Smith

Daniel A. Smith

Professor of Political Science, University of Florida
Areas of Expertise:
  • Civic Engagement
  • Media & Public Opinion
  • Revitalizing U.S. Democracy
  • State & Local Government
  • Voting

About Daniel

Smith is a nationally recognized expert on direct democracy, campaign finance, and voting rights in the American states, and is co-author of a leading textbook, State and Local Politics: Institutions and Reform. His research is motivated by furthering our understanding about how political institutions affect political behavior across and within the American states, with a particular focus on ballot measures, voting rights, and election issues. In addition to his influential books on direct democracy (Tax Crusaders and the Politics of Direct Democracy (Routledge, 1998) and Educated by Initiative (University of Michigan Press, 2004, with Caroline Tolbert), he has authored or coauthored more than 50 scholarly articles and book chapters on the politics and processes of voting and elections in the American states. In addition to his academic research on American political institutions and political behavior, he has worked extensively in West Africa, serving as a Senior Fulbright Scholar at the University of Ghana. He is a frequent media contributor and speaker to nonprofit organizations, has advised governments (including the U.S. Senate) and non-governmental organizations on direct democracy, voting rights, and electoral issues, and has served as an expert on numerous voting and election-related lawsuits. He is also the President of ElectionSmith, Inc.

Podcast

Publications

"The Educative Effects of Ballot Initiatives on Voter Turnout" (with Caroline J. Tolbert). American Politics Research 33, no. 2 (2005): 283-309.
Draws on aggregate turnout rates across the states from 1980 through 2002 to find that the educative effects of ballot measures bolster turnout, especially in midterm elections.
"Delegating Direct Democracy: Interparty Legislative Competition and the Adoption of the Initiative in the American States" (with Dustin Fridkin). American Political Science Review 102 (2008): 333-350.
Uses an original dataset of referendums placed on the ballot by state legislatures between 1898 and 1918 that granted citizens the power of initiative. Discovers that interparty legislative competition, party organizational strength, and third parties – rather than social and economic forces – were the most powerful predictors why legislators might be willing to divest themselves of their institutional power.
"Obama to Blame? African American Surge Voters and the Ban on Same-Sex Marriage in Florida" (with Stephanie Slade). The Forum 9, no. 2 (2011).
Draws on individual and aggregate-level data to find that African-Americans in Florida who were drawn to the polls by Barack Obama in 2008 were not the cause of the passage of Amendment 2, the statewide ballot measure banning same-sex marriage.
"The Impact of Petition Signing on Voter Turnout" (with Janine Perry and Shane Henry). Political Behavior 34 (2011): 117-136.
Merges original data of citizens who signed ballot petitions with data from voter files in Arkansas and Florida. Finds that signing a ballot petition can spur voter turnout, most notably among peripheral voters in local elections.
"Souls to the Polls: Early Voting in Florida in the Shadow of House Bill 1355" (with Michael Herron). Election Law Journal 11, no. 3 (2012): 331-347.
Draws on statewide voter files from the 2008 general election and finds that Florida’s reduction in the early voting period from 14 to eight days in 2011 would likely have the most pronounced negative effects on Democratic, African American, Hispanic, younger, and first-time voters, especially those casting ballots on weekends, including the erstwhile final Sunday of early voting.
"House Bill 1355 and Voter Registration in Florida" (with Michael Herron). State Politics and Policy Quarterly 13, no. 3 (2013): 279-305.
Draws on state voter files in Florida to find that regulations on groups like the League of Women Voters in 2011 caused voter registration rates to drop precipitously compared with registrations in 2007, especially among younger and Democrat registrants.

