Non-Traditional Early Voting and Voter Turnout

By Dana Smith

Faculty Mentor: Amrita Dhar


Although formal voting has existed within the United States for nearly 250 years, changes in the makeup of the electorate, policy changes, and global events like the COVID-19 pandemic have changed turnout levels over time. The election of 2020 experienced the largest spike in turnout ever recorded and this begs the question of why? More specifically, is it related to the expansion of the early voting in numerous states happening concurrently? Data collected at the state level for the election of 2020 was analyzed to pinpoint the extent to which a change in the percentage of early votes cast effected a change in turnout percentage between 2016 and 2020. Research concluded that other variables of closeness of the election, population density, and accessibility of mail in voting had a significant effect on turnout in 2020.


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