Rocking the Vote? A Statistical Analysis of the Potential Effect of Online Voter Registration on Registration Rates
Baumgarten, Harry William
Encinosa, William E.
This study explores the potential effect of online voter registration (OLVR) on registration rates by employing ordinary least squares, difference-in-difference, and fixed effects models for county-year data from 2008, 2010, and 2012. It finds a statistically significant positive relationship between online voter registration and new registrants. However, this relationship loses its significance after controls are included for county rates of income, age, gender, race, college education, white-collar jobs, unemployment, poverty, and food stamps. Despite the absence of such a relationship, this study supports previous findings that age and income are positively associated with registration, while race may lack such an association.This study recommends that policymakers (1) grant greater resources to the Election Assistance Commission, (2) consider non-accessibility-based reasons for implementing online voter registration, (3) combine OLVR with other registration reforms, (4) partner with civic groups to offer OLVR in community centers, and (5) legally require citizens with email addresses in state records to receive electronic notifications allowing them to access OLVR portals.
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