In the News

Daniel A. Smith quoted on Democratic turnout in local elections in Andrew Pantazi , "Will a Democratic Wave Hit Florida? Here’s What the Data Says" The Florida Times-Union, April 14, 2018.
Daniel A. Smith quoted on 2016 election results in Adam Smith, "A Democratic Wave from Younger Voters and Puerto Ricans? Don’t Bank on It" Tampa Bay Times, March 23, 2018.
Daniel A. Smith quoted in Steve Bousquet, "Voting Rights for Felons Will be on Florida's November Ballot" Miami Herald, January 23, 2018.
Daniel A. Smith quoted in Jeffery Schweers, "Parkland Shooting Seen as Turning Point for Gun Control Debate" Tallahassee Democrat, February 24, 2018.
Daniel A. Smith quoted in John D. Sutter and Sergio Hernandez, "'Exodus' from Puerto Rico: A Visual Guide" CNN, February 21, 2018.
Daniel A. Smith quoted in Nate Cohn, "A 'Blue' Florida? There are No Quick Demographic Fixes for Democrats" New York Times, February 1, 2018.
Daniel A. Smith quoted on racial and ethnic breakdown of early voters in Tara Golshan, "Should Democrats be Concerned over Low Clack Voter Turnout in Florida? Yes — A Little." Vox, November 1, 2016.
Daniel A. Smith quoted on early voter turnout in Tara Golshan, "Where Early Voting Stands Going into Election Day" Vox, November 7, 2016.
Daniel A. Smith quoted on early voting among Latinos in Nate Cohn, "This Time, There Really Is a Hispanic Voter Surge" New York Times, November 7, 2016.
Guest to discuss early voting in Florida on National Public Radio, Daniel A. Smith, November 3, 2016.
Daniel A. Smith quoted on white voter turnout in Steven Lemongello and Jeff Weiner, "White Voters Propelled Trump's Win in Florida" Orlando Sentinel, November 9, 2016.
Daniel A. Smith quoted on amendment language in John Schwartz, "Measure in Florida That Claims to Back Solar Power May Discourage It" New York Times, November 8, 2016.
Daniel A. Smith quoted on Florida early voting in Zhai Yun Tan, "More Women Are Turning Out For Early Voting. Is This a Trump Effect?" Christian Science Monitor, October 22, 2016.
Daniel A. Smith quoted on rejected mail ballots in Patricia Maze, "Citing 'Obscene' Disenfranchisement, Federal Judge Hands Democrats Another Florida Court Victory" Miami Herald, October 16, 2016.
Daniel A. Smith quoted on rejected mail ballots in Christopher Ingraham, "The Truth Behind Trump’s Latest ‘Rigged Election’ Fears" Washington Post, October 17, 2016.
Daniel A. Smith quoted on absentee ballot trends in Adam C. Smith, "More than 300,000 Floridians Have Voted and the Numbers Look Good for Hillary Clinton" Tampa Bay Times, October 14, 2016.
Daniel A. Smith quoted on rejected mail ballots in Steve Bousquet, "Judge Who Extended Vote Deadline Shifts to Mail Ballot Case" Tampa Bay Times, October 14, 2016.
Daniel A. Smith quoted on late voters registration in Steve Bousquet, "Federal Judge Extends Florida's Voter Registration by a Week to Oct. 18" Tampa Bay Times, October 12, 2016.
Daniel A. Smith quoted on voter registration efforts in Zachary Roth, "Florida Counties Hit by Matthew Lean Republican" NBC News, October 10, 2016.
Daniel A. Smith quoted on Florida election trends in Meghan Keneally, "Hurricane Matthew Could Cost Dems More Votes in Battleground Florida" ABC News, October 7, 2016.
Daniel A. Smith quoted on Florida voting in Kate Payne, "Political Scientist: Shame On Gov. Scott For Not Extending Voter Registration" WFSU, October 7, 2016.
Daniel A. Smith quoted on early voting in Alex Leary, "Hispanics Voting in Record Numbers in Florida, Other States, Boosting Hillary Clinton" Miami Herald, November 6, 2016.
Guest to discuss Florida's state politics on RealClearPolitics, Daniel A. Smith, September 8, 2016.
