’s biggest headache (as he suggested in his run in November), or will he be a productive, earnest member of council (as he suggested in his run in December)? I think it was a wash that either Morales or Kubosh would be a worthwhile member of council since they had already made a habit of telling so many different constituencies so many different things about what they would be on any given day. But votes are votes. And we’ll see what Felix amounts to when they start accumulating.

– Yes, I will genuinely miss Helena Brown. Thank you for your concern. It’s not simply that I think City Council deserves at least one attractive member of council (as simple a thought as that may be) … but because I have a fairly low opinion of Brenda Stardig.

– More substantively, HCC gets a bit of an upgrade after the embarrassment known as Dave Wilson gets elected in November. District V is my turf. I’m not entirely sure what to expect of Robert Glaser, but it wasn’t enough to prevent me from voting for him twice this year. HCC is a critical driver for Houston’s workforce, regardless of what one’s opinion is of the institution. I’ve had a few great meetings with some quality unelected types at HCC who do some great work to improve the quality of students they send out into the world. Here’s hoping for the best out of the trustees. First up is to see who they select as Chair of the board.

COH District A
---------------
Brenda Stardig   2,734  (51.1%)
Helena Brown     2,615  (48.9%)
		
COH District D
---------------
Georgia Provost  1,691  (29.9%)
Dwight Boykins   3,960  (70.1%)
		
COH District I
---------------
Robert Gallegos  1,819  (52.7%)
Graci Garces     1,634  (47.3%)
		
COH At Large 2
---------------
Andrew Burks    16,354  (49.3%)
David Robinson  16,831  (50.7%)
		
COH At Large 3
---------------
Roy Morales     15,824  (46.4%)
Michael Kubosh  18,258  (53.6%)
		
HCC - District 1
---------------
Zeph Capo               1,569  (53.0%)
Yolanda Navarro Flores  1,392  (47.0%)
		
HCC - District III
---------------
Adriana Tamez    1,706  (52.5%)
Herlinda Garcia  1,543  (47.5%)
		
HCC - District V
---------------
Robert Glaser    2,013  (59.6%)
Phil Kunetka     1,364  (40.4%)

A Sprinkle of Aggre-Blogging

A few bits and pieces to regain some blogging form …

» Today is Election Day. If you’re among the 6% or so … do your thing. If you’re in Austin, however, you’ve still got more time before things get going for picking Mark Strama’s replacement.

» Chron: Apartment renter: ‘Where is my door?’

An interesting story with an obviously compelling hook. But one issue to take with it:

Jacqueline Greene and her three small children slept in their Sharpstown-area apartment without a door for three nights last week because she is more than two months in arrears on her $593-a-month rent.

The story goes on to identify the apartment complex as “Villa de Cancun, in the 9400 block of Woodfair behind Sharpstown Mall.” Nevermind that Sharpstown Mall isn’t a thing anymore. Even more importantly … never mind that the 9400 block of Woodfair is in Westwood … 3.5 miles from PlazAmericas. Which is where this happened:

» Chron: Viva Cinema says it had ‘no choice’ but to close its doors
This is a bit of a shame. Mostly because I never made it over there for a movie and a meal. Which is probably part of the problem.

And in some high school football items …

» I’m already prepping for another trip to JerryWorld, where we get one additional game on Championship Thursday. Unfortunately, my old school lost in the last seconds at the hands of one of the better QBs in the state last weekend. I’ll be over it in about six months. But here’s what the offerings have been slimmed down to so far:

5A1: DeSoto v Allen; Pearland v SA Madison
Obviously, I would have loved to see a Trinty-Pearland rematch here. But Allen and DeSoto are arguably the two best teams in the state. Pearland didn’t even start the season ranked, which I thought was bogus. Believe me … they aren’t to be taken lightly. For what it’s worth, the SA Madison team looks like a fairly strong representative of SA football. No combination of outcomes would surprise me for the Championship game, but whoever comes out of the Metroplex should win it all.

5A2: Cedar Hill v Lake Travis; Katy v SA Johnson
Katy and Cedar Hill met last season for the championship, with Katy winning 35-24. I wouldn’t expect any other outcome this time around.

