Campus Only Senior Thesis
Bachelor of Arts
Public Policy Analysis
Absentee or mail-in voting has existed in the United States for decades, but its use has increased steadily over the last twenty years, from 7.5% of all votes in 1996 to 22% in 2018. Vote-by-mail reached an all-time high during the 2020 election following the global COVID-19 pandemic with all 50 states allowing at least some form of absentee voting. With this expanded absentee ballot use, as well as the ongoing nature of the pandemic, many state governments have refined or introduced policies surrounding the usage of absentee voting for voters under their jurisdiction. One state of interest is Texas, which adopted a no-excuse absentee voting policy for voters ages 65 and older in 1975 that still remains in effect. My paper examines the impact of Texas’ no-excuse absentee voting policy using regression discontinuity designs, a quasi-experimental design that determines the casual effects of assigning a cutoff. I analyze the robustness of a previous study completed by Jesse Yoder at Stanford that found that Texas’ no-excuse absentee voting policy has virtually no effect on turnout. Using a variety of regression discontinuity designs, I find that Yoder’s results are broadly robust. My findings suggest that no-excuse absentee voting may not be the most effective policy to expand voting access.
McElroy, Emily, "The Impact of No-Excuse Absentee Voting on Turnout: A Regression Discontinuity Design" (2022). Scripps Senior Theses. 1877.
This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.