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Population Density vs. Turnout for the 2016 Election

Authors: Christopher Smith*, George Mason University
Topics: Political Geography, Population Geography, United States
Keywords: Election, Redistricting, Population Density, Turnout
Session Type: Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


The TIGER Congressional voting district and census block datasets make calculating the population density a straightforward effort. The 2016 election results data for the House of Representatives from the MIT Election Data and Science Lab invites exploration of the effect of population density on voter turnout. We explore the question of whether larger, less densely populated voting districts see statistically different turnout levels for congressional races from that of the smaller ones. The expectation is that apportionment and redistricting and election management at the local level *should* do a reasonable job of minimizing the standard deviation of the population density with respect to voter turnout. Conducting this research now using the 2016 results will set up revisiting them after the 2020 election.

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