4A1: Denton Guyer v Highland Park; Stratford v SA Brennan
I’m a little bored of seeing Denton Guyer over the past three years in the Championship game. But they would seem to be the best pick I can think of for next weekend’s final winner.

4A2: Aledo v Ennis; Brenham v Calhoun
I have to admit to being curious to see what Aledo looks like without the second-coming of Earl Campbell running roughshod over the competition.

3A1: Stephenville v Kilgore; Carthage v LaGrange
Stephenville v Carthage would be a great game to watch, I think.

3A2: Graham v Argyle; Fairfield v Sinton
I’ve obviously seen Argyle back in 2011 when they were pretty solid losers against Wimberly. But I have no lasting memory of the game … so it’ll be fun to see some new teams regardless of how this one pans out. #yayalzheihmers

2A1: Wall v New Boston; White Oak v Cameron Yoe
Saw Cameron Yoe look incredible last season.

2A2: Cisco v Leonard; Refugio
Cisco and Refugio met in the 2011 championship game. No idea what to expect this time around, but that’s what makes the small schools so fun to watch.

1A1: Stamford v Hico; Mart v Shiner
I refuse to recognize a championship game at this level that has any schools other than Mart and Stamford in it. Stamford doesn’t have Hagen Hutchenson back at QB/FS, so I’ve got to think that any team coached by a guy named Rusty Nail (as Mart does) is my pick.

1A2: Wellington v Albany; Tenaha v Falls City
Tenaha and Albany strike me as suitable combatants for a nice East Texas civil war game.

Stratford-Brennan are kicking off tonight at Reliant. And Saturday at Reliant has the Brenham-Calhoun game at noon and the Katy-SA Johnson game at 4. It’s not just for scheduling purposes that I note this. The UIL has been saying that the only reason they can hold multiple state championship games at JerryWorld is because they need 4 dressing rooms to accommodate one pair of teams rolling in and another pair rolling out. Funny how it’s only a rule when it needs to be.

Once again …

Once again, the workday is a bit too much fun-filled with research projects to dive too deeply into subjects that I wish I had the time to blog about. One point to interrupt that for, however, is to extend an open invite to any/all folks who might wish to partake of some political activity tonight. And on that note, my State Rep is kicking off his 2014 campaign season at our favorite Italian Restaurant: Barry’s Pizza. So consider this an invite to join us between 5 and 7pm for free food and drinks.

Aside from that, there’s a little serendipity in reading Steven Teles’ “Kludgeocracy in America” thesis while also reviewing the House Appropriations hearing on the state CPRIT agency’s botched grant process. Specifically, the agency’s expressed desire during the committee to go ahead and award grants approved during the moratorium period that they were under at the time:

Should outgoing Governor Perry opt for a more four-eyed Presidential run in 2016, I look forward to hearing how this is totally different from any failings of Obamacare.

CoH 2013: District F Map

Near-perfect time, the Chron covers the newly-elected mystery member of council and Kuff beats me to that particular punch. Well worth reading before we dive into the nuts and bolts of particular neighborhoods within District F. But with that said …

Once more, two-way contests prove far easier to communicate a point with a map. What you see in blue are boxes carried by Richard Nguyen and in red, those carried by Al Hoang. Nguyen’s base corresponds fairly nicely with the Vietnamese-rich Alief area, while Hoang’s corresponds almost perfectly with the more Anglo GOP boxes in the district. The region that extends from the reservoir toward Katy includes a good deal of split precincts that have annexed turf and little population.

When redistricting did it’s biggest number on Hoang’s original District F, I believe I may have commented that I doubted the new district’s ability to elect an Asian in the future due to much of the Chinese population in Sharpstown being outside of the new F. One could argue that the election of a fairly green candidate like Nguyen opens the door for a stronger candidate in 2015 out of Royal Oaks, Briarmeadow, or just an Alief-based candidate that appeals to those voters. The split among voters, I think, demonstrates how close the split is and how precarious the future may be for Asian candidates in this district.

