The Relationship between In-Person Voting and Covid-19: Evidence from the Wisconsin Primary

35 Pages Posted: 18 May 2020 Last revised: 15 Apr 2021

See all articles by Chad D. Cotti

Chad D. Cotti

University of Wisconsin - Oshkosh

Bryan Engelhardt

University of Wisconsin - Oshkosh - Department of Economics

Joshua Foster

University of Wisconsin - Oshkosh

Erik Nesson

Ball State University - Department of Economics

Paul Niekamp

Ball State University - Department of Economics

Date Written: May 2020

Abstract

On April 7, 2020, Wisconsin held its presidential primary election, and news reports showed long lines of voters due to fewer polling locations. We use county-level variation in voting patterns and weekly county-level COVID test data to examine whether in-person voting increased COVID-19 cases. We find a statistically significant association between in-person voting density and the spread of COVID-19 two to three weeks after the election. In our main results, a 10% increase in in-person voters per polling location is associated with an 18.4% increase in the COVID-19 positive test rate two to three weeks later.

Suggested Citation

Cotti, Chad D. and Engelhardt, Bryan and Foster, Joshua and Nesson, Erik and Niekamp, Paul, The Relationship between In-Person Voting and Covid-19: Evidence from the Wisconsin Primary (May 2020). NBER Working Paper No. w27187, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3603818

Chad D. Cotti (Contact Author)

University of Wisconsin - Oshkosh ( email )

800 Algoma Blvd
Oshkosh, WI WI 54901
United States

Bryan Engelhardt

University of Wisconsin - Oshkosh - Department of Economics ( email )

800 Algoma Blvd.
Oshkosh, WI 54901
United States

HOME PAGE: http://https://uwosh.edu/cob/people/engelhardt-bryan/

Joshua Foster

University of Wisconsin - Oshkosh ( email )

800 Algoma Blvd.
Oshkosh, WI 54901
United States

Erik Nesson

Ball State University - Department of Economics ( email )

Muncie, IN 47306-0340
United States

Paul Niekamp

Ball State University - Department of Economics ( email )

Muncie, IN 47306-0340
United States

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