"My take is that there is a positive relationship between early voting and turnout. The positive effects of early voting on turnout are not large, and the largest positive turnout effects are found in all-mail ballot elections or some form of permanent mail ballot status. These effects are most pronounced in non-presidential elections."But simply stating early voting doesn’t increase turnout misses important nuances in the ways by which elections are administered."For example, during the primary Maricopa County, Arizona encountered significant problems on Election Day when election officials miscalculated by thinking that more early voters meant fewer Election Day voters. The county scaled back Election Day polling locations and the result was long lines on Election Day, which likely reduced overall turnout. This situation was not caused by early voting, rather it was caused by poor decision making regarding Election Day voting."In another example, North Carolina experienced lower early voting participation in predominantly Democratic and African-American counties targeted by Republican electoral boards who reduced the number of early voting polling locations. These shenanigans were the culmination of changes to election laws that a federal judge found to be intentionally discriminatory and in violation of the Voting Rights Act. Selectively targeting geographically clustered groups with different election experiences can increase and decrease turnout among different groups, while overall turnout can remain the same."
December 29, 2016 at 12:55 PM EST