It’s worth remembering that Alief != Vietnamese. Nothing is ever 100% of anything in politics. So I’m fairly certain that Nguyen’s victory is a bit more complex than suggesting “Vietnamese voters finally voted en masse against Al Hoang.” I hope for the best in CM-elect Nguyen, though.

Color-wise, there was definitely some formula built in to color code it based on Nguyen’s percentage. But it basically ended up as a basic red/blue map, with Nguyen being the blue in this case. As shocking as Nguyen’s win was, I think I’m even more surprised by his strong showing in very un-Asian boxes that he didn’t win. Namely, the Westchase boxes: 49% in Pct. 559, 51% in Pct. 807, and 45% in Pct. 556. Those boxes are almost entirely mid-priced apartments, with a few condo units mixed in. The Asian population is significantly smaller share than in Alief proper. And it probably demonstrates more than just any reported anger at Al Hoang. Namely, it looks a bit more like Hoang was napping and didn’t do as much work in building his name ID up in the new parts of his district. Remember, he didn’t have opposition last time around. Based on this, it looks like he would have been beaten by anyone willing to drop a piece of campaign mail in the district.

This could be a very interesting district to watch over the remainder of the decade.


full pageGoogle Earth

CORRECTION: Hoang did have opposition in 2011 – Peter Rene and Hoc Thai Nguyen. Together, that limited Hoang to all of 55% in the 2011 contest. It’s worth noting that Richard Nguyen was the campaign manager for HTN back then. Kuff reminds me that Rene earned the Chronicle endorsement back then. I’m told that Nguyen sent out a mailer and the Chron references a $10,000 debt incurred from campaigning. Draw your own conclusions on what concoction of political activity/strengths led to a win for Nguyen, but a more meager showing for Rene.

CoH 2013: District A Map

Outcomes like that of District A are a challenge to map in a visually meaningful way. So this one just looks a bit like a mess. What does eventually come out from the map is how small Stardig’s base is – namely the area northwest of I-10 and Sam Houston. Poke around those precincts and you’ll be hard-pressed to find Stardig going over 30% in her home turf. In fairness, she does get 43% in her home precinct.

But much like the Costello map, there are two ways to view this map and I suppose Stardig is in the inverse position of Costello. Here, Stardig has a good coverage of thin support around the heart of Spring Branch proper. Helena Brown does better the further out from Spring Branch you get. And the boxes on the far north and far west are a lot of annexed turf with little population. I mercifully exclude all the zero precincts. Helena holds her own in Spring Branch and Mike Knox even manages to win Pct. 262.

In the end, I’m not sure that I’d read too much into the geographic dispersion or concentration of either Stardig’s or Brown’s support. This is a brand new GOTV game among their known supporters and a persuasion game among the undecideds (or reconsidering). Had I seen a bit more strength around Stardig’s home, I might have figured she’d have a good edge going into December. Lacking that, I’ll call it a coin toss.


full pageGoogle Earth

Color-coding:
Dark Red – Helena Brown: 50% or higher
Light Red – Helena 40% – 50%
Purple – Brown >= Stardig
Blue – Stardig > Brown

CoH 2013: Citywide Mapping and Neighborhood Analysis

In case you haven’t noticed, I’ve been mapping. I don’t know what you did with your holiday weekend, but I chose to salute our veterans by updating a database and rejiggering some old code with another layer of proverbial duct tape. Each cycle is a progression in trying to find a better way to package a lot of detailed information that would otherwise bore a sane person. This time around, I opted to combine the election maps and the ‘Hood by ‘Hood breakdown for 22 neighborhoods in the city.

Today is about rolling out the citywide results. I plan on posting the results for District A, District D, District F, and District I tomorrow. One annual caveat for the neighborhood definitions – I do not pretend to give a precise summation of a neighborhood based on precinct boundaries. What I do is pick about 5 precincts that roughly correspond to particular neighborhoods. I know for a fact that I’ve got Sharpstown defined pretty well, for instance. But I don’t pretend that there wouldn’t be quibbles with my definition for Near Northside, or Alief, or outer Mars. They’re intended to add some color to what happened in the city, not serve as a complete, scientific definition of how the neighborhood performed electorally.

