(The Return of) Ignatz, by Sam Heldman

Thursday, June 26, 2003

Statistics in Alabama
I mentioned yesterday the despicable veto, by the Governor of Alabama, of the bill to restore voting rights to certain ex-felons. Today's New York Times has an article about the possibility that the veto will, in turn, reduce the Governor's possibility of success in the public referendum on his tax reform plan. So, the veto was stupid politics as well as being just plain wrong. (Even the Birmingham News agrees, for goodness' sake).

Also notice (from the NYT story) the Governor's stunning use of statistics, in his effort to fend off criticism that the ban on ex-felons voting had a disparate impact on Black voters:
In the last few years, seven states have dropped or eased restrictions on felons, said Marc Mauer, assistant director of the Sentencing Project, a group in Washington.

"There's been a growing recognition of their broad impact and also of their racially disproportionate impact as well," Mr. Mauer said. In his veto, Mr. Riley argued to the contrary, saying: "Over the last four years, those convicted of felonies in Alabama were almost statistically evenly divided by race. Fifty-four percent were African-American, and 45 percent were white."

The Alabama population is 26 percent black and 71 percent white.
It's a sad situation, when a State's Governor thinks that the citizens are stupid enough to fall for such blatant misuse of statistics.

posted by sam 7:14 AM 0 comments


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