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Polling place changes and political participation: evidence from North Carolina presidential elections, 2008–2016

Publication ,  Journal Article
Clinton, JD; Eubank, N; Fresh, A; Shepherd, ME
Published in: Political Science Research and Methods
October 2021

How do changes in Election Day polling place locations affect voter turnout? We study the behavior of more than 2 million eligible voters across three closely-contested presidential elections (2008–2016) in the swing state of North Carolina. Leveraging within-voter variation in polling place location change over time, we demonstrate that polling place changes reduce Election Day voting on average statewide. However, this effect is almost completely offset by substitution into early voting, suggesting that voters, on average, respond to a change in their polling place by choosing to vote early. While there is heterogeneity in these effects by the distance of the polling place change and the race of the affected voter, the fully offsetting substitution into early voting still obtains. We theorize this is because voters whose polling places change location receive notification mailers, offsetting search costs and priming them to think about the election before election day, driving early voting.

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Published In

Political Science Research and Methods

DOI

EISSN

2049-8489

ISSN

2049-8470

Publication Date

October 2021

Volume

9

Issue

4

Start / End Page

800 / 817

Publisher

Cambridge University Press (CUP)

Related Subject Headings

  • 4408 Political science
  • 1606 Political Science
 

Citation

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Chicago
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Clinton, J. D., Eubank, N., Fresh, A., & Shepherd, M. E. (2021). Polling place changes and political participation: evidence from North Carolina presidential elections, 2008–2016. Political Science Research and Methods, 9(4), 800–817. https://doi.org/10.1017/psrm.2020.43
Clinton, Joshua D., Nick Eubank, Adriane Fresh, and Michael E. Shepherd. “Polling place changes and political participation: evidence from North Carolina presidential elections, 2008–2016.” Political Science Research and Methods 9, no. 4 (October 2021): 800–817. https://doi.org/10.1017/psrm.2020.43.
Clinton JD, Eubank N, Fresh A, Shepherd ME. Polling place changes and political participation: evidence from North Carolina presidential elections, 2008–2016. Political Science Research and Methods. 2021 Oct;9(4):800–17.
Clinton, Joshua D., et al. “Polling place changes and political participation: evidence from North Carolina presidential elections, 2008–2016.” Political Science Research and Methods, vol. 9, no. 4, Cambridge University Press (CUP), Oct. 2021, pp. 800–17. Crossref, doi:10.1017/psrm.2020.43.
Clinton JD, Eubank N, Fresh A, Shepherd ME. Polling place changes and political participation: evidence from North Carolina presidential elections, 2008–2016. Political Science Research and Methods. Cambridge University Press (CUP); 2021 Oct;9(4):800–817.
Journal cover image

Published In

Political Science Research and Methods

DOI

EISSN

2049-8489

ISSN

2049-8470

Publication Date

October 2021

Volume

9

Issue

4

Start / End Page

800 / 817

Publisher

Cambridge University Press (CUP)

Related Subject Headings

  • 4408 Political science
  • 1606 Political Science