Lost in the Mail? Vote be Mail and Voter Confidence

54 Pages Posted: 27 Jan 2020

See all articles by Jesse Clark

Jesse Clark

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences, Department of Political Science, Students

Date Written: January 17, 2020

Abstract

Recently, the use of vote-by-mail has been increasing in popularity, with Washington, Colorado, and Hawaii moving exclusively to mail-based election systems. While election reformers tout the various benefits of this change, what impact does mail voting have on voter confidence? I seek to answer this by by leveraging the implementation of postal voting in Washington and Colorado through the use of the Survey of the Performance of American Elections (SPAE) dataset, along with difference-in-differences design, genetic matching, Mahalanobis distance matching, and ordinal logistic regression analysis. In doing so, I demonstrate that the implementation of vote by mail causes a significant decrease in voter confidence in both states. However, this decrease appears to be temporary, disappearing after only single election cycle. These results shed light on the potential impact of recent expansions of convenience voting in the United States, while also furthering the debate around perceptions of electoral integrity in democratic systems.

Keywords: voter con dence, elections, electoral integrity, voting, reform

Suggested Citation

Clark, Jesse, Lost in the Mail? Vote be Mail and Voter Confidence (January 17, 2020). MIT Political Science Department Research Paper No. 2020-1, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3523220 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3523220

Jesse Clark (Contact Author)

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences, Department of Political Science, Students ( email )

77 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02139
United States

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