Journal of Political Institutions and Political Economy > Vol 1 > Issue 2

How to Measure and Assess the Turnout Effects of Election Reforms

Andrew Menger, Weidenbaum Center on the Economy, Government, and Public Policy, Washington University in St. Louis, USA, , Robert M. Stein, Department of Political Science, Rice University, USA,
Suggested Citation
Andrew Menger and Robert M. Stein (2020), "How to Measure and Assess the Turnout Effects of Election Reforms", Journal of Political Institutions and Political Economy: Vol. 1: No. 2, pp 209-237.

Publication Date: 11 Jun 2020
© 2020 A. Menger and R. M. Stein
Econometric models,  Panel data,  Elections,  Elections,  Electoral behavior,  Political participation,  Voting behavior
Election reformsvoter turnoutmodel estimation


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In this article:
Convenience Voting Methods 
Proposing a New Measure for Convenience Voting Reforms 
Best Practices for Research Designs 
Potential Data Sources 
Appendix A: Exploration of Possible Correlations in Percent Usage Measures 


Many states allow some form of non-traditional precinct voting, from voting early in-person to various forms of mail-assisted balloting. Research on how these voting reforms impact voter participation has produced a wide range of mixed findings. We review this literature and describe how the research designs and measures used by past studies may have biased their results. We then offer a new theoretical approach for testing the relationship between convenience voting reforms and voter turnout that addresses some of the pitfalls in previous measurements of reforms. We also identify best practices for how to implement our new measures using a difference-in-difference research strategy that is robust to many confounding factors and describe a potential sustainable database for undertaking this research over time.



Journal of Political Institutions and Political Economy, Volume 1, Issue 2 Special issue - Election Administration and Technology
See the other articles that are part of this special issue.