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Mailing In the Vote: Correlates and Consequences of Absentee Voting

Samuel C. Patterson and Gregory A. Caldeira
American Journal of Political Science
Vol. 29, No. 4 (Nov., 1985), pp. 766-788
DOI: 10.2307/2111180
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2111180
Page Count: 23
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Mailing In the Vote: Correlates and Consequences of Absentee Voting
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Abstract

American state legislatures have enacted absentee registration, absentee voting, and mail voting legislation in recent years as part of wider efforts to stimulate greater electoral participation. California's absentee voter law, greatly liberalized in 1978, permitted the large absentee vote in the 1982 gubernatorial contest which turned out to be decisive. This analysis probes absentee voting in recent California elections, and compares the California analysis with parallel research in Iowa. The investigation concerns the correlates of the rate of absentee voting across counties, and the consequences of absentee voting systems for the electoral fate of gubernatorial candidates. Most strikingly, the research displays important changes in the determinants of absentee voting across three elections in California, distinctive patterns for Iowa, and strong evidence that partisan candidates are likely to harvest absentee votes in the very localities where their party is otherwise strong.

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