Monday, November 7, 2011
Convenience Improves Turnout
So we were glad to hear about a new paper by political scientists from Rice University and the University of Alabama called "Voting at Non-Precinct Polling Places: A Review and Research Agenda".
The researchers found that the convenience of Election Day voting centers--polling locations that combine multiple precincts and give voters options when deciding where to cast their ballot--can increase turnout.
Robert Stein, one of the paper's authors, said that "Over the last 3-5 years, research has revealed that implementation of voting centers has led to up to a 10 percent increase in not only voter turnout, but turnout of people who wouldn't normally vote."
Because of their size and accessibility, voting centers give voters the opportunity to vote somewhere that's more central to their daily routine, and thus increases the likelihood that they will vote. Stein suggests that voting centers work best in low-density urban areas and are most appealing to voters who are less likely to vote due to hectic schedules.
The findings of "Voting at Non-Precinct Polling Places" underscore the positive impact of voting centers, and are a helpful reminder that we can make voting more accessible to everyone through strategic election administration choices.