Sunday, April 16, 2006

Consolidating polling places in Maine

One quarter of Bangor's voters cast their ballot absentee. As a result, election officials are consolidating voting sites.

Unfortunately, if not done carefully, research by Henry Brady of UCB and John McNulty of Binghamton indicates that precinct consolidation may significantly harm voter turnout.

In a series of papers analyzing recent elections in California, Brady and McNulty show that changes in precinct locations, independent of other effects on turnout, may increase absentee balloting and decrease overall turnout. They show this by comparing turnout in LA County in 2002, and compare it to the recall election of 2003.

See examples of their research here


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