Author Date

2022-03-18

Degree Name

BS

Department

Economics

College

Family, Home, and Social Sciences

Defense Date

2022-03-04

Publication Date

2022-03-18

First Faculty Advisor

Riley Wilson

First Faculty Reader

Emily Leslie

Honors Coordinator

John Stovall

Keywords

voting, voter turnout, mobile voting, synthetic control, elections

Abstract

Counties across the United States are struggling to find solutions that decrease the costs of voting while increasing voter turnout across varying demographics. In particular, because of transportation and information costs, voting is costly for low-income citizens. Ada County, Idaho attempted to mitigate these costs through introducing a mobile voting unit. This mobile voting unit is used during early voting periods and targets precincts that do not have a permanent voting location. Using voter registration data from 2006 to 2020, I attempt to identify a treatment effect of the mobile voting unit on voter turnout in general elections. My paper is the first to explore the relationship between this new method of voting and voter turnout. With a synthetic control model of Idaho donor counties, I find that there are no notable effects of the mobile voting unit on the overall voter turnout, or the turnout of demographic subgroups, including political party, age, gender, or income level. Finding no effect is important, especially for counties that are spending large sums of resources to increase voter turnout. Thus, my results could inform county-level policymakers on possible solutions to make the mobile voting unit more effective at increasing voter turnout in general elections.

Share

COinS