So, the Ohio GOP (and the right-wing blogosphere) is apoplectic over SoS Brunner’s plan to encourage HS graduates to register to vote, and specifically, the counties targeted for the pilot test run of the program. The gist of the complaint is that of the 5 pilot counties (Knox, Lucas, Montgomery, Scioto, and Trumbull), only one (Knox) has more registered Republicans than Democrats. OK… so what?

The reason these counties were chosen is that four of the five are all below the state average in percentage of citizens registered to vote, and the fifth (Montgomery) is right at the state average. They are also, with the exception of Knox County, more-or-less the 5 largest counties with less-than-average voter registration rates. While all five voted for Strickland, only 16 of 88 counties voted for Blackwell, and two of the five pilot counties (Montgomery and Knox) voted for Blackwell at a higher rate than the state average.

Given that the criteria seem to be the largest counties with below-average registration rates, there are a few choices that better fit that combination of criteria than Knox County: Allen, Ashtabula, Clark, Erie, Washington, and Wayne counties are all larger than Knox County, and have a lower rate of registration. They also all voted for Ted Strickland at a higher rate than Knox County. Sometimes much higher.

So why not Butler, Clermont, or Delaware Counties? It’s true those three are some of the largest pro-Blackwell counties. They are also in far better shape in terms of voter registration: Delaware County has the highest voter registration rate in the state, and Butler and Clermont are not far behind. In fact, only Franklin, Stark, and Cuyahoga are both bigger and registered at a higher rate than Butler and Clermont counties.

The bottom line is that these counties were chosen primarily by weighting county size and low registration rates, and then politics were considered as a tertiary metric – which is why a smaller, better registered county like Knox was chosen over counties that trended more Democratic in the last election but are larger and worse-registered like Ashtabula or Clark.

You might be able to make some niggles about why Scioto was chosen over Ashtabula, for example, but in the final analysis it wouldn’t change the overall demographics of the 5 pilot counties that much. Which is why the wingnut outrage is a tempest in a teacup. They are trying to find partisanship that isn’t really there.

  • bryan

    while i’ve never tried to “make some niggles” — well, it just sounds gross. niggles? is that like the bastard offspring of matt naugle and those insufferable australian men who sign happy-happy kids’ songs?

  • I’ll be damned, it’s actually a word:

    nig?gle (n?g’?l) pronunciation
    intr.v., -gled, -gling, -gles.

    1. To be preoccupied with trifles or petty details.
    2. To find fault constantly and trivially; carp. See synonyms at quibble.

  • Yeah, my usage is a little unconventional, but that’s just how I roll.

  • bryan

    damn you plunderbunders! can’t a guy make a naugle joke in peace?!

    seriously…

  • #4: We are the king of Naugle jokes thanks. Just trying to be somewhat edumacational. I wonder if that word would be in the dictionary of a privatized library?

    Brian, I did like the non-niggles part of your post. Really. Not to change the subject or anything…

  • I just wrote a GREAT comment, and my browser somehow lost it. Grr.

    The overall point… the Ohio GOP and right-wing blogosphere are a bunch of crying babies who would only be happy if the program targetted Mercer, warren, Holmes, Clermont, and Hancock counties.

    One of those (Holmes) would make the list for the next three counties to be added to the program, if it were up to me (along with Ross and Huron counties).

    I had all kinds of explanation and reasoning, but it’s gone now, and I’ve got other crap to do, so I can’t be bothered to rewrite it.

  • I should add, I used Blackwell v. Strickland numbers because I had those readily available from the SoS website (and they were easy to stick in a spreadsheet), while I didn’t have readily available registration numbers broken down by party. I figured it a reasonable assumption to think that the D/R registration breakdown would track the Strickland/Blackwell voting breakdown fairly well.

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