Who Overvotes, Who Undervotes, Using Punchcards? Evidence from Los Angeles County

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D.E. "Betsy" Sinclair
R. Michael Alvarez

In this study we examine over- and undervotes from the November 2000 General Election in Los Angeles County. Los Angeles County is the nation's largest election jurisdiction and it used a punchcard voting system in that election. We use precincts as our unit of analysis and merge the 2000 election data with census data and voter registration data; our dataset allows us to examine all of the countywide races in 2000 (including candidate and ballot measures). We use a multivariate statistical analysis employing negative binomial regression to test hypotheses regarding the relationship between precincts' political and demographic characteristics and over- and undervotes. We demonstrate that both over- and undervotes vary systematically across precincts in Los Angeles County, a finding that we argue has important implications for the representation of political interests.

This paper was published in Political Research Quarterly, Vol. 57, No. 1

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