Prior research predicts that election administration changes that increase voting costs should decrease participation, but it fails to consider that some interpret those changes as attacking their franchise. Drawing on psychological reactance theory, this study tests whether such perceived attacks might instead activate those citizens. It leverages the State of Florida’s multi-stage effort in 2012 to purge suspected non-citizens from its voter rolls, comparing the voting rates of suspected non-citizens whose registration was and was not formally challenged by the state. Within-registrant difference-in-difference and matching analyses estimate a positive, significant participatory effect of being challenged, particularly for Hispanics (the vast majority of the sample). Placebo tests show that those challenged were no more likely than those not challenged to vote in previous elections.
Check out my report for the ACLU of Florida, “Vote-By-Mail Ballots Cast in Florida.” Vote-by-mail ballots cast in the 2012 and 2016 general election had a higher rejection rate than votes cast at assigned precincts on Election Day and at early voting sites, and more importantly, younger voters and racial and ethnic minority voters were much more likely to cast mail ballots that were rejected and were less likely to have their ballots cured.
Full report is available here.
My latest research, coauthored with UF PhD candidate, Enrijeta Shino.
Online version available here.