Mentioned in a post or two, I’ve opted to include the Undervote for each neighborhood, also. To the uninitiated, Undervote is the share of voters who show up to vote, but do not cast a vote in a given contest. Mathematically, it is “Total Ballots” minus “Total Votes.” Total Ballots remains constant for a precinct no matter what. Total Votes fluctuates wildly. This concludes our math class for the day.

I think that this aspect of the electorate deserves more research – primarily because it struck me that the numbers might be higher than usual this time around. I’m used to seeing some 20% undervotes and an occasional 25%. But contested Mayoral elections are almost always in the single digits. This time around, there were some 30% showings. And when you look at it by neighborhood, you’ll see areas where a majority of voters from a given area went to the polls, showed their ID, probably were ready to give blood to vote … and ended up saying “Meh” to some important races.

With that, here’s the daily index of posts with election goodies …

Yes, I skipped out on mapping Bradford’s 80% win in At Large 4. Feel free to make a case for some incredible finding that I’ll be able to show in the form of a map if you found it more interesting than I did.

BONUS: For a little context on what turnout looks like for runoffs, let’s just say it’s complicated.

CoH 2013: Mayoral Mapping and Neighborhood Analysis

For the post-Greanias Line outcomes for Anglo Dems, this is pretty much the template. I had suggested earlier that the inexplicably long run of anti-Ben Hall ads on television might have been aimed at keeping Afr-Am votes from Hall. Based on Parker’s 30ish showing in Afr-Am neighborhoods, there might be something to that. But the really impressive showing here is that Parker won Hispanic neighborhoods strongly (she barely lost them to Locke in 2009) and the only non-majority showing among Anglo GOP ‘hoods is in Kingwood.

I was guessing that Parker would end the night with an outright win south of 60% and that’s exactly where she ended up. 2015 will once more redefine “the new normal” for city election coalitions. And there’s a long way to go before seeing if there is potential for another Bill White-style consensus showing, or if the Parker templates have some staying power to elect candidates from an Anglo Dem + Anglo GOP base. There’s also no telling what’s in store for a potentially stronger Afr-Am candidate to perhaps join Anglo Dems and Afr-Am neighborhoods.

Regardless, this is a fairly solid showing by Team Parker for her final election as a candidate. In the end, the only surprise was that there was nothing to be surprised about. For comparison’s sake, here is the 2011 neighborhood analysis and here’s the one from 2009, and the 2009 runoff.


full pageGoogle Earth

Color-coding:
Dark Blue – Parker: 65% or higher
Med. Blue – Parker: 50% – 65%
Light Red – Parker: 35% – 50%
Dark Red – Parker: 0% – 35%

Neighborhood Analysis

Anglo Dem Neighborhoods
              Parker    Hall    Dick    Others   Undervotes
------------------------------------------------------------
Heights        75.3%    15.1%    6.5%     3.1%      2.0%
Meyerland      75.1%    12.9%    9.5%     2.5%      2.3%
Montrose       86.2%     7.1%    4.7%     2.0%      1.6%
Rice U         81.8%    10.4%    6.2%     1.6%      1.9%


African-American Neighborhoods
              Parker    Hall    Dick    Others   Undervotes
------------------------------------------------------------
Acres Homes    30.7%    63.6%    0.9%     4.8%      2.2%
UH/TSU         39.4%    55.5%    0.9%     4.3%      2.7%
Fifth Ward     30.0%    65.6%    0.7%     3.7%      3.0%
Sunnyside      28.8%    65.6%    0.5%     5.2%      2.9%
Hiram Clarke   38.9%    53.6%    1.9%     5.6%      2.5%


Anglo GOP Neighborhoods
              Parker    Hall    Dick    Others   Undervotes
------------------------------------------------------------
Clear Lake     59.5%    20.3%   16.5%     3.7%      2.6%
Galleria       64.2%    18.1%   15.3%     2.5%      3.1%
Kingwood       44.1%    19.7%   32.5%     3.7%      2.7%
Garden Oaks    64.9%    15.6%   15.6%     3.9%      2.6%
River Oaks     75.3%    14.4%    8.6%     1.7%      2.8%
Spring Branch  54.8%    19.0%   21.4%     4.8%      3.0%
Memorial       59.7%    17.3%   19.7%     3.2%      3.0%
Sharpstown     63.1%    17.8%   14.1%     5.0%      2.8%


