Latest Research from the VTP

Military Voting and the Law: Procedural and Technological Solutions to the Ballot Transit Problem

Author(s): 
Brian F. Roberts
Thad E. Hall
R. Michael Alvarez
Journal: 
Fordham Law Review
pp: 
Link to Article: 
Date Published: 
11/30/2008
No abstract available.

Poll Workers and the Vitality of Democracy: An Early Assessment

Author(s): 
Kelly D. Patterson
J. Quin Monson
Thad E. Hall
Journal: 
PS: Political Science and Politics
pp: 
Link to Article: 
Date Published: 
11/30/2008
No abstract available.

How Hard Can It Be: Do Citizens Think It Is Difficult to Register to Vote?

Author(s): 
Morgan Llewellyn
Thad E. Hall
R. Michael Alvarez
Journal: 
Stanford Law & Policy Review
pp: 
Link to Article: 
Date Published: 
11/30/2008
Political equality is seen as an intrinsic normative principle for the adequate functioning of a democratic republic. However, it is well documented that in the United States there are many qualified citizens who do not vote, many who do not participate in the political process due to procedural barriers that make it difficult or impossible for them to register and vote.

Controlling Democracy: The Principal-agent Problems In Election Administration

Author(s): 
Thad E. Hall
R. Michael Alvarez
Journal: 
Policy Studies Journal
pp: 
491-510
Link to Article: 
Date Published: 
11/30/2008
Election reform has become a major issue since the 2000 election, but little consideration has been given to the issues associated with managing them. In this article, we use principal agent theory to examine the problems associated with Election Day polling place voting. We note that Election Day voting manifests problems that agency theory shows are difficult to overcome, including adverse selection of and shirking by poll workers.

The Introduction of Voter Registration and Its Effect on Turnout

Author(s): 
Stephen Ansolabehere
David Konisky
Journal: 
Political Analysis
pp: 
83-100
Link to Article: 
Date Published: 
11/30/2008
Studies of voter turnout across states find that those with more facilitative registration laws have higher turnout rates. Eliminating registration barriers altogether is estimated to raise voter participation rates by up to 10%. This article presents panel estimates of the effects of introducing registration that exploits changes in registration laws and turnout within states. New York and Ohio imposed registration requirements on all of their counties in 1965 and 1977, respectively.

Rational and Pluralistic Approaches to HAVA Implementation: The Cases of Georgia and California

Author(s): 
Thad E. Hall
R. Michael Alvarez
Journal: 
Publius
pp: 
559-577
Link to Article: 
Date Published: 
11/30/2008
The Help America Vote Act (HAVA) has created a new dynamic for the oversight and implementation of federal elections, requiring states to assume greater control of election processes vis-a-vis their local governments than was previously the case in most states. We consider how HAVA has changed the relationship between states and localities, especially through the HAVA planning process. We examine two approaches that states have used in HAVA planning—a rational approach and a pluralistic approach—and how each can shape the power relationship between states and localities.

Why Everything That Can Go Wrong Often Does: An Analysis of Election Administration Problems

Working Paper No.: 
10
Date Published: 
11/30/2008
Author(s): 
Thad E. Hall
The Century Foundation
R. Michael Alvarez
Before the 2000 presidential election, few citizens in the United States paid much attention to election administration. But scholars have noted that election administration has been a problem for decades. Despite the attention paid to election administration in the research literature, most public policy efforts in since 2000 have been focused on purchasing new voting equipment and fixing problematic procedures, and not on resolving some of the underlying problems in the process of conducting elections in America.

Vertical Proximity Effects in the California Recall Election

Working Paper No.: 
8
Date Published: 
11/30/2008
Author(s): 
Sarah M. Sled
MIT
The 2003 California recall election provides a unique opportunity to assess the impact of variations in ballot design and voting methods on the voting accuracy of citizens. Analysis of the results of the California Recall election demonstrates that candidates who were vertically adjacent to the top three vote getters received “extra” votes in the recall election – a vertical proximity effect. Combined, these ‘neighbor’ candidates received approximately 4 votes per thousand votes the top candidate received.

Election Day Voter Registration in the United States: How One-Step Voting Can Change the Composition of the American Electorate

Working Paper No.: 
5
Date Published: 
11/30/2008
Author(s): 
R. Michael Alvarez
Caltech
Stephen Ansolabehere
For most Americans, voting requires two steps. First, an eligible citizen must register in some manner with an appropriate government agency. Second, once registered, the citizen can then cast a ballot on or before election day. The historical record provides examples of voter registration processes as early as 1801 in the state of Massachusetts, followed by Columbia, South Carolina in 1819, the state of Pennsylvania in 1836, and New York City in 1840. After the Civil War, voter registration systems proliferated throughout the nation, especially in large urban areas of the county.

Who Votes by Mail? A Dynamic Model of the Individual-Level Consequences of Vote-By-Mail Systems

Author(s): 
Nancy Burns
Adam Berinsky
Michael Traugott
Journal: 
Public Opinion Quarterly
pp: 
178-197
Link to Article: 
Date Published: 
11/30/2008
Election administrators and public officials often consider changes in electoral laws, hoping that these changes will increase voter turnout and make the electorate more reflective of the voting-age population. The most recent of these innovations is voting-by-mail (VBM), a procedure by which ballots are sent to an address for every registered voter. Over the last 2 decades, VBM has spread across the United States, unaccompanied by much empirical evaluation of its impact on either voter turnout or the stratification of the electorate.

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