Daniel A. Smith quoted on early voting in Steve Bousquet, "Hispanics, No-Party Voters, Young People Most Critical in 2016 Florida Election" Miami Herald, October 29, 2016.
Daniel A. Smith quoted on new registered voters in Florida in Patricia Mazzei, "Trump Heads to Miami with Florida campaign Looking Up" Miami Herald, September 15, 2016.
Daniel A. Smith quoted on registered voters in Marshall Cohen, "Republicans Narrow Voter Registration Gap in Florida, North Carolina, Pennsylvania" CNN, August 29, 2016.
Daniel A. Smith quoted on voter identification laws in Steve Bousquet, "As Voter ID Laws Falter, Florida Shines by Comparison, for Now" Tampa Bay Times, August 1, 2016.
Daniel A. Smith quoted on new voters joining the Republican Party in Shane Goldmacher, "Donald Trump is Not Expanding the GOP" Politico, May 17, 2016.
"The Battle over 'One Person, One Vote,' Has Just Begun," Daniel A. Smith (with Carl Klarner), The American Prospect, April 18, 2016.
Daniel A. Smith quoted on early voters in Florida in Anthony Man, "Warning: Polls Might be Hazardous to Your Political Health" Sun Sentinel, March 14, 2016.
Daniel A. Smith quoted on Trump supporters in Florida in Arian Campo-Flores, "Florida’s Early Voting Points to Donald Trump Strength" Wall Street Journal, March 14, 2016.
Daniel A. Smith quoted on early voting days in Matt Vasilogambros, "Voting While Elderly" The Atlantic, March 14, 2016.
Daniel A. Smith quoted on Hispanic Republican voter turnout in Arian Campo-Flores, "Marco Rubio Targets Hispanic Voters in South, Central Florida" Wall Street Journal, March 10, 2016.
Daniel A. Smith quoted on returned absentee mail ballots in Anthony Man, "Florida Voters' Mistakes Mean Some Won't Have Their Vote-by-Mail Ballots Counted" Sun Sentinel, February 29, 2016.
Daniel A. Smith quoted on statewide absentee ballot returns in Sergio Bustos, "Voters in Florida Begin Early Voting in Crucial Primary" ABC News, February 29, 2016.
Daniel A. Smith quoted on Florida primaries in Jeremy W. Peters, "Florida, Famed for Political Spectacles, Braces for Another as Primary Nears" New York Times, March 9, 2016.
Daniel A. Smith quoted on absentee ballot voting in Steve Bousquet, "With Half-Million Absentee Ballots Turned In for Florida’s Primary, Miami-Dade a Focal Point for Problems" Miami Herald, February 25, 2016.
Daniel A. Smith quoted on campaign strategists in Ledyard King, "Floridians Give $22.4 Million to Presidential Candidates" Tallahassee Democrat, February 2, 2016.
Daniel A. Smith quoted on the Republican presidential candidates in William E. Gibson, "Florida Candidates Face Challenges in GOP Debate" Sun Sentinel, November 8, 2015.
Daniel A. Smith quoted on Clinton's campaign in Florida in Amie Parnes, "Clinton Faces Trouble in Florida" The Hill, September 13, 2015.
Daniel A. Smith quoted on his analysis of Florida's redistricting maps in Mary Ellen Klas, "How Sleuths Decoded Redistricting Conspiracy" Miami Herald, September 5, 2015.
Daniel A. Smith quoted on how caucus turnout relates to general election voting in Ashley Lopez, "Why Republicans Might Not Get a Voter Turnout Surge in Kentucky Next Year" WFPL News, August 25, 2015.
Daniel A. Smith quoted on campaign contributions from Floridians in Ledyard King, "Florida Donors Giving Most to Clinton, Bush, Rubio" Tallahassee Democrat, July 21, 2015.
Daniel A. Smith quoted on Florida's Rubio and Bush as nominees to the presidential candidacy in David M. Shribman, "The Pre-Primaries are Well Under Way" Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, March 29, 2015.
