|UFDC Home||myUFDC Home | Help|
|Table of Contents|
|List of Tables|
|List of Figures|
|Swiss government and elections|
|Data and hypotheses|
This item has the following downloads:
|Table of Contents|
Table of Contents
List of Tables
List of Figures
Swiss government and elections
Data and hypotheses
EFFICACY OF EARLY VOTING SYSTEMS IN
THE UNITED STATES AND SWITZERLAND
JOHN STUART RABON
A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
MASTER OF ARTS
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
John Stuart Rabon
TABLE OF CONTENTS
L IS T O F T A B L E S ................................................... ............................... ..................... v
LIST OF FIGURES .................................................. ............................ vi
ABSTRACT ...................................................................... vii
1 IN T R O D U C T IO N ................................................. .............................................. .
2 ELECTION REFO RM S .................... ...............................................................7......
Registration Reforms .................. .. ........... ...............................7
V oting R eform s ............... ........................... ................................................8..
In-P erson E arly V oting ..................................... ........................ ............... 10
Postal V voting .......................................................................................................12
3 SWISS GOVERNMENT AND ELECTIONS ......................................................16
4 D A TA A N D H Y PO TH E SE S ....................................... ...................... ................ 20
U n ite d S ta te s ...............................................................................................................2 0
In-P erson E arly V oting ..................................... ........................ ................ 2 1
Political Com petition ....................................................................... 22
U n em p loy m en t ............................................. .. ........................ ...... ........ ... ..2 2
N national M acropartisan Strength.................................................... ................ 23
Election-D ay Registration ........................................................ 24
U united States R egressions.......................................... ......................... ................ 24
Sw itzerland .............. ....................................................................... . ......24
P ostal V voting ................................................................................................. 26
Unemployment ................................... ......... ...... ...............26
Political Com petition ....................................................................... 26
Swiss Regressions ...................... ........... ............................... 27
5 R E S U L T S .......................................................................................... ..................... 2 8
In-Person E arly V oting ................................................................... ................ 28
P o stal V o tin g .............................................................................................................. 2 9
6 D ISCU SSION ............................................................................... . .................32
L IST O F R E FE R E N C E S ... ......................................................................... ................ 36
BIOGRAPH ICAL SKETCH ................... ............................................................... 43
LIST OF TABLES
1 Introduction of In-Person Early V oting .................................................... ............... 11
2 Introduction of Simplified System of Early Voting................................................. 18
3 Effect of In-Person Early Voting in the States (VAP)..............................................28
4 Effect of In-Person Early Voting in the States..........................................................29
5 Effect of Postal Voting in the Cantons ...................................................30
6 Effect of Postal Voting in the Cantons (Schaffhausen excluded)...............................30
LIST OF FIGURES
1 International V other Turnout ..................................................................... ...............6...
2 U .S V other T u rn out .................................................. ............................................... .. 6
Abstract of Thesis Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts
EFFICACY OF EARLY VOTING SYSTEMS IN
THE UNITED STATES AND SWITZERLAND
John Stuart Rabon
Chair: Michael Martinez
Major Department: Political Science
Of all the industrial democracies, the two nations which exhibit the lowest levels of
voter turnout, due to certain institutional factors, are the United States and Switzerland.
These two nations, partially as a result of low participation, have recently begun to
implement policies meant to augment participation: in-person early voting in the United
States and postal voting in Switzerland. The purpose of this thesis is to analyze the
effectiveness of these policies on increasing turnout, utilizing OLS regressions. In the
United States, I use the state-year interaction as the unit of analysis, measuring the effect
of in-person early voting across six separate midterm elections. In Switzerland I conduct
a similar analysis, using the canton-year interaction as the unit of analysis over eight
legislative elections. For both nations, I control for both political and economic factors
within each state-year and canton-year interaction, as well as fixed effect for districts
(states in the U.S., cantons in Switzerland) and years. I find that in-person early voting
does not work to increase turnout in the American states, but postal voting provides a
significant boon to aggregate turnout levels in Switzerland. I also analyze positive and
negative consequences of each system, and attempt to ease any fears associated with
The purpose of this thesis is to analyze policies that theoretically reduce the costs
of voting to the individual and lead to an increase in aggregate turnout. According to the
rational choice model, an individual will vote as long as the benefits of voting outweigh
the costs (Downs 1957; Riker & Ordeshook 1968). In theory, the decision to vote is a
marginal one, as both the costs (of information, as well as the actual act) and benefits of
voting are low (Aldrich 1993; Blais 2000). Any slight change in the costs or benefits of
voting could result in the altering of the voting decision, according to the theory of
rational choice. I note that, since Downs, two separate models of participation have been
developed: the resource (Brady et al. 1995) and mobilization (Rosenstone and Hansen
1993) models. Both models overlap the rational choice model somewhat, as they focus
on how socioeconomic status and group membership diminish the costs of voting,
respectively. For the purpose of this study the rational choice and resource models are
the same, as I focus on reducing the costs of voting to citizens regardless of economic
class. The mobilization model is not applicable in this thesis either, as its creators note it
is better at predicting when one participates rather than why. (Rosenstone and Hansen
1993, p.20) Henceforth, I will use the rational choice model as the framework for the
individual decision to vote.
Since the seminal work of Wolfinger and Rosenstone (1980), analysts have
believed education to be the most important determinant of an individual's propensity to
overcome the costs of voting and participate in the political sphere. One would naturally
expect that the United States and Switzerland, two nations with literacy rates close to
100% (Directorate of Intelligence, CIA 2006a), to exhibit high rates in the easiest form of
participation voting. But as Figure 1 demonstrates, this is not the case. As a percentage
of the voting-age population, voter turnout in all other original G-7 countries is
significantly higher than turnout in the United States and Switzerland. (I also point out
the fact that turnout in the U.S. as a percentage of the voting-age population is declining,
as evidenced by Figure 2.) Out of 58 parliamentary elections in those six countries from
1960 to 2000, only one (1994 Japan) displayed turnout lower than any U.S. midterm or
Swiss parliamentary election. U.S. and Swiss voters are conspicuously averse of going to
the polls, and present a conundrum to researchers and analysts of voter turnout.
In theorizing the determinants for turnout rates across industrial democracies,
including the U.S. and Switzerland, political scientists have posed an institutional model
for voter turnout. In this model, researchers propose that forces related to government
structure play a greater role in shaping turnout rates than individual attributes. In a
comparative study of seven nations touting the impact of institutions, Verba, Nie, and
Kim (1978) assert aggregate turnout is derived from the juxtaposition of individual
attributes working against national institutional factors. Powell (1986) concludes that
U.S. turnout is advantaged slightly by individual political interest and education levels.
However, institutional factors such as compulsory registration, nationally competitive
election districts, and strong party-group linkage result in lower rates of American
turnout. (Party-group linkage reflects the consistency of cues given by overlapping
groups such as labor unions, religious organizations, etc. to parties to determine the
strength and volume of political cues.) Jackman discovers "unicameralism provides a
clearer link between elections and legislation, increasing turnout" (1987, p. 405). Not
surprisingly, nations with compulsory voting experience higher levels of turnout.
(Tingsten 1937; Franklin 1996; Jackman 1987; Franklin 1999; Hirczy de Mino 1994)
The institutional model of turnout, however, does not fully account for outlying
U.S. and Swiss turnout rates. In analyzing cross-national differences in turnout,
researchers often have to control for the two states through an "electoral salience"
variable (Franklin 1996, 1999) or by dummies, per se (Jackman and Miller 1995).
Franklin (1996) goes as far as conducting an analysis without the two states.