Hispanic Neighborhoods
              Parker    Hall    Dick    Others   Undervotes
------------------------------------------------------------
East End       68.3%    18.5%    6.2%     7.0%      4.7%
Near Northside 63.4%    19.3%    8.1%     9.3%      2.6%
Hobby          53.9%    28.4%   10.0%     7.6%      2.6%


Multicultural Neighborhoods
              Parker    Hall    Dick    Others   Undervotes
------------------------------------------------------------
Alief          56.8%    25.0%    9.8%     8.5%      4.3%

CoH 2013: City Controller Mapping and Neighborhood Analysis

A win is a win. But this definitely takes some luster off of any plans for a Mayoral run by Ronald Green. I should just offer some evidence like “Look at Pct. 222″ or “Look at Meyerland” and stop there. Frazer ended up at or near 70% in all of those Anglo Dem boxes. That doesn’t bode extremely well for suggesting that Green can win those voters back in another context.

The contrast between the Anglo GOP and Afr-Am neighborhoods demonstrates how polarized the electorate was on this contest. And Green had enough support from the Anglo Dems who had carried him into City Council and the Controller’s office. As Kuff says, he’s likely not the frontrunner in 2015. But he gets another two years to regroup and rebuild.

As far as what the results suggest for a GOP-leaning candidate, I think the undervotes stand out here. Had Frazer been able to find a way to bring more of those voters to the square next to his name on the E-Slates, he’d probably be busy memorizing the oath of office this morning. That’s far easier said than done, however. But if anyone ever cracks some part of the code to accomplish that, they deserve a medal of some kind.

A point on this is evident in the Harris County side of the canvass for the Katy ISD bond. That vote had less than 2% undervote. Those voters went to the ballot knowing precisely what they wanted to vote for or against. No flooding them out with Prop 6 voters or Astrodome voters … that excuse seems to only exist in Houston for some reason.


full pageGoogle Earth

Color-coding:
Dark Blue – Green: 65% or better
Med. Blue – Green: 50% – 65%
Light Red – Green: 35% – 50%
Dark Red – Green: 0% – 35%

Neighborhood Analysis

Anglo Dem Neighborhoods
              Frazer   Green   Undervotes
--------------------------------------------
Heights        55.2%   44.8%     41.5%
Meyerland      65.8%   34.2%     36.8%
Montrose       46.1%   53.9%     41.1%
Rice U         66.1%   33.9%     39.4%


African-American Neighborhoods
              Frazer   Green   Undervotes
--------------------------------------------
Acres Homes    10.3%   89.7%     14.0%
UH/TSU         10.3%   89.7%     12.3%
Fifth Ward      9.7%   90.3%     18.9%
Sunnyside       9.7%   90.3%     13.5%
Hiram Clarke   12.8%   87.2%     13.8%


Anglo GOP Neighborhoods
              Frazer   Green   Undervotes
--------------------------------------------
Clear Lake     72.0%   28.0%     40.3%
Galleria       82.1%   17.9%     31.1%
Kingwood       79.0%   21.0%     30.8%
Garden Oaks    65.5%   34.5%     36.4%
River Oaks     77.7%   22.3%     38.2%
Spring Branch  72.7%   27.3%     26.2%
Memorial       81.9%   18.1%     31.0%
Sharpstown     64.0%   36.0%     29.5%


Hispanic Neighborhoods
              Frazer   Green   Undervotes
--------------------------------------------
East End       40.3%   59.7%     31.2% 
Near Northside 43.2%   56.8%     27.4%
Hobby          46.1%   53.9%     26.6%


Multicultural Neighborhoods
              Frazer   Green   Undervotes
--------------------------------------------
Alief          42.2%   57.8%     33.8%