Cross-State Strategic Voting

42 Pages Posted: 13 Feb 2023 Last revised: 6 Jun 2023

See all articles by Gordon B. Dahl

Gordon B. Dahl

University of California, San Diego (UCSD); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Joseph Engelberg

University of California, San Diego (UCSD) - Rady School of Management

Runjing Lu

University of Alberta, Alberta School of Business

William Mullins

University of California, San Diego (UCSD)

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: May 30, 2023

Abstract

We estimate that 3.1% of the US voter population is registered to vote in two states, opening up the possibility for them to choose where to vote. Double registration is 3.5 times more likely in the wealthiest 1% of zip codes vs. the bottom quartile, giving wealthy Americans more voting power. Double-registrants respond to both incentives and costs, disproportionately choosing swing states (higher incentive) and states which automatically send out mail-in ballots (lower cost). We call this behavior cross-state strategic voting (CSSV) and estimate there were 217,000 such votes involving swing states in the 2020 presidential election. While there are more Democrat double-registrants, Republicans are more responsive to swing-state incentives. The net effect did not alter the 2020 election, although it could change the outcome in closer elections (e.g., Florida in 2000) or if one party increased CSSV relative to the other.

Keywords: Strategic Voting, Election Incentives and Costs

JEL Classification: D72

Suggested Citation

Dahl, Gordon B. and Engelberg, Joseph and Lu, Runjing and Mullins, William, Cross-State Strategic Voting (May 30, 2023). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4354261 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4354261

Gordon B. Dahl

University of California, San Diego (UCSD) ( email )

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National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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Cambridge, MA 02138
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Joseph Engelberg (Contact Author)

University of California, San Diego (UCSD) - Rady School of Management ( email )

9500 Gilman Drive
Rady School of Management
La Jolla, CA 92093
United States

Runjing Lu

University of Alberta, Alberta School of Business ( email )

William Mullins

University of California, San Diego (UCSD) ( email )

9500 Gilman Drive
Mail Code 0502
La Jolla, CA 92093-0112
United States

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