Franklin defines "electoral salience" as "the linkage between legislative electoral
outcomes and government complexion" (1996, p.224). In the context of Europe, "the
most salient elections are those whose outcome determines the allocation of government
power" (Franklin & Hirczy de Mino 1998, p.317). Switzerland, then, exhibits
exceptionally low salience, as the composition of its executive will remain stable
regardless of election results. The low electoral salience displayed by the United States
stems partially from divided government. (i.e., different parties control the Presidency
and Congress) Franklin and Hirczy de Mino theorize that if one party controls both the
executive and legislative branches of government, it becomes easier for the American
electorate to give blame or credit to the controlling party. Turnout, therefore, will
increase under unanimous control. The researchers find that, controlling for changes in
closeness of elections and electoral legislation, divided government does in fact depress
turnout. For each election held under conditions of divided government, turnout declines,
on average, about 1.96% (p.321). After three consecutive Presidential elections under
divided government, turnout would be depressed 5.88% (p.321). Franklin also mentions
that low electoral salience is often correlated with the possibility of voter fatigue.
Because the United States and Switzerland have more elections than any other democracy
in the world, it is likely voter fatigue plays a role in depressing turnout.
Both the U.S. and Swiss, as well as all governments elected by a small proportion
of citizens, share cause for concern, as the negative effects produced by low levels of
voter turnout are numerous. Researchers and political pundits have long been troubled by
low turnout, and much of the literature associated with voter turnout has been devoted to
analyzing the effects of minimal participation. As a result of this research, experts have
developed a number of reasons for finding methods to improve turnout. For one, political
participation is stratified in terms of socioeconomic status (Verba & Nie 1972; Wolfinger
& Rosenstone 1980; Brady et al. 1995) and decline in voter turnout can lead to an
exacerbation of the discrepancy between the beliefs and preferences of active participants
and the entire population (Rosenstone & Hansen 1993; Burnham 1980). (I note that
research by Leighley and Nagler (1992) disagrees with this assessment.) As a result of
this skew, discord often appears between public policy and public opinion as the
politically active exhibit greater influence over the legislative and policy-making process
(Key 1949; Burnham 1987). Specifically, research has shown that states with low turnout
among the poor exhibit significantly lower welfare spending (Hill, Leighley, and Hinton-
Andersson 1995). Lijphart cites "especially poor" turnout in "less salient but no less
unimportant elections" (1997, p. 1) as a problem as well, due to Verba and Nie's assertion
that participation is "at the heart of democratic theory and at the heart of the democratic
political formula in the United States" (1972, p.3). Classic literature also points to the
benefits to the individual of voting. The voting act could provide positive externalities to
the individual, such as learning civic virtues like knowledge and responsibility (Mill
Lawmakers in both the United States and Switzerland, partially as a result of low
turnout and its consequences, have recently enacted policies to simplify the process of
voting. The purpose of this study is to analyze the effect of two of these reforms on
turnout: in-person early voting (IPEV) in the United States, and postal voting in
Unfortunately, a limitation of this study is the differences in the institutional and
political structures of the two nations do not allow a true test of which system better
works to increase turnout. Most notably, the existence of elections by proportional
representation leads to a multiparty system in Switzerland. Other factors, such as
differences in the composition of the executive, will be discussed in further detail later.
'A- ---S wiss
< *-- Le rTmarny
Figure 1 International Voter Turnout (VAP) in Parliamentary Elections Data
provided by the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Institute
Voter Turnout Website (International Institute for Democracy and Electoral
-- ^ t
r* """, --- Residential
SA"", A -A- r Mdterm
-- Linear Trend
Figure 2 U.S. Voter Turnout (VAP) Data provided by the United States
Election Project (McDonald 2006)
- -.A. -
In the United States voting is a two-step process; in order for a citizen to cast a
ballot one must be registered. While the analyses presented here focus on the actual act
of voting, the importance of registration warrants mentioning, as registration reforms
have been the main vehicle state legislatures have employed to increase levels of turnout.
The idea that registration laws form a barrier to the act of voting permeates the
literature (Wolfinger & Rosenstone 1980; Squire et al. 1987; Highton 1997, 2004; Piven
& Cloward 1988; Rosenstone & Wolfinger 1978). Brown et al. conclude "group
registration level is the primary determinant of group turnout in both presidential and
midterm elections" (1999, p.474). Burnham believes that the "abolition and replacement
[of registration laws] by automatic state-enrollment procedures" is the first step to solving
the dilemma of low turnout (1980, p.68). Also of note, states have historically utilized
registration laws to depress turnout (Highton 2004).
As a result, in 1993 Congress passed the National Voter Registration Act (Motor
Voter) mandating the availability of voter registration via mail and in various government
agencies. Research conducted on policies mandated by Motor Voter provides differing
results, (Knack 1995; Highton & Wolfinger 1998; Martinez & Hill 1999; Brown &
Wedeking 2006) but no experts have concluded that the policies dramatically boost
turnout. Since the implementation of Motor Voter, turnout has remained remarkably
stagnant in the face of burgeoning registration rates (Neeley & Richardson 2001).
States have also begun to implement Election Day registration (EDR) in an effort to
assuage the hindrance of registering, and since 1990 the number of states with EDR has
nearly doubled (Fitzgerald 2005). The significance of EDR to increasing turnout is
constant. Highton (1997) concludes that EDR amplifies turnout levels ten points, while
Brians and Grofman (2001) predict a seven percent boost. In their classic work,
Wolfinger and Rosenstone conclude election-day registration is the most effective legal
change to registration procedures, deducing "turnout would increase by about 6.1
percentage points" (1980, p.78). Fitzgerald (2005) finds a lesser but still significant
impact an augmentation of more than one and three points in presidential and
congressional elections, respectively.
The crux of this study, however, is the effect on turnout of post-registration reforms
dealing with the act of voting. While I focus on state-level and cantonal-level reforms, I
note a recent modification in American voting law at the federal level: the Help America
Vote Act (HAVA). Created in 2002 as a response to the havoc caused by the Presidential
Election two years prior, the bill calls for the disbursement of funds to states with the
purpose of improving the administration of elections. Specifically, the act mandates the
elimination of punch-card ballots and lever machines in order to modernize and ease the
voting process. It also calls for further training of election officials and compulsory
institution of a provisional voting procedure, allowing those who believe they are missing
from the registration rolls by mistake to cast a ballot and dispute the error.
At the state level, legislatures have begun to institute reforms outside of election-
day registration. Increasingly, state policymakers are turning to early voting in an effort
to augment turnout. Reasons exist for the employment of early voting outside of the
general benefits of increasing turnout (Gronke et al. 2005). First, early voting systems
provide a more convenient method to vote, especially for those "who work for an hourly
wage, have long commutes, or have heavy time constraints on a November Tuesday" (p.
3). Research has shown that ballot box accessibility is can have a significant effect on
election participation (Gimpel & Schuknecht 2003; Haspel & Knotts 2005). Second,
advocates of early voting claim the procedure would augment the effectiveness of
democratic decision-making (Davis 2005). Third, Gronke et al. (2005) theorize citizens
like early voting because campaigns can focus their mobilization and persuasion efforts
on those yet to participate, leaving partisan voters the opportunity to continue their daily
lives free of campaign activity.
Theoretically, early voting increases turnout through providing greater availability
for a registered voter to cast a ballot. This increases the probability of individual voting,
especially for those unlikely to vote on Election Day. However, early voting may also
increase turnout through a social context, as "nontraditional voting sites may
communicate cues to voters about candidate choices" (Stein & Garcia-Monet 1997). As
a result, strategic politicians may be able to exploit early voting for their own electoral
advantage through efficient mobilization techniques.
