SSN Briefs for the 2020 Election

With the 2020 election rapidly approaching, seven SSN members have revisited past briefs to put them in context for the current political moment. Covering election rules, voter turnout, the role of social networking, and more, these briefs highlight research that can help us make sense of the forces behind the upcoming election and how they may impact voters.

When Election Rules Undermine Democracy

by Amel Ahmed:

"Our goal should be to eliminate repeated, systematic bias against particular groups of Americans – and the way to do that is to make information about electoral rules and processes widely available to citizens and watchdog organizations." 

We Can Double the Number of Americans Voting: Reschedule Elections to Make Local Politics More Representative

by Zoltan Hajnal:

"The easiest, most politically viable, and most effective way to expand turnout and make local democracy more representative is to shift the timing of local elections so that officials in cities and suburbs are elected at the same time as presidents, governors, and legislators, at times when voter interest and turnout is at a peak." 

Do Primary Elections Promote Extremism in U.S. Politics?

by Robert G. Boatright:

"There is no reason to conclude that U.S. primary elections are driving ideological polarization or preventing compromise in Congress. Some incumbents may be reacting fearfully to a few high profile contests, but it is hard to argue that primary challenges should cease." 

How Balloting in Churches Sways Attitudes and Votes

by Jordan P. LaBouff: 

"When Christians vote in churches, they seem to be most likely to vote for conservative candidates than when they vote outside of churches." 

How Online Social Networking Helps Draw Young Americans Into Political Participation

by Kenneth W. Moffett and Laurie L. Rice:

"Online contacts and invitations tend to beget more participation because simple acts such as liking a candidate or interest group or sharing videos or pictures about them can produce many other invitations to become more politically active." 

How to Increase Voter Turnout in Communities Where People Have Not Usually Participated in Elections

by Melissa R. Michelson:

"As candidates and community organizations gear up for the 2020 presidential elections, recent scholarship provides clear direction on how best to move Latinx and other reluctant potential voters to the polls."