Over recent decades, the American states have implemented electoral reforms making it easier for citizens to register and vote. This paper examines the “equality effects” of these reforms: the degree to which reform serves to equalize or further skew participation rates between the rich and poor. Using the Voter Supplement to the Current Population Survey, we generate state-level estimates of income bias in registration and voting for elections from 1978-2008. Findings support our theory that some electoral reforms promote equality, while others further stratify the electorate—particularly when state registration rolls are already unrepresentative in terms of income groups.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/elizabeth_rigby/9/