Three methods currently exist for casting a ballot before Election Day: in-person
early voting (IPEV), voting-by-mail or postal voting, and absentee balloting. Many states
have recently begun to liberalize absentee balloting, as twenty states allow no-excuse
absentee balloting and California permits voters to be placed on a "permanent" absentee
voter list (Gronke 2005). In the 1996 Presidential election, twenty percent of votes from
those states came from absentee ballots (Karp & Banducci 2001). The analyses presented
here, however, will focus only on in-person early voting and voting-by-mail.
In-Person Early Voting
In-person early voting grants registered voters the ability to vote at a designated
location in the days leading up to the election. Texas became the first state to institute
IPEV in 1991, and twelve other legislatures have adopted statewide in-person early
voting since (Election Reform Information Project 2006; along with various state
elections officials). (Table 1) Two other states, California and Kansas, have in-person
early voting procedures but only in select counties.
The process of in-person early voting varies across the states and counties. For the
most part, state policies allow approximately fifteen days for prospective in-person early
voters to cast a ballot. Arizona policy allows the most days, as in-person early voting
begins 33 days before Election Day and ends the Friday prior. Georgia voters, on the
other hand, only have the five business days the week before the election to cast an early
ballot. Unlike the number of days states permit IPEV, the location of voting sites is
determined by the counties. Most counties make available in-person early voting only at
the county elections office. For more populous counties however, such as Miami-Dade
in Florida and Johnson County in Kansas, in-person early voting occurs at traditional
locales such as shopping malls, airports, and libraries (Sola 2006; Newby 2006).
The empirical evidence supporting the positive effect of in-person early voting on
turnout is slim. Previous research on IPEV focuses as much on its effect on the
composition of the electorate as its impact on turnout. In a study of in-person early
voters in 1994, no party advantage existed between the two groups, and education levels
were similar (Stein 1998). Interestingly, Stein does not expect "early voting to mobilize a
Table 1 Introduction of In-Person Early Voting
STATE YEAR OF INTRODUCTION
New Mexico 1994
North Dakota 2003
West Virginia 2006
In-Person Early Voting is not statewide
significant number of new voters" (p.68). In an analysis of Oregon and Florida, Gronke
and Galanes-Rosenbaum contradict Stein by concluding early voters are likely to be older
and more educated than election day participants, and African-Americans, on average,
tend to refrain from early voting (2005). Gronke and Stein both agree that early voters
are much more partisan and ideological than precinct voters, confirming the idea that
partisans decide on a candidate well before political moderates (Campbell et al. 1960;
Berelson et al. 1954). In a study of the 1994 elections in Tennessee, Richardson and
Neeley (1996) note in-person early voting possesses the possibility to increase turnout,
but focus their analysis on the effect of different ballot types and voting locations.
A study of the 1992 Presidential election reveals that in-person early voting slightly
increased turnout in Texas counties (Stein & Garcia-Monet 1997). Analysis shows that
counties with a higher proportion of the vote cast early entailed marginally, but
significantly higher participation rates. In the election, a one percent increase in early
votes as a proportion of the total vote led to an increase of voter turnout by seven-
hundredths (0.07) of one percent (p.665). The researchers also conclude that in-person
early voting effectually brings voters with a history of electoral participation to the polls,
rather than new voters, as Stein and Garcia-Monet actually find a negative relationship
between change in voter registration and turnout (p.665). It is interesting to note that the
authors discovered that the number of early voting sites at non-traditional locations was
positively and significantly correlated with turnout. For every ten nontraditional voting
locations in a county, turnout increased fifteen-hundredths (0.15) of one percent (p.665).
Fitzgerald (2005) concludes in-person early voting has a negligible effect on
increasing turnout. Using the state-year interaction as the unit of analysis, the author
evaluates the impact of various voting reforms during general elections from 1972 to
2002. Controlling for political but not economic variables, Fitzgerald finds in-person
early voting, while insignificant, is negatively correlated with turnout. As it is highly
unlikely that early voting drives citizens from the polls, the author notes the possibility of
self-selection, admitting "alternative voting methods are most likely to exist in states that
experience high rates of voter turnout regardless of the reforms" (p.856).
The expansion of postal voting across the country has been much more protracted
than in-person early voting. In 1977, the county of Monterey, California, was the first to
exclusively use voting-by-mail for "anything other than a very small, special district
election" (Magleby 1987). Since, the state of Oregon has come to the forefront in postal
voting, and in 2004 conducted a general, statewide election solely through VBM after
first experimentation in 1981. Oregonians have had the opportunity to vote-by-mail in
special statewide elections since 1993, and in 1998 voters overwhelmingly passed an
initiative expanding all-mail voting to primary and general elections (Oregon Secretary of
Research on postal voting, unlike in-person early voting, has consistently shown a
significant, positive effect on turnout. In a study of all-mail ballots of elections in seven
states, Hamilton (1988) finds increased turnout in every analysis. He also cites reasons to
implement voting-by-mail outside of general early voting the increased "integrity" of
elections. The utilization of all-mail balloting "provides election administrators as nearly
foolproof a way as can be devised to purge registration rolls of non-eligible voters"
(p.864). As registration rolls become more accurate, the likelihood of the deceased
casting a vote declines precipitously.
Magleby (1987) focuses on the effect of voting-by-mail on participation in seven
local, special elections. Of the seven, only one did not produce higher turnout than a
typical citywide, polling place election for the given locale. In San Diego in 1981, the
voters participated at a higher rate (61%) than the preceding Presidential primary (58%)
(p.82). Magleby also utilizes an OLS regression of polling-place and vote-by-mail
elections in five locations from 1980 to 1984 (N=43). He concludes converting from
polling-place elections to all-mail balloting will increase participation nineteen points,
controlling for locale, year, and the type of election. He cautions however, that the effect
of all-mail balloting in a general election will be significantly reduced, due to the lower
baseline of turnout in referendum elections. Magleby also cites the possibility of a
"novelty" effect, and admits the effect of vote-by-mail elections on turnout may decrease
over time. Not surprisingly, he finds the "best predictor of participation in mail ballot
elections is education" (p.89).
In January 1996, the state of Oregon carried out the first statewide election solely
in vote-by-mail format to select a replacement for Senator Bob Packwood. In a survey
conducted after the election, Southwell and Burchett (1997, 1998) find voters
overwhelmingly prefer voting-by-mail to casting a ballot at a polling place. Of those
who favored voting-by-mail, the most common reasons cited were convenience, more
time to read and complete the ballot, and the ability to avoid possible weather problems
and work responsibilities. The researchers find distinct demographic distinctions
between vote-by-mail and traditional polling-place voters, but mitigate the criticism that
voting-by-mail provides a partisan advantage as they conclude no significant ideological
difference exists between the two groups. Southwell reiterates their previous findings in
a survey conducted in December 2002 and January 2003 (2004). When analyzing the
data from the 1996 special Senate election, Southwell and Burchett confirm their
conclusions by emphasizing that the electorate might change demographically in terms of
age and levels of partisanship, but election outcomes will remain stable (2000b). Using
regression analysis on 48 statewide elections, three of which were administered solely
through the post, Southwell and Burchett conclude all-mail balloting boosts turnout over
ten percentage points (2000a).
Like Southwell and Burchett, Karp and Banducci (2000) study Oregon election
data to determine if all-mail elections augment turnout. They disagree in their results,
however, by concluding the effect of all-mail balloting differs in "low salience" versus
"high salience" elections. Corresponding with Magleby's prediction, the authors find the
greatest effect in "low-salience" elections, specifically local and special statewide votes.
