Young VotersBarry C. Burden and Kenneth R. Mayer

The authors conducted research showing that the opportunity to vote by mail actually depresses voter turnout, typically by three percentage points. Although early voting does not eliminate the two-step process of registration and then voting, it does dilute the intensity of Election Day because campaigns begin to scale back their efforts once a significant portion of votes have been cast. To improve voter turnout, their research shows that combining early voting with same-day registration reverses the depressive effect of early voting.

Burden and Mayer are professors of political science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

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