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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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Accessible Elections to Help Poor People

Accessible Elections to Help Poor People

(p.69) 5 Accessible Elections to Help Poor People
Accessible Elections

Michael Ritter

Oxford University Press

Inequality in who votes matters. People with lower incomes are significantly less likely to participate in elections, creating a class bias in the electorate. Even if overall voter participation improves, can accessible elections shrink turnout inequality between higher and lower socio-economic class citizens? Chapter 5 empirically evaluates whether the voting laws and election administration lead to an increased probability of poor individuals (proxied as those at or below the federal poverty line) voting when comparing 2010 to 2014 midterm election turnout, and 2008 to 2012 presidential election turnout. The results show that no-excuse absentee/mail voting (in midterm elections) and same day registration (in both presidential and midterm elections) increases voter turnout among the economically disadvantaged. Better election administration also leads to improved outcomes for lower socio-economic citizens.

Keywords:   inequality, class, socio-economic status, voter turnout, convenience voting, early voting, absentee voting, mail voting, same day registration, poverty, poor

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