Latest Research from the VTP

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.

Whose Absentee Votes Are Counted: The Variety and Use of Absentee Ballots in California

Working Paper No.: 
34
Date Published: 
11/30/2008
Author(s): 
Betsy Sinclair
Thad E. Hall
R. Michael Alvarez
Absentee voting is becoming more prevalent throughout the United States. While there has been some research focused on who votes by absentee ballot, little research has considered another important question about absentee voting: Which absentee ballots are counted and which are not? Research following the 2000 presidential election has studied the problem of uncounted ballots for precinct voters but not for absentee voters.

Who Should Run Our Elections? Public Opinion About Election Governance in the United States

Working Paper No.: 
47
Date Published: 
11/30/2008
Author(s): 
Morgan Llewellyn
Thad E. Hall
R. Michael Alvarez
Much has been said since the 2000 presidential election regarding the administration of elections in the United States, particularly in regards to how election administrators are selected and to whom they are responsive. Unfortunately, there has been little research on the different administrative structures that are possible and the preferences of Americans regarding these different administrative options.

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

Working Paper No.: 
48
Date Published: 
11/30/2008
Author(s): 
Thad E. Hall
R. Michael Alvarez
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.

Are Americans Confident Their Ballots Are Counted

Working Paper No.: 
49
Date Published: 
11/30/2008
Author(s): 
Thad E. Hall
R. Michael Alvarez
Expanding the large literature which investigates the characteristics of citizen and voter trust in government we analyze the heretofore neglected topic of voter trust in the electoral process. In this paper, we present results from three national surveys in which we asked voters the confidence they have that their vote for president in the 2000 or 2004 election was recorded as intended.

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

Working Paper No.: 
53
Date Published: 
11/30/2008
Author(s): 
Brian F. Roberts
Thad E. Hall
R. Michael Alvarez
No abstract available.

The Effect of Voter Identification Laws on Turnout

Working Paper No.: 
57
Date Published: 
11/30/2008
Author(s): 
Jonathan Katz
Delia Bailey
R. Michael Alvarez
Since the passage of the “Help America Vote Act” in 2002, nearly half of the states have adopted a variety of new identification requirements for voter registration and participation by the 2006 general election. There has been little analysis of whether these requirements reduce voter participation, especially among certain classes of voters. In this paper we document the effect of voter identification requirements on registered voters as they were imposed in states in the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections, and in the 2002 and 2006 midterm elections.

New Barriers to Participation: Application of New Mexico's Voter Identification Law

Working Paper No.: 
59
Date Published: 
11/30/2008
Author(s): 
Thad E. Hall
Kyle L. Saunders
Lisa A. Bryant
In democratic societies there is a tension between maximizing ballot access and minimizing voter fraud. Since the 2000 presidential election, this tension has been central to discussions about election reform, at the national and local level. We examine this tension by focusing on the implementation of voter identification laws in one state that has experienced significant issues in recent elections, and that is now implementing significant attempts at election reform: New Mexico.

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