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Comparing Absentee and Precinct Voters: A View Over Time

Dubin, Jeffrey A. and Kalsow, Gretchen A. (1995) Comparing Absentee and Precinct Voters: A View Over Time. Social Science Working Paper, 942. California Institute of Technology , Pasadena, CA. (Unpublished)

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This paper examines the trend in absentee voting over the last thirty years in California. With the liberalization of absentee voting laws and practices, an increase in the numbers of absentee voters quickly followed. Absentee voters have already demonstrated their ability to influence the outcomes of local elections. An open question is what will become of absentee voters in the future. If they are the model for "voting at home," and if technological advances allow such, then the behavior of current absentee voters may be indicative of the future electorate. The increasing trend of voters opting for absentee ballots is analyzed by using GLS on a random effects time-series cross-section model with county level data. The focus is on identifying structural factors such as changing voter demographics that have influenced the decision of voters to cast absentee ballots. Thirty-three recent state-wide elections in California are the basis for this analysis, covering the statewide primary and general elections from November 1962, through November 1994. We find that the impact of demographics and time trends on absentee voting differ between general and primary elections. In addition, we find that a 1977 liberalization law in California had the effect of accelerating the usage of the absentee format. Finally, we conclude that absentee and precinct voting are substitutes in general elections but complements in primary elections.

Item Type:Report or Paper (Working Paper)
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Additional Information:The helpful comments of R. Michael Alvarez, Richard Braunstein, Ted Jelen, Jonathan Katz, D. Roderick Kiewiet, and Santa Traugott are gratefully acknowledged. Earlier versions of this paper were presented at the Western Political Science Association Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon, March 17, 1995, and at the Midwest Political Science Association Annual Conference, Chicago, IL, April 6, 1995. Published as Dubin, Jeffrey A., and Gretchen A. Kalsow. "Comparing absentee and precinct voters: A view over time." Political Behavior 18, no. 4 (1996): 369-392.
Group:Social Science Working Papers
Subject Keywords:absentee voting, nested logit, panel data, political participation, aggregate, nested logit, random effects
Series Name:Social Science Working Paper
Issue or Number:942
Classification Code:JEL: C23, C33, D72
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20170817-151921896
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:80580
Deposited By: Jacquelyn Bussone
Deposited On:21 Aug 2017 16:51
Last Modified:03 Oct 2019 18:32

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