In "high-salience" elections (Presidential, midterm general elections, and Presidential
primaries), the researchers determine the effect of all-mail balloting on turnout is
SWISS GOVERNMENT AND ELECTIONS
Like citizens in the United States, Swiss voters seem averse to the act of voting. In
Switzerland the executive is determined despite election results, as a seven-member
board represents the four major parties in the Federal Council. The chairperson of the
Federal Council is elected annually by its members. While the Swiss constitution calls
for the supervision of the Council by the legislature, the Council has gradually assumed a
role in directing the legislative process (Linder, 1994).
The power of the Swiss federalist structure is highly concentrated in the canton.
The Swiss constitution states that in the absence of an amendment by the people, all
future powers should be delegated to the canton. The rule has been effective, due to the
lack of an "implied powers" clause and the implication of direct democracy. (In order to
confer any new federal power, the majority of the people and the cantons must approve
via referendum, as well as both chambers of the legislature.) As evidence of the weakness
of the central government, federal tax share and expenditure as a proportion of total
receipts and expenditure pales in comparison to other industrial democracies (Linder
Every four years voters elect a national legislature divided into two equal bodies:
the Council of States, elected through fixed representation, and the National Council,
elected through List PR. (Before World War I, the National Council was elected through
a First-Past-the-Post system.) The nation is divided into twenty cantons and six half-
cantons, giving a total of twenty-six official "districts" through which legislative seats are
apportioned. The most recent addition to the federation was the canton of Jura in 1979.
Part of the canton of Bern since the Congress of Vienna, Jura seceded due to
longstanding linguistic and religious differences. The canton became official member of
the federation after the approval of the Swiss population through referendum.
Switzerland is one of the closest examples of direct democracy in the world. On
every bill decided before Parliament, the attainment of 50,000 signatures provides for the
calling of a popular referendum. The signatures of 100,000 citizens call for the vote for a
constitutional amendment. When the concept was introduced in the 19th century, the
founders of Switzerland believed the referendum would be used more for innovation and
less for inhibition. The opposite has turned out to be true, as Swiss voters "tend to
mobilize essentially to reject constitutional revisions and laws rather than accept them"
(Eschet-Schwarz 1989, p.255). The best example of the Swiss inclination for obstruction
is women's suffrage, which wasn't implemented until 1971.
Partially due to the high number of elections, Swiss cantons have intermittently
begun to implement postal voting, as displayed in Table 2 (Initiative & Referendum
Institute 2004). Two systems for postal voting exist in Switzerland: the simplified system
and the system of voting on request. In the latter, voters must request a ballot for every
vote. Under the simplified system, each Swiss citizen receives a ballot in the mail in the
weeks leading up to the election or referendum. For the purpose of this analysis I will
only focus on the simplified system since it provides the greatest reduction in voting costs
and the easiest way to cast a ballot. The canton of Basel-Landschaft became the first to
institute a simplified system in 1978, and all but two of the twenty-six had introduced it
Table 2 Introduction of Sim lified System of Early Voting
CANTON YEAR OF INTRODUCTION
St. Gallen 1979
Appenzell Inner-Rhodes 1979
Appenzell Outer-Rhodes 1988
by 2003. Unlike in-person early voting in the United States, the implementation of postal
voting in Switzerland was pervasive through each canton.
To an extent, Switzerland serves as an example to display the possibility of postal
voting in the U.S. due to the low levels of voter turnout, government structure (bicameral
legislature), and decentralized federalism shared by both nations. The nations are also
fairly heterogeneous, but in different ways. Where America is a "melting pot" in terms
of ethnicity, Switzerland comprises people groups partitioned by four official languages.
I also note similarities in terms of GDP per capital (Directorate of Intelligence, CIA
2006b). However, it is also necessary to document some of the differences that exist in
the nations as well, as Switzerland is not a perfect proxy for the effect of U.S. election
reforms on voter turnout. While the United States elects the House of Representatives
utilizing a First-Past-the-Post system, the Swiss National Council is elected by List PR.
As a result of PR elections, the party structure is much more volatile in Switzerland, as
evidenced by the rapid ascension of the Green Party. Also, the possibility of referendum
on any proposed legislation provides the Swiss people a much greater political voice than
their American counterparts. Demographically, Switzerland is more densely populated
even though more citizens live in rural area. Despite these differences, however, the
parallels between Switzerland and the United States can provide us some information on
the efficacy of electoral reforms.
DATA AND HYPOTHESES
The purpose of this paper is to analyze the effects of in-person early voting and
postal voting on turnout in the U.S. states and Swiss cantons, respectively. These studies
examine the effects of these systems of early voting across both space and time. In order
to measure the effects I utilize an OLS regression.
In the investigation on the United States the unit of analysis is the state-year
interaction in every general midterm election from 1982 to 2002. As Texas first
implemented IPEV in 1991, using those six elections provides a symmetry three
national elections with in-person voting, and three without. Due to state law regarding
unchallenged seats, coupled with the absence of a senatorial or gubernatorial election,
turnout data are not available from the 1982 Louisiana election, leading to a total sample
size of 299. Turnout is regressed on in-person early voting with dummy variables
representing the proportion of the population in each interaction with the ability to vote
early, as well as control variables for unemployment and political competition. Fixed
effects for individual states and years are also included and represented by dummy
variables. Voter turnout is calculated by two different methods: as a proportion of the
voting-age population (VAP) and as a proportion of the voting-eligible population. (VEP)
Voting-age population is chosen due to the prevalence of studies utilizing VAP in
analyzing turnout rates, and recent research (McDonald and Popkin, 2001) has given
precedent for analysis by VEP.1 Data used to calculate turnout are obtained from the
United States Election Project (McDonald 2006). Along with the succeeding controls I
include state and year dummy variables.
I note, however, differences between liberalized absentee voting laws and in-person
early voting. In most states, "early voting places] fewer demands on voters than
participation by absentee," (Hansen 2001, p.59) as voters must apply for an absentee
ballot well before the day they will actually complete their ballot. For the most part, the
costs of voting absentee are much greater than IPEV. In the few states which allow
voters to apply and fill out absentee ballots on the same day, research has shown turnout
is not affected unless accompanied by massive mobilization efforts by the parties. Even
with substantial mobilization, turnout is shown to increase only two percentage points
In-Person Early Voting
Of the nine states which had implemented early voting by 2002, seven had
instituted the procedure statewide. For these states, a dummy variable equal to one is set
to represent IPEV in the corresponding interactions. The states of California and Kansas,
however, have in-person early voting procedures but only in select counties. In these
states the variable representing in-person early voting is the proportion of the total
population exposed to IPEV. The population data are provided by the Census Bureau
website (United States Census Bureau 2004, 2005). In line with previous research, I
expect the effect of this variable to be insignificant.
1 I admit that calculating turnout as a percentage of the population of registered voters would provide better
analysis due to the aforementioned two-step process of voting. However, the incongruence of state and
county policies in purging registration rolls would necessarily lead to inaccurate results.
I control for political competition by creating two separate variables accounting for
the presence of gubernatorial and senatorial elections and their respective margins of
victory. For these elections, the data values represent the negative log of the margin of
victory. A greater value, therefore, represents a closer election. For the state-year
interactions without a gubernatorial or senatorial election, the value is zero. The data for
the gubernatorial elections are obtained from the Almanac of American Politics (Barone,
et al. 2004). The data for the senatorial elections are obtained from election results
provided by the Clerk of the House website (Carle 1995; Dendy 1987, 1991; Ladd 1983;
Trandahl 1999, 2003). In Texas in 1994, the ballot included two Senate elections. For
this case the logs are taken for the two margins of victory, and the datum is equal to the
negative of the sum of those two values.
I also control for the closeness of Congressional elections. I represent this by the
number of elections in a state decided by five percentage points or less, and setting that
number as a proportion of the total number of state Congressional districts. These data
are also found from the Clerk of the House website.
