Quantitative election administration studies: early voting and polling place location

Two studies newly published in the latest issue of the American Economic Journal: Applied Economics series:

Ethan Kaplan and Haishan Yuan, Early Voting Laws, Voter Turnout, and Partisan Vote Composition: Evidence from Ohio

We estimate effects of early voting on voter turnout using a 2010 homogenization law from Ohio that forced some counties to expand and others to contract early voting. Using voter registration data, we compare individuals who live within the same 2×2 mile squareblock but in different counties. We find substantial positive impacts of early voting on turnout equal to 0.22 percentage points of additional turnout per additional early voting day. We also find greater impacts on women, Democrats, independents, and those of child-bearing and working age. We simulate impacts of national early day laws on recent election outcomes.

Enrico Cantoni, A Precinct Too Far: Turnout and Voting Costs

I study the effects of voting costs—specifically, distance to polling location—using geographic discontinuities. Opposite sides of boundaries between voting precincts are observationally identical, except for their assigned polling locations. This discontinuous assignment produces sharp changes in voters’ travel distance to cast their ballots. In nine municipalities in Massachusetts and Minnesota, a 1 standard deviation (0.245 mile) increase in distance reduces ballots cast by 2 to 5 percent across four elections. During non-presidential elections, effects are three times larger in high-minority areas than in low-minority areas. Finally, I simulate the impact of various counterfactual assignments of voters to polling places.

I look forward to reading these.


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