Convenient Election Day voting centers can improve voter turnout: study

Oct 31, 2011

The convenience of Election Day voting centers can increase voter turnout, according to a new paper by political scientists Robert Stein of Rice University and Greg Vonnahme of the University of Alabama.

"Voting at Non-Precinct Polling Places: A Review and Research Agenda" appears in the latest issue of the Election Law Journal. The paper is an analysis of existing research on voter identification and nonprecinct voting, two subjects that have generated considerable debate in the media and between .

While suggestions of widespread voter fraud and the impact of various voting laws and reforms may be overstated, the positive impact of voting centers is not, said Stein, the Lena Gohlman Fox Professor of at Rice. Of all the election laws, reforms and voting methods, Election Day voting centers are the only system that has had an appreciable effect on .

This video is not supported by your browser at this time.

"Over the last 3-5 years, research has revealed that implementation of voting centers has led to up to a 10 percent increase in not only voter turnout, but turnout of people who wouldn't normally vote," Stein said.

Stein compared voting to shopping, saying that most store owners try to make the easy for customers. Thanks to their size and accessibility, voting centers have the same positive impact on voting, he said.

"In dozens of states, we've found that if voters have an opportunity to vote at a location that's more central to where they conduct their daily business, they're more likely to vote," Stein said. "Voting is not unlike any other type of retail sale. Customers don't want to spend a lot of extra time looking for a place to shop, a parking space or a manager. The same is true for voters, particularly those who are as undecided about who to vote for as they are to vote."

According to Stein, voting centers work best in low-density , rather than cities with large walking populations, and are most appealing to voters who are less likely to vote due to hectic schedules.

"It may sound demeaning or undemocratic, but the simple fact of the matter is that for most Americans, voting is not a high-priority activity," he said. "When we have elections, people require convenience."

Stein hopes that the paper will encourage more awareness and research of nonprecinct voting in an effort to help citizens and their representatives make informed and intelligent choices about the mode of election administration they want to adopt.

Explore further: Consumer loyalty driven by aesthetics over functionality

More information: Voting at Non-Precinct Polling Places: A Review and Research Agenda: bakerinstitute.org/publication… LJPolling-100311.pdf

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Should compulsory voting be adopted worldwide?

Nov 06, 2008

(PhysOrg.com) -- Is compulsory voting the most effective way of ensuring a true democracy? A University of Adelaide study will help address this question and could provide a global solution to addressing declining levels ...

Early voting option can decrease turnout, research shows

Nov 17, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- Although states are moving quickly to put in place election procedures that allow for early voting, allowing people to cast ballots ahead of Election Day often results in lower turnout, according to research ...

Is smartphone technology the future of US elections?

Sep 12, 2011

With more and more Americans upgrading to smartphones, and as smartphone capabilities continue to improve, even the U.S. government is considering innovative ways to harness this advancing technology. Human factors/ergonomics ...

Recommended for you

Consumer loyalty driven by aesthetics over functionality

12 hours ago

When designing a new car, manufacturers might try to attract consumers with more horsepower, increased fuel efficiency or a lower price point. But new research from San Francisco State University shows consumers' loyalty ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.