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Accessible ElectionsHow the States Can Help Americans Vote$
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Michael Ritter and Caroline J. Tolbert

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780197537251

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780197537251.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 29 November 2021

The Problem with Voting in America

The Problem with Voting in America

(p.1) 1 The Problem with Voting in America
Accessible Elections

Michael Ritter

Oxford University Press

Chapter 1 introduces the argument that wide variation from state to state in convenience voting laws—in-person early voting, no-excuse absentee/mail in voting, same day registration—as well as election administration performance can be used to explain variation in individual-level voter turnout in the U.S. It re-frames the study of convenience voting methods by also accounting for the administration of elections by local and state governments (based on measures from Pew Charitable Trusts/MIT Election Data and Science Lab). It introduces an innovative dataset (national commercial voter files) and methodology (panel models using vote histories) to provide more leverage in the evaluation of the effect of the state laws on voting. The chapter closes by previewing how the study sheds light on how American states with more accessible elections increase voter turnout and improve turnout equality between historically advantaged (higher socioeconomic status, non-Hispanic white) and disadvantaged (lower socioeconomic status, racial/ethnic minority) groups.

Keywords:   voter turnout, political participation, convenience voting, early voting, mail voting, same day registration, election administration, national commercial voter files

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