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Election Timing and the Electoral Influence of Interest Groups
Sarah F. Anzia
The Journal of Politics
Vol. 73, No. 2 (May. 13, 2011), pp. 412-427
Published by: The University of Chicago Press on behalf of the Southern Political Science Association
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1017/s0022381611000028
Page Count: 16
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It is an established fact that off-cycle elections attract lower voter turnout than on-cycle elections. I argue that the decrease in turnout that accompanies off-cycle election timing creates a strategic opportunity for organized interest groups. Members of interest groups with a large stake in an election outcome turn out at high rates regardless of election timing, and their efforts to mobilize and persuade voters have a greater impact when turnout is low. Consequently, policy made by officials elected in off-cycle elections should be more favorable to the dominant interest group in a polity than policy made by officials elected in on-cycle elections. I test this theory using data on school district elections in the United States, in which teacher unions are the dominant interest group. I find that districts with off-cycle elections pay experienced teachers over 3% more than districts that hold on-cycle elections.
Copyright © Southern Political Science Association 2011