U.S. Census and prisons — Rural Georgia coverage
by Dana Ford The UnionRecorder Milledgeville GA May 20 2006, June 5, 2006
The U.S. Census does not count prisoners in their counties of residence. It counts them where the jails and prisons are located. For counties like Baldwin, the way prisoners are counted makes a difference.
According to the 2000 census, Baldwin County has a population of 44,700. Once you adjust for the prison population, however, the county has 39,760 residents. Eleven percent of the population Baldwin County reports are people in jails or prisons, which practically speaking, means 11 percent of the Baldwin County population can not vote.
Low voter turnout and registration rates in Baldwin County can be understood, in part, when it is understood that nearly 11 percent of the population are incarcerated, and therefore, denied the right to vote.
As of May 2006, the Baldwin County Board of Registrars reported that the county has 18,005 registered, active voters. Combined with the 2000 population data for Baldwin, just about 40 percent of residents vote. However, if the percentage is calculated with the county population minus the number of people in jails or prisons, 45 percent of Baldwin residents are active voters.