Corresponding to classic literature (Downs 1957; Riker & Ordeshook 1968), I
expect the Gubernatorial Competition, Senatorial Competition, and Congressional
Competition to have a positive and significant relationship with turnout.
The Unemployment variable represents the economic environment across the
individual states. Research has shown that economic adversity can lead to "falling out"
from the political system, and effectively reduces an individual's propensity to participate
(Wolfinger and Rosenstone 1980; Rosenstone 1982). Rosenstone and Hansen conclude
"the money, time, and energy spent combating extreme economic adversity provide
payoffs that are more immediate and valuable than the benefits that might be gained from
investing in electoral politics" (1993, p. 135). They find the unemployed are 8.5% less
likely to vote in midterm elections, confirming earlier research on the effect of
unemployment. With data provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics website (Bureau of
Labor Statistics 2006), this variable is expected to have a negative, significant
relationship with turnout.
National Macropartisan Strength
Previous research also indicates the importance of partisanship in analyzing
turnout. Bartels (2000) comes to two conclusions about partisanship: since the 1970s,
voters have become more partisan, and the impact of partisanship on vote choice has
significantly increased. While partisanship's effect on vote choice is not germane to this
paper, I am concerned with the overall increase in partisanship in among American
citizens. Verba and Nie (1972) conclude that strong party identifiers are more likely to
vote than weak identifiers, who in turn are more likely to vote than independents.
Therefore, the increase in macropartisanship beginning in the 1970s provided a positive
bias to aggregate turnout rates in the United States.
From the National Election Studies, as a measure of partisanship I have created a
national-level variable representing National Macropartisan Strength. Utilizing the zero-
to-six values for partisanship from the NES, I "folded" the data, so a "Strong Republican"
and "Strong Democrat" would both be represented by a value of "3". I did the same for
"Moderate" (2) and "Weak" (1) identifiers, as well as "Independents" (0). From those, I
calculated the mean value of each year and used it to represent macropartisanship at the
national level. I expect NationalMacropartisan Sn engili to be positively correlated with
As mentioned earlier, previous research has concluded the strong and significant
impact of registration reforms on aggregate turnout. Using data from Fitzgerald (2005), I
control for election-day registration (EDR) in the model. For the purpose of this analysis
I count North Dakota, which has no registration laws, as a state with election-day
registration. As EDR provides those not registered on the day of the election the
opportunity to participate, so does the registration policy of North Dakota.
United States Regressions
The following equations summarize the model for turnout in the United States as
proportions of both the voting-age population and the voting-eligible population. I
control for economic and political variables, as well as fixed effects for states and years
through dummy variables.
Turnout(VAP) = a + Pi(IPEV) + 32(Gubernatorial Competition) + 33(Senatorial
Competition) + 34(Congressional Competition) + 35(National Macropartisan
Strength) + P6(EDR) + (State Dummies) + (Year Dummies) + e
Turnout(VEP) = a + P31(IPEV) + 32(Gubernatorial Competition) + 33(Senatorial
Competition) + 34(Congressional Competition) + 35(National Macropartisan
Strength) + P6(EDR) + (State Dummies) + (Year Dummies) + e
In the Swiss investigation the unit of analysis is the canton-year interaction in the
parliamentary elections in each canton from 1975 to 2003. I choose to use elections back
to 1975 for two reasons: it was the second election after women were granted the right to
vote (accounting for a "novelty" effect), and the method of calculating Swiss
unemployment data changed between '71 and '75 (as to make constant the effect of
unemployment on turnout levels). The unavailability of turnout statistics for three of the
interactions, along with missing unemployment data for two, leads to a final sample size
of 202. (The establishment of Jura in 1979 necessarily leaves only 25 data points in the
1975 cycle.) Turnout as a percentage of VAP is regressed on the effect of postal voting.
(Swiss citizens were not allowed to vote until the age of 20 before 1991, when legislation
changed the age to 18. This modification was accounted for in the creation of the voting-
age population.) Calculating turnout as a factor of the voting-eligible population is
unnecessary, as the number of ineligible people is small.2 The voting-age population
and vote totals were acquired from email-correspondence with employees of the Swiss
Federal Statistical Office. The data can be found in French and German from their
website (Swiss Federal Statistical Office 2006). Similar to the U.S. analyses, I control for
both economic and political factors and include fixed effects for canton and year dummy
Since 1904 compulsory voting has existed in the canton of Schaffhausen. While
the penalty of nonvoting is only three Swiss francs (or $2.44), I expect turnout in
Schaffhausen to be comparatively higher than the other cantons. As a result, I conduct
two analyses, one excluding Schaffhausen. Along with the succeeding controls I include
canton and year dummy variables.
2 Information obtained from email correspondence with Elisabeth Willen of the Swiss Federal Statistical
Office, April 26, 2006
As of 2003, all but two of the twenty-six cantons had implemented a simplified
system of postal voting. When these policies were established, the ability to vote by mail
permeated the entire populations of the respective cantons. As a result, the variable
representing postal voting is a simple "toggle" dummy of either one (existence of postal
voting) or zero (absence). As previously noted, these data are obtained from
As in the U.S. analysis, I include cantonal levels of unemployment to account for
the economic environment. I expect this effect to be negative. The data were obtained
from email correspondence with the representatives of the Swiss Federal Statistical
Characteristic of a List PR parliamentary system, many parties exist and hold some
power in Switzerland. One measure utilized to represent political competition is the
difference between the vote shares for the two leading parties in the election at the
cantonal level. Previous research in a cross-national study indicates that a ten point
difference between the leading and second parties reduces turnout 1.4 points (Blais 2000,
p. 30). I use the same measure in my analysis with data obtained from Swiss Politics
(Swiss Broadcasting Company 2006). Another measure used is the number of parties in
each canton winning seats in an election. A previous cross-national study revealed that a
greater number of parties is positively correlated with higher turnout, as electors have a
greater selection from which to choose (Blais & Carty 1990, from Blais 2000). However,
party strength is not disseminated equally throughout the cantons, and as a proxy I use the
number of parties in each canton which won legislative seats, as obtained from the Swiss
Federal Statistical Office. In the regression, I expect both Vote Margin and Number of
Winning Parties to be positively correlated with turnout.
The following equation summarizes the model for turnout in Switzerland as a
proportion of the voting-age population. I control for economic and political variables, as
well as fixed effects for cantons and years through "toggle" dummy variables.
Turnout(VAP) = a + 13i(Postal Voting) + 32(Vote Margin) + 33(Number of Winning
Parties) + 34(Canton-Level Unemployment) + (Canton Dummies)3 + (Year
Dummies) + e
3 One regression will include Schaffhausen, one will exclude
In-Person Early Voting
Corresponding to previous literature, Tables 3 and 4 show that the existence of in-
person early voting is not positively correlated with voter turnout. As a percentage of
both VAP and VEP, turnout is actually negatively correlated with IPEV, although the
coefficient is insignificant. The variables representing political competition, along with
EDR, all have a positive relationship with turnout, as expected. However, none of the
variables are significant. The partisanship variable is also positive and insignificant in
both analyses. Unexpectedly, the unemployment variable is positively correlated with
turnout. But like the others, the effect is insignificant.
