Friday, October 31, 2014

Update on Florida, shark attacks and voter fraud

Back in 2012, PolitiFact Florida created a hilariously unbalanced fact check of the claim that shark attacks are more common than cases of voter fraud in Florida.

The key to the fact check was PolitiFact Florida's decision to only consider a "case" of voter fraud that was literally a legal "case" deemed worthy of prosecution by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. No, we're not kidding. That's actually what PolitiFact Florida did (and we highlighted the hilarity once already).

It recently came to our attention that researchers have looked into the question of whether illegal immigrants vote (illegally) in U.S. elections.

The Washington Post published a column by the researchers on Oct. 24. They said, in part:
How many non-citizens participate in U.S. elections? More than 14 percent of non-citizens in both the 2008 and 2010 samples indicated that they were registered to vote. Furthermore, some of these non-citizens voted. Our best guess, based upon extrapolations from the portion of the sample with a verified vote, is that 6.4 percent of non-citizens voted in 2008 and 2.2 percent of non-citizens voted in 2010.
We decided to develop a conservative version of this estimate and apply it to Florida.

As of 2010 an estimated 825,000 illegal immigrants lived in Florida. That was down from about 1.1 million in 2007, probably owing to the weak economy. We'll conservatively estimate that 600,000 illegal immigrants continue to live in Florida.

The researchers, as noted above, estimated that 2.2 percent of non-citizens voted in 2010. Again, that represented a decline from the estimate from 2008. We'll assume for our estimate that only 1 percent of non-citizens will vote in the 2014 election.

We have our numbers. We multiply 600,000 by 1 percent (0.01). The result is 6,000.

PolitiFact counted 72 shark attacks all-time from 2008 through 2011 (correction Nov. 1, 2014) in Florida and called it "Mostly True" that the number of shark attacks outnumbers the cases of voter fraud.

If PolitiFact Florida is correct that the number of shark attacks outnumbers cases of voter fraud, we have a recommendation.

Stay out of the water.

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