The Racial Burden of Voter List Maintenance Errors: Evidence from Wisconsin's Supplemental Movers Poll Books

Science Advances, Vol. 7, Issue 8, 2021

9 Pages Posted: 12 Jul 2021

See all articles by Gregory Huber

Gregory Huber

Yale University - Department of Political Science

Marc Meredith

University of Pennsylvania

Michael Morse

University of Chicago Law School

Katie Steele

University of Pennsylvania, The Wharton School, Students

Date Written: February 2021

Abstract

Administrative records are increasingly used to identify registered voters who may have moved, with potential movers then sent postcards asking them to confirm their address of registration. It is important to understand how often these registrants did not move, and how often such an error is not corrected by the postcard confirmation process, because uncorrected errors make it more difficult for a registrant to subsequently vote. While federal privacy protections generally prevent researchers from observing the data necessary to estimate these quantities, we are able to study this process in Wisconsin because special poll books, available via public records requests, listed those registrants who were identified as potential movers and did not respond to a subsequent postcard. At least 4% of these registrants cast a ballot at their address of registration, with minority registrants twice as likely as white registrants to do so.

Keywords: election administration, election law, voter list maintenance, empirical legal studies

Suggested Citation

Huber, Gregory and Meredith, Marc and Morse, Michael and Steele, Katie, The Racial Burden of Voter List Maintenance Errors: Evidence from Wisconsin's Supplemental Movers Poll Books (February 2021). Science Advances, Vol. 7, Issue 8, 2021 , Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3872709

Gregory Huber

Yale University - Department of Political Science ( email )

Box 208269
New Haven, DC 06520-8269
United States

Marc Meredith

University of Pennsylvania ( email )

Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States

Michael Morse (Contact Author)

University of Chicago Law School ( email )

1111 E 60th St
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

HOME PAGE: http://https://www.law.uchicago.edu/faculty/morse

Katie Steele

University of Pennsylvania, The Wharton School, Students ( email )

3641 Locust Walk
Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States

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