The legislative crackdown on mail voting across the states will likely result in longer lines and increased wait times at the polls…and studies show that such barriers to voting are not evenly distributed across the electorate.

Here are some articles on who is affected when there are lines at the polls.

Herron and Smith, 2015. Precinct closing times in Florida during the 2012 general election, Election Law Journal.

Herron and Smith, 2016. Precinct resources and voter wait times, Electoral Studies.

Cottrell, Herron, and Smith. 2020. Voting lines, equal treatment, and early voting check-in times in Florida, State Politics & Policy Quarterly.

Hot off the Press: “Precinct Closing Times in Florida During the 2012 General Election”

My latest with Michael Herron:

Herron, Michael C. and Daniel A. Smith. 2015. “Precinct Closing Times in Florida During the 2012 General Election,” Election Law Journal: Rules, Politics, and Policy 14(3): 220-238.

Abstract

The Supreme Court’s decision in Shelby County v. Holder to strike down Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act has spurred a search for measures of election performance that extend beyond race-based registration and turnout rates. We contribute to this endeavor by studying patterns of precinct congestion in Florida during the 2012 General Election. With precinct closing times as proxies for congestion, our study covers 5,302 total Election Day precincts in Florida. We show that there was tremendous variance in closing times in Florida on Election Day in 2012 and that precincts with greater proportions of Hispanic voters closed disproportionately late. This finding holds even controlling for the number of pollworkers per precinct. Broadly speaking, voting place congestion in the 2012 General Election appears not to have affected all Floridians equally, and most notably the post-Shelby electoral environment in the United States continues to reflect racial disparities. With the loss of the Voting Rights Act’s retrogression standard, our analysis illustrates how precinct congestion data can be used to assess whether different racial/ethnic groups face different barriers to voting.

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.