Herron and Smith, “Precinct Closing and Wait Times in Florida during the 2012 General Election”

Our 2013 American Political Science Association paper, which we’ll be presenting in Chicago on September 1, is available here.

Here’s the Abstract:

Voting station congestion can be measured by late-closing precincts and long wait times to vote. With this in mind we study Election Day precinct closing times in 43 Florida counties and early voting wait times in one of Florida’s most prominent counties, Miami-Dade. Our analysis of the 2012 General Election covers 5,302 total Election Day precincts and all the early voting stations in Miami-Dade County. We show that Election Day precincts with greater proportions of Hispanic voters in November, 2012, had disproportionately late closing times and that precincts with many registered Democratic voters also tended to close relatively late.  With respect to early voting wait times in Miami-Dade, we show that long wait times disproportionately affected black and Hispanic voters, and a natural experiment in Miami-Dade and Palm Beach Counties confi rms that the final voters on the last day of early voting in these two counties were disproportionately black, Hispanic, and registered Democratic. Voting place congestion in the 2012 General Election, therefore, did not affect all Floridians equally, and this study, one of the first statistical analyses of observed closing and wait times across thousands of precincts in a politically important state, shows how the electoral environment in the United States continue to reflect racial disparities.