MEASURING THE EFFECT OF VOTE-BY-MAIL ELECTIONS ON MINORITY CIVIC PARTICIPATION
In 2013, Colorado became the third state to begin conducting all statewide elections via Vote-by-Mail (VBM). One of the goals of VBM policy is to increase civic participation by lowering the costs associated with voting in an election. There is potential for improving the historically dismal turnout rates in elections in the US, specifically for racial and ethnic minority voters. Using official voter registration data and voting history records, I calculate the Bayesian-Improved Surname Geocoding (BISG) race proxy distribution for registered voters in Colorado and construct a novel panel dataset tracking voters’ participation in statewide elections from 2000 to 2014. I then identify the impact VBM elections have on minority turnout using a logistic panel regression. My results indicate a modest increase in the likelihood a minority voter will participate in an election given that it is a VBM election.
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