Daniel A. Smith quoted on Bush's voting carelessness in Alan Rappeport, "Bush Laughs about His ‘Hispanic’ Registration; Democrats Do Not" New York Times, April 7, 2015.
Daniel A. Smith quoted on collecting the signatures needed to support the measure in Anthony Man, "Congressman Wants 55 Percent Increase in Minimum Wage" Sun Sentinel, February 13, 2015.
Daniel A. Smith quoted on midterm elections in Sascha Cordner, "Even with Public Input, Will Dems Learn from 2014 Midterms? Some Not so Sure" WSFU, November 10, 2014.
Interview on voting wait timesDaniel A. Smith, University of Florida News, November 12, 2014.
Daniel A. Smith quoted on midterm election voter turnout in Morgan Watkins, "Locals Try to Explain the Republican Sweep" The Gainsville Sun, November 8, 2014.
Daniel A. Smith's research on voting habits discussed in Molly DominickDaniel A. Smith, "Election Day Study Collects Data on Voting Habits, Lines," The Miami Hurricane, November 4, 2014.
Daniel A. Smith's research on the voting process discussed in Aimee CarusoDaniel A. Smith, "Tracking the ‘Time Tax’: Dartmouth, Florida Researchers Study How Long it Takes to Vote," Valley News, November 5, 2014.
Daniel A. Smith quoted on Florida's congressional races in William E. Gibson, "Races to Watch: Three Congressional Showdowns" Sun Sentinel, November 3, 2014.
Daniel A. Smith quoted on legalization of medical marijuana in Michael Pollick, "Marijuana Vote is Kryptonite for Politicians" Herald Tribune, October 30, 2014.
Daniel A. Smith quoted on Alaska's Senate race in Barney Jopson, "Go Slow on Pot, Says Colorado Governor" Financial Times, October 24, 2014.
Daniel A. Smith quoted on gubernatorial race in Ledyard King, "Political Ads Inundate Florida Airwaves" USA Today, October 24, 2014.
Daniel A. Smith's research on early voting and racial disparities discussed in Emily BadgerDaniel A. Smith, "Why Early Voting is about So Much More than Convenience," The Washington Post, September 30, 2014.
"Jeb Bush’s Secret-Squirrel Hunt? Rocky, That’s Just a Bunch of Bullwinkle," Daniel A. Smith, Orlando Sentinel, February 23, 2006.
"Lawmakers Don’t Trust Voters with the Constitution," Daniel A. Smith, Gainesville Sun, October 21, 2006.
"A Chance for Floridians to Redraw Rigged Districts," Daniel A. Smith, Tampa Bay Times, November 27, 2009.
"Voters Need to Push Back against Corporate Cash," Daniel A. Smith, St. Petersburg Times, July 13, 2010.
Daniel A. Smith quoted on registering voters, "In Florida, Registering Voters a Whole New Game" NPR’s Morning Edition, May 14, 2012.
Daniel A. Smith's research on early voting discussed in "Early Voting Leads to Voting – Hey!," The Rachel Maddow Show, August 20, 2012.
Daniel A. Smith quoted on voter registration, "Voter Registration Drives Adopting New Sophisticated Methods" FOXNEWS.com, September 7, 2012.
Daniel A. Smith quoted on absentee voting, "Error and Fraud at Issue as Absentee Voting Rises" New York Times, October 6, 2012.
"High Ballot Rejection Rates Should Worry Florida Voters," Daniel A. Smith (with Michael Herron), Tampa Bay Times, October 28, 2012.
"Glitch in Florida's Voter Registration System Can Disenfranchise Absentee Voters," Daniel A. Smith, Huffington Post, November 4, 2012.
"Challenged Ballots Could Mean a Challenging Election," Daniel A. Smith (with Michael Herron), Florida Voices, November 3, 2012.
Daniel A. Smith quoted on voter suppression, "Voter Suppression in Florida" The Rachel Maddow Show, November 5, 2012.
Daniel A. Smith's research on congestion at the polls in the 2012 election discussed in "Study; Florida Hispanic Voters Waited in Longest Lines during November Election," NBCLATINO Politics, June 28, 2013.