New Study Shows that Early Voting Laws Substantially Increase Turnout

Democrats have supported laws that make it easier to vote for decades. They have supported early voting initiatives, online voter registration, moving elections to weekends, and providing resources to make sure no one has to wait more than a half-hour to vote. However, many Republican controlled legislatures have stymied such efforts because they believe that such laws increase the turnout of Democrat-leaning voters.

And two-thirds of voters support laws making it easier to vote. But, according to a 2018 survey by Pew Research, the only group to oppose such efforts are conservative Republicans. Liberals and moderates overwhelmingly back laws making voting as easy as possible.

A new study conducted by Ethan Kaplan, and Haishan Yuan, and published in the American Economic Journal found that laws that allow individuals to vote prior to election day do substantially increase overall voter turnout, by almost a quarter percentage point per day. So, a two-week early voting window could increase overall turnout by between 3 and 4 percentage points. "We estimate effects of early voting on voter turnout using a 2010 homogenization law from Ohio that forced some counties to expand and others to contract early voting. Using voter registration data, we compare individuals who live within the same 2 x 2 mile squareblock but in different counties. We find substantial positive impacts of early voting on turnout equal to 0.22 percentage points of additional turnout per additional early voting day."

And it does seem to enhance the turnout among groups that tend to vote for Democratic candidates, younger working class voters and younger women. "We also find greater impacts on women, Democrats, independents, and those of child-bearing and working age."

Early voting doesn't seem to have the same impact on older, retired and wealthier voters who have an easier time getting to the polls on election day and tend to vote for Republicans.

Based on this, it wouldn't be surprising to see Republican legislators continuing their fight against early voting even though it's widely supported by voters.

#elections #earlyvoting #news #research #politics

By: Don Lam & Curated Content


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