Table 3 Effect of In-Person Early Voting in the States (VAP)
Coefficient SE Significance
IPEV -.030 .020 .129
Gubernatorial .012 .009 .183
Senatorial .000 .000 .749
Congressional .009 .023 .715
National .068 .245 .781
State-Level .003 .003 .273
EDR .018 .027 .508
R-square= 0.594; N 299; Estimated by OLS
Fixed Effects for State and Year Dummies not included in Table
Table 4 Effect of In-Person Early Voting in the States
Coefficient SE Significance
IPEV -.023 .020 .259
Gubernatorial .013 .009 .155
Senatorial .000 .000 .707
Congressional .009 .024 .702
National .069 .251 .783
State-Level .004 .003 .163
EDR .012 .028 .660
R-square= 0.566; N 299; Estimated by OLS
Fixed Effects for State and Year Dummies not included in Table
The results are very surprising. While I am not astonished to find that in-person
early voting does not catalyze aggregate turnout rates, the nonnegative correlation is
frustrating. I am also disappointed with the ineffectiveness of the political and economic
variables. While the sign of those coefficients are all in the expected positive direction,
the high standard errors associated with the coefficients indicate their ineffectiveness in
predicting turnout in these models. Due to importance of registration reforms on
aggregate turnout levels, I was also surprised to discover the insignificance of election-
day registration. Combined with the fixed effects for state and year dummies, the
weakness of all of the variables included in the regressions leads to low R-square values
(.594 and .566 for the VAP and VEP models, respectively), indicating the feebleness of
the model in predicting turnout rates.
Much like voting-by-mail in the United States, Tables 5 and 6 indicate the effect of
postal voting in Switzerland is positive and substantial. At the cantonal level, I expect
the incidence of postal voting to augment turnout approximately six percentage points.
Vote Margin, the variable representing the difference in vote share between the leading
and second parties has an enormous effect on turnout. Every ten point decline in margin
leads to increased turnout of 2.3 percentage points. The other variable measuring party
competition the number of parties in each canton securing legislative seats in the
National Council is actually negative. It is insignificant in both regressions, however.
The Unemployment variable, as in the U.S. regressions, is surprisingly positive and
Table 5 Effect of Postal Voting in the Cantons
Coefficient SE Significance
Postal Voting .057 .014 .000
Vote Margin -.234 .029 .000
Number of -.006 .006 .296
Canton-Level .003 .006 .589
R-square 0.810; N=202; Estimated by OLS
Fixed Effects for Canton and Year Dummies not included in Table
Table 6 Effect of Postal Voting in the Cantons (Schaffhausen excluded)
Coefficient SE Significance
Postal Voting .060 .014 .000
Vote Margin -.233 .030 .000
Number of -.006 .006 .285
Canton-Level .003 .006 .579
R-square 0. 768; N 194; Estimated by OLS
Fixed Effects for Canton and Year Dummies not included in Table
Unlike in-person early voting in the U.S., I find the effect of postal voting on
aggregate turnout levels in Switzerland to be strong. I cannot say I am surprised with the
value of the coefficient corresponding to the Number of Winning Parties. As mentioned
previously, the number of competitive parties in a district has a positive effect on turnout.
While it is obvious that the number of winning parties is not equivalent to the number of
competitive parties, I believed that the high correlation between two would allow the
number of winning parties to serve as a suitable proxy. This proved not to be the case.
The variable representing Vote Margin, however, resulted in being positive and
significant, so I believe political competition was successfully controlled in the
regression. Unfortunately, the coefficient corresponding to the variable representing
Cantonal-Level Unemployment is positive, yet insignificant. It appears that the
Unemployment variables in all four regressions do an inadequate job in representing the
economic environment. Unlike the U.S. regressions, the corresponding R-square values
in the Swiss regressions (.810 and .768 for the regression including all cantons and the
regression excluding Schaffhausen, respectively) indicate the models' strength in
One interesting finding from the Swiss analyses involves the effect of compulsory
voting. In the regression including the canton of Schaffhausen, the corresponding
coefficient is strong, positive, and significant. (b=. 192) It is the highest coefficient for all
canton dummies, with the next-strongest positive coefficient for a canton (Tessin) coming
in almost seven points lower. (b=. 124) This finding indicates that a government does not
need to institute a forceful penalty for nonvoting to produce higher turnout. The desired
effect can be accomplished by a weak penalty, as evidenced by a fine of only three Swiss
Francs in the canton of Schaffhausen. Considering the existence of a compulsory-voting
policy, it should come as no surprise that turnout in Schaffhausen is almost twenty points
higher than a given canton.
The most salient finding from this study is the strong effect of postal voting on
turnout. Previous research on postal voting in the United States has indicated it provided
a boon to turnout, but analyses were conducted on a limited scope. Here, I study the
effect of postal voting across time and space in a nation, like the U.S., with a
heterogeneous culture and comparatively low turnout.
In line with previous research on in-person early voting, I find no significant effect
of IPEV on aggregate turnout levels. The natural question, then, is why postal voting
increases turnout yet in-person early voting does not. I believe the answer stems from the
extent by which each system reduces the costs of voting. In an IPEV system, a
prospective voter must still endure the process of traveling to the polls. Depending on the
early voting location, voting before Election Day could actually be more time-consuming
than voting on Election Day, depending on how early voting sites are designated and the
manner in which voters are assigned to those locations. A populous county which only
opens IPEV at one location could actually result in increasing the time needed to cast a
ballot, due to such factors as longer waiting lines and increased drive time. Under postal
voting, however, all transportation costs are obviated as all that is required (outside of
completing the ballot) to vote by post is a visit to one's mailbox.
An obvious worry of postal voting is the perceived possibility of voter fraud.
Specifically, opponents of postal voting fear "that someone other than the addressee will
use undelivered or duplicate ballots" (Southwell & Burchett 1998, p.348). However,
committing voter fraud through postal voting would require forging the registered voter's
signature. In Oregon, Southwell and Burchett note poll workers are required to compare
the signature on the outside of the envelope to the signature on the voter roll. I believe
similar rules regarding postal voting would render the possibility of voter fraud through
the mail no greater than the possibility of fraud at a standard Election Day polling
location. Another concern associated with voter fraud is the possibility of vote influence.
As citizens fill out their ballots at home, critics believe the presence of an individual close
to the voter can unduly influence the voter's choice. However, research by Southwell
and Burchett showed this is simply not the case. In a survey of 1225 respondents,
researchers found only three (0.3%) vote-by-mail voters said the presence of a person in
the room "made them feel pressured to vote a certain way. Of those three, only one
indicated the pressure caused him/her to vote differently (Southwell and Burchett 1997,
Previously mentioned, one of the dilemmas of low turnout is the associated
socioeconomic skew between voters and nonvoters. Piven and Cloward (1989) theorized
that increasing turnout would aid in ameliorating the problem. Unfortunately, research
on various forms of voting reforms indicates that increased turnout does nothing to solve
this predicament. Karp and Banducci (2001) conclude that early voters are more likely to
be educated, active in politics, and partisan than traditional voters. In an analysis of
liberalized registration laws, Mitchell and Wlezien (1995) discover the change to the
electorate in terms of income is menial. Another study finds that postal voting works to
retain registered nonvoters, therefore stimulating individuals belonging to groups already
likely to participate (Berinsky et al. 2001). Berinsky (2005) actually concludes that
voting reforms will exacerbate the problem of socioeconomic skew by escalating, rather
than lessening the biases in the electorate. Nevertheless, benefits associated with high
turnout outside of socioeconomic grounds still provide ample reasons to find ways to
induce more citizens to vote.
