Mobilizing the Youth Vote? Early Voting on College Campuses in Florida

Enrijeta Shino and Daniel A. Smith, University of Florida

Abstract

Might having additional opportunities to cast a ballot increase the likelihood that an individual turns out to vote? Scholars disagree over whether or not added electoral convenience bolsters voter turnout. Examining the effects of early in-person voting on public colleges and university campuses in Florida, we argue that turnout should increase when institutional barriers are lowered, as individuals have greater options to mobilize themselves, or be mobilized by others, to vote. Using individual-level administrative data and estimating a series of differences-in-differences (DD), differences-in-differences-in-differences (DDD), and coarsened exact matching (CEM) models, we estimate the causal effect of the expansion of early in-person voting on eight college campuses on voter turnout. We find that on-campus early voting increases turnout, especially among young voters.

Most recent draft available here.

Big win in US Federal District Court!

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
NORTHERN DISTRICT OF FLORIDA
TALLAHASSEE DIVISION
LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS OF
FLORIDA, INC., et al.,
Plaintiffs,
V. CASE NO. 4:18-CV-251-MW/CAS
KENNETH W. DETZNER, in his official
capacity as the Florida Secretary
of State,
Defendant.
__________________________/
ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFFS’ MOTION
FOR PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION

Order available here.

Latest article in Political Behavior on early voting in North Carolina in 2016

Hannah L. Walker, Michael C. Herron, Daniel A. Smith, “Early Voting Changes and Voter Turnout: North Carolina in the 2016 General Election,” Political Behavior (Online June 25, 2018).

Available here.

Abstract

North Carolina offers its residents the opportunity to cast early in-person (EIP) ballots prior to Election Day, a practice known locally as “One-Stop” voting. Following a successful legal challenge to the state’s controversial 2013 Voter Information and Verification Act, North Carolina’s 100 counties were given wide discretion over the hours and locations of EIP voting for the 2016 General Election. This discretion yielded a patchwork of election practices across the state, providing us with a set of natural experiments to study the effect of changes in early voting hours on voter turnout. Drawing on individual-level voting records from the North Carolina State Board of Elections, our research design matches voters on race, party, and geography. We find little evidence that changes to early opportunities in North Carolina had uniform effects on voter turnout. Nonetheless, we do identify areas in the presidential battleground state where voters appear to have reacted to local changes in early voting availability, albeit not always in directions consistent with the existing literature. We suspect that effects of changes to early voting rules are conditional on local conditions, and future research on the effects of election law changes on turnout should explore these conditions in detail.