New election administration and voting technology research in Political Research Quarterly

I was just trolling the “early access” (preprint) articles that are forthcoming at Political Research Quarterly and noticed that there are a number of articles of interest to readers of Election Updates.

First, there is a paper by Thad, Quin Monson and Kelly Patterson, “The Human Dimension of Elections: How Poll Workers Shape Public Confidence in Elections.” I’ll leave it to Thad to tell us all more about this paper.

Second, there is a paper from Matt Barreto, Mara Cohen-Marks, and Nathan D. Woods, “Are All Precincts Created Equal? The Prevalence of Low-Quality Precincts in Low-Income and Minority Communities.” Here’s their abstract:

More than forty years after passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, a fundamental question remains unanswered: although all citizens have an equal right to the ballot, do all citizens enjoy equal access to the ballot box? That is, are voting precincts in predominantly low-income and non-white neighborhoods less visible, less stable, harder to find, and harder to navigate than voting precincts in high-income and predominantly white neighborhoods? If so, does the lower quality result in lower levels of voting, all other things equal? The authors’ analysis indicates that the quality of polling places varies across the diverse neighborhoods of Los Angeles and that the quality of polling places influences voter turnout. Low-income and minority communities tended to have “lower quality” precincts, which tended to depress voter turnout.

Then there is an interesting paper from Michael Hanmer, Won-Ho Park, Michael Traugott, Richard Niemi, Paul Herrnson, Benjamin Bederson, and Frederick Conrad, “Losing Fewer Votes: The Impact of Changing Voting Systems on Residual Votes.” Here is their abstract:

Problems in the 2000 presidential election, especially in Florida, initiated a large-scale shift toward new voting technology. Using cross-sectional and longitudinal data, we report on the effects of changes in voting systems in Florida and Michigan. The variety of initial conditions and the numerous changes make these excellent case studies. We find that reforms succeeded in reducing the residual vote. Every change from old to new technology resulted in a decline in residual votes that was significantly greater than in areas that did not change voting equipment. The percentage of residual votes in the 2004 presidential race in localities that changed voting systems was well under 1 percent, representing a 90 percent reduction in error in Florida and a 35 percent reduction in Michigan. We run these analyses separately for undervotes and overvotes. Using ecological-inference techniques, we investigate the persistence of residual votes when technology changed and find very little persistence.

Wow — looks like folks who want to read more about election administration and voting technology research should get a subscription to Political Research Quarterly! (In the interest of complete disclosure, I am on the editorial board of PRQ.)