Future research should focus on the effectiveness of postal voting in ameliorating
the problem of socioeconomic skew in political participation. It would be interesting to
see research that utilizes Swiss survey data and demonstrates the effect of all-mail
balloting on the socioeconomic composition of the electorate. While I have not found any
evidence of SES skew specific to Switzerland, previous research on international turnout
has indicated the importance of resources (Verba et al. 1978), which gives cause to
believe in the existence of bias. Also, future research should concentrate on the
administrative side of in-person early voting. Gronke, et al. (2005) analyze the long
waits and voter intimidation that occurred often in early voting locations in Florida in
2004, but focus more on the demographics of early voters compared to election-day
voters. Researchers should look to determine the optimal locations for early voting sites,
(e.g. county elections offices vs. shopping malls) as well as the proper distribution of
voting machines, in order to completely minimize the costs associated with IPEV. This
will aid in depleting the "learning curve" associated with enacting in-person early voting.
Currently, it is difficult to ascertain the effect of all-mail balloting in the United
States, as only one general election (Oregon 2004) has been conducted by postal voting.
However, I hope Switzerland has provided a framework to demonstrate the benefits to
turnout rates of conducting all elections through the mail. As a result of this analysis, I
believe instituting a postal voting system across the United States population would
induce many more citizens to cast a ballot. Along with other incentives stemming from
of all-mail balloting, such as the significantly reduced costs of administering elections, I
pose that converting all general elections in the U.S. to vote-by-mail would be
beneficiary to all parties involved, and look forward to the day all American citizens cast
a ballot through the mail.
LIST OF REFERENCES
Aldrich, John H. 1993. "Rational Choice and Turnout." American Journal of Political
Science 37 (February):246-78
Barone, Michael, Grant Ujifusa, and Douglas Matthews. 2004. Almanac ofAmerican
Politics. New York: E.P. Dutton.
Bartels, Larry. 2000. "Partisanship and Voting Behavior." American Journal of Political
Science 44 (January):35-50
Berelson, Bernard, Paul Lazarsfeld, and William McPhee. 1954. Voting: A Study of
Opinion Formulation in a Presidential Campaign. Chicago: University of
Berinsky, Adam J. 2005. "The Perverse Consequences of Electoral Reform in the United
States." American Politics Research 33 (July):471-491.
Berinsky, Adam J., Nancy Burns and Michael W. Traugott. 2001. "Who Votes by Mail?
A Dynamic Model of the Individual-Level Consequences of Voting-By-Mail
Systems." Public Opinion Quarterly 65 (Summer): 178-97.
Blais, Andre. 2000. To Vote or Not to Vote: The Merits and Limits of Rational Choice
Theory. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press.
Blais, Andre, and Kenneth Carty. 1990. "Does Proportional Representation Foster Voter
Turnout?" European Journal of Political Research 18:167-81.
Brady, Henry E., Kay Lehman Schlozman, and Sidney Verba. 1995. "Beyond SES: A
Resource Model of Political Participation." American Political Science Review 89
Brians, Craig Leonard, and Bernard Grofman. 2001. "Election Day Registration's Effect
on U.S. Voter Turnout." Social Science Quarterly 82 (March): 170-83.
Brown, Robert D., Robert A. Jackson, and Gerald C. Wright. 1999. "Registration,
Turnout, and State Party Systems." Political Research Quarterly 52
Brown, Robert D., and Justin Wedeking. 2006. "People Who Have Their Tickets But Do
Not Use Them: "Motor Voter," Registration, and Turnout Revisited." American
Politics Research 34 (July): 479-504.
Bureau of Labor Statistics. 2006. "Local Area Unemployment Statistics." Accessed
April, 2006. http://data.bls.gov/cgi-bin/surveymost?la
Burnham, Walter Dean. 1980. "The Appearance and Disappearance of the American
Voter." in Electoral Participation: A Comparative Analysis, ed. Richard Rose.
Beverly Hills, CA: Sage.
Burnham, Walter Dean. 1987. "The Turnout Problem." in Elections American Style, ed.
A. James Reichley. Washington, DC: Brookings Institution.
Campbell, Angus, Philip Converse, Warren Miller, and Donald Stokes. 1960. The
American Voter. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Carle, Robin H. 1995. "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 8, 1994."
Office of the Clerk- U.S. House of Representatives. Accessed April, 2006.
Davis, Susan. "Voting by Mail Could Improve American Democracy." Roll Call, June
Dendy, Dallas L. Jr. 1987. "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 4,
1986" Office of the Clerk- U.S. House of Representatives. Accessed April, 2006.
Dendy, Dallas L. Jr. 1991. "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 6,
1990" Office of the Clerk- U.S. House of Representatives. Accessed April, 2006.
Directorate of Intellingence, CIA. 2006(a). "Field Listing Literacy." in World
Factbook. Accessed April, 2006.
Directorate of Intellingence, CIA. 2006(b). "Rank Order GDP per capital (PPP)" in
WorldFactbook. Accessed April 2006.
Downs, Anthony. 1957. An Economic Theory of Democracy. New York: Harper & Row.
Election Reform Information Project. 2006. Election Reform: What's Changed, What
Hasn 't and Why? Accessed April, 2006.
Eschet-Schwarz, Andre. 1989. "Political Participation in Swiss Referenda at Federal and
Cantonal Levels: 1879-1981." Political Behavior 11 (September):255-272.
Fitzgerald, Mary. 2005. "Greater Convenience but not Greater Turnout: The Impact of
Alternative Voting Methods on Electoral Participation in the United States."
American Politics Research 33 (November): 842-67.
Franklin, Mark N. 1996. "Electoral Participation" in Comparing Democracies: Elections
And Voting in Global Perspective, ed. Laurence LeDuc, Richard G. Niemi, and
Pippa Norris. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Franklin, Mark N. 1999. "Electoral Engineering and Cross-National Turnout Differences:
What Role for Compulsory Voting?" British Journal of Political Science 29
Franklin, Mark N., and Wolfgang P. Hirczy de Mino. 1998. "Separated Powers, Divided
Government, and Turnout in US Presidential Elections." American Journal of
Political Science 42 (January): 316-326.
Gimpel, J.G., and J.E. Schuknecht. 2003. "Political Participation and the Accessibility of
the Ballot Box." Political Geography 22 (June):471-488.
Gronke, Paul. 2005. "Ballot Integrity under Oregon's Vote by Mail System." Report
Prepared for the Commission of Federal Election Reform, Washington DC.
Gronke, Paul, Benjamin Bishin, Daniel Stevens, and Eva Galanes-Rosenbaum. 2005.
"Early Voting in Florida, 2004." Paper prepared for the Annual Conference of the
American Political Science Association, Washington DC. Accessed June, 2006.
Gronke, Paul, and Eva Galanes-Rosenbaum. 2005. "Getting out the Early Vote: Lessons
for Progressives." Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Political
Science Association. Accessed July, 2006.
Hamilton, Randy. 1988. "American All-Mail Balloting: A Decade's Experience." Public
Administration Review 48 (September- October):860-866.
Hansen, John Mark. 2001. To Assure Pride and Confidence in the Electoral Process.
Final Report of the National Commission on Electoral Reform, University of
Virginia. Accessed June, 2006.
Haspel, Moshe and H. Gibbs Knotts. 2005. "Location, Location, Location: Precinct
Placement and the Costs of Voting." Journal of Politics 67 (May):560-573.
Highton, Benjamin. 1997. "Easy Registration and Voter Turnout." Journal of Politics 59
Highton, Benjamin. 2004. "Voter Registration and Turnout in the United States."
Perspectives on Politics 2 (September): 507-15.
Highton, Benjamin, and Raymond E. Wolfinger. 1998. "Estimating the Effects of the
National Voter Registration Act of 1993." Political Behavior 20 (June):79-104.
Hill, Kim Quaile, Jan E. Leighley, and Angela Hinton-Andersson. 1995. "Lower-Class
Mobilization and Policy Linkage in the U.S. States." American Journal of
Political Science 39 (February):75-86
Hirczy de Mino, Wolfgang. 1994. "The Impact of Mandatory Voting Laws on Turnout: A
Quasi-Experimental Approach." Electoral Studies. 13 (March):64-76.
Initiative & Referendum Institute Europe (IRI), Amsterdam. 2004. "Postal Voting" in
SwissWorld. Accessed April, 2006.
International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance. 2006. "Voter Turnout"
Accessed April, 2006. http://www.idea.int/vt/
Jackman, Robert W. 1987. "Political Institutions and Voter Turnout in the Industrial
Democracies." American Political Science Review 81 (June):405-424.
Jackman, Robert W., and Ross A. Miller. 1995. "Voter Turnout in the Industrial
Democracies During the 1980s" American Political Science Review 81
Karp, Jeffrey A., and Susan A. Banducci. 2000. "Going Postal: How All-Mail Elections
Influence Turnout." Political Behavior 22 (September):223-39.
Karp, Jeffrey A., and Susan A. Banducci. 2001. "Absentee Voting, Participation, and
Mobilization." American Politics Research 29 (March): 183-95.
Key, V.O., Jr. 1949. Swuthw iin Politics in State and Nation. New York: Vintage Books.
Knack, Stephen. 1995. "Does 'Motor Voter' Work? Evidence from State-Level Data."
Journal of Politics 57 (August):796-811.
Ladd, Thomas E. 1983. "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 2, 1982."
Office of the Clerk- U.S. House of Representatives. Accessed April, 2006.
Leighley, Jan E., and Jonathan Nagler. 1992. "Socioeconomic Class Bias in Turnout,
1964-1988: The Voters Remain the Same." American Political Science Review 86
Linder, Wolf. 1994. Swiss Democracy. London: Macmillan.
Lijphart, Arend. 1997. "Unequal Participation: Democracy's Unresolved Dilemma."
American Political Science Review 91 (March): 1 -14.
Magleby, David. 1987. "Participation in Mail-Ballot Elections." Western Political
Quarterly 40 (March):79-91.
Martinez, Michael D., and David Hill. 1999. "Did Motor Voter Work?" American
Politics Quarterly 27 (July):296-315.
McDonald, Michael. 2006. "Voter Turnout." United States Election Project. Accessed
April, 2006. http://elections.gmu.edu/voter tumout.htm
McDonald, Michael, and Samuel L. Popkin. 2001. "The Myth of the Vanishing Voter."
American Political Science Review 95 (December):963-74.
Mill, John Stuart. [ 1861] 1958. Considerations on Representative Government. New
York: Liberal Arts Press.
Mitchell, Glenn E., and Christopher Wlezien. 1995. "The Impact of Legal Constraints on
Voter Registration, Turnout, and the Composition of the American Electorate."
Political Behavior 17 (June): 179-202.
Neeley, Grant W., and Lilliard E. Richardson, Jr. 2001. "Who is Early Voting? An
Individual Level Examination." Social Science Journal 38:381-392.
Newby, Brian D. 2006. "Vote in Advance In Person" in Johnson County Election
Office. Accessed June, 2006.
Oliver, Eric. J. 1996. "The Effects of Eligibility Restrictions and Party Activity on
Absentee Voting and Overall Turnout." American Journal of Political Science 40
Oregon Secretary of State. 2006. "A Brief History of Vote by Mail." Accessed April,
Piven, Frances Fox, and Richard A. Cloward. 1988. Why Americans Don't Vote. New
York: Pantheon Books.
Piven, Frances Fox, and Richard A. Cloward. 1989. "Government Statistics and
Conflicting Explanations of Nonvoting." PS: Political Science and Politics 22
Powell, G. Bingham., Jr. 1986. "American Voter Turnout in Comparative Perspective."
American Political Science Review 80 (March): 17-43.
Richardson, Lilliard E. Jr., and Grant W. Neeley. 1996. "The Impact of Early Voting on
Turnout: The 1994 Elections in Tennessee." State and Local Government Review
28 (Fall): 173-179.
Riker, William H., and Peter C. Ordeshook. 1968. "A Theory of the Calculus of Voting."
American Political Science Review 62 (March):25-42.
Rosenstone, Steven J. 1982. "Economic Adversity and Voter Turnout." American
Journal of Political Science 26 (February):25-46.
Rosenstone, Steven J., and John Mark Hansen. 1993. Mobilization, Participation, and
Democracy in America New York: Macmillan.
Rosenstone, Steven J., and Raymond E. Wolfinger. 1978. "The Effect of Registration
Laws on Voter Turnout." American Political Science Review 72 (March):22-45.
Sola, Lester. 2006. "Early Voting Sites" in Miami-Dade County Elections. Accessed
June, 2006. http://elections.metro-dade.com/voting_absent_earlyvoting-sites.asp
Southwell, Priscilla L. 2004. "Five Years Later: A Re-Assessment of Oregon's Vote by
Mail Electoral Process." PS: Politics and Political Science 98 (March): 89-93.
Southwell, Patricia L., and Justin Burchett. 1997. "Survey of Vote-by-Mail Senate
Election in the State of Oregon." PS: Political Science and Politics. 30
Southwell, Priscilla L., and Justin Burchett. 1998. "Vote-By-Mail in the State of
Oregon." Willamette Law Review 34 (Spring):345-56.
Southwell, Priscilla L., and Justin Burchett. 2000(a). "The Effect of All-Mail Elections
on Voter Turnout." American Politics Quarterly 28 (January):72-79.
Southwell, Priscilla L., and Justin Burchett. 2000(b). "Does Changing the Rules Change
the Players? Vote-by-Mail and the Composition of the Electorate." Social Science
Quarterly 81 (September):837-45.
Squire, Peverill, Raymond E. Wolfinger, and David P. Glass. 1987. "Residential Mobility
and Voter Turnout." American Political Science Review 81 (March):45-66.
Stein, Robert A. 1998. "Introduction: Early Voting." Public Opinion Quarterly 62
Stein, Robert A., and Patricia Garcia-Monet. 1997. "Voting Early but not Often." Social
Science Quarterly. 78 (September):657-671.
Swiss Broadcasting Company. 2006. "Geopolitics" in SwissPolitics. Accessed April,
Swiss Federal Statistical Office. 2006. Accessed April, 2006.
Tingsten, Herbert. 1937. Political Behavior: Studies in Election Statistics. London: P.S.
King & Son.
Trandahl, Jeff. 1999. "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 3, 1998."
Office of the Clerk- U.S. House of Representatives. Accessed April, 2006.
Trandahl, Jeff. 2003. "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 5, 2002."
Office of the Clerk- U.S. House of Representatives. Accessed April, 2006.
United States Census Bureau. 2004. "Intercensal Estimates: Time Series of Intercensal
Estimates by County." Accessed April, 2006.
United States Census Bureau. 2005. "Annual Estimates of the Population for the United
States and States, and for Puerto Rico: April 1, 2000 to July 1, 2005." Accessed
April, 2006. http://www.census.gov/popest/states/NST-ann-est.html
Verba, Sidney, and Norman H. Nie. 1972. Participation in America. Chicago: University
of Chicago Press.
Verba, Sidney, Norman H. Nie, and Jae-On Kim. 1978. Participation and Political
Equality: A Seven-Nation Comparison. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Wolfinger, Raymond E., and Steven J. Rosenstone. 1980. Who Votes? New Haven, CT:
Yale University Press.
A 2004 graduate of the University of Alabama, I enrolled in the Department of
Political Science at the University of Florida in August of that year. I soon became
intrigued with the subject of political behavior, and in my second year embarked on a
study of voting reforms, which eventually blossomed into my master's thesis. In August
I will attend the University of North Carolina, where I will begin study toward a Ph.D. in